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. 

Your Reaction?
  • 254
  • LEGIT32
  • WOW16
  • LOL3
  • IDHT4
  • FLOP1
  • OB2
  • SHANK23

45 COMMENTS

Not seeing your comment? Read our rules and regulations. Click "Report comment" to alert GolfWRX moderators to offensive or inappropriate comments.
  1. I tried a sleeve of these balls and they didn’t make the cut. Normally I play the ProV1x and Hex black as my swing speed can get up to 122mph. Cally soft launched too high for me and I was losing 10-15 yards as a result. I tend to hit a draw and my miss is a hook. This ball seemed to launch higher and straighter but spun too much and I was losing distance with my irons as well. I gave my father the rest of the sleeve of Cally soft and he was doing great. His swing speed is around 105mph and is a naturally very low ball hitter so the higher launch and extra spin benefited him greatly.

  2. Great ball. I have a SS of 108-110 with the driver and it’s def shorter than the Pro V1x and Srixon ZStar XV for me. Off irons it seemed higher launch, slightly less spin, same distance. With Wedges it was much higher launch and def less spin that the Pro V1/1x and ZStar XV. I have an Odyssey White Hot insert putter and a MetalX putter and it almost felt too soft off the face. Ideally, I like more feedback and a firmer feel of the putter face.

    I’ve only played the Optic Yellow. I’d say it feels more like the NXT Tour or NXT Tour S. I felt that on chips, it launches higher than Pro V1x with less spin. Maybe it’s bc of how it feels off the face, but I tend to hit chips higher and get more rollout. With all iron shots, I felt like I could take dead aim. I also play the ZStar XV in Tour Yellow which I feel more closely mirrors the Pro V1x in all aspects.

    With the Chrome Soft, I felt like there was much less sidespin and at times I hit it too straight (I know doesn’t sound like a problem right?). It held its line so well into the wind but it flew high for me. I had a hard time working the ball and often was missing fairways and greens, bc the ball didn’t react how I expected. In trying to shave off the last few strokes off my handicap, it’s critical to work the ball away from trouble and aim at center green, working it back to the pin. I wasn’t as confident doing that with the Chrome Soft. I’d love to see Callaway make the Chrome Soft in Tour Yellow, with a slightly firmer feel. Maybe call it the Chrome Soft X.

  3. Have tried the Chrome Soft and the new Titleist DT Trusoft is its twin, except $10 less. The distance is good with both as well as spin on the green. Really am an advocate for Titleist balls so it is a no brainer at that price. Good winter ball.

  4. Titleist new ball, DT Trusoft cannot tell difference in it’s performance and the Chrome Soft and $10 less in price. I normally play the Prov1 but got my hands on a sleeve of the DT Trusoft. Tried both balls and it performs well in comparison to the Chrome Soft. Good distance, control and bites well on the greens.

  5. I find a lot of the comments difficult to judge without knowing the experience or the handicap of the person making the comments.
    For example, if one is stating the Pro V1 is a better ball than the Chrome Soft, if the commenter is a single figure golfer, I am more inclined to accept his comments.
    Conversely, if the commenter is a 20 plus handicapper comparing balls, I am more inclined to come to the opinion, he doesn’t really know what he is talking about other than he prefers one ball over the other.
    Does that make sense?

    One would be able to

  6. Played ProV’s for years And decided to give the Softs a try. I found my new ball. Better yet they come in yellow. A lot easier for these old eyes, plus Ive gained at least 5 yards off the Tee.

  7. I just played with these this past weekend. Initially I loved the way they felt off the putter. The problem that I ran into is that because they are lower compression than what I normally play (Pro V1), they rolled out much further. So while they were great feeling off the putter face, I found it very difficult to get distance right on putts.
    Also, these balls did not have the same amount of spin that the Pro V1 has. I hit shots that I expected to check up and that I know the Pro V1 would check up with and these did not. With that being said, I found myself constantly missing greens long this past weekend (I played both Sat and Sun) because the balls were going that much further. It was also cold this past weekend which may have exacerbated the issue but I was impressed with how far they went. The price is nice if you buy balls at the retail price. I don’t though. I usually get new Pro V1’s online and buy several boxes for somewhere around 35 bucks or so which makes the price point the same as with the Chrome Soft. The Chrome Softs were durable and again, I loved how they felt coming off the putter, unfortunately because of the lower compression they went much further when putting. Overall not a bad ball. I normally do not try other balls and stick to what I usually play. Because it was getting colder out where I live (DC area) I thought a lower compression ball might be good to play all winter. I am undecided on whether I will play them again or not – I’m on the fence. My overall opinion is that the author of the article made these out to be much better than they are. They are not bad, but they are not Pro V1’s either.

