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Like soft balls? Callaway launches Chrome Soft

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The “have your cake and eat it too” of golf balls? It just might be Callaway’s new Chrome Soft, a golf ball that’s promising tour-level distance and short game control that’s not typical of its marshmallowy soft feel.

In general, softer golf balls tend not to go as far as harder golf balls. Think of it this way: when a grape hits a supermarket floor, it goes splat; when a marble hits the same floor, it bounces back. That’s an extreme example, but you get the point.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 2.25.35 PM

The Chrome Soft ($37.99) uses Callaway’s HEX Aerodynamics and will be available in stores Jan. 16, 2015.

Callaway has invested heavily in the science of low-compression, softer-feeling golf balls, the result of which is the Chrome Soft. The three-piece ball has what Callaway calls a Soft Fast core, which works together with its slightly stiffer ionomer mid layer to retain more energy than Callaway’s previous low-compression models.

“In general, as you make the materials inside the golf ball softer they get slower,” says Dave Bartels, Callaway’s senior director of golf ball R&D. “We’ve been able to buck that trend with [Chrome Soft].”

All this talk about speed leaves out what is often the most important component of a golf ball: spin. The Chrome Soft’s low-compression design makes it lower spinning with a golfer’s long clubs (driver, fairway woods, hybrids, long irons and mid irons). Less spin creates less drag, which creates more distance.

But what about short-game spin, you might be asking? The Chrome Soft’s urethane DuraSpin cover is Callaway’s softest ever, which helps it grip the grooves of the club face on wedge shots and generate tour-level spin around the greens.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 2.25.41 PM
Above: Callaway’s Chrome Soft is available in White and Yellow.

My take? I tested the Chrome Soft on the course this fall. It felt balata-ball soft compared to today’s leading tour balls, which have compression around 90. The Chrome Soft has a compression of about 65. Discerning golfers will be able tell the difference with every club, especially with the putter.

At my swing speed of 115 mph, I saw similar driver distance with the Chrome Soft and slightly increased distance with my fairway woods, hybrids and irons. Golfers with slower clubhead speeds, particularly those under 105 mph, should see the most gains.

With wedges, the Chrome Soft launched slightly lower, but it carried enough spin to stop where I wanted it to stop. The ball’s extremely soft cover actually improves durability, a plus for golfers who play balls for consecutive rounds.

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36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. sven johannson

    Dec 19, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    I’m looking forward to trying this ball, i’ve been playing with the Callaway Supersoft and Wilson Duo, Curious to see if the Driver goes as far as the Supersoft they do feel great on soft shots around the green and off the putter.. can’t wait

  2. Bill Cosby

    Dec 17, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    The ladies love soft balls. Well I think they do. You know what I have no clue what they like. So sleepy all the time

    • aaaaa

      Dec 18, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      Golfwrx bashes patrick reed and ted bishop but publish articles asking whether you like “soft balls”??

      You guys make sense…

  3. RAT

    Dec 17, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Wilson Staff has the DUO ball and their Tour ball is 65 compression and they were introduced about 3 years ago. “4 layer tour ”
    Like Mikie “try it you’ll like it” They have a sticky coating the best for the money..

  4. mike

    Dec 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Tried this golfball for 3 holes and was outdriven by my whole group…the ball went nowhere..felt great off the irons and putter..don’t get me wrong..90+ mph on the driver but it felt DOA off the driver face. switched back to Taylor Made dicontinued “Lethal” ball and back came my distance. just sayin….

  5. Jonny B

    Dec 17, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Who cares about new golf balls? They’re all pretty much indistinguishable from the other brands nowadays in terms of performance.

    Not to mention they’ll be for sale on all the used golf ball sites in about 1 month for 1/2 the price. I only buy used golf balls now, who can afford to throw 2-3 ProV1’s away per round at $4/ball? Not me. I load up 1-2 times per year on premium balls (AAAAA mint condition) for about $10-$15/dozen. Heck, a few months ago I got TM Lethals in AAAAA Mint condition for $6/dozen. Sorry, but when I can get year-old models for 20% of the cost of new, I’d be stupid not to.

    The golf industry is declining while equipment prices and greens fees are rising… recipe for disaster if you ask me. To get a set of decent clubs new – new driver will set you back $400 today, new irons $800, 2 new wedges $250, new bag $150, new balls $30-$45. Can’t the top-level execs of these companies and courses see where we are headed here? Or maybe they don’t care.

    I will give Callaway credit for one thing – their preowned equipment website. Someone over there saw where this industry was headed a long time ago and thought they better get some of the used equipment market share. Kudos to them as that website is awesome and their sales reps are great, much better to do business with than the average ebay rep.

