Without question…the golf ball is the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR ENTIRE BAG. If you have followed along for the past three years, you will know that I have always been a golf-ball-first, clubs-second kind of guy.
With as much time as I spend on TOUR, it’s VERY apparent that having the proper ball is a MUST to play your best golf. It can be disastrous the other way…for any level of player.
This was from the last run…
When Sr. Director of Callaway Golf Ball R&D Eric Loper set out to create something even better than what we had with Chrome Soft, X and LS he was tasked these goals…
“This new lineup had to be faster, better from 100 yards, and in AND with all that fly outta the proper window consistently.”
–Eric Loper Sr. Director of Callaway Golf Ball R&D
When it comes to the importance of picking the right ball, it’s essential that the breakdown of what we have is CRYSTAL CLEAR, so the best way I know how to do that is to go right to the source (Eric Loper); let him explain and water it down if needed:)
JW: Explain the idea of the Chrome Tour and how it was inspired.
EL: The Chrome Tour is based on a prototype (CSX Dot) we had out on tour for the last year and is centered around a player seeking a slightly softer feel around the greens and flatter ball flight as a result of lower spin than the Chrome Soft X (Chrome Tour X).
This ball helped us transition players over from a key competitor, and we felt having this ball out in the marketplace would better fit most golfers versus the Chrome Soft XLS. The new Chrome Tour has all of the distance benefits of the Chrome Soft XLS but will offer much more around the green in terms of feel and control due to its softer TOUR urethane cover (see below). You’ll see players like Xander and Akshay Bhatia in this model.
JW: CSX, in a nutshell, stood alone as the fastest/spinniest combo on TOUR; what did that ball need to improve on to make it better?
EL: The CSX IS a great ball, validated by the best players in the world, and is the most used Callaway model on all of the professional tours. When evaluating the performance, we felt there was an opportunity to improve it, not just in one particular area but really tee to green.
The Callaway R&D team developed a new core technology(HyperFast Soft Core) to give players more speed off the tee, and really, what player doesn’t want that? The tour player feedback that helped drive the performance direction was focused on the green side spin and stability of ball flight (Seamless Tour Aero, see below).
The team developed new, softer urethane covers that provide more control, lower launch angles, and more spin for those critical shots into the green.
The new Chrome Tour X has the highest spin of the Chrome family of products, and we developed a new aerodynamic geometry that better optimizes the combination of spin and aerodynamics to give players a more piercing ball flight. This new surface geometry helps reduce the influence of wind and creates stability over the entire ball flight, resulting in more downrange consistency.
When designing a TOUR golf ball, it more often than not comes down to the last 50 feet of its flight…if that ball doesn’t maintain its integrity, it’s a no-go. That’s something we have made HUGE strides in over the past few years. On the PGA TOUR, it’s one of the first things these guys will check out.
JW: From an R&D perspective, who is each ball for?
EL: Chrome Tour X
Players like Rahm, Burns, and Min Woo Lee. Tour X will be more responsive in terms of shot shape and is also a good option for better players who need more spin, whether to optimize ball flight or provide more control around the green.
Players like Xander, Erik Van Rooyen, and Si Woo Kim; prefer a slightly softer feel and lower spin to give them a flatter ball flight to minimize over-spin. It’s a great option for better players seeking a great combination of feel and distance in a tour-level product.
Aspirational players who are seeking an even softer feel, the ability to compress the ball, and a higher ball flight to optimize distance.
All Callaway Golf Balls are manufactured in Chicopee, Mass, using precision technology, which uses over 132M data points to ensure each and every ball that leaves the plant meets the highest quality standards in the industry.
Other key additions to the Chrome family…
Seamless Tour Aero: Essentially making a ROUND golf ball PERFECTLY ROUND with ZERO seams, which, believe it or not, can affect dispersion. On every golf ball, there is a seem, and if a shot is struck on the cross-section of that seam, it can translate into a loss of dispersion. With the Seamless Tour Aero, that is mitigated substantially, resulting in a tighter flight window down range.
Tour Urethane Cover: What you feel in your hands and hear with your ears essentially binds you, good or bad, to the golf ball. With this new cover technology, the ball reacts, sounds, and feels like a TOUR ball should. That feeling of control and softness off the face has replaced any clickiness from past models. This was a big piece of feedback from the TOUR.
Key Words: Lower spin, penetrating, fast, greenside control, TOUR
Range: Tour to 12 handicap
Key Words: Soft, forgiving, fast, low spin
Range: 0-20 HDCP
Chrome Tour X:
Key Words: Control, high spin, mid-launch, fast, control, responsive, TOUR
Range: Tour to 8 handicap
I loved the 2022 golf balls. I absolutely adored them. CSX was fast, spun like crazy with my short irons, and was hands down the best ball in the wind that I have ever played. If I were going to get petty and had to pick something I wanted more of, I would always ask for more ball speed. Well, they gave it to me. My conundrum now is deciding CTX vs CT. I have been testing both for the last three months and have no idea which I prefer.
For example, these are the results of an at-home 7-iron test I did in mid-December.
20 Shots, with each using Track Man (kept all 20)
7-iron was an Apex TCB ’24 w/ DG Tour Issue S400 120 (37 inches, 33 loft, D3)
Ball Speed: 122.9
Spin: 6823 RPMs
Peak Height: 101 feet
Land Angle: 49 degrees
Ball Speed: 121.6
Spin: 6402 RPMs
Peak Height: 102 feet
Land Angle: 50 degrees
If you break it down, it’s pretty much apples-to-apples as far as value is concerned. YES, there is more to consider, but damn…if that was all I had to go off of, what do I do?
The point to me sharing this is it’s a clear example of 1) How these two separate themselves in the air and 2) IT WILL ALWAYS COME DOWN TO 120 yards AND IN…
At high speeds, for better players the golf ball will truly seperate itself in the nuance and the players creative needs, they are both amazing in the wind but how do I want it to react in the wind? Do I want a BULLET or a throwing star? That’s a real question…how much ownership do I want? It’s kind of like choosing an MB over a player’s CB. Do I want total control of the wheel or pass some of that responsibility to technology?
There is much more testing to do, but MY GOD, this will be a fun lead-up to the golf season…my gear head junky has been activated.
If you are wondering how to test picking YOUR golf ball, read and watch below…
The next article is TOUR testing and integration. That’s a serious rabbit hole.