Callaway Chrome Soft Change Is In the Air
© Callaway Golf

Ball tested: Callaway Chrome Soft

Category: Designed for full range of golfers

Feel: Soft

Tested for golfers with average driving distance of: 125 or less to 300+ yards (carry + roll)

Specs: Construction – Three-piece; Cover – Urethane; Core – SoftFast; Dimples / Pattern – 332 in HEX (hexagonal) design

Compression: Mid

Price as tested (new): $37.99 per dozen

Ball notes: Callaway made quite a splash when launching its newest golf ball in late 2014. “Chrome Soft,” the company proclaimed, “is going to change the golf ball category.”

Callaway doubled down by marketing Chrome Soft as “the ball that changed the ball.”

So much for keeping expectations low.

Why so much hype, and so much confidence, from Callaway? Because the company believes that the Chrome Soft “cracks the code” regarding compression and performance.

Where the typical lower-compression ball generates extra distance for slower swingers, high swing speed golfers may actually lose distance with them. The 65 compression Chrome Soft is designed to work for guys who can swing as fast as, say, Phil Mickelson.

Indeed, Mickelson tested Chrome Soft and reportedly told Callaway reps it was the best ball he'd ever played. He proceeded to use the ball in his early 2015 tourney appearances as well. (Rumor has it, though, that a special 85 compression version was made just for Phil.)

Chrome Soft's not-so-secret ingredient is Callaway's SoftFast core, which is more resilient at impact than other soft cores. Long story short, that makes it compatible with swing speeds of 105-plus mph.

The final piece is a urethane DuraSpin cover, designed to provide the feel and greenside spin better players demand.

We were dying to know if the Chrome Soft justified its billing. Here's what we found.

On the clubface: It's soft all right. Softer than “tour” models like the Titleist ProV1 or Bridgestone Tour B330, to our hands, yet firmer than the ultra-low compression likes of the Wilson Staff Zip. In our book, that's a happy medium.

Chrome Soft feels and sounds great coming off the club, whether it's a driver swung full-bore or a tap-in with the putter. It's got that confidence-boosting “stickiness” on chips and pitches, too.

Off the tee: It's one thing to make a soft golf ball. It's another to make a soft ball that doesn't cost fast swingers precious distance. Based on our results, Callaway has done it. While the Chrome Soft doesn't appear to be any longer than tour models like the ProV1, it can at least keep pace. One of our testers swings the driver right at 105 mph on average, and he achieved a high launch with nice carry and roll.

Our slower swinger got results in line with other soft balls, such as the Maxfli Revolution Low Spin and Srixon Soft Feel. We'll call it a win-win.

From the fairway / rough: High yet stable trajectory, good spin on landing. The Chrome Soft performed well from both fairway and rough, “sticking” to the face and making our testers smile. It's not the most workable ball out there, but few golfers will complain about a ball that's tough to curve.

Around the green: This is where the DuraSpin cover yanks the spotlight from the SoftFast core. Chrome Soft can match high-end tour models chip for chip, pitch for pitch and blast for blast for greenside responsiveness. This ball is grabby on the greens, spinning and checking with alacrity. Feels wonderful off the putter, too.

Bottom line: Is Callaway's Chrome Soft the greatest golf ball ever made? We won't go that far. We will, however, acknowledge its all-around quality for a wide range of golfers. Faster swingers might still prefer traditional tour balls, which could give them a few extra yards. Anyone else would be hard-pressed to find a ball that delivers distance, accuracy, feel and short-game performance to exceed this one.

As good as Chrome Soft is, we've got a feeling it's just another step toward an even better one.


Golf Ball Videos:

- Compression Video

- Spin Video

- Dimples Video

- Golf Ball Brands Video

- Titleist Video

- Understanding Spin Video

Categories Explained:

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

Callaway Reveals New Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X golf balls
© Callaway Golf

Callaway Reveals New Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X golf balls



Callaway announced their latest golf-ball-duo as per 2020, and yes, today we'll be talking about the Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X. Amazingly enough, the initial Chrome Soft was marketed as the ball that changed the ball, and regardless of how corny this sounds, the new 2020 Chrome Soft really comes with a bang, and we're not mincing words here either.

Callaway told us that their latest duo is designed to be as premium as humanly possible, i.e. these babies are built for performance, just like a Ferrari, and, on top of that, they come loaded with the company's latest technologies and innovations. All these features make the new Chrome Soft the flagship ball offering in Callaway's 2020 portfolio, as they're crafted to be more consistent and longer than ever before.