    • Pat

      Dec 18, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Golf has always been and will always be for the middle to upper class. Lower class will never have access because green fees and equipment is out of their league(thank God). Besides, every single time I’m stuck behind some ghetto, trashy 4 some, it ruins my entire day. They come out wearing tank tops or shirts that are 3 sizes too big, play so damn slow because they stink and are usually loaded up on beer. Usually these clowns don’t even have the decency to let the groups behind them pass by and the round ends up being 5+hours.

      • Sam

        Jan 27, 2015 at 1:07 am

        You are the exact reason why golf is in decline. This disgusting attitude is completely at odds with the modern world. I hope you take you elitist attitude away from the game and never return.

        Golf is evolving.

  6. Gary

    Dec 17, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Really looking forward to trying out these golf balls. The hype sounds too good to be true but I hope it is true. If these golf balls perform about as advertised the SR* series, which might not be doing well sales wise considering the price, would probably disappear fairly soon and simplify things some.

  7. Matthew Carter

    Dec 17, 2014 at 12:58 am

    For the value, I’ll buy Supersoft all day. Soft, a lot of spin and long off the tee.
    There isn’t a better ball in the market at $20.

  8. Jeff

    Dec 16, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    I think Callaway golf balls could use a makeover or make under to cleclean them up and maybe find a way to clarify which of their balls are premium.
    My favorite thing about Pro V1s is how clearly different the logo is stenciled on, to not be so distracting and bold. Just my comment

  9. Ryan K

    Dec 16, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Ok gotta know more in durability. This was the only thing steering me away from the chrome plus otherwise they were the best ball I’ve ever used.

  10. Jesse

    Dec 16, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Zak, were you able to test this ball on a launch monitor, Im courious how much more it spins then SR3, prov1x or the ball your playing now? Also how much distance did u loose on the driver?

  11. Pat

    Dec 16, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    If the Chrome Soft does what it claims to do, golf stores are going to have a really hard time keeping them in stock. If it performs like the Prov1x, at 38 dollars a box, it’s a bargain. I love the Hex Black and am on my last box. Callaway’s line up after the Hex Black has been mediocre and I am hoping the Chrome Soft can pick up the slack or else I will just have to load up on Hex Black balls.

  12. golfing badger

    Dec 16, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Chrome + was one of the best balls ever, but I could never get the 1 hop and spin wedge shot. Chrome Soft will deliver that…this is a phenomenal ball !!!

  13. Jonzy

    Dec 16, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    My father in law is a Supersoft guy and he can’t wait to try these out. I wish I could bump into a Callaway rep and get a couple for him to try out!!!!

    • Kevin

      Dec 17, 2014 at 11:53 am

      You could actually buy a sleeve … don’t be cheap!

      • Tom

        Dec 18, 2014 at 3:29 pm

        They haven’t been released yet here in the UK Kevin, don’t know about the US

  14. Bogeypro

    Dec 16, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I like Callaway balls, but they really need to clean up and clarify their ball lines. Just too much and too confusing…

    • Scooter McGavin

      Dec 16, 2014 at 11:45 am

      I agree. They have too many models/variants. I think they would do better with a simpler line.

      • Scooter McGavin

        Dec 16, 2014 at 11:56 am

        I have thought this for a while, actually. They have SR (which has 3 variations), Hex Chrome, Hex Chrome +, X2 Hot, X2 Hot +, Supersoft, Warbird, (now) Chrome Soft, the Strata line, and then the lady Solaire line. If you count the three variations of the SR separately, that’s 13 different golf ball models. Compare that to Titleist, the most successful ball company, that has I think, 6 models? Sure, they will probably phase some of these out now, but for a while, they kept going with both the Chrome and Chrome +, along with the X2 Hot and SR lines. Hopefully they will slim it down a bit.

        • golfing badger

          Dec 16, 2014 at 2:58 pm

          yes, titleist has 6 and there are 3 pinnacle models. they keep the confusion to a minimum by keeping the pinnacle and titleist brands separate.

  15. AW

    Dec 16, 2014 at 10:38 am

    I love Callaway balls (Chrome+ and Supersoft, mostly) but their marketing dept is a mess. They are changing their balls out every single year. So in urethane right now we have SR1, SR2, SR3, Chrome+, Chrome Soft.

    In soft balls they have SR1, Chrome Soft, Supersoft and X2 Hot.

    I don’t really know which Callaway ball to play right now, and I think that’s going to be a problem for them going forward, which may eventually lead to even more changes in the lineup.

    There’s some value in the simplicity of Titleist. You’ve got your NXT or you’ve got your ProV1 (with a few variations on that theme)

    • Scooter McGavin

      Dec 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      Totally agree. I think a company should have one really strong offering for each type of golfer need (tour playability, super cheap, something in the middle of the performance/price field, distance, etc.). Right now, if a person wants a mid-price/mid-performance ball from Callaway, they have like 4 or 5 to choose from. With Titleist it’s: You want tour level? ProV1(x). You want a distance ball? Velocity. You want something in the middle? NXT(s). You want a cheap ball? DT Solo. Much simpler, and it’s easier to buy for the consumer and easier to sell for the salesman.

