Martin Hopley

Usually with low compression balls that are marketed as soft golf balls there is a trade off at a certain swing speed level. That is because balls that are softer traditionally don't retain speed as well as firmer balls when you get to better player and tour level swing speeds.

However with the 2015 version of the Chrome Soft golf ball, Callaway claimed to have got around this with a new SoftFast core and it developed a bit of a cult following in the USA.

In my review of the 2015 Callaway Chrome Soft I remarked that it was impressive and felt like a tour ball, but that a version aimed more towards tour performance would be out soon and here we are with the 2016 Chrome Soft.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2016 Golf Ball

You can spot the difference in the side stamp which now has two dots after the name rather than one dot in the middle.

As you would expect they have been working with their Tour Staff, like Phil Mickelson who was quite evangelical about the Chrome Soft before. The result is a ball that features a new SoftFast core to combine the benefits of soft feel with more playability around the greens.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2016 Golf Ball

Callaway has made the 2016 Chrome Soft spin a little more on shorter shots around the green to provide a little more consistency.

Around the greens is where you will notice the benefits of the Chrome Soft and its lower compression. The feel on chips and pitches was very good and a little softer than the market leading Pro V1. It also sounded a little softer too but it was hard to differentiate any other great change from the 2015 version.

Putting was really where you noticed a difference. I feel the Chrome Soft works best with a firm insert or an all metal putter face as softer inserts like the Odyssey White Hot don't give much in the way of sound or feel feedback at impact.

Even with an all metal putter the 2016 Chrome Soft sounded and felt and little softer than the 2015 version. This is probably where the main decision on using this ball has to be made as this will come down to personal preference.

On the longer shots it was hard to tell the difference with the naked eye between the Chrome Soft and other leading premium balls. It was as good as any of them which is about the best thing you can say.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2016 Golf Ball

The cover still features the Hex dimple pattern which is renowned for its stabilty in the wind, but these days, non-hexagonal dimple balls have got more stable too, so the advantage is there, but not as great.

The durabilty of the 2016 cover was as to be expected from most balls in this sector. It held up well to general play and would occassionally get marked if you got the sharp grooves on it from a bunker or bounced it off a something serious.

However this may not be an issue as it is competively priced for a premium tour ball at just over £30 per dozen.

The 2016 Chrome Soft is Callaway's headline ball and in the tour premium ball category it is a worthy challenger to the traditional heavyweights in this division. It will just down to whether or not you prefer the softer sound and feel on and around the greens.

Golfalot Rating: 5 stars
More from Callaway


Callaway Chrome Soft 2016 Golf Ball - Product Details

UK Launch05 February 2016
UK Launch RRP£32.99
USA Launch05 February 2016
Handicap Range
GolferMens, Women
Ball Construction4-Piece
Ball FeelSoft
Colour OptionsWhite, Yellow, White/Red
Manufacturer's WebsiteCallaway Website

User Reviews

October 2016

The 2015 version was considerably shorter off woods. Myself and others noticed 15-20 yards lost vs a Pro V1 off the driver. And we all have different swing speeds as well.

I'm sure that was a main reason they changed it to a 4-piece for 2016 as well as more greenside spin since the cover is now softer. The 2016 feels strange off of drivers to me, it's like compressing a 4-layer bunt cake.

July 2016

Loved the original Chrome Soft but not convinced that the new version is an improvement on it. On balance I prefer the feel of the 2015 ball though the new one does check up a little better on long or mid iron approaches to the green.

July 2016

Have been using the 2015 Chrome Soft since March 2015. I'm a lady golfer off 6 handicap and love the feel of this ball off both my driver and wedge. Lovely soft feel on short shots. Amateur lady golfers like myself don't spin the ball much generally but the Chrome Soft did give a great deal more check when pitching or chipping onto the green.

March 2016

Love the original Chrome Soft and have use it exclusively since it arrived. Here in Australia you could get it for $38 - $44 in the off course discounters. But Callaway seem to be on track to kill the golden goose with the 2016 model.

At around $60.00 a box, it's over the odds for a marginal change in performance. So I'm grabbing every box of the 2015 version I can get....and when they're gone, I will look for the next best thing. My home course Pro Shop has the nerve to be flogging the 2016 Chrome Soft as "a $7.00 ball" (around $70-$80 a box), so they may as well put 'em in mothballs, because they won't be selling any at that price.

February 2016

Played the 2015 Chrome Soft since March of last year. Loved the ball and switched from Pro V1. The version 2016 is even longer off the tee and softer around greens than the 2015 ball. Highly recommend. My husband is a long time Prov1x user and he really likes it as well and may switch.

January 2016

For an 18 handicapper this is perfect as it's long off the tee and inspires confidence around the green with its softness althought it took a while to get used to to with the putter.

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