Golf and the Nobel Prize are rarely, if ever, uttered in the same sentence. But a discovery by two Russian chemists – who went on to win the 2010 Nobel Prize – has led Callaway to use a material they say will turn balls on their head in 2018.
It’s called “graphene”, and it’s both the strongest and thinnest material (literally just one atom thick) known to man – and it’s being used in Callaway's new Chrome Soft balls.
Dr Alan Hocknell, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Callaway Golf, told us: “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. What we wanted to produce was an outer core that was much stronger, effectively a thinner but stronger ‘crash helmet’ for the inner core and that would allow us to make the inner core bigger.”
Callaway say every component in the 2018 Chrome Soft has been improved, and thanks to “graphene” they’ve got a strength advantage over the competition, without compromising feel.
Graphene has been used to create a thinner, lighter “crash helmet” style outer core, which means the inner core can be larger. That means more ball speed, and Callaway says the Chrome Soft’s (again, thanks to graphene) lowers spin increases launch and tightens accuracy with the driver.
Hocknell added: “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 characteristic of the soft core, and still retain the soft-feel benefits.”
Callaway aren’t messing about when they say they’ve improved every component of the Chrome Soft either; they reckon the 2018’s core is more consistently centred than even the market leading ball.
It’s a massive claim, but means the 2018 Chrome Soft boasts of improved flight consistency between shots. Mid and short iron shots have greater distance and control, as well as extra short game spin. Incredibly, all this comes without compromising feel.
Theres a new Chrome Soft X too and Callaway say the key difference between the two balls is feel.
Chrome Soft X is focused towards players with higher swing speeds (105mph and above) who seek a slightly firmer feel, whereas the standard Chrome Soft, appeal to a wide audience of golfers.
Chrome Soft Performance Highlights:
Optimised compression, feel and spin profile through the bag.
Maximum dual core compression differential that allows players of all ability to compress the ball on the clubface.
Faster ball speed thanks to a firmer outer core and a new manufacturing method.
Reduced spin without sacrificing ball speed.
Better, softer sound, whilst maintaining ball compression, thanks to a large inner core.
How does it work...
Graphene’s strength and flexibility have allowed Callaway's R&D experts to push the limits of compression between the inner and outer cores to new boundaries.
The soft inner core now deforms more under larger forces so on impact with a driver, fairway wood or long iron it suppresses spin, translating into explosive speed and longer distance.
On shorter shots, the firm graphene-infused outer core helps the ball retain its shape better, generating Tour level spin, perfect for shot-stopping control in and around the green.
The stronger graphene-infused outer core also encourages a new, softer urethane cover to effectively ‘grip’ the outer core more efficiently, generating consistently high levels of spin from shorter irons.
Graphene is one atom thick. That’s a million times thinner than a piece of paper, or a million times smaller than a human hair.
Graphene is the strongest and thinnest material known to exist on earth.
Graphene weighs a seventh of the weight of air! So, not very much at all. Yet it’s incredibly strong.
Just to put its weight in perspective, a football field sized sheet of graphene would weigh less than half a 10p piece.
So it’s ridiculously light, yet it’s stronger than diamond and 200 times stronger than steel.
Graphene is both stiff and elastic; it can be stretched to 25% it’s original length.
RRP: £38 a dozen
Options: White / Yellow / TruVis