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Review: Maxfli U6 Balls

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Pros: The new “U6” series balls are available in three different compressions that will meet the needs of a wide range of players. They’re low spinning off the tee and have adequate spin and feel around the greens.

Cons: Most consumers do not associate Maxfli with tour level performance in golf balls. Given, the quality available in the “tour ball” category, the lack of name recognition will be a large obstacle for Maxfli.

The Bottom Line: If you’re more worried about performance and value than name brand, this ball is a must try for 2014.

Overview

Last year, Maxfli introduced the first ever six-layer golf ball with the intention of providing a tour level ball with increased spin and touch around the greens, but less full-shot spin, (and thus straighter shots) on long irons and tee balls. With six layers and a low compression core, Maxfli uses heavier two ionomer casing layers located directly beneath the urethane cover to give the ball a higher MOI (moment of inertia). The higher MOI contributes to a ball with a straighter flight.

U6HowItWorks_CutOut

This year, Maxfli added two additional balls to this line up in an effort to provide a tour level ball for players with a range of swing speeds. The models and suggested swing speed ranges (driver) are listed below:

  • U6LC: 80-to-95 mph driver swing speeds
  • U6: 92-to-102 mph driver swing speeds
  • U6X: 102+ mph driver swing speeds

The balls are available now for about $40 per dozen.

Performance

The premise of this ball is tour level performance, straight flight and soft touch around the green. Based on my experience, the ball does generally what it is purported to do.

mx14u6x^right

Tee shots: I spent most of my time testing the U6X for tee balls as this is the ball that fits my swing speed. Simply, the ball was long and straight. It wasn’t significantly longer or shorter than what I expected out of a tour-level ball. That said, if you struggle with too much spin on your tee balls, you’re going to find this ball will give you at least a couple extra yards of carry compared to the others. Don’t expect to gain 10+ yards because of the ball alone, but for the right player, there will likely be some distance benefit. When using the standard U6 and U6 LC, my drives were 5-to-10 yards shorter than with the U6X, but I believe this was due to simply using a ball aimed at golfers with lower swing speeds.

Approach shots: Again, the ball performed admirably. My distances were extremely consistent with all three balls. When playing in the wind, I was able to keep the ball online more often, which was a huge benefit, but I wasn’t able to work the ball left-to-right or right-to-left as much as I needed to at times. If you don’t tend to vary your trajectory much or try to move the ball a lot, this ball actually might help you hit your approach shots straighter.

Around the green: All three balls produced consistent spin and trajectory. While I wasn’t wowed by the feel of any of the three, they were all consistent. I actually found the LC and standard U6 to have the best combination of spin and control around the green. On short putts (inside 5 feet) all the balls were serviceable and I didn’t note any discernable differences. However, on lag putts, I struggled with distance control a bit with the U6X. The U6 and U6 LC were again more consistent for me.

X Factor: Perhaps the differentiating feature of this ball is the enhanced MOI. As such, it is a tremendous wind ball and if you’re not looking to work the ball on different trajectories or directions, there is a lot of appeal here.

Looks and Feel

MXFLI-U6LC^02MXFLI-U6X^02MXFLI-U6^02

From a visual standpoint, the ball is clean and the Maxfli moniker is clear. Perhaps there is something to the black dot beneath the “X” in Maxfli, but for the life of me I’m not sure what the purpose is. The ball is a crisp white and stayed that way, even after several rounds. The durability is better than average and the multiple dimple design isn’t noticeable from address. In fact, it really isn’t obvious unless you hold the ball a couple inches from your face.

The equator of the the ball has a preprinted alignment line with the name of the ball/model in the middle of the line. It’s very reminiscent of the 2012 Titleist Pro V1 series in this regard.

I didn’t love the feel of the U6X. I didn’t hate it either, but honestly, I was really hoping for a little bit more. When you have one ball that tries to do everything well, it’s more likely that it will do some things well, but not everything. On half shots and pitches, it felt “clicky.” I like a ball to feel solid, yet soft. I felt the U6X was solid, but harsh. As a result, I didn’t feel like I could control my distances as well as I needed to on chips/pitches or lag putts and being able to control your spin and getting precise performance from a ball around the greens is paramount to scoring. All of the U6 series balls come up a bit short here.

The Takeaway

No doubt, this ball offers performance and does so at an attractive price point. No one else offers a 6-piece ball and you have to give Maxfli credit for being the first. The trend in the premium ball market is to offer multiple premium balls targeted at a variety of swing speeds. Maxfli has leapt right into this fray and has produced a ball that fits this niche market quite nicely.

Critics will be quick to question the value of a six-layer ball. That is, does that fifth or sixth layer really give you anything in terms of improved performance? My assertion would be that if you’re not paying any more for it (and perhaps less) does it really matter?

