The weather forecast made it quite clear that this week’s rendez-vous of the Chilworth seniors was not going to happen, so I decided to make up for that the preceding afternoon by going out for a dampish trek around the back nine (the front half still being shut due to waterlogging). And, just to make things more interesting, I thought I would try out the new Calllaway Supersoft golf balls I had laid my hands on a few days before.
Now Callaway seem to be targeting the golfer with a slower swing speed with this one, promising that elusive combination of more distance and feel around the greens. The average amateur swing speed is said to be around 80 to 90 mph: I am probably at the top end of that range, and my distances through the bag are certainly at the upper end of the male averages according to the various tables I have seen online, but I have always favoured a soft feel in my golf balls. My current ball of choice is the (2013) Titleist DT Solo, but I have previously enjoyed the Srixon Soft Feel and, indeed, the Srixon Lady for a 3-ball sleeve. Anyhow, it was a brand new Callaway Supersoft that accompanied me over the nine holes on a damp, cool and breezy afternoon.
The fact that I started with three straight pars might have been a good sign, and indeed the five pars over nine holes that I ended up with, but the two bogeys and two disasters that went with them are proof that no ball can by itself make you more play more consistent golf. However, I would agree with the claims of greater distance, as I seemed to gain up to around ten yards, or the best part of a club, on most shots, as compared with the DT Solo.
Off the tee and when struck with an iron, the ball certainly lived up to its name, feeling so soft that it left virtually no feel at all off the clubface, which I must admit I found a little strange and rather disconcerting at times. It was very easy to get it up in the air, and the Supersoft seemed to encourage a high ball flight, although I tend to hit it pretty high much of the time anyway. Playing in to the green saw the ball check well, two shots with the 60° lob wedge stopping particularly nicely, but the wet and heavy greens made any proper judgement of this fairly meaningless. The final tee shot was particularly impressive, the Supersoft just floating off the face of the 3 wood and travelling as straight and certainly longer than I have hit a drive in a very long time.
Over the closing holes I doubled up and played with both a Supersoft and a DT Solo, trying to get a sense of which ball played better, and on balance I probably felt that the Callaway was the winner. Until, that is, I reached the green. For on that surface, and off the face of the Scotty Cameron, the Supersoft didn’t feel soft, it just felt dead compared with the rather more lively DT Solo. I spent quite a bit of time taking putts – long, medium and short – with both balls, and I have to report better distance judgement and greater accuracy with the DT Solo. Now that just might be a question of familiarity, and, given time, I might feel more at home with that aspect of the Supersoft’s performance, but for the time being it leads me to reserve judgement on whether or not it will become my new favourite ball.
Another trial is needed, I suspect, so when the rain clouds next clear temporarily ……..