Forgive the pun, but Callaway’s golf ball business is on a roll.
Net sales reached $120 million in the first six months of 2018 (up 25 percent compared to last year). The meteoric rise is due, in large part, to the broad appeal of the Chrome Soft family. Undoubtedly, sales were spurred by a star-studded lineup (Sergio Garcia, Marc Leishman, Phil Mickelson, Xander Schauffele, and others) playing the balls. Even so, many amateurs still assume the gear used on Tour isn’t suitable for them. Well, they’re mistaken. Truth is, premium balls like these can benefit weekend warriors, too. Let me explain.
The hub of these new four-piece construction balls is a reengineered dual core. “We were looking to make the inner core significantly larger,” says Jason Finley, Callaway Golf’s Global Golf Ball Product Director. In order to do so, the outer core must be thinner, stronger and lightweight.
Easier said than done. For the first time, the company mixed graphene (a carbon-based nano-particle) with rubber to form the outer core. “Adding strength to the outer core allows us to increase the volume of the inner core by 80 percent,” says Dr. Alan Hocknell, Callaway’s Senior Vice President of R&D. “The large, soft inner core delivers high launch with less spin off the driver [than the previous-generation balls] and the fast outer layer increases ball speed off every club.” All of which is a recipe for longer shots.
Like so many top-of-the-line models, the Chrome Soft balls feature a urethane cover. But this one’s different. By combining the best attributes of two kinds of urethane—thermoset (durability) and thermoplastic (thin molding)—the company’s developed its softest cover yet. “The cover contributes to better feel off every club,” adds Hocknell. “On top of that, from 30 to 40 yards in, no soft ball compares to our shot-stopping spin.”
That’s not all. Callaway believes these balls are more forgiving on misses. “What our research has shown, and what our experimental analysis has supported, is that a softer compression golf ball will reduce the amount of vibration during off-center hits and produce better ball speed than firmer golf balls, resulting in more distance,” says Nick Yontz, Callaway’s Golf Ball Testing & Advanced Research Specialist. For what it’s worth, these new models have a similar compression to the previous Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X.
Though both balls share a four-piece construction, the Chrome Soft X feels firmer, spins marginally more on full shots, and has a penetrating trajectory.
Improved distance, better feel and maybe even a hint of help on misses. I know lots of golfers who’d benefit from a ball that does so much. And, none of them play on Tour.