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.
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 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.
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.