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The world of golf balls can be mind-blowing. These days most manufacturers make a range of balls that seem to have every angle covered such as swing speed, spin, distance, handicap range recommendation and so on. Today, we’ll be comparing the line of golf balls from Callaway.
I know it can be a bit difficult to know which ball is best for you. Most companies have a ball fitting tool, but I’ve noticed that they mostly recommend their most expensive option. We did some testing to see how each ball performed for high, mid, and low handicaps, so continue reading to find out the results.
Callaway Golf Ball Specs
|Chrome Soft||3||High||75||Quality ball for a wide range of golfers|
|Chrome Soft X||4||Highest||100||Tour quality, and a little firmer than Chrome Soft|
|Chrome Soft X LS||4||Higher||100||Less spin than the X, longer tee and iron shots|
|ERC Soft||3||Mid||60||Callaway says this is their longest ball|
|Supersoft||2||Low||40||Soft compression for slower swing speeds|
|Supersoft Max||2||Low||40||A larger size gives more consistent strikes|
|Superfast||2||Low||~50||Enhanced distance with high launch and low spin|
|Warbird||2||Low||90||Designed for distance|
The above is a very simplistic summary of some of the information provided on the Callaway website where you can go and see all the commercial, technical and complete specifications including colour options for all of their balls.
Although the order of the table follows the quality of the balls and the player they are intended for, it also reflects the cost from high to low.
So, how do I decide which ball is right for me I hear you ask, and that is a really good question. Certainly, most of us who are not tour players or single-figure handicap golfers will probably play the middle to the lower-end price range of balls.
In fact, much of our decision-making will be based on what’s on sale in the pro shop or what we happened to find in the rough on the course.
But here’s the thing.
Do you use random clubs each time you play without much thought, hoping that the brand you chose this time will gain a few extra yards or help you make that important chip to the green? Of course not, and I think the thing that has helped me most with my game over the years has been one important factor, consistency.
Using the same golf ball time after time, I believe, will lead to you knowing exactly what reaction you are going to get when you hit your driver, approach shots and chip shots around the green. Using a different ball each time you tee up is surely a hit-and-miss (forgive the pun) way to play.
By using the same ball time and again you will know how it reacts when chipping and especially when putting. You may also gain confidence off the tee and have a fair idea in advance of what direction your drives are likely to take.
So where do you go from here?
Well, it’s a good idea to take a look at your own game and get a rough idea of how you swing and which type of ball is designed for your speed and setup. You should also consider what areas of your game are the weakest and which ball would help most for that aspect of your game.
In addition, you should consider the time of year and course conditions as that will affect your choice. For example, in the summer months, I play a high-quality ball with more spin for better action around the greens.
In fact, I play a ball that is recommended for better golfers than me. The reason is that I am not a long hitter and the extra distance that so-called distance balls give me is probably not enough to make a massive difference to my game.
However, the extra spin around the greens allows me to enhance my short game so that my up and down rate is pretty high and the feel off the putter is great.
Come winter, in my region, we get wind, rain and all the usual conditions that make you wonder why you are stupid enough to be on the course in the first place. Those wet conditions also make the greens softer and far more receptive so I don’t need to spend lots of cash on a premium ball, especially when they are easily lost.
In conclusion, my advice to any golfer would be to take a look at the range of balls available and try them out, and not only the ones that are suggested for your ability. Once you have found the one that is right for you then stick to it. Until something better comes along of course.
One of the guys I occasionally play with has a handicap of +1 and plays with one of the cheapest 2-piece balls on the market, but he does play with the same type all the time. Consistency.
If you’re not interested in trying them out yourself, I’ll try and narrow things down. We’ll talk about each ball and who they’re designed for. Just in case you were curious, you can see the different types of golf balls here.
Chrome Soft vs Chrome Soft X vs Chrome Soft X LS
|Chrome Soft||Chrome Soft X||Chrome Soft X LS|
|Long Game Spin||Low||Mid||Low|
|Short Game Spin||High||Highest||Higher|
The Chrome Soft series is Callaway’s premium lineup and are balls designed for professional golfers and low handicaps with medium to high swing speeds. It’s not my favorite high-end ball but it’s used by a lot of golfers.
