Callaway Chrome Soft / Chrome Soft X
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. 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.
We say: What a revelation! We had no idea it was possible to create a ball for £29.88 a dozen that, for many golfers, would be indistinguishable from the most popular tour ball. Our test pro loved the soft, sticky cover, and he said all-round feel and feedback with driver, iron and wedge was just like a tour ball.
Wedge spin was within 500rpm of the highest when we tested it; driver carry distance was just four yards back from the longest and ball speed was within 1mph of the quickest. And the Pro launched and flew higher than any ball on test. Seriously good performance from a company that doesn't spend a penny on player endorsements.
There's absolutely no doubt in our minds Vice are a premium tour-level ball. It's inescapable how closely matched this balls is to mainstream tour balls, yet the price is so different.
TaylorMade TP5 / TP5x
We say: TaylorMade have pulled off a masterstroke with the TP5 and TP5x, as they've simplified the choice between them to a level club- golfers can harness. They say to make your selection based on the feel you desire. If you like softer go for TP5; if you prefer firmer go TP5x.
The majority of TaylorMade's tour staff (including DJ and Rory) have gone TP5x, which can be explained by them wanting to be as far down the fairway as possible. As high swing speed players they generate lots of spin anyway so they don't necessarily need a ball to generate spin for them.
When we invited eight readers to be fitted for their TP5s and then trial them over numerous rounds, their feedback was unanimous – it's long off the tee, holds its line in the wind and spins on short shots. "I've blindly played the Pro V1x for years," said one TG reader, "but the TP5x performs better."
Readers’ Choice: Top 3 Makes
TG SHORTLISTED GOLF BALL MAKES
|TaylorMade Project (a)||£39.99|
|Titleist Tour Soft||£27.99|
|Srixon Z-STAR / Z-STAR XV||£45|