Martin Hopley

It seems a bit odd that in a ball with soft in the name, you introduce a material that is the strongest known to man, stronger than diamonds and 200 times stronger than steel, but that is what Callaway has done with the 2018 Chrome Soft ball.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2018 ball

The material is called Graphene which was invented in 2004 and will be everywhere pretty soon as it is not only stronger but it can be stretched too.

It has already found its way into some shafts and in the Chrome Soft 2018 ball it provides the outer layer of the core to give it more strength.

This enables them to make the inner core softer and larger as this is the engine of the ball, so the bigger the engine the more speed you can have.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2018 ball

The outer core is still made with polybutadeine rubber that is infused with graphene and it is this combination that provides the tour level of spin around the green that single core soft balls have less of.

The softer urethane cover also has something firmer to react against for creating spin on wedge shots and Callaway claim is the advantage of the Chrome Soft over other softer low compression balls.

On a cosmetic note the logo and the number are also bigger on the 2018 versions.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2018 bal

You can also get the Chrome Soft 2018 in a whole range of TruVis colours and patterns, which are proving so popular that Callaway can't make enough of them.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2018 ball

Why should you have soft ball? Well if you miss hit it, then it will still compress enough to not lose as much speed as a firmer ball, so in some ways you could call it more forgiving.

The trade off has always been that higher swing speed players would compress a soft ball too much and lose ball speed, which is what Callaway has been trying to address with the Chrome soft.

There are two versions, with the Chrome Soft X being the slightly firmer one with a more clicky sound off wedges and putter. This is all relative of course as the both sound and feel softer than your usual premium tour ball.

Chrome Soft Ball 2018 Review

The standard Chrome Soft is really quite soft and would be best for those who prefer that type of feel.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2018 ball

For putting it sounded softer than the previous 2016 Chrome Soft ball but on chips around the green the 2018 version sounded softer.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2018 ball

This could be the different cover/core construction coming into play as the club head speed increases so try for yourself and see if you notice a difference as it is quite subtle and on longer pitches there was not much in it.

It is softer than the 2017 version but as you can see from GC2 there is really very little difference with a 7-iron between the current and previous Chrome Soft.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2018 ball

When it comes to the driver, the lower spin of the Chrome Soft 2018 gives it a few extra yards carry, so that is probably the firmer outer cover doing its job.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2018 ball

Chrome Soft X 2018 Ball Review

The previous version was the first ‘X’ version of the Chrome Soft family and was intended to be a firmer alternative version of the Chrome Soft that the Tour players could use.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2018 bal

The 2018 Chrome Soft X uses the graphene to give that short game control and sound that better players will like, but this is softer feeling and closer to the standard 2017 Chrome Soft in the respect.

It plays more like a better player ball though tee to green, and the sound was about the same as the 2017 Chrome soft X and pretty similar to the Pro V1x, but of course it feels softer.

On GC2 with the 7-iron it was noticeable how much less the Chrome Soft X 2018 spun compared to all the other three balls.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2018 ball

It not only around 1200rpm less spin, but also launching higher so that combination saw an extra 4 yards carry, which is quite a lot for this loft of iron.

With the driver there was really very little in it between the two X versions with the 2018 version flying slightly lower.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2018 ball

Going deeper into the numbers I would say that the 2018 version produced slightly more consistent results when it came to distance and dispersion, even though the averages are similar.


From the numbers you could say that there is more of a difference in performance between the 2018 Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X than there was before and I know that this is what Callaway were trying to do. The new Chrome Soft looks pretty similar to the 2017 Chrome Soft X and the 2018 X spins less and goes a little further as a result.

For mid to high handicappers you can have your softer ball and get better control and distance at a mid-market price and for this reason the Chrome Soft X is probably the best version of the ball to go for.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2018 bal

To be honest I am still not convinced about the benefits of soft balls for better players as for me the sound and feel is just not there compared to traditional premium balls, especially if you use an insert putter. This is the conundrum that Callaway are trying to break with the Chrome Soft X and to be fair, what they have done so far is impressive.

Better players will be interested to know that the numbers for the Chrome Soft X were very similar to those for the Pro V1x 2017, so then your decision comes down to personal preference for price and feel as the Chrome Soft X is softer on both points.

Golfalot Rating: 4 stars
More from Callaway



Callaway Chrome Soft X 2018 Golf Ball

Callaway Chrome Soft X 2018 Golf Ball - Product Details

UK Launch16 February 2018
UK Launch RRP£37.99
USA Launch16 February 2018
USA Launch RRP$44.99
European Launch16 February 2018
European Launch RRP€49
Handicap Range
Ball Construction4-Piece
Ball FeelMedium
Colour OptionsYellow, White
Manufacturer's WebsiteCallaway Website

User Reviews

Tony Lennen
July 2018

Have played the Pro V's forever and tried this ball on a whim today. I swear I hit it at least 10 yards farther. I am 61 and have a 4.9 index with a 98mph swing speed. It seemed like it stayed on my irons longer. Pretty crazy.

Conor Dunne
July 2018

Tried a Chrome Soft on my last round. My local golf store gave me 2 to try as part of a Callaway promo deal. I'm a 12 handicapper. Driver distance I felt was good, but they just didn't feel great off the irons and wedges at all. I play forged irons and Vokey wedges. A little on the firm side and didn't feel like I had the control around the greens. Didn't play like a premium ball. I think I'll be sticking with Z Stars and Z Star XVs for now

Brian B
June 2018

Trying the Chrome Soft.No difference in driver distance BUT my irons are going 8-10 yards longer.

May 2018

I was fortunate enough to pay a low price for a dozen of the new Chrome Soft as they are definitely not worth the price hike, the updated original ball is just as good. This is typical Callaway, produce something good and then get greedy.

Jed Wade
May 2018

High handicapper. And a life-long Titleist man. I have a dozen ProV1s in my car screaming to be used. I have switched to the Chrome Soft. I feel I have much better control around the greens and as good if not better distance. I have recently tried the Chrome Soft X and feel it gives better distance than the Chrome Soft or Pro V1. I can see the spin difference with the various scorer ball pattern Chrome Soft around the greens and I like the visual confirmation of spin. My issue is off the tee and it isn't the ball's issue. I feel more confident with my mid and short irons with the Chrome Soft. That isn't to say the Titileist is an inferior performance, just I have more confidence with the Chrome Soft. And on rare occasions I have been able to hit and stop, on the green, a long iron. I routinely play a TPC tour course so firm greens are almost always in play. The Chrome Soft X is a bit more 'hard' on impact but has great stopping power on the greens. The bottom line is the Chrome Soft does the job and is more affordable than the Pro V1.

April 2018

Let me start by saying…I am a Titleist guy through the entire bag, from my 917 D2 to my Newport 2.5 and have played Titleist balls back to the balata days. With that said, I switched to the Chrome Soft when they came out and have compared Pro V1 vs Chrome soft every year of changes. In the end you get the same performance, better feel, better durability and lower cost (avg 6 to 10 dollars a dozen) from the Chrome soft. I find that those who stick to Pro V1 are usually brand snobs and tend to have ego handicaps.

Paul Wuthrich
February 2018

I tried the Chrome Soft X last week. 100 mph driver speed and 4 handicap. For my swing, the ball flew higher and I had great control. Maybe a little longer than a Pro V1 for me but very similar length. Give Chrome Soft a try. It was the best ball for me that I have ever tried.

Nick Anderson
February 2018

Just tried them and very disappointing for distance. Both my playing partners were out driving my by 10-15 yards which is not normally the case. They were ok off the irons but I can’t really justify the cost. Pro V1 are far superior these seem run of the mill, at best.

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