Callaway Chrome Soft or Chrome Soft X golf balls are the weapon of choice for many Callaway staff players. This may not come as a surprise for obvious reasons, but recently Xander Schauffele stated that he changed to Callaway equipment because of the golf ball above anything else. Xander's recent form in majors has proved that he knows a thing or two about playing the game at a high level.
On Golfalot's trip to Callaway's HQ in Carlsbad last year, there was also regular mentions of Xander's high level of interest and involvement in fine-tuning his equipment for his game.
This then begs the questions... With more players moving away from Titleist golf balls on tour, are other manufacturers finally catching up with the number one ball in golf? Then more importantly, if the professionals are, should you consider switching too?
What's It All About?
First things first, not many tour pros play another ball (other than Titleist ProV1 or ProV1x) until it's put in front of them by a golf company that pays them. Rory changed to TaylorMade clubs and then eventually the ball, but how many players use the Callaway golf balls without being a staff player? You'll probably find it's not many.
I'm not saying that they shouldn’t, it is just very rare that players will use another ball as they are so used to looking down on a Titleist. Over the last 15-20 years, ProV1 has become such a strong brand in it's own right within golf, for most pros it almost seems strange to play anything else.
Like other brands before them such as Srixon and TaylorMade, Callaway are looking to change this trend and are going after the ball market in 2020 like never before. With a $50million investment in it's Chicopee ball plant it has tripled the workforce. The company are ready to develop, grow further and supply high quality golf balls globally more than ever before, but will the demand be there? This is the question I seek to answer in this review.
To tackle this problem head on, in true Callaway fashion, they have invested a serious amount in R&D. In other words - technology, and a lot of it in fact. Here are some of the key bits to look out for when looking at the new Chrome Soft ball line up:
• A larger graphene-infused dual SoftFast core for increased distance. This significantly larger inner core creates higher launch and lower spin and the thinner, firmer outer core is reinforced with graphene for better durability and more wedge spin.
• A new high-speed dual mantle system. A new proprietary ionomer blend creates more efficient energy transfer from the dual SoftFast core for faster ball speed. The compounded additives are said to improve consistency and durability, and the stiff mantle allows for 'ideal' spin on wedge shots.
• More feel and spin control from a thinner urethane cover. A thinner, more resilient cover promotes increased ball speed, and generates lower spin on full shots while maintaining high spin and soft feel around the green.
• A new optimised aero design is said to reduce drag for increased overall distance, with a higher ball flight for optimum trajectory.
So, what's different in the 2020 Chrome Soft golf balls compared to the 2018 version?
The inner core area is 34 percent bigger than its predecessor, which creates high-launch and low-spin for more distance. The outer core has then been reinforced with graphene which helps to add spin to your wedges and improve overall durability. Encompassing the Dual SoftFast Core is a stiff Ionomer Speed Mantle for even more wedge spin, improved consistency and a better energy transfer for additional ball speed.
In basic terms, everything you would want from a golf ball: more spin with your wedges, less scuffs and more durability and then obviously Callaway are claiming more distance with the driver too - especially with the Chrome Soft X - without losing any spin around the dancefloor.
I compared the Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X on Trackman 4 at Mercedes Benz Stockport hitting different iron shots as well as the driver. I then took the ball to Houldsworth Golf Club to try them directly on the course, looking closely at the short game.
When testing a new ball out I work from the putter up to the driver, because if it doesn’t feel good on the greens then it isn’t even making it to the range. Bear that in mind when testing golf balls in the future.
Callaway 2020 Chrome Soft & Chrome Soft X Golf Ball Review
During my indoor testing I was impressed by these golf balls. On the whole I was achieving numbers that I would expect from a premium golf ball. Firstly I would say that the Chrome Soft was noticeably softer off the face than the Chrome Soft X, but this is to be expected.
