What we say...
Callaway’s premium golf balls that are suitable for the vast majority of amateur golfers
Callaway are the proud manufacturer of some of the best golf balls on the market. They own over a 20% share of the golf ball market in the USA which is no mean feat – considering no brand other than Titleist has passed 14% for years.
The Chrome Soft has been a staple in Callaway’s range of golf balls since it was first introduced in 2015, since then they have added the Chrome Soft X and Chrome Soft X LS to the range.
As one of the lowest-compression premium golf balls you won’t find them in the bag of too many professionals but they are played by at least one Tour player – Maverick McNealy.
When Callaway unveiled Jon Rahm as their superstar new signing, there was no schedule for him to switch to their golf ball. As manufacturers of some of the best equipment and best golf balls, what could go wrong?
At the time Rahm was World No.2 and he insisted his switch to Callaway clubs and golf ball was about bagging Majors not cash. Doubters questioned his judgment. Had he not seen how Francesco Molinari and Sergio Garcia’s careers had gone into freefall after switching to Callaway equipment?
Rahm has successfully bucked that trend. The Spaniard has come up smelling of roses thanks to hitting shots further, straighter and more consistently than ever before and now has two Majors to his name, along with multiple sp
Callaway were super surprised then when Rahm choose to play the ball from his very first week out on tour with his new Callaway gear.
Callaway’s Chrome Soft X bagged two majors in 2021 (in the hands of Phil Mickelson and Jon Rahm), it also won the golfing Olympic Gold medal thanks to Xander Schauffele’s solid play in Japan too. And that sort of form doesn’t go unnoticed. With the worlds best players getting better playing Chrome Soft, Callaway for the first time, are seeing uncontracted players wanting to play Chrome Soft, to see if it can help their games too.
With a record year under their belts (Callaway say they now own a 20%+ share of the golf ball market in the USA, where no brand, bar Titleist, has passed 14% for years) Callaway haven’t sat back and taken their foot off the gas.
For 2022 their crack team of golf ball engineers have developed a new smart crosslink polymer SoftFast core, which thanks to being stronger means the core can be softer, yet because it reacts to stress and strains differently offers more ball speed from the tee with softer feel at slower speeds with an iron and wedge. A new aero package also optimizes drag and lift, in a ball that was already coveted for outstanding wind stability and performance by Rahm, Xander, Phil and co.
Unlike previous Chrome Soft’s the 2022 model has become a 3-piece golf ball (previous generations have had 4-layers). Callaway say the switch is due to the benefits the new SoftFast core brings to the party.
The brand say this model is Callaway’s Titleist Pro V1 equivalent, where prviously the story has been this is the model for golfers with sub 100 mph driver swing speeds. This model will make up 75% of Chrome Soft sales.
Golfers can expect to see a 0.5mph ball speed gain with 130 RPM less backspin with the driver, plus 330 RPM less 7-iron spin (compared to the 2019 model), which Callaway reckon equates to a 5 yard carry distance gain across the board.
The Chrome Soft X is Callaway’s most played tour ball and naturally world number one Jon Rahm specifically requested not to change anything about the model.
Callaway say the X is a natural equivalent to Titleist’s Pro V1x. Thanks to being faster, longer and a touch softer, they expect plenty of converts from the Pro V1x. The X will account for 18% of Chrome Soft sales, and it offers a slightly lower ball flight over the previous model.
Golfers can expect a 0.7mph ball speed gain with the driver (over the previous generation), whilst iron spin will remain the same. Across the board Callaway reckon they’ve squeezed a couple of yards extra carry distance out of the 2022 X.
The Chrome Soft X LS has a new urethane cover blend, so golfers can expect more spin separation to the X ball and more greenside spin over the previous generation. A new aero package also helps straighten flight, so expect the LS to be less workable.
The LS is a bombers golf ball which means it will account for 12% of Chrome Soft sales.
