Regardless of whether you put their balls into play, it would be foolish to diminish the effort Callaway puts into innovation in the golf ball space. They’ve come a long, long way in a short time. Making inroads in this market segment is insanely difficult, and many of the David’s have settled for battling amongst themselves instead of toppling Goliath. Still, great products with great messaging succeed more often than not, and Callaway’s 2024 Chrome Tour line looks promising.
Though Chrome Soft, and its variations, has been a strong performer for the company, Tour feedback inspired Callaway to embark on a bold “cover to core” transformation of their premium golf ball line in 2024. Most evident is the lack of the word “Soft” in either of the two flagship lines’ names. Yes, Chrome Soft does still exist, but it’s a variation of the Chrome Tour Line, or possibly even an alternative to it, rather than the other way around. This is a big deal. “The Ball that Changed the Ball” has become synonymous with what we know about Callaway golf balls, and this change indicates the company is ready to make their next big step forward.
While companies regularly emphasize one or two improvements to their golf ball lines in a given year, all indications make it seem like the Chrome Tour is a completely new ball altogether. Just look at what Callaway is saying here: New core, new inner mantle, new outer mantle, new cover formulation, new aerodynamics, new player number and side stamp, and finally a new, more unform paint application process. With all these changes, the company is leveraging highly advanced technology at every point in the design and manufacturing process. While it seems AI weariness may be setting in with some consumers, its application in things like aerodynamics has opened up possibilities that weren’t available even a few years ago.
Hyper Fast Soft Core
Central to the Chrome Tour line (see what I did there?) is an all-new, Hyper Fast Soft Core. The hyperbolic name aside, this entirely new rubber system is designed to deliver more speed, and it succeeds at that according to figures provided by Callaway. The goal is for every layer to be compressed on every full shot, promoting ideal spin rates through the bag while providing all-important feel.
However, at its core (there I go again), the Hyper Fast Soft Core is there to provide ball speed, and even more specifically, driver ball speed. The new base polymer and other ingredients give Chrome Tour more ball speed for all three new products. With feel being as important as it is to the world’s most elite players, the key was maximizing this speed at a preferred or desired compression level.
Seamless Tour Aero
Seamless Tour Aero is, again, a complete reimagination of the Callaway golf balls’ aerodynamic properties. Each ball has been given a unique aerodynamic pattern that matches the individual launch properties of each ball to optimize ball flight.
What Callaway learned from observing Tour staff was that if a ball’s launch conditions (imparted by the aerodynamic properties of the dimples) didn’t fit into ideal flight windows for the type of ball they played, players would start manipulating launch conditions or making non-ideal adjustments. A simple example of that would be a player choosing a ball that offered too little spin with their irons just to hit their ideal launch window with driver.
Callaway developed an in-house Computational Fluid Dynamics tool (the picture above shows it in action) that not only enabled their engineers to visualize airflow around the entirety of the ball, but also down to each individual dimple. This also allows the company to visualize aerodynamics for the entirety of the ball’s flight, from the highest speeds at impact to the eventual slowing that occurs near landing.
This led to an industry-first dimple pattern that combines Callaway’s familiar Hex design with discretely placed round dimples. It provides flight stability from start to finish, unique to each ball for a variety of conditions. Callaway also leveraged their partnership with Top Golf for technology that allows them to accurately track the entirety of the balls’ flight in real-world conditions, validating lab results with over 10,000 shots.
High Performance Tour Urethane Soft Cover
Key to improved spin and feel is the all-new High Performance Tour Urethane Cover, which Callaway says is not only their softest-ever cover formulation but is also softer than what their main competitors are producing.
The company had to figure out how to take advantages of the benefits a softer cover provides, increased and more consistent spin, for example, while maintaining low driver spin. Feedback from Tour staff has been positive, with comments centering around the new cover’s softer feel, lower launch, and increased spin on wedge shots. This benefit trickles down to iron swings as well, as more surface contact results in more consistent spin rates from swing to swing, dialing in both distance control and lateral dispersion.
All these technologies roll into Callaway’s concept of Precision Technology and their desire to offer the most consistency possible with each golf shot.
Chrome Tour Review
Simply put, Chrome Tour is the face of the 2024 Callaway line. It’s designed for the better player that likes a slightly softer feel. It has roots in a Tour-only prototype that Callaway describes as a “softer, more penetrating-flight version of the Chrome Soft X”. If we are simplifying what the Chrome Tour is, that description gets pretty close, though it doesn’t bring the speed gains into the discussion. Callaway found that many Tour players valued softer feel around the green and a more penetrating flight than what the Chrome Soft X offered, and they wanted to fill that hole in the market.
With a universal desire to be both faster and longer, Callaway’s data indicates they’ve managed to succeed at besting their competitors on paper. The Chrome Tour approaches Chrome Soft X levels of speed, with a softer feel and flatter ball flight.
Chrome Tour X
Chrome Tour X is both Callaway’s fastest golf ball and highest spinning option. Though it carries forward the ideas that made Chrome Soft X so popular, the new core design enabled Callaway to best the driver ball speeds seen from what they claim was already the fastest ball on Tour. They believe that in addition to the performance benefits, knowing you are playing the fastest ball on the market is the ultimate confidence builder.
In addition to the tangible speed gains, Callaway is reporting that the new cover and overall formulation of the Chrome Tour X led to a noticeable gain in greenside spin. Using the 50 yard wedge shot as a metric, they are reporting over 300 rpm more spin than their nearest competitors.
Callaway’s goal with the Chrome Soft was take one of their most loved products, primarily designed for “aspirational” players, and improve it without taking away any of the things that made it so popular to begin with. While the speed gains they report aren’t as overtly impressive as what we’ve seen with Chrome Tour and Chrome Tour X, Chrome soft still manages to lead its segment.
Callaway looked towards Seamless Tour Aero to optimize distance with the Chrome Soft. By raising peak height, they managed to not only increase carry distance, but optimize the flight characteristics to provide more total distance. It should maintain the same low spin with driver as previous generations, with a slightly higher peak height.
Color Options and Visual Technology
It would be hard to dispute the notion that Callaway leads the industry in Visual Technology options. They offer a robust number of choices, ranging from standard white, to 360 Triple Track, to TruTrack, and finally the still-popular Truvis. In addition to the options seen above for the Chrome Tour line, Callaway will be introducing a couple new visual options to their lower-priced lines. ERC Soft will be available with what they are calling 360 Fade and SuperSoft will have a Splatter 360 option in 2024. SuperSoft will also be featured in a number of special edition designs throughout the year that will be worth keeping an eye out for.
Callaway summarizes their Chrome Tour line by saying, “From cover to core, Chrome Tour is the new gold standard Tour ball for better players who want the best in distance and feel. Every detail has been optimized including a new core, inner mantle, outer mantle, and cover formulation. Chrome Tour is engineered for outstanding performance with exceptional speed, consistent flight, incredible spin, and greenside control.”
Make sure to follow along on the THP forums in the coming weeks as our forum members and participants in the 2023 Grandaddy, amateur golf’s greatest event, will have feedback to share.
- MSRP $54.99/dozen
- Available 2/2/2024
- More information at www.callawaygolf.com