It wasn’t that long ago that you had to make significant compromises in the premium ball market. If you wanted a ball that was low spin off the tee, you gave up some feel and touch around the greens. The converse was equally true. Now, we have premium balls which blend these performance attributes much better and thanks to companies like Maxfli, we can offer them to players of nearly every swing speed.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.maxfli.com/golf-balls/maxfli-u6-lc” oemtext=”Learn more from Maxfli” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EGUVLNU/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00EGUVLNU&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=S2HJEUHVNBRHSVG3″]

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I didn't grow up playing golf. I wasn't that lucky. But somehow the game found me and I've been smitten ever since. Like many of you, I'm a bit enthusiastic for all things golf and have a spouse which finds this "enthusiasm" borderline ridiculous. I've been told golf requires someone who strives for perfection, but realizes the futility of this approach. You have to love the journey more than the result and relish in frustration and imperfection. As a teacher and coach, I spend my days working with amazing middle school and high school student athletes teaching them to think, dream and hope. And just when they start to feel really good about themselves, I hand them a golf club!

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. kenny melvin

    Nov 8, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Good ball. Once you reach a certain level of ability the ball becomes a matter of preference. What are you trying to do with ball, high ,low, cut, draw etc.

  2. Wayne P

    Jun 13, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    I have a 108 mpg averge swing speed and play the U6x, Man I love this golf ball! I get an extra couple of yards off the tee which is nothing amazing but it’s definitely straighter and every yard helps. It’s the consistency off my irons and controll around the greens that really impresses me. Every iron from my 6 on down gives me one small hop and spins back just a foot or two. They just seem to land softer and roll great when putting. Please don’t try this golf ball so I have an edge if I play ya.

  3. Thomas

    Apr 21, 2014 at 1:54 am

    I would rather not step foot in a Dicks Sporting Goods or Golf Galaxy store to buy this exclusive crap. What’s next? Can you review the Macgregor golf balls please?

    • cambridge9

      May 8, 2014 at 10:37 am

      Sorry that your ego will keep you from playing these balls. Maxfli’s latest premium balls have been as good or better than anything out there.

  4. Greg

    Feb 25, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    I’ve actually been playing the U4x for 2 seasons now. Its a good ball. spins great but not off the green like most of the Premium balls do…Yes, its a little firmer putting than a Pro V but almost all balls feel firm compared the pro V. I’ve compared to almost all and distance is roughly the same and it is very predictable on distance and flight. I like it. I pay 20 and sometime 10 a dozen with a Dick’s coupon. I do get a lot of looks from other players when they see what I play, I just chuckle a little now a days… good value and the only “cheaper” ball I’ve ever found that performs to my expectations…

  5. phil

    Feb 23, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Personally thought the u series line on golf balls where as good as many offerings from other brands and in some cases better….don’t really agree with eliminating the u 4 x and making 3 versions of a ball that’s supposed to do it all for all players…..sorta redundant if you ask me. all that said ,dicks has had these balls on sale all year and in some cases bo go . Golf ball reviews in all don’t mean a whole lot so much depends on swing speed ,loft, angle of attack to say one is better then the other is subjective. ..However to pay 50 bucks for a dozen balls is just plain stupid…

  6. jim

    Feb 21, 2014 at 10:30 am

    No golfer who knows what he is doing is going to pay $40 for these when there are prov1’s, brigestones, and srixons an arms reach away for $5 more per dozen. There is not a single characteristic that these balls offer that are better than brands popular on tour, which reminds me, how many players on tour are using these bad boys? these are simply overpriced, a value at $20-$25 per dozen (which they will be when they sit on the shelf till august)

    • TA

      Feb 26, 2014 at 11:59 pm

      It started with the u4X and now the u6. Maxfli is the best ball going. Longer and the spin is excellent and out of the rough they stop better.
      This from a +3 handicap from the back tees. Titleist is not the best ball in golf. Just been around longer and paying alot of people to play and have more advertising. SO yes it gets more play. Do wish had a little softer feel but the performance is outstanding at any price. The only negative to this ball is cover durability. Maxfli years ago with the HT and the Revolution and the A10 was the best. They are now back. I have converted to date 279 players off of Titleist and etc. The new Callaway Speed 1, 2 ,3 would be another great choice with little softer feel.They are replicas of one another.

    • cambridge9

      May 8, 2014 at 10:43 am

      I’m an avid golfer with a low hcp and I prefer the Maxfli balls over any other brand. Tour players are predominantly sponsor driven with their choice of equipment. Maxfli is just now making their way back into the light after years of being out of the mix.