The main reason I prefer other balls is that they fly a lot straighter for me and hit more fairways on average. If you’re curious, you can see the best golf balls for high swing speeds here.
The standard Chrome Soft is probably the most common ball you’ll see on your local course (compared to the other two). It offers solid performance all-around and is designed for swing speeds less than 105 MPH.
The Chrome Soft X is the ball that’s mainly used on the PGA Tour. It has an additional layer (3 vs 4 piece golf balls) and will produce more long/short game spin. Also, since the compression rating is higher, the recommended swing speed is also above 105 MPH.
The Chrome Soft X LS is very similar to the standard X but is designed to spin less off the tee and fly higher. Again, the recommended swing speed is above 105 MPH.
All this info is great and all, but it still isn’t very clear which one to use. The best thing to do would be to try them out for yourself, which is exactly what we did.
These balls are expensive and are designed for low handicap golfers. I’m not that, so I got a friend of mine to hit all three to see which was the best.
Distance: We hit five shots with each ball and the average distances were essentially the same. His swing speed is between 100-105 MPH, so this is pretty much what I was expecting. The reason is that we already did a test to compare low vs high compression golf balls for distance.
I think the reason they all went the same distance was that his swing speed was moderate. If he had a fast swing speed (105+ MPH) then either the X or LS might have gone a bit further.
Fairways hit: This is one of the biggest struggles most average golfers face. Playing your second shot from the fairway makes the game so much easier. My buddy doesn’t really have that problem, but two balls were slightly better.
The standard Chrome Soft and LS hit the fairway more often than the X. The Chrome Soft X is the most workable ball, which means it will spin more off the tee. More spin means you can draw and fade the ball more, but it also means you could hook or slice the ball more often.
Short game spin: All three of these balls have high amounts of short game spin (thanks to the urethane cover), which is what better players want. The X is supposed to spin the most, then the LS, and finally, the standard Chrome Soft.
We actually didn’t notice much of a difference in terms of short-game scoring. Professionals will probably be able to tell and you might see a difference on the simulator. For the average golfer, I don’t think you’ll be able to tell the difference.
Overall feel: The standard Chrome Soft has a lower compression rating and a soft outer shell, which makes it the softest of the three. My buddy told me that it felt the best to him.
If you have a super fast swing speed (110+ MPH) then it might feel a bit soft. 95% of golfers don’t swing this fast so I don’t think it’ll be an issue.
Callaway ERC Soft
|Long Game Spin||Low|
|Short Game Spin||Mid|
The ERC Soft is supposed to be the longest “soft feeling” golf ball from Callaway and is a low spinning golf ball off the tee. I’d say it’s a middle-of-the-range ball in terms of price and performance, which makes it a decent choice for mid-handicappers.
The reason this ball could be a good fit for mid-handicappers is that it produces a decent amount of short-game spin for a reasonable price. Not the best, but decent enough for most.
Compared to premium balls, the ERC Soft has a lower compression rating and less short game spin. This means it’s for slower swing speeds and won’t bite the greens as much.
Compared to “lower end” balls, the ERC Soft has an extra layer, which adds greenside spin. This will help you control your wedge shots a bit better, and hopefully, lower scores.
RELATED: 2 vs 3 Piece Golf Balls
I’m a mid handicapper myself, so I was the one to test this on the course. Long story short, it’s actually not one I’d use myself because of how it performed against other brands.
If you want to know which balls I like the best, you can see the best golf balls for mid handicappers. That being said, let’s touch on how it compared to the other Callaway balls.
Distance: I’ve learned that most golf balls travel a similar distance for average swing speeds. Once you get above 110 MPH, having a higher compression ball will give you a few more yards.
On average though, the ERC Soft went further than the Supersoft but was pretty similar to the Chrome Soft and Superfast.
Fairways hit: This ball is supposed to be low spinning off the tee and compared to the Supersoft, I hit more fairways. However, it still wasn’t as good as some of the other brands.
Short game spin: Even though I’m not able to get a whole lot of spin on my wedge shots, I noticed that the ERC Soft had a bit more bite on the greens compared to the Supersoft, Superfast, and Warbird.
