By Alex Gallemore
When you’re making a high-end soft-feel ball, the last thing you would expect to find in its construction is one of the hardest materials on the planet, GRAPHENE. Callaway has definitely thought outside the box by introducing a material that is 200 times stronger than steel into its 2018 Chrome Soft and the Chrome Soft X. The Graphene plays a vital role in the development and performance of the new core – but what is it?
GRAPHENE is an atomic-scale honeycomb lattice made of carbon atoms and was first produced in a laboratory at the University of Manchester in 2004 by Russian-born scientists, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who went on to be awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work.
Dr Alan Hocknell, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Callaway Golf, comments: “We looked at various parts of the golf ball and the functions of each, and we quickly decided that if we were going to use a material that made any part of our golf ball substantially stronger it would be in the outer core, because its role is partly to allow the inner core to be soft. “If you think of this inner core as the engine of the ball, the inner of the new Chrome Soft is now bigger and softer because it is protected by the stronger outer core, which allows us to pump up the speed, pump up the spin-reducing characteristics of the soft core, and still retain the soft-feel benefits.
“Graphene’s strength and flexibility have enabled us to push the limits of compression between the inner and outer cores. The soft inner core now deforms more under larger forces, so on impact with a driver, a fairway wood or a long iron it reduces spin and delivers more speed and distance. “On shorter shots, the firm graphene-infused outer core helps the ball retain its shape better, generating improved-level spin, which is felt more around the greens. The stronger graphene- infused outer core, paired with the softer urethane cover, grips with the outer core to produce some serious stopping power with a wedge and shorter clubs.”
Core Centre Investment
It’s rumoured that Callaway invested more than $20 million in producing the machinery required to make the core on the Chrome Soft balls ‘perfectly centred’. In fact, Callaway reckon it’s the most advanced centre core in the market. This makes the ball consistent in regard to distance and control from tee to green.
Chrome Soft highlights
Fast Ball Speeds & Low Spin Off; The Driver, Distance & Control Through the Bag; Pinpoint Greenside Control; Ultra-Soft Feel; and Forgiveness.
Chrome Soft comparison
Chrome Soft: Softest feel, best forgiveness, straight flight.
Chrome Soft X: Soft feel, high forgiveness, workable flight.
Callaway has tried to find something different with the latest Chrome Soft and it certainly out-performs the previous models for distance and feel. The preference between the ‘regular’ and ‘X’ is down to personal choice. The ‘X’ is marginally longer and the regular is slightly softer and you get a marginally better compression. But take the markings off and you would struggle to really feel the difference. The stand-out feature with both balls is carry distance and spin control. I’ve played two rounds with each ball and they are both highly predictable, especially around the greens. Don’t be drawn into thinking the softer of the two is for a low handicapper and the ‘X’ for mid-to-high. Regardless of your handicap, take a sleeve of each out on the course and find how you get on.