  7. llamont

    Feb 20, 2014 at 3:00 am

    I’ve played the original U6 for a while now and I’m just not impressed. In my opinion, the ball feels like “blah” coming off of the clubface and both distance and spin characteristics are marginal at best. Durability doesn’t seem to have been a priority as the ball seems to scuff after a few holes of normal play (no tree banging rock slides necessary).

    Now the U4X on the other hand… I was thoroughly impressed by the overall performance of this ball as the distance and spin were right there. Not to mention, the feel was ten times better than the aforementioned ball. That’s why I was sadly disappointed when I heard Maxfli would no longer make U4X. I stocked up on about 15 dozen of them over the holidays so my stash should hold up for a few rounds.

    • cambridge9

      May 8, 2014 at 10:39 am

      I feel quite the opposite. I like the U6 better than the U4x (while still a great ball). U6 is much straighter off the tee.

  8. JH

    Feb 19, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    aren’t these a Dicks/GG exclusive because they’re in bed with TaylorMade?

    who buys crap like that?

    • MS PGA PRO

      Mar 6, 2014 at 11:12 am

      No, Dicks owns Maxfli. Bought them a few years ago from Tmag. Same with Top-Flight. Bought them a few years ago from Callaway.

      And just wondering, what ball do you play?

    • cambridge9

      May 8, 2014 at 10:44 am

      I buy it and play quite well with it

  9. Mboom

    Feb 19, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    I’d like to give these balls a try but as you know, they’re only sold at a few stores exclusively. The second problem here is, those few stores wont let you buy a single sleeve of balls, but by the box only. I don’t know about you but I’m not willing to drop $45 bucks on a box of balls that may or may not work for me. I think the appeal of these balls would be better if they were readily available at more locations.

    • t ahlers

      Apr 20, 2014 at 10:27 am

      Actually would agree was at docks one evening asking about them and the guy in golf section gave me 2 2 pack samples to try. Not a bad ball ended up purchasing a dozen when price came down at end of year.

  10. Jeff

    Feb 19, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Nothing worse than a “hard” ball. I’ll pass.

    • cambridge9

      May 8, 2014 at 10:46 am

      U6 is not a hard ball. Its a tour caliber ball…just doesn’t have the big brand name.

  11. andrew

    Feb 19, 2014 at 11:04 am

    very interesting- will have to give these a look… firsties!

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Ball Reviews

Is the Future of Golf Balls Lower Spin?

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For years now, TaylorMade has been preaching lower spin to create more distance, especially in its drivers. Its original SLDR driver was actually so low spinning that TaylorMade encouraged golfers to try higher-lofted club heads, or to “loft up,” so golf balls wouldn’t dive out of the air. Now, when you look around at the popular drivers in the industry, most of them are designed to lower spin. TaylorMade was ahead of the curve.

With its new TP5 and TP5x golf balls, TaylorMade is pushing a similar initiative: lower spin on all full shots.

“This ball is different. You can make the argument this is too hot a golf ball for people who don’t spin it (enough). But that’s not the large percentage of golfers.”

For driver shots, it’s easy to understand the benefit of lower spin as long as the golfer launches it high enough. Low spin plus high launch equals more distance; that’s just a math equation. But with golf balls, as opposed to drivers, their jobs are also to get close to the hole, not just go as far and straight possible. With that in mind, is lower spin necessarily beneficial on ALL full shots, including the irons?

RoryTaylorMadeTP5xWRX

For Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, who both switched to TaylorMade TP5x golf ball this season — the lower-spinning and slightly firmer-feeling golf ball in the TP5 line — the answer is clearly “yes.” Rahm saw an 800 rpm drop in iron spin with a 4-iron compared to his Titleist’s Pro V1x golf ball and a 400 rpm drop in driver spin, according to TaylorMade. McIlroy saw up to 10 yards in extra distance with a 5-iron, and he picked up distance with the driver, as well. According to Eric Loper, Director of Golf Ball R&D at TaylorMade, McIlroy was hitting his 7 iron at 16.1 degrees of launch with 6350 rpm, and his 4 iron at 11.1 degrees of launch with 3800 rpm during his initial Trackman testing at The Bear’s Club.

“(With a 7 iron) you have to hit it about 7000 (rpm) or less, and he was hitting (his previous ball) up to 7500 (rpm),” Loper said. “That’s too high… (With the TaylorMade TP5x) he didn’t express any concern with (spin being too low). It was launching high, getting to its apex and landing soft.”

Hoyt McGarity, President of True Spec Golf, an internationally renowned custom club fitter with more than a dozen locations, has seen similar performance gains with TaylorMade’s TP5x golf ball through his personal testing and his testing with Tour players. He said he’s seeing 2-3 mph more ball speed compared to other golf balls. Just as importantly, he’s seeing those gains with a higher ball flight in what he called “straight up” club tests.