I couldn’t tell much of a difference between the ERC and Chrome Soft but my buddy could. That tells me that the extra cost isn’t justified for mid to high handicaps.
Overall feel: This ball has a mid-compression rating with a softer outer shell, which makes it softer than the Chrome Soft but firmer than the Supersoft.
I find that the Supersoft is too “squishy” for me (the super low compression) and I’d definitely prefer the feel of this ball.
Callaway Supersoft vs Supersoft Max
|Long Game Spin||Low|
|Short Game Spin||Low|
This ball is one of Callaway’s entry-level balls and is mainly designed for golfers with slow swing speeds (under 85 MPH). The main difference between the two balls is that the Max is slightly larger.
I find that these balls are a bit too soft for me. They feel very squishy when I hit them and as a mid-handicapper, I wouldn’t use them myself.
My dad is a high handicapper, so we got him to test the two balls. Long story short, they were similar in terms of feel, spin, and fairways hit. The Max was a bit longer though, so if you want to use this ball, I’d use the Max.
Let’s see how the Max compares to the other balls from Callaway. If you want to know the best golf balls for average golfers, go ahead and check that out.
Distance: We found that the Superfast and ERC Soft were both longer. If you have a super slow swing speed then this ball might work for you, but for high handicaps, the Superfast might be better.
Fairways hit: We also noticed that the Superfast was straighter off the tee. More fairways and more distance makes me lean away from this ball.
Short game spin: This is a 2 piece golf ball which means it doesn’t spin a whole lot around the green. That’s completely fine for high handicaps because they can’t spin the ball anyway (plus, it’s cheaper).
|Long Game Spin||Low|
|Short Game Spin||Low|
This is one of the newer balls from Callaway and is designed for distance. It’s close to the Supersoft in a lot of ways, but in our testing, it gets more distance.
With the reasonable price tag (cheaper than the Supersoft per ball), the distance, and the low spin, this ball is a good choice for high handicappers. Let’s see how it compared to the others.
Distance: This ball went further than the Supersoft and was similar to the ERC Soft and Chrome Soft. This was tested by both a mid and high-handicapper.
Fairways hit: I also found that this ball flew straighter than the Supersoft. This and the increased distance makes this the clear choice between the two.
Short game spin: This ball doesn’t produce much greenside spin and is similar to the Supersoft and Warbird. It spins less than the ERC Soft and much less than the Chrome Soft.
Overall feel: If you have a super slow swing speed then you might think this ball feels a bit hard. For average speeds, this ball feels much better than the Supersoft (not as squishy).
|Long Game Spin||Low|
|Short Game Spin||Low|
These are another one of Callaway’s “entry-level” balls and are mainly designed for high handicaps. They’re made to maximize distance but don’t offer a whole lot of short-game spin.
The main thing that I noticed was that these balls were quite firm. The compression rating is on the higher side but so was the distance.
I think if you’re mid to low handicapper, you’ll prefer control or spin over distance. The ERC Soft or Chrome Soft might be a better option.
Distance: These balls were designed for distance, which I found to be true. They weren’t a whole lot further than the others, but they were longer than the Supersoft for sure.
Fairways hit: I also found that these balls flew quite straight and hit a lot of fairways. Pretty similar to the Superfast, which is ideal for weekend hackers.
Short game spin: Since these are 2 piece golf balls, they won’t spin much around the green. Better players won’t like this much, but for the average golfer, it won’t be a big deal.
Overall feel: I like a softer feeling ball and that is why I prefer the Superfast. If you like a firm ball, these could be perfect for you.
Which Callaway Ball Is Best For You?
After testing all these balls, the choice of which one to play really comes down to your skill level and whether you like a soft or firm golf ball.
Don’t get me wrong, you could shoot par with a cheap 2-piece ball and you could shoot 110 with a premium ball. All I’m saying is that playing a certain ball could help your game and your wallet.
For a mid handicapper, the best ball will be the ERC Soft. The 3 piece design should help you get a bit more spin on your wedge shots. This could help you have better distance control with the ball.
For a low handicapper, the best ball will be the standard Chrome Soft. You probably want to be able to have better control over the ball at this point, which is where this ball shines. The mid compression of the Chrome Soft should feel the best for moderate swing speeds (under 105 MPH).
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