The Chrome Soft X felt firmer off the club face and the cover was certainly harder, I also found it launched higher and flew higher too. It will be up to you to decide which you prefer in terms of tailoring these characteristics to suit your game and what type of feel you prefer.
The main thing I took from my indoor testing was that I liked the Chrome Soft whilst using a wedge as the feel and sound was just that little bit more 'cushiony', whereas I preferred using the Chrome Soft X with a mid-iron like a 6-iron as I got a higher flight.
When testing the Chrome Soft with my driver it generated around 3000 rpm of spin, which is actually a little high for me. The Chrome Soft X on the other hand generated slightly less spin and carried an average of 6 yards further, with increased ball speed. This proves that the new dual mantle system in the Chrome Soft was working it's magic with the driver - but how would it fare around the greens? More on that later...
When it came to workability, the Chrome Soft X is supposed to be more workable, however during my indoor testing the Chrome Soft did average around 300 rpm less spin. Theoretically, less spin should mean less curve so Callaway, yes I’ll give you that. But in all honestly I hardly noticed a difference in the actual ball flight when hitting these balls next to each other.
Elite women golfers struggle with ball testing as we want to hit it further but don’t want to sacrifice feel and spin to get the extra distance. We need less spin on the driver but enough spin to hold greens with hybrids as we hit more of them into greens on par 4s. I have never heard a women professional or any amateur golfer say they hit the ball too far.
On the other hand, male elite golfers don’t worry about distance, they want precision and control. Callaway is claiming you can have both with the Chrome Soft X, obviously...
On the course I played a variety of chips and pitch shots and the noise and feel were noticeably different - hard with Chrome Soft X and softer with the Chrome Soft. However the performance of the ball as in flight, landing and roll out were very similar. I kept looking up expecting the Chrome Soft X to have gone past the hole, but it didn’t.
My findings in terms of feel with the putter confused me, but in a good way... I did a test with 4 balls on the practice putting green, 2 of each Chrome Soft model, but I made sure I could not see the logo so I had to guess based on the feel off the face of my putter which one was which. I guessed wrongly which proves that I couldn’t tell on the putting green, this may sound unusual, but it's actually a huge positive as it proves the Chrome Soft still has that satisfying soft feel in the short game which is vital for me on the greens. It's all about consistency of feel.
Callaway 2020 Chrome Soft & Chrome Soft X Golf Ball Verdict
Phil Mickelson, who is one of the best golfers ever and arguably the best feel golfer ever, plays the Chrome Soft X Triple Track as he says the benefits off the tee are significant and the difference around the green is insignificant and I have to agree with Lefty based on my findings both indoor and out.
So, who should use these golf balls? The 2020 Chrome Soft balls are a great option for mid to low handicap golfers who feel that ProV1’s are too pricey. Simply put, you can get 15 for the price of 12 ProV1 golf balls.
The Chrome Soft will also be a great option if you're an elite player who is looking for a touch more spin in your long game. However as I found, don't mistake this for workability in the air as it's very hard to see.
Would I Use It?
These balls are still slightly too 'spinny' for me as I would like 2500-2800 rpm with the driver but if I had to pick I would go with the Chrome Soft X for reasons I stated above - I'm going with Lefty.
You might not quite get 'the best of both worlds' with the Chrome Soft X, but you won't be far off and at an RRP of roughly £12 cheaper per dozen than ProV1 or ProV1x, for a lot of golfers making the switch to Chrome Soft will be a no brainer. A lot of golfers will also be lured in by the Triple Track option which we originally tested in full here in our ERC Soft ball review.
As always, I urge you to go and try them out for yourself on the golf course. After all the golf ball is the only piece of equipment you use on every golf shot, so you want to make sure you're playing the correct one for your game.
- Great price
- Best of both in Chrome Soft X
- Tour proven by some of the best in the world
- Available in Triple Track and Truvis designs
- Chrome Soft X feels hard off the face with shorter irons
- Both spin higher than some other tour golf balls
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