  16. Keith

    Dec 16, 2014 at 9:39 am

    My wife loves soft balls….

    • Jackson

      Dec 16, 2014 at 10:35 am

      No she doesn’t.

      • rkristopher

        Dec 16, 2014 at 11:18 am

        Your mom.

        • Franks

          Dec 16, 2014 at 12:13 pm

          I can confirm Keith’s wife likes soft balls.

          • other paul

            Dec 16, 2014 at 2:20 pm

            Lol. My wife just looked over my shoulder and saw the article title and asks what the *&$% I am reading. I scrolled back so she could read the whole title. She laughed, winked and walked away.

    • Ben

      Dec 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      I was browsing the replys for this comment before I left a duplicate… well played.

  17. Danny

    Dec 16, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Interesting how last year the new breakthrough in technology was 3 balls for 3 swing speeds… a year later they ditch that concept all together. It’s hard to argue the skeptic of everything golf equipment related.

  18. br61

    Dec 16, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Few days ago, my pro’s Callaway rep dropped off couple Chrome Soft balls for me and my friend to test. After few holes, I liked the feel of them and the distance seems similar to Pro V1x. My friend who’s using Callaway clubs, lost his ball into water so I gave him mine’s. He seemed to like the way they played. Definitely felt softer.

    When they come out on market, I probably will test a dozen.

  19. Greg

    Dec 16, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Sounds similar to the original chrome, which was (is) a fantastic ball. I’d like to see the two compared.

  20. other paul

    Dec 16, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I hate investing in golf balls. Usually lose one per 18. Durability for me is the least important factor.

    • rgb

      Dec 16, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      I know what you mean. I like the ones with string.

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “New Mitsubishi AV shafts”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day showcases new Mitsubishi AV shafts which have caught many of our member’s interest. While speaking in the thread, Mitsubishi Chemical shared some details to WRXers on what they can expect to see soon:

“We are working on bringing 2nd Gen Tensei product to market – this is the first week of PGA Tour testing.

Be sure to stay tuned for more information towards the beginning of 2020!”

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • AdamStoutjesdyk: “I’m already a huge fan of the Pro White, I can’t wait to see how these look and perform in person!”
  • ForTourUseonly: “Please make an Orange!”

Entire Thread: “New Mitsubishi AV shafts”

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Honma launches new XP-1 Series driver, fairway woods, and hybrids for 2020

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new 2020 Honma Driver

For 2020, Honma Golf is launching the all-new XP-1 line of clubs comprised of an entire family holistically designed to help players maximize forgiveness and get the most out of their games with one set. The new Honma XP-1 drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids, all the way to irons, is a new direction for the premium Japanese company that brings together ultimate craftsmanship with performance.

The highlight of the XP-1 line from Honma is the fact that they were designed from top to bottom to work as a comprehensive set of tool to achieve maximum performance. The technology in the metal woods flows from the driver to the hybrids with a seamless transition that creates consistency for feel and looks for the player.

Honma XP-1 driver

new 2020 Honma Driver

New 2020 Honma Golf Driver

Honma is known for its dedication to quality and craftsmanship, and every part of the XP-1 line was developed with the golfer in mind to both look appealing and perform to the highest standards. The XP-1 driver packs a lot of technology into a very classic looking club, and we’re here to take you under the hood—or in this case, the carbon fiber crown—to show you how it can help you hit better shots.

2020 Honma XP1 Driver toe

Honma XP-1 Driver Toe

It starts with a tour-inspired look from address, designed to inspire confidence for any level of golfer. Underneath ther gloss black crown, there is a lot of technology to generate faster ball speeds around the entire face and help get you dialed into the right setting. Speaking to the crown, it’s made from ET-40 fiber, making it one the lightest in golf. This weight savings helps engineers relocate an additional 15g of mass around the head towards the heel for increased MOI and greater ability to help players close the club face more easily.

Flip the driver upside down, and we have a lot more going on with the sole than initially meets the eye. Honma is introducing a new double slot in the sole for increased ball speed across a much larger area of the face. What starts off smaller in the middle increases in width and depth as it reaches towards the heel and the toe of the club. These slots, along with improved MOI, keep ball speeds up and misses closer to the intended target. The last part of the equation: How these wider parts of the face, flex around the more narrow middle to also increase gear effect—think of it like one more way to help the bigger misses stay in play.

New 2020 Honma Driver XP1

2020 Honma XP-1 Driver sole and shaft adjustment connection

The last piece key piece of technology in the XP-1 driver head is exclusive to Honma—the adjustable hosel that changes face angle, lie, and loft, but never changes the orientation of the shaft. This gives the player or fitter the ability to truly dial in hosel settings without having to worry about the constantly changing of the grip orientation. This, according to Honma, also keeps the shaft spine in the ideal location for consistent performance.

