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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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  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

TaylorMade SIM and SIM Max driver review

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New for 2020, TaylorMade has launched the new SIM driver family. First the lower spinning SIM then a more forgiving higher spinning SIM Max and a SIM Max D head to help draw the ball for those that need it.

We have seen the tour players using all three of the SIM drivers.

Technical Details

The SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max D drivers from TaylorMade feature an asymmetric sole shape as well as a redesigned Inertia Generator. The asymmetric sole shape of the drivers is designed to reduce drag while providing faster clubhead speed, with the redesigned Inertia Generator redistributing weight at the very low-and-back portion of the club in a bid to provide improved forgiveness.

The SIM Max D clubhead contains a heel-bias internal weight with a topline masking to make the clubhead look more open at address to help golfers who struggle with a right-miss.

Other features of the SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max D drivers includes a speed injected twist face, inverted cone technology, a thru-slot speed pocket, multi-material construction and an adjustable loft sleeve.

Exclusive to the SIM driver is sliding weight technology which allows face angle and flight bias preferences of up to +/-2° loft change and up to +/-20 yards of draw-fade bias.

(Top Left to Right) 2020 TM SIM Max & 2019 TM M6, (Bottom Left to Right) 2020 TM SIM & 2019 TM M5

Reviews

Here are the individual reviews from GolfWRXers’ trip to The Kingdom.

Tester: Rob “osubuckeyes691

I’ll start by saying this. SIM is very good. It’s not a magical 30 yards like everyone is talking about here. That comes from being properly fit. But it is good, and with a proper fitting I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find at least slightly better numbers with SIM over any gamer you have.

My current set up is a Callaway Epic Flash SZ Double Diamond with a Fuji Ventus Black 6x. LOW LOW LOW combo…and I still hit it high haha. I live in the low to mid 170s ball speed with spin sometimes getting up to 2700 2800. Drives I hit well, spin around 2100. My miss is a big push slice.

But it is good, and with a proper fitting I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find at least slightly better numbers with SIM over any gamer you have. -Rob

I ended up being fit in to a SIM 9* with the new KBS Tour Driven 70 Category 5. This shaft is super interesting. It’s really hard for me to describe but it has feel, and a lot of it. Spin dropped to about 2400 on my miss right and really, that’s what I was hoping would happen. I wanted something that when I missed, wouldn’t lose me 30 yards. We put the weight in the heel and it really did help straighten out the miss. Huge advantage for me. I knew as someone who swings 120ish I wasn’t going to pick up 20 yards. I wanted to reduce my miss and that’s exactly what SIM was able to do for me.  Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: Will “fillwelix

For my driver fitting, I was with Perry, who was a blast to get to work with. I started by hitting my gamer on Trackman, talking with Perry about what my misses usually are, and what I wanted to get out of the fitting.

I usually don’t have a problem with distance so I told him the biggest thing I was looking for was a tighter dispersion. I don’t have the trackman numbers yet but with my gamer, I was averaging about 110 club head speed, 160-something ball speed, 270-275 carry, 285-290 total. Launching a bit too high but spin was okay.

The thing was seriously nuclear. My club head speed bumped up only about 1 or 2 MPH, but the launch and spin were incredible, as well as ball speed. I topped out at 170 ball speed, which I had never gotten before. -Will

We tried the 10.5 SIM in a Ventus Black 6x, and he gave me a couple tips in my setup, because my AOA was something like 4 or 5 degrees up. The thing was seriously nuclear. My club head speed bumped up only about 1 or 2 MPH, but the launch and spin were incredible, as well as ball speed. I topped out at 170 ball speed, which I had never gotten before. Carrying 295-300, total of 315-320. One shot carried the fence of the driving range at The Kingdom.

Spent some time going through different shafts to see if there was an improvement, played with weights, etc. but the best numbers were with the 10.5 SIM with Ventus Black 6x and the weight all the way in the toe, because my miss is usually left. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: Nick “n_rones

I started off with my fittings working with Joe. After some warmup we started with the drivers. Coming in I was playing a Srixon Z785 with a Hzrdus black 6.5 70 gram shaft at 45 inches.

