Optimizing the golf ball for different swing speeds isn’t anything new. Bridgestone has been doing it at the Tour level for a few years now. The B330 and B330-S is for guys with Tour level swing speeds, the RX and RXS balls are for guys who don’t quite hit tour level swing speed.
The difference is that Bridgestone has focused their efforts (or at least the marketing of those efforts) around the idea of core compression (slower swing speed guys can’t compress a regular tour ball), whereas Callaway’s new approach is focused on the aerodynamic properties of the ball.
To that end, Callaway has classified golfers into 3 distinct groups (or Regimes…see what they did there?), sorted by swing speed. Each regime has a ball specifically designed to optimize aerodynamics within a particular speed range.
Technically, the ranges (the regimes) are tied to ball speed, but for the most part you can use ball speed to extrapolate swing speed, and the reality is that while most golfers don’t know how much ball speed they produce with the driver, most have a pretty good idea how fast they swing the club.
Within each Speed Regime the ball is optimized for drag (the force that occurs as the ball leaves the club face – drag occurs in the initial stages of ball flight) and lift (what keeps the ball in the air as it descends). Understanding the basics of lift and drag are essential to understanding the differences in the 3 different Speed Regime golf balls.
- 4-Piece Construction
- Softest cover in the Speed Regime series
- Optimized for swing speeds of 90MPH and below (135MPH and under ball speed), SR 1 will offer the best fit for senior golfers, women, and anybody else who doesn’t break the 90 MPH barrier.
- Muli-layer, dual core construction with DURASPIN (Callaway’s new soft cover material) Urethane cover.
- The aerodynamics of the Speed Regime 1 are optimized to maximize lift at lower swing speeds. Basically, SR 1 is designed to keep the ball in the air longer.
- Unlike other balls designed for lower swing speed players (Titleist Velocity, for example), Callaway says slower swing speed players no longer have to sacrifice feel for distance.
- 5-Piece Construction
- Soft cover
- Optimized for swing speeds of 90-105MPH (ball speeds from 135-155 or so), SR 2 will benefit a sizeable number of amateurs as well as LPGA players.
- Well-balanced golf ball offering reduced drag for stable, penetrating ball flight and additional lift as ball begins its descent.
- 5-Piece Construction
- Soft cover, excellent short game spin.
- Optimized for swing speeds of 105MPH and above (160 MPH+ ball speed), SR 3 is the ball most of Callaway’s PGA Tour staff is expected to play.
- Aerodynamics are designed to reduce drag and produce a lower, more boring trajectory, and ultimately more distance for the higher swing speed player.
Speed Regime Comparison
Beyond the specs, Callaway is saying that the new balls are softer than their previous tour offerings (they’re not as clicky). The Speed Regime 3, while the firmest of the 3, reportedly has a very similar feel to last season’s HEX Chrome +.
The combination of a soft cover and soft outer core, which is common to all 3 balls in the Speed Regime lineup, offers outstanding control and high spin around the green…at least so says Callaway.
The 1 Million Pound Gorilla
Our own surveys results suggest that while consumers believe Callaway makes a good ball, more than 60% of you told us that Titleist makes a superior ball. Getting over that hump is tough for Callaway…it’s tough for everybody not making the Pro V1.
If you’re going to take a shot with a new ball, you do it during an off year for Titleist (there won’t be a new Pro V1 in 2014), which is why Callaway, TaylorMade, Nike, and presumably Bridgestone will all be rolling out new versions of their flagship balls in 2014.
I can promise you this; everybody (Callaway included) believes they make a better ball.
The question is this: In a market (the golf ball) where there is a clear leader (Titleist OWNs the ball category and PWNS the competition), and no clear 2nd; can anybody else in the industry make enough noise with the golf ball to convince some of that 60+% that somebody other than Titleist is making the best ball in golf, or that somebody else is even making a ball worth trying.
Can they make you believe their ball is better?
That’s a tough sell, and a tour ball for a sub-90 swing speed guy, that’s an even tougher sell, but here’s the thing, the golf ball matters. The right ball can absolutely lower your scores. Even if you can’t tell the difference, there is a difference.
You’ll never see it if you keep blindly pulling that same box of balls off the shelf year after year. Finding the right ball for YOU takes some experimentation. It takes trial and error.
Are you willing to invest the time and effort (and money), or will you continue to perpetuation the mythology of the #1 ball in golf?
Are you willing to try Callaway’s new Speed Regime?
Pricing and Availability
Retail price for all 3 balls in the Speed Regime lineup is $47.99/dozen. Speed Regime is expected to hit store shelves in January.