“Some of the Tour players — straight up, same loft, same lie, same golf club, same everything — they would launch this golf ball almost a degree higher, which is amazing,” McGarity said. “I was seeing almost 2-3 mph more ball speed for these Tour players, not that they need more distance, but I’m like, ‘You’re launching higher and it’s going further and it’s still coming in soft; it’s not coming in low and hot. It’s coming in high and still soft, so what’s the disadvantage?’ If you’re a low-ball hitter with low spin, you might have some issues. Your half shots might be tough to control the distance on it, that’s all.”

So while TaylorMade’s TP5 and TP5x golf balls are designed to go farther and with less spin on full shots, the company says their steeper landing angles will help them stop nearly as fast as higher-spinning balls. TaylorMade’s belief is based on the company’s scientific bounce-and-roll calculations, which factor in green conditions and landing characteristics. Yes, the lower spin of its golf balls in relation to competitors leads to minimally more roll out, but the amount is insignificant according to TaylorMade: an additional 1-1.5 feet. The company also points out that with a longer-flying golf ball, golfers will be hitting shorter clubs into greens, leading to more control. An 8 iron will yield greater stopping power and accuracy than a 7 iron, right?

Expert fitter Scott Felix of Felix Clubworks agrees with TaylorMade in theory. He said that as long as the golf ball is coming into a green at a steep enough angle, low spin is not a problem for approach shots.

“Most golfers spin the ball too much with their irons, costing them distance,” Felix said, “…but for golfers who already have a flat trajectory (with their irons), lowering spin won’t help them hold the green.”

McGarity added that about 80 percent of golfers who come to him for a fitting spin the ball too much, and for Tour players, the drop in spin won’t have a detrimental effect.

“Lets say the average spin on Tour is 6,000 (rpm with a 6 iron); it’s not like [TaylorMade’s TP5x golf ball is spinning] around 4,000 (rpm),” McGarity said. “If your average land angle is 49 degrees, they’re hitting these balls at say 5800 spin, which I think is great, and with a 50-degree land angle, so what’s the harm? It’s not like it’s coming in at 44 degrees; that’d be probably a one hop over the back and get into a little trouble.”

On the other hand, Felix notes that some Tour players simply want maximum control from a golf ball due to firmer fairway and green conditions, so lowering spin isn’t always the best option for them. But for average golfers, the distance gains will be beneficial.

“Most golfers aren’t playing in Tour conditions and will simply benefit from hitting the ball farther and having shorter irons into the green,” Felix said.

McGarity also warns golfers who already play low-spinning irons and drivers, and who spin the ball below 2,000 rpm with the driver, that the TP5 and TP5x golf balls may not be for them.

“This ball is different,” McGarity said. “You can make the argument this is too hot a golf ball for people who don’t spin it (enough). But that’s not that large percentage of golfers.”

After announcing an equipment contract with TaylorMade at The Players Championship, Rory McIlroy called TaylorMade’s TP5x golf ball the most important factor in his decision to sign with the company. With the new ball, he said he not only picked up distance, but consistency and control in the wind.

“I wasn’t really happy with the golf ball I was playing, and I needed to do something,” McIlroy said. “I felt like I struggled in the wind. So I sort of went back to the drawing board and tested for about 10 days pretty extensively after Augusta … I worked with the TaylorMade guys one day and started just on Trackman on the range and saw stuff with the golf ball … I thought, ‘Wow, this is what I need.’ This is exactly the thing that I’ve been struggling with.”

McGarity’s experiences confirmed McIlroy’s sentiments.

“I picked up a half club and I sit around and hit balls all the time on Trackman, so for me to pick up a half a club, it’s not the club it has to be the ball,” McGarity said. “And into the wind I can definitely see it’s more penetrating. I’m not a super high-spin player, so some shots I’ll hit the ball farther than I expected, but I’d rather have that issue than (to hit it) short.”

So there’s agreement that the ball spins less, goes farther and performs better in the wind with irons. But when fitting a golf ball, is iron play even the best place to start? Golf is about more than just iron shots, after all.

For Felix, a ball fitting begins by having a client hit “a bunch” of different golf balls on the putting green to narrow it down to a few based on feel preferences. Then he has the golfer take those golf balls to the chipping green and bunker. He then works back to 40-yard shots, narrowing down the options throughout the process based on feel and performance. After that, golfers will progress to the driver, and then to the irons.

“Usually you want to get a few balls you really like on and around the greens, then work backwards from there,” Felix said.

Initial testing for McIlroy started on the golf course, and not on Trackman, according to TaylorMade representatives. Once he became comfortable with performance and feel, he then took to Trackman to get dialed in with spin and match the golf ball to his equipment.

TaylorMade_TP5_TP5x_Cut_Thru

TaylorMade’s TP5x and TP5 golf ball (right), which has a slightly firmer feel.