  8. I’ve tried the ChromeSoft ball on multiple occasions and just cannot get along with it. I didn’t find it to be nearly as durable as the Bridgestone B330 or Srixon Z-Star lines, nor did it perform as well for me. Of course, that’s a sample of one. I’ve got plenty of friends who swear by the ChromeSoft, so it’s good that there are plenty of options out there today.

    Great review!!!

  9. I have been playing the Chrome Soft since June and absolutely love this ball.
    My driver SS is 107 mph and haven’t lost any distance off the tee, where I noticed the biggest difference is with my irons and wedges.
    I’ve gained approx. 3-5 yards with all my irons and wedges, which took a bit to get used to.
    The ball putts like a dream, incredibly soft.
    I will agree with a few other reviewers that state they don’t seem to get the same amount of spin with the CS as I had gotten with the SR3.
    Overall it’s a great ball for a great price.
    A vast majority of golfers playing a ball like the ProV1 are wasting their money playing a ball not suited for their swing speed and game.
    They would be better suited going to a ball like the Chrome Soft and saving their $$$.

  10. I’ve tested these several times and have some serious problems with them. First off, I’m a older senior with a slower swing speed (probably in mid 70s). The ball feels mushy and doesn’t travel anywhere near as far as a harder ball does. usually lose 10-20 yards most of the time. Some friends with faster swing speeds (mid upper 80s) have better luck with the ball and it does travel for them about same as regular ball but not as good as Chrome plus.

    Secondly, they are very hard to be consistent on the greens with due to softness (mushy feel as others have complimented). And again harder to control distance on chips.

    So summary for me is way too soft and inconsistent short game and since that’s the only way I can score is thru the short game, they definitely are not for me, an older player.

    Definitely really not for most seniors in my opinion.

  11. I am 68 with a driver swing speed of 85-88 mph.I played the Callaway super soft ball last winter in Florida and gained around 10 yards on my drives but had trouble holding the ball on the green. I switched to the Chrome soft and hit my drives just as far and had better success on my approach shots to the green.
    Tred Vice Pro balls and gained 10 yards on my drives and had great stopping ability on approach shots.

  12. Just my 5 cents, but I’ve noticed that all the reviews seem to value softer balls more highly regarding putting. In my experience putting with a soft feeling milled putter, I actually like the feel of harder balls much better. Putting with a soft ball gives me the sensation of rolling with a marshmellow.

  13. Played these balls all summer long. Don’t check as well on the greens as the reviewer suggests.
    Also tough to control on Lag putts. RZN Black is the best one right now.

  14. I agree with all the main review points and really liked these on stock full swings, but as a previous poster noted, they seemed just a touch less predictable with my short game and I had trouble keeping the flight low when needed. An excellent ball especially if you like soft feel, but I found the Snell My Tour Ball was better for me. I play in a lot of wind and varied conditions in Texas and although it doesn’t have the same soft feel as the Callaway, it performs better for my game. Doesn’t hurt that the Snell is $6 a dozen less too.

  15. This review is a little out-of-date because the new Chrome Soft with higher compression are coming out in the next few weeks. Thanks for the writeup – a good ball – a little soft off the putter.

  16. Currently playing the NXT Tour S and a total Titleist diehard…

    Tried these Callys recently and was very impressed, these are very good balls and great value

    My good experience with these prompted me to try a pair of raw Mac Daddy 2 forged wedge – Vokeys now out of the bag….

    Let’s see if my new found love for Callaway continues…..these Chrome Soft’s may have started me on a new journey!

  17. I shall beg to differ on short game spin. The CS is so soft it is actually very hard to judge when and when it won’t spin. And in my playing conditions, firm course for most of the summer it didn’t perform as well as a V1 or Z-Star. It is cheaper because the performance is not quite premium ball level. It is an excellent ball for mid hcp players and better than NXTs but in no way a tour level ball.

  18. Great review! I have found the chrome soft to be the same as Kane described in his review. My SS is 111mph and I do not find any distance loss with my driver compared to other tour balls. Like I told Callaway earlier this year. Chrome soft is the ball to beat. Move over titleist.

  19. Interesting – first Callaway (like a few others) states that there should be a ball for different swing speeds – now they are saying one ball for almost all swing speeds too … sounds familiar. Technology for golf has truly become like fashion – just keep going in circles while making sure enough time has progressed between the new fashion trend “I mean technology”.

    • It’s a compromise. No consumer wants to admit a low swing speed, so they don’t buy the ball. Great idea, and if they had continued, the 2nd generation of SR balls would have improved – probably based on the Chrome Soft.

LEAVE A REPLY