Ball tested: Callaway Speed Regime 3
Category*: Tour / Advanced / Performance
Tested for golfers with average driving distance of: 246 to 300+ yards (carry + roll)
Specs: Construction – Five-piece; Cover – 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: Is choosing a golf ball as easy as 1-2-3? Callaway thinks so.
The company’s Speed Regime lineup features a trio of models – dubbed SR1, SR2 and SR3 – designed to fit golfers of specific swing speeds. The SR3 is built for the fastest swingers, those who can rip the driver in excess of 105 mph.
Like other “tour” balls aimed at better golfers, the SR3 marries a high-compression core with a soft cover. Callaway says the main differences in its Speed Regime models lie in each ball’s aerodynamics, i.e., their dimple designs. The aim of the SR3 is a lower trajectory and exceptional control within 100 yards of the green.
How about we take it for a spin?
On the clubface: Similar in feel to its tour competitors (the Titleist ProV1, Bridgestone Tour B330), Callaway’s SR3 is a touch firmer than the SR1 and SR2. That’s exactly how most high-speed swingers prefer it. We did detect a tiny bit of the famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) “Callaway click” off the putter. It didn’t much bother our tester.
Off the tee: Length-wise, there’s no compromise between the SR3 and competitors. It’s plenty long. It’s pretty workable, too, though the sidespin can mean trouble if it’s unintentional or excessive. Ball flight was boring, in a good way, penetrating into headwinds, staying steady in crosswinds and providing ample carry.
From the fairway / rough: Control is the name of the game at this level, and the SR3 delivers it. With longer clubs, well-struck shots went exactly where they were supposed to and looked just right getting there. Off-center hits didn’t cost much distance or accuracy, either. We found spin to be exceptional on wedge shots, were the SR3 clearly separated itself from the SR1 and SR2.
Around the green: All systems go. The SR3 displayed excellent spin and, most importantly, responded well to different lies and shot types. Lobs flew high and landed softly, while run-and-check chips performed as executed.
Bottom line: The debate continues as to whether Callaway’s SR1 and SR2 models – excellent performers and also $47.99 per dozen – are worth the money. There should be few such gripes about the SR3. It’s priced like a tour ball and it plays like one.
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