Despite the low-spinning qualities of the golf balls on full shots, TaylorMade believes it’s giving up nothing to the competition in terms of short game performance. “There’s no golf ball that spins more around the greens,” a TaylorMade representative told me. That’s a legal way of saying no other golf ball company can prove, with confidence, that its golf ball spins more around the greens.

By producing extremely low spin on full shots, but without giving up performance and feel around the greens, TaylorMade says it’s providing the best qualities from each end of the spectrum with its TP5 and TP5x golf balls. But… how? TaylorMade engineers accomplished the feat by using larger and softer-compression cores. TaylorMade says the cores “activate” at 70 mph of swing speed inside of the five-piece constructions, which also have firm mantle layers and soft, urethane covers. The result is low spin on full shots, and high spin on shorter shots.

“It’s the real first golf ball (TaylorMade has) made that’s a game changer,” McGarity said.

TaylorMade does admit, however, that golfers may be sacrificing a bit of “workability” with the irons. That’s to say hitting hooks and slices with its golf balls becomes more difficult due to the lower spin. While the TP5 will offer a bit more of that control than the TP5x, it’s definitely something to keep in mind for those who prefer to play a Bubba Watson-style of golf.

Looking to the future

So does all of this mean that lower-spinning golf balls on full shots are the future of golf? Will we see golf equipment companies striving for drastically lower spin over the next few years?

TaylorMade representatives say they continue to chase lower spin in their prototyping, and until the golf ball is diving out of the air to the golfer’s detriment, lower spin is the future of golf balls. Obviously, TaylorMade is fully committed to a lower-spinning golf ball, and lower spin in general throughout its product lines.

For other premium golf ball manufacturers, bringing lower-spinning options to the market seems likely, given the performance benefits and Tour validation of TaylorMade’s new golf balls. But there’s a reason there are so many variations of golf balls on the market; every golfer is different. Some need more spin with the driver and want more workability with the irons, some want a super firm feel and others just want the cheapest ball possible. 

Golfers should view TaylorMade’s TP5 and TP5x golf balls as options in the vast marketplace of golf balls, and perform thorough testing to figure out if this is the right line of golf balls for their game. And remember, lower spin and more distance will require recalibrating your iron distances, and possibly adjusting your equipment, so a mid-season switch is recommended only to those who are willing to put in the necessary work.

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Ball Reviews

Review: Callaway Chrome Soft X Golf Balls

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Pros: Incredibly soft feel like the Chrome Soft, but the Chrome Soft X increases spin through the bag to give better players more control.

Cons: Golfers who struggle with too much slice or hook won’t find it any easier to keep shots close to the target with the Chrome Soft X.

Who They’re For: Better players with higher swing speeds looking for a soft-feeling ball that checks up faster with iron shots than Chrome Soft.

The Review

Callaway says the Chrome Soft is “the ball that changed the ball,” and in many ways that’s true. It’s a tour-level golf ball with a softer feel, less spin through the bag and even a lower price point ($39.99) than some other tour balls in its category.

The Chrome Soft is Callaway’s best ball option for the vast majority of golfers (and received a 5-star rating by GolfWRX), but it isn’t for everyone. Callaway’s solution for them is its new Chrome Soft X golf ball.

What’s New in the Chrome Soft X

chrome-soft-x-12-ball-box-2017

The original Chrome Soft golf ball, launched in 2015 had the very soft compression of 65. When Callaway released the 2016 version of Chrome Soft, it gave the ball a slightly higher compression (75), which improved its consistency on short-iron shots. The compression of its new Chrome Soft X is 90.

The reason for the higher compression has to do with the low-spin profile of the Chrome Soft, a blessing to most golfers as it helps their shots fly straighter and farther. It’s not ideal for some tour pros and better golfers, however. We’re talking about the kind of golfers who have great mechanics and strike shots consistently on the center of the club face. They often have a ball flight that is so dialed in that the lower-spinning performance of the Chrome Soft makes their shots harder to control. To address that small but important segment of the golfing population, Callaway created the higher-spinning Chrome Soft X.

2017ChromeSoftBalls_spinrate

Under the hood, Callaway used a slightly thinner urethane cover, increased the size and hardened the compression of the Dual SoftFast core, and enhanced the HEX Aerodynamics. As a result, the Chrome Soft X should generate more ball speed and spin through the entire bag.

Dave Bartels, Callaway’s Senior Director of Golf Ball R&D, says golfers will be able will notice the differences and have a clear favorite. “We expect that golfers who like the Chrome Soft X probably won’t like the Chrome Soft very much, and vice versa.”

chrome-soft-x-cutaway-2017The Chrome Soft X ($39.99) will be in stores February 3 in White and Yellow.