So here's how they did it: it's a well known fact that despite its simplicity, a modern golf ball is actually an expensive and laborious thing to build; the point being, if you want to properly manufacture a high end golf ball, you'll have to invest a lot of money in specialized machines, research and know-how (feedback from professionals). Another important thing to consider is that there's a big difference between companies that order golf balls from a specialized manufacturing company overseas, or what's called white label gear wearing “other people's logos” on them, and a company like Callaway, that builds a brand new golf ball from scratch with blood, sweat and tears.

Callaway describes their “struggle” as owning the process, or, to put it in other words, their house, their rules, their quality control. It's important to mention that Callaway already invested over 50 million dollars in new equipment that makes ball manufacturing better and more advanced compared to some of their direct competitors, and speaking of high-end machinery, the company invested heavily in cutting edge rubber mixers, which allow Callaway to mix with absolute precision the rubber compound used in their golf balls, as well as in new core molding tools, because after all's said and done, a golf ball is built from the inside-out, i.e. the core is the most important component in a high-end ball. By the way, the manufacturing process of state of the art golf balls is nowadays almost completely automated, yet Callaway still invests heavily in people, as their facilities had almost doubled the number of employees, which means the company is not trying to replace their specialists with machines.

Also, Callaway invested in a new 3D X-Ray system which is highly important in the Quality Control process. As the company puts it, “these machines can't make the ball pieces more centered, but it prevents ones that aren't from ever leaving the plant.” Are you impressed yet? If not keep reading: the new Chrome Soft 2020 features a brand new/redesigned core, which is 34% larger compared to the previous model; remember how we told you that a golf ball is built from the inside-out, right? The bigger inner core in the new Chrome Soft golf ball works wonders in helping achieving lower spin and creating higher launch, but it also permits the secondary layer, which by the way is Graphene-reinforced, to be firmer and thinner, and this translates in real life into longer distance and more speed.

Callaway Reveals New Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X golf balls
© Callaway Golf

Generally speaking, a longer and faster golf ball is plagued with “firmness issues” i.e. it sounds and plays more firm than some people prefer, as in it lacks softness, a feature we all know and love in expensive high-performance golf balls. However, even if this broad statement applies to the T to the vast majority of “normie” golf balls available in the market today, the Chrome Soft plays in a league of its own, and you already saw that coming due to the Soft particle in the name. So, how did Callaway create a softer yet faster golf ball? The trick is to completely redesign the mantle layer located right under the cover, or so we're told. The new high-speed mantle layer in the Chrome Soft is engineered using a new patented/proprietary ionomer mix, which helps with the energy transfer between the mantle layer and the dual-core, and also with retaining energy.

There's also a stiff layer right around the ball's core, and this particular design helps with distance off the irons/tee, and also with improving RPM and spin consistency around the greens. Speaking about the Chrome Soft's cover, Callaway boasts that the new compound allowed them to create a ten percent thinner cover compared to the previous model. Yet despite its thinnes, the new cover is just as resilient, if not more, and that's great from a performance standpoint, as the new material produces higher speeds and maintains energy, while delivering that soft feel and short game spin-performance we all expect from Callaway's premium golf balls. If you're already sold on the concept, the new Callaway Chrome Soft will be available with the traditional markings, plus Truvis, Truvis Yellow, Triple Track and Triple Track Yellow alignment starting from February 28th. What about the price, you asked? $47,99/dozen MSRP.

Now, let's talk a little bit about the new Chrome Soft X: the name of the game is bigger, better, faster, more, and speaking of bigger, the core in the X version is 117% (yes you got that right) larger in terms of volume compared to the previous design. Go big or go home, right? The new core is built using exotic materials, i.e. high molecular weight Neodymium rubber, provided such a thing even exists (just kidding). The new compound is faster and stronger compared to the “vanilla version” (sans X), which results in ludicrous ball speeds. Also, the Chrome Soft X 2020 boasts a single-core mantle, compared to the standard variant, which employs a dual-core thing. Why did Callaway choose a single core design for Mr. X? The answer my friends is “Jail Break Effect”, and if you are wondering what on Earth is that, well, that's what the company told us. Allow us to elaborate on that a little: a single core mantle provides faster balls speeds and more energy throughout the bag dixit Callaway, as in not only with the driver.

Also, if you were amazed by the Chrome Soft's 10 percent thinner cover, check this out: the Chrome Soft X boasts a 22 percent thinner cover compared to the previous gen, and the aerodynamics were also improved in order to obliterate drag, hence the X version has increased trajectory and carry distance, which in real life translates into 7 yards longer on average. As per price and availability, the 2020 Callaway Chrome Soft X will be available starting with March 12 retailing for $47,99 per dozen in standard graphics package, as well as Triple Track Alignment and Truvis Yellow.


Golf Ball Videos:

- Compression Video

- Spin Video

- Dimples Video

- Golf Ball Brands Video

- Titleist Video

- Understanding Spin Video

Categories Explained:

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