I’m a really tough fit because I have an unusual swing and hit down on the ball heavily with every club. My AOA with the driver was between 5 and 7 down which is pretty nuts I always knew I hit down on it but not that much. I’m still waiting on the trackman date to be emailed to me but with my own driver I was somewhere in the neighborhood of 109 swing speed with a launch angle of 4 degrees and 4000 spin (Ridiculous I know right).

I was able to take it on the course with me that afternoon and hit 12-14 fairways a new record for me and ever ball was easily 15-20 yards longer than I was used to. -Nick

His main goal for me was to get launch up and spin down. The first club he handed me was the Sim 10.5 turned up to 11.25 with a Graphite design IZ 7x. Instantly my launch angle increased and spin dropped. We then went through a few other shafts like graphite design ad di 7x. We came back to the IZ and with a quick change in tee height we ended up where we wanted. We knew with my angle of attack we were never going to get me to super low spin and high launch we just wanted to get it to a manageable number.

By the end of the fit I was hitting the sim with the iz under 3k spin with a couple down at 2500 and 9 degree launch increasing my carry from the 244 range up to the 260-265 range on good swings and we neutralized my cut massively. I was fortunate enough to finish my fit while other guys were still busy so we went right into the build shop and he built me my driver on the spot and gave me a super cool kingdom exclusive headcover. I was able to take it on the course with me that afternoon and hit 12-14 fairways a new record for me and ever ball was easily 15-20 yards longer than I was used to. Most of that is me never being through a proper fitting before but a big factor was I was able to get into the sim head with high loft but it was a great spin killing head for me. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: “jimbonecrusher”

I am one that gained a good bit of ball speed from getting fit for the SIM driver. My gamer is a Titleist 915D3 9.5* with a Rogue Silver 70X. I wasn’t fit for the driver as I just bought the parts off of the BST. I always felt that I lost yardage due to high spin. The Trackman didn’t lie as I was getting 166mph ball speed and 3000 rpm of spin on well-struck shots. Where this posed a problem was when I was off-center, the ball would be a high right spinner that would lose a lot of distance. 

Where I saw great gains was in dispersion. TwistFace just flat out works. Toe shots came back to closer to center, and heal shots faded right back towards center. I also didn’t lose as much yardage. I did pick up about five mph in ball speed. There are a plethora of reasons for this gain and the resulting 20 yard gain in ball flight.

Some could attribute the gain to almost 30 feet of height in ball flight. It could also be because there was 300 less RPM, or over a degree increase in launch angle. Either way, it has proven to me that getting fit by a knowledgeable fitter is crucial. This is the first time that I have been fit for a driver. All the expectations of mine going into this fitting have been met.

The SIM is forgiving. The SIM is aerodynamically superior to what I have been playing. The SIM just flat out performs for me because it doesn’t balloon, it is forgiving on mishits with good direction and ball speed, and it reduced my spin rate. – 

The sounds of the SIM line is amazing. The solid “thwack” sound it makes at contact is extremely welcoming. Gone are the days of high pitched aluminum baseball bat sounds. Now, some sounds just sound perfect to me. Johnny Wunder posted a video on Instagram of me hitting a driver, and you can hear the sound. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

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Building the perfect half set

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Beyond physically putting clubs together, one of my favorite games to play is trying to build the ideal half set, and taking it out for some testing on the course. The goal is to see how few clubs I can play with before it becomes a detriment to my game and my scoring—while still having fun trying to hit all kinds of creative shots along the way

Many golfers have, at some point, played the “three-club challenge” (three including a putter), but that often becomes an exercise in caution and course management instead of what many would consider a usual round of golf. Although from the conversations I’ve had with golfers about trying out an extremely reduced set, the consensus generally ends up at, “I shot one of my best scores in a long time.”