Performance

Since the Chrome Soft X is meant to be a complimentary golf ball to the Chrome Soft, we tested them head-to-head.

Compared to the Chrome Soft the Chrome Soft X should:

  • Feel almost as soft as the Chrome Soft with the same durability.
  • Generate more spin where better golfers need it.
  • Generate faster ball speeds.

Like previous reviews, I tested these on the course and on a launch monitor with a 60-degree wedge, 6-iron and a driver. To allow me to re-hit each ball numerous times, I completed the testing indoors on a camera-based SkyTrak launch monitor. To keep the numbers as consistent as possible between the balls, I threw out and re-hit any shots that were not struck on the center and did not land within a designated target zone for each club (Wedge: +/- 3yards, 6 Iron: +/- 8 yards, Driver: Target width of 40 yards).

But I’m not a robot, so take that into account.

60-degree full wedge shots

2017ChromeSoft_Wedge Main differences we expect to see: Not many. If anything, the Chrome Soft X might generate slightly higher ball speeds.

What the data actually shows: Pretty much as expected. Overall, the Chrome Soft X clocked 1 mph more ball speed, 136 rpm more spin and carried 2 yards farther. These are very subtle differences, and for an amateur like me I would not expect to notice a difference on the course.

The larger Dual SoftFast core and higher compression could account for the additional ball speed and carry distance. For me, 2 yards won’t require much of an adjustment. If you are a better player completely dialed in with your distances, you might need to make a minor adjustment.

What I saw on the course: When I’m testing golf balls, I like to drop one down without looking at the label and hit a shot. This allows me to remain unbiased in my expectation and just watch what the ball does. When I did this test with the Chrome Soft X on a full wedge shot, I was instantly impressed. The feel was incredible and the distance was spot on. After the wedge testing, I would’ve put this ball straight in the bag.

6-iron shots

2017ChromeSoft_6Iron2Main differences we expect to see: The Chrome Soft X should generate faster ball speeds and more spin than the Chrome Soft.

What the data actually shows: The Chrome Soft X is continuing to spin more through the bag. Ball speeds were slightly higher by about 0.8 mph. The Chrome Soft X generated a considerable amount of additional spin, but also flew slightly higher and had a steeper descent angle.

Just like you’ll see with the driver below, the additional spin decreased my distance (the Chrome Soft X averaged 3 yards less carry and 4 yards less total distance), but increased my stopping power.

What I saw on the course: Just like previous Chrome Soft balls, the feel off the club face with mid irons was very soft. I really noticed the additional spin on the course, as my draw shot shape started to get a little more curve to it and my shots stopped faster on the greens. I felt like I was able to attack greens with longer irons, flying shots all the way to the hole instead of playing a little short and letting the ball release more.

Driver shots

2017ChromeSoft_Driver

Main differences we expect to see: The Chrome Soft X should spin more slightly more and deliver higher ball speeds than the Chrome Soft.

What the data actually shows: I am not a high swing-speed player. My average playing swing speed is around 105 mph, which is generally considered the cut-off before you have a “high swing speed.” Also, I am not a low-spin player, so having a ball that can spin a little more might not be the best for my specific game. Based solely on that, I would not expect to see the full benefits of the Chrome Soft X

The testing backs this up. The Chrome Soft X delivered the same ball speed, but with 432 rpm more spin. Bartels says Callaway’s testing has shown golfers either spinning the Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X the same off the tee, or an increase of 100-200 rpm with the Chrome Soft X. He called 400 rpm “within the ballpark,” but not typical.

Just to be clear, we’re talking about a change in performance that resulted in just 1 yard less carry distance and 3 yards less total distance; basically nothing.

What I saw on the course: As my launch monitor data showed, the Chrome Soft X appeared to fly higher and not roll as much when it hit the ground.

The one place I saw a benefit to the Chrome Soft X was when I contacted a drive high off the club face. With the Chrome Soft, these drives fell out of the sky more quickly, costing me carry distance. With the Chrome Soft X, they stayed in the air a little longer. It’s clear for low-spin players, or those with already optimal launch conditions, the Chrome Soft X can provide as good, if not better performance.

Around the Green

Chrome Soft X around the GreenThere is nothing this ball can’t do around the greens. I don’t have a tour pro’s arsenal of short game shots, but I do know the difference between a ball that can do anything and a ball that can do only some things.

I put the Chrome Soft X through the paces of low spinners, high flop shots, bump and runs, and bunker shots. As expected, it performed identically to the Chrome Soft.

Putting

Chrome Soft on the GreenPutting one right after the other, if you are really paying attention, the Chrome Soft X feels slightly firmer off the putter face with a slightly higher-pitched sound than the Chrome Soft. But this ball is soft, smooth and rolls beautifully. I have always loved the way the Chrome Soft feels off the putter, going back to the 2015 ball. Even though it’s slightly firmer, the feel off the putter of the new Chrome Soft X continues to impress me (through the entire bag really).