Honma 2020 xp1 driver shaft

Honmq Vizard 43g shaft

Honma is the only manufacturer that produces its own shafts from start to finish in house, and the XP-1 is getting its own custom-designed and built shafts to complement the technology built into the heads. The Vizard stock shafts are engineered to produce a smooth feel that promotes faster clubhead speeds, yet also remain extremely stable. For the XP-1 driver, the matching Vizard shafts will come in weights of 43g, 53g, and 63g, and flexes from senior to stiff.

Honma XP-1 fairway woods

The XP-1 woods bring the same level of craftsmanship and technology as the drivers to a club designed for use both off the tee and off the fairway.

New for 2020 Honma XP-1 Fairway wood

New for 2020 Honma XP-1 Fairway wood

The Honma XP-1 3-wood uses the same weight-saving ET-40 crown to position a large amount of the club’s total mass low and on the sole for greatest possible launch and spin consistency. The 3-wood is the second-lightest club in most players bags by total weight and head mass, and unless you are carrying a second driver, it’s also the second-largest by volume. By using the carbon crown designers get everything they can from the other technologies including the double slot sole and thin fast face without having to sacrifice the overall design of not just the head but the entire club.

New Honma XP-1 3 wood crown fairway

Honma XP-1 3 wood crown

The XP-1 fairways also include a 5  7-woods, but with the smaller volume of the heads and the reduced crown size, using a carbon crown would actually increase the mass higher in the head, so they instead utilize an extremely thin high strength steel crown.

New Honma 53g Vizard Fairway Shaft XP1

Honma 53g Vizard Fairway Shaft

All of the fairway woods come with the same made-in-Sakata, Japan 43g, 53g, and 63g Vizard shaft options as the driver to help every player get the most of each club in the set. If might seem like a minor detail, but being able to design an entire club in house from head to grip is a big advantage for Honma versus other OEMs. This holistic approach to designing an entire club/set is a big benefit to the consumer looking to get the most out of each club in their bag and not feel like something may be working against them.

Honma XP-1 hybrid

With the Honma XP-1 hybrid, forgiveness and flow from the fairway woods is the number one consideration for these club. The flow includes a wood-like shape that keeps the club shallow and the center of gravity as low as possible for higher launch and approach shots that fly higher and land softer. Considering the target player for the XP-1 line, the wood-like shape is also very confidence-inspiring.

New 2020 Honma XP1 hybrid

Honma XP-1 Hybrid

Honma continues the design philosophy of keeping the XP-1 both forgiving and fast by utilizing the double slot sole all the way into these hybrids that go from a 19-degree 3-iron replacement to a 25-degree 5-iron replacement.

Honma XP-1 specs & availability

The Honma XP-1 driver, fairway wood, and hybrids will be available starting in October.

New 2020 Honma XP1 Driver fairway hybrid specs

Honma XP-1 line club specs

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2020 Honma XP-1 Irons, featuring “fast” hybrid construction, launch

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Honma XP-1 Irons

Honma has unveiled its game improvement 2020 Honma XP-1 irons which feature a hybrid construction with low CGs and fast faces in the new 2020 Honma irons.

The XP-1 long irons (4-7 iron) are hollow and contain a tungsten sole weight in a bid to offer both higher launch and added stability on mis-hits. The short irons (8-SW) feature a cavity back construction and are designed for maximum forgiveness as well as providing straighter distance.

2020 Honma XP-1 Irons

The long irons also contain a wide sole which seeks to add forgiveness and also offer game improvement golfers greater turf interaction.

Honma XP-1 Irons

The XP-1’s, which are crafted in Sakata, Japan, feature a large profile with a traditional shape, with a thin face designed to maximize ball speed for greater distance.

Honma XP-1 Irons

Speaking on the release of the company’s entire XP-1 range release, Honma’s Vice President of Global Product, Chris McGinley stated

“We are thrilled to bring the many decades of club-making knowledge and shaping talent of Honma’s master craftsmen to game-improvement golfers with XP1. This product line is incredibly beautiful and exceptionally playable and will help golfers with a wide range of skill levels enjoy the game even more.”

Honma XP-1 Irons

The new additions from Honma come equipped with the brand’s VIZARD shafts. The shafts contain an ascending weight flow design and a graphite fiber in the tip, which, according to the company, helps to provide faster swing speeds.

Honma XP-1 Irons

2020 Honma XP-1 iron specs

Honma XP-1 IronsThe XP-1 irons, which arrive in both men’s and women’s models, are available in-store and online from the beginning of October and cost $199.99 and $174.99 per club for graphite and steel shafts, respectively.

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