I’m not sure how that sentiment potentially relates to handicap or not, but one way or the other, it’s a great way to lighten the load and have some fun thinking differently about your shots.

My ideal half set consists of 7-8 clubs including a putter, but in some cases, I will take it all the way down to 5-6. I love having the option to play with a full set and most times do, but I have gone weeks playing only with my half set and don’t see a noticeable variation in my scoring.

It actually makes me question why I carry a full set and in the grand scheme of golf. I think it would be one of the most entertaining experiments to have a PGA Tour event where players are limited to seven clubs. It would have the potential to make gearheads and the general fan engage in an interesting conversation.

Whatever way you choose to build your set, this is a quick start guide to play your best half set golf.

Thinking Your way Through Building a Half Set

  • The Putter: This is the one club that probably isn’t going anywhere (unless you are a virtuoso putting with a bellied wedge). You are going to be using this club on every hole, and depending on your comfort level hitting certain shots, you might end up using it further off the green than normal—cheers to the imagination! Build out from here, because shots inside 100 yards are still going to take up the majority of strokes on your card, and your putter is going to save you shots.
  • The “Wedge”: Remember that it wasn’t until the last generation of golfers that players started using a lob wedge. Tom Watson famously never put one in the bag and only carried up to a 56-degree. The ideal loft to start your set with is 52-54 degrees, because you can still hit shots out of the sand if needed, and it’s a great club to still hit full shots with—something that many golfers struggle to do with a lob wedge.
  • Your “Go-To” Shot: I think most golfers agree that trying to get more out of a club distance-wise often ends with less than great results. This is why as you go through your set and start to pick clubs, it’s important to think about your favorite go-to shots. You want to do everything you can to avoid standing over a ball trying to manipulate a club because you don’t have “that distance” in the bag. This is hugely important when you realize that close to 90 percent of hazards are placed in front of the green or target areas and being able to get over comfortably should be priority number one.
  • Know Your Iron Lofts:  Most modern sets have 4-5 degrees between each club, but as you get to the longer irons, even towards the middle of the set (7-iron to 5-iron) loft gaps can get smaller quickly, and for some this can equal a diminishing point of return on distance gapping. Don’t just grab every other iron, take a few minutes to think about the carry distance of each club, because that’s going to be important.
  • A Driver is Still Important: We all cant be Henrik Stenson with a 12-degree 3-wood we hit 300 yards. Unless you have plans to go truly minimalist, keeping a driver in the bag is a good idea. It is the largest and most forgiving club off the tee and will help put you into places that will make second shots a lot easier.
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Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying are the top-3 underrated blade head designs circa 2005

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@jfp2112

GolfWRXers have been discussing the top-3 underrated blade head designs circa 2005 after forum member ‘8620’ created a thread with a desire to “build a set that starts with a ‘retro’ blade head, that incorporates a modern shaft (Nippon Modus Pro 130)”. Our members have weighed in on the subject, with some inspired by ‘8620’ to follow suit in his project.

Here are what our members are saying on the subject, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below,

  • Gopher68: “Bridgestone J33 blades.”
  • BCULAW: “Mizuno MP67. Awesome blade that never really caught on due to the popularity of its predecessor (MP33) and its sister offering (MP32). Also, the small ‘cut muscle’ gives it a bit of an old school vibe like the old Wilson bullet backs.”
  • Golfingfanatic: “OG Nike Forged Blades.”
  • cardoustie: “Bridgestone MB’s, love my J15’s.”
  • OldTomMorris: “I’ve got a set of mp-37 irons that I am putting TT DG AMT white S300 shafts in right now. Curious to see if I can keep the short irons lower than my current set of irons.”
  • Rapidcat: “This interests me as I played Mizuno SPL blades for a decade and still have the heads in very good condition, thinking about a reshaft for them to have some fun.”

Entire Thread: “Top-3 underrated blade head designs circa 2005”

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