Ball tested: Callaway Speed Regime 1
Category*: Recreational / Distance (labeled as “Tour”)
Tested for golfers with average driving distance of: 125 yards or less (carry + roll) / 126 to 195 yards (carry + roll) / 196 to 245 (carry + roll)
Specs: Construction – Four-piece; Cover – Thermoplastic urethane; Core – Polybutadiene; Dimples / Pattern – 332 in Callaway’s HEX aerodynamic design
Some manufacturers do not reveal or emphasize the compression ratings of new golf balls. Some models are now designed and marketed to fit and appeal to a golfers preferences for price, distance, spin, feel and control.
Price as tested (new): $47.99 per dozen
Ball notes: What’s your speed regime? Callaway wants to know.
The company is curious because they’re eager to match you with a new golf ball. Callaway’s Speed Regime models – labeled 1, 2 and 3 – are designed to fit golfers of varying swing speeds. Speed Regime 1 is for those who swing the driver at less than 90 mph; Speed Regime 2 matches 90 – 105 mph swings; Speed Regime 3 is for the lucky/skilled souls who can move it at 106 mph or more.
If the concept sounds familiar, it should. Led by Bridgestone, golf ball makers have geared their products this way for years. (With market leader Titleist the noteworthy exception.) Here’s the difference: Whereas others alter performance traits mainly by changing the ball’s compression, Callaway does it largely with aerodynamics. That means different core, mantle and cover constructions, and minor tweaks to surface dimples.
In the Speed Regime (or “SR”) lineup, the SR1 features the softest core and cover, plus a dimple pattern designed to maximize air time. The goal is a ball that boosts driving distance for slower swingers while providing feel and iron spin similar to a “tour” ball.
That last part is important. In marketing the SR1 as a tour-caliber model – rather than a “value” ball aimed at high handicappers – Callaway prices it at $47.99 per dozen. That’s double or even triple the cost of competitors’ balls in the value/recreational/distance category. (Notice that we removed “value” when placing the SR1 in this group.)
The price tag puts extra pressure on the SR1 to deliver considerably more than its peers. Let’s see if the ball is worth the expense.
On the clubface: Unlike the “Rock-Flites” of old, many of today’s distance balls generate a soft feel at impact. Same goes for the Callaway SR1. Golfers who are averse to the “clickiness” of Callaway’s other models may find this one more to their liking. Off the driver, the ball reacts with a powerful jumping sensation, even at slow swing speeds. The “thunk” on iron shots, pitches, chips and putts is pleasant, too.
Off the tee: The potent feel translates to a nice, high ball flight; the SR1 seems to back up Callaway’s claim of increased distance. Despite the added height, we observed good roll-out in the fairway, too.
From the fairway / rough: Sometimes, a soft ball feels too hot and uncontrollable off the irons (though most of them actually stop pretty well). We didn’t get that sense with the SR1. On landing, the ball doesn’t exhibit the spin of a genuine tour ball. But then, it takes a lot of clubhead speed to produce such spin. At any rate, the SR1 stopped in plenty of time when struck well.
Around the green: Again, a golfer with the swing speed recommended for the SR1 probably lacks the skill required to play hard-spinning chips and pitches. He’ll get good greenside performance from the Callaway SR1, and perhaps a little help when a high lob or pitch is called for. Feel is excellent and enhances the sense of control.
Bottom line: We like Callaway’s SR1 golf ball, we really do. It’s the price we’re not quite sure about. The differences in feel, distance and spin between this model and top competitors – like the Wilson Staff DUO and Srixon Soft Feel, both $19.99 per dozen – are negligible at best. The price difference is not.
Designed for speeds below 90 mph (“moderate”) / 135 mph or lower ball speed. low spin off long clubs, more spin off short clubs (“spin separation technology”). Dual core – soft inner, firm outer. New dimple pattern for more carry. Urethane cover – company’s softest. SR1 softest of 3 SR’s.
Sr2 and sr3 for “athletic” and “tour level” speeds
Cover – Duraspin (all caps?) urethane – new. 2 and 3 are ionomer Designed to optimize lift/keep ball in the air longer, without sacrificing feel
Price point – took “value” off category… same as 2 and 3
MyGolfSpy: Within each Speed Regime the ball is optimized for drag (the force that occurs as the ball leaves the club face – drag occurs in the initial stages of ball flight) and lift (what keeps the ball in the air as it descends). Understanding the basics of lift and drag are essential to understanding the differences in the 3 different Speed Regime golf balls.
Golfwrx: The SR balls adjust three categories based on swing speed; compression, dimple pattern and cover softness. Therefore, slower swingers have softest compression with dimples that deliver the most lift, and the softest cover to promote the most approach spin; faster swingers have firmest compression with dimples that promote the least amount of drag and firmest cover to control spin into the green; and the middle speeds have a combo off all of the above. A fantastic concept in my opinion, one that I have seen give me great results on course, ant he best Trackman numbers of any ball I've tested.
Value/Recreational/Distance – Designed for mid- to high-handicap golfers with swing speeds below 90 mph; typically feature two-piece construction and firm covers; promote greater distance over high spin rates. Examples: Pinnacle Gold, Slazenger RAW Distance
Premium – Designed for low- to mid-handicap golfers with swing speeds of 90-99 mph; typically feature multi-layer construction and medium-soft covers; happy medium between Value/Recreational and Tour categories for distance and spin qualities. Examples: Titleist NXT Tour, Callaway HEX Diablo
Tour/Advanced/Performance – Designed for low-handicap and professional golfers with swing speeds in excess of 100 mph; typically feature multi-layer construction and soft covers; promote greater spin rates and enhanced feel over distance. Examples: Titleist ProV1, Bridgestone Tour B330