Feel is subjective, but I found the Chrome Soft X to be one of the softest tour balls on the market today.

Durability

Chrome Soft X Durability

I completed all my testing with only one ball, so it saw a considerable amount of shots. Like previous Chrome Soft balls, the Chrome Soft X is very durable. It took a beating with the 60-degree and showed only light scuff marks. Both the Chrome Soft X and the Chrome Soft perform very similarly in terms of durability.

The Takeaway

The Chrome Soft X isn’t for everyone and that is why Callaway is marketing the “X” as a complimentary ball to the Chrome Soft and not a replacement.

With the changes Callaway has made, the Chrome Soft X checks off all the criteria for a high-performance premium golf ball. If you thought the 2016 Chrome Soft was a little too soft with too little spin through the bag, the Callaway Chrome Soft X might just be the ball you’re looking for.

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Ball Reviews

Review: Callaway Chrome Soft golf balls

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Pros: The Chrome Soft has an incredibly soft feel, but doesn’t skimp on performance. It will create maximum distance off the tee for 99 percent of golfers, yet offers short-game spin that rivals more expensive models.

Cons: Golfers with high swing speeds (105+ mph) — a.k.a. the 1 percent — may lose a few yards off the tee due to the Chrome Soft’s low-compression design.

Who They’re For: Any golfer can play the Chrome Soft.

The Review

Last year, Callaway released the Speed Regime golf ball line, which offered three different golf balls designed for different swing speeds, all with slightly different levels of compression and design. While this gave golfers the ability to really “fit” a golf ball to their game, more choices doesn’t always translate into better decision-making.

With its new Chrome Soft golf balls, Callaway has released just one ball, with one set of specifications, designed to provide a benefit to all golfers regardless of their swing speed.

The three-piece Chrome Soft, with a low-compression Soft Fast core and extremely soft DuraSpin cover, generates lower spin off the driver and long irons for more distance, while generating tour-level spin with shorter irons and shots around the green.

Let’s Talk Core

CallyChromeSoft_CoreThe Chrome Soft is all about the core, and since Callaway is devoting advertising space to actually talking about the compression of the golf ball, let’s dig into it a bit more.

Thanks to a brand new SoftFast core, as Callaway calls it, the ball has a compression rating of 65. By comparison, last year’s Callaway SR-3 had a compression of around 105. Typically, the softer the core, the more the ball deforms at impact. This is great for slower swing speed players who need the ball to deform more so it can spring back into shape and generate more distance. But faster swing speed players can actually lose distance if the ball is too soft. After experimenting with 39 different prototypes, however, Callaway was able to create the right combination of the core and mantle layer so the Chrome Soft retains the energy from impact and keeps ball speed high — even at faster swing speeds.

The Chrome Soft is available now in White, Soft Yellow and Truvis Technology with an MSRP of $37.99. Custom player numbers and personalization is also available.

Performance

We put the new Chrome Soft to the test against the Callaway Speed Regime SR-3, which I tested last year.

Compared to the Speed Regime line the Chrome Soft should:

  • Feel softer off every club, with slightly better durability.
  • Generate less spin off the driver.
  • Create more spin off shorter irons.

Like all reviews, I tested these on the range, on the course, and on a launch monitor with a 60-degree wedge, 6-iron and a driver. I headed to BridgeMill Golf Academy and worked with head pro Tom Losinger to get the data using a Trackman in his indoor studio.

60-degree full wedge shots

CallawayChromeSoft
Main differences we expect to see: The Chrome Soft should generate more spin on full wedge shots.

What the data actually shows: Exactly what we expected to see. The Chrome Soft generated 200 rpm more spin than the SR-3, while launching lower and hitting a slightly lower peak height. I did, however, see a big difference in ball speed and carry distance, with the Chrome Soft flying three more yards on average.

Increased ball speed or carry distance with the shorter irons is not typically on the list of requests from better players. In this case, it’s a by-product of the new SoftFast core and three more yards of carry with a 60-degree wedge is fairly significant. That 10-foot putt for birdie is now almost 20. These types of gains will require an adjustment.

What I saw on the course: This ball was perfect inside 100 yards. If it was flying farther than other balls I’ve played, I didn’t notice. The trajectory on full wedge shots was nice and low compared to other balls, and I was already able to notice a difference in feel between the Chrome Soft and the SR-3. A difference of 200 rpm of spin wasn’t noticeable on the course, as both balls performed very similarly when they hit the green.

6-iron shots

CallawayChromeSoft2
Main differences we expect to see: The Chrome Soft should generate faster ball speeds and less spin than the SR-3.