Compared to the previous generation golfers can expect 0.8mph more ball speed and 130 RPM less backspin (which adds distance) with the driver, and 120 RPM less iron spin, which equates to an average gain of 4 yards across the bag.
Chrome Soft fans will notice the price has crept up from previous years. Don’t let that put you off though. Callaway say they will have a buy 3 dozen, get one dozen free promotion running throughout the whole 2022 season. It means the cost (from the previous £39.99 a dozen RRP) drops from £3.33 to £3.13 per ball, so long as you buy on the 4 for 3 offer.
Which Callaway Chrome Soft golf ball best suits your game?
Callaway have said before how the standard Chrome Soft ball has been optimised for sub 100mph swing speed players (where the Chrome Soft X and X LS specifically target players over 105mph). Our data shows that’s likely to be the case with the new 2022 model too.
Our test pro’s speed over-powered the softest Chrome Soft with the driver, but remember at lesser, more club golfer type speeds, differences would be much less significant. And the softer feel is exactly the reason why lots of club golfers love the Chrome Soft from the tee, on approach shots and around the green.
What stands out is how the Chrome Soft X and X LS boast some serious ball speed. The speeds posted by both balls are faster than their respective Titleist models, which certainly hasn’t always been the case with all previous Chrome Soft models, and that of course equates to a smidge more carry distance.
Certainly from our experience the Chrome Soft X is a great fit for golfers who like to see more shape to their drives and iron shots, where the Chrome Soft X LS is perfect for players who want to bomb shots as straight as they possibly can.
Which of course, so long as you can live with the lower spin on iron and wedge shots, also makes the LS a decent choice for slightly more average speed but erratic drivers of the golf ball too.
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How the Callaway Chrome Soft, Chrome Soft X and Chrome Soft X LS compare to the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro 1x with a 7-iron
At the slower speed of a 7-iron shot the standard Chrome Soft absolutely shows its teeth. The model was our test pro’s fastest and longest carrying ball, and the lower spin that helps gain distance, is offset by a higher launch and flight as well as a steeper descent, so shots will still stop on a green.
Not too many club golfers pick a golf based purely on iron performance, so it’s not too surprising the balls (apart from the standard Chrome Soft) are pretty evenly matched for data with our test pro’s 7-iron. But the flight of iron shots, particularly in the wind is absolutely critical to the very best players in the world.
Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Phil Mickelson all list the Chrome Soft X’s superior performance in the wind as a key reason why they choose the model. The trio love how Callaway’s ball isn’t overpowered by a breeze, so they get a tight ball flight window even into a crosswind, which of course at the very top level aids predictability and scoring potential.
How the Callaway Chrome Soft, Chrome Soft X and Chrome Soft X LS compare to the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro 1x with a pitching wedge
When Callaway signed Jon Rahm it was they who reckoned the accuracy and consistency of their Chrome Soft X could improve the Spaniards approach play with a wedge. Rahm was impressed by how Callaway had done their homework and our data supports how the Chrome Soft X is so impressive on shorter approaches.
The X was out test pro’s highest spinning model with a wedge, and wedge spin and control is often a key factor when lots of decent golfers are choosing their golf ball. But it’s how the model created all that spin from a slightly lower launch and shot height (which decent players often feel gives maximum control) that tons of good players will really enjoy.
Where the Chrome Soft X LS gave up 342 RPM of backspin for our test pro with a 7-iron, the levels rise to 718 RPM with a wedge, which shows brilliantly what’s put on the line by choosing the LS for faster, lower spinning and longer driver and iron shots.
Callaway Chrome Soft 2022
Construction: 3-piece with urethane cover
Models: White, Yellow, Triple Track, Truvis Red, Truvis Yellow
Callaway Chrome Soft X 2022
Construction: 4-piece with urethane cover
Models: White, Triple Track, Triple Track Yellow
Callaway Chrome Soft X LS 2022
Construction: 4-piece with urethane cover
Compression: 100 (but with a softer core than the Chrome Soft X)
Models: White, Triple Track, Triple Track Yellow
Visit the Callaway website here