What the data actually shows: The data backed up the expectations when it came to ball speed. However, I actually saw more spin on my 6-iron compared to the SR-3 and even other tour balls. This could be due to a variety of factors concerning my individual swing, and other golfers might see less spin off their mid irons. Compared to the SR-3, the Chrome Soft launched a little higher, with more spin and ball speed, allowing it to carry a little more than one yard farther. It also hit a higher peak height with a steeper descent angle.

What I saw on the course: I was probably most impressed with the Chrome Soft with the mid to long irons. Yes, the ball performed great off the driver, but the softer feel was very apparent with an iron in my hands. Launching shots with mid to long irons had a more effortless feel. I was also able to get some nice height and spin on my longer irons without sacrificing distance, so I could land shots on the green and see them stick, instead of hitting and running off the back.

Driver shots

CallawayChromeSoft3

Main differences we expect to see: The Chrome Soft should spin less, but still generate more ball speed than the SR-3.

What the data actually shows: I’m a borderline high-speed guy with the driver. My average swing speed is around 106 mph — right on the borderline where golfers can start to “over-compress” the Chrome and possibly lose distance.

You may have read editor Zak Kozuchowski’s reviews on GolfWRX, who can generate more than 115 mph of swing speed with his driver. In his on-course testing, he said he hit the Chrome Soft about the same distance as other tour balls.

“If they liked everything else about the ball, I can’t imagine a golfer who swings 105+ mph wouldn’t play the Chrome Soft just because it was a few yards shorter than a higher-compression tour ball off the tee,” he said. “If a soft feel is important to them, that’s going to take precedence over a few yards of extra distance. And they’ll get those few yards back with their long irons, anyways.”

In my testing, the Chrome Soft generated slightly faster ball speeds, and a lot less spin — almost 300 rpm less spin than the SR-3. This translated into an extra 1.5 yards of carry, and more than 5 extra yards of total distance.

What I saw on the course: The distance gains and lower spin appeared to translate to the course. I wasn’t having any issues getting the ball to run out once it hit the fairway. And the distance appeared to be spot on, if not slightly longer.

Around the green

CallyChromeSoft_Chipping

It is always fun to have that moment in a round where you hit the low, checking chip that freaks out your playing partners. I had that moment from about 55 yards away to a back pin, with out of bounds directly behind the green. With a 56-degree wedge, I hit the low shot and right before the ball hit the green, my playing partners were yelling “get down!” But I knew I hit it well and the ball bounced, checked, and then just lipped the cup.

Could I have executed that shot with other tour balls? Yes. But, it is important to know I can execute it with the Chrome Soft. I’m not a short-game wizard like one of Callaway’s more well-known tour pros, but these balls allow me to hit any kind of shot around the green without hesitation.

Putting

The Chrome Soft feels much softer than the SR-3, which was noticeably softer than previous generation Callaway tour balls. The sound profile has a lower, less “clicky” sound that translates into improved feel. The engineers really have brought the incredible feel of the SuperSoft to the tour-level Chrome Soft.

I’ve rolled some beautifully smooth putts with these balls. They are predictable and roll true when you strike them well. While I won’t go so far as to say they are the best feeling golf ball on the market (although they are close), they are the best feeling Callaway golf ball I’ve tested.

Durability

CallyChromeSoft_Durability

When most people hear “softer cover,” they instantly assume it will be less durable — and for good reason. It is counter intuitive to believe that soft equals durable. I’m not going to pretend to know the science behind it, but the DuraSpin cover is made from Thermoplastic Urethane, which actually becomes more durable the softer it gets.

I’ve played numerous rounds with the same ball, and also completed all the testing with only three Chrome Soft golf balls, so I can back up Callaway’s claims. These balls are definitely durable and can last numerous rounds if you don’t lose them. With fresh wedge grooves, I was getting all the spin benefits and little to no scuffing. I did see some minor scuffs after finding some rocky rough off the tee, but the ball was still playable and I shouldn’t have been over there in the first place!

The Takeaway

If you’ve avoided Callaway balls in the past because of the “clicky” stigma that has followed them around, it might be time to try a sleeve of the Chrome Soft. Many golfers, myself included, really love the feel of the Callaway SuperSoft, but not the overall performance. The Chrome Soft is a marriage of the soft feel of the SuperSoft with the tour-level performance of the Callaway SR-3. With low spin off the driver and the most spin on short irons of the tour balls I’ve tested this year, the Chrome Soft is one of the best golf balls on the market today.

We gave the Chrome Soft 5 stars, but one of our editors made the case that on a scale of 1-10, the Chrome Soft is an “11.” If you’ve seen the movie Spinal Tap, you know what he means.

See what GolfWRX Members had to say about the Chrome Soft in our Official Forum Testing Thread. 

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