Struggling with your alignment? This high-performing golf ball has the answer.
COST: $59.99 (dozen).
TESTED BY: Jimmy Emanuel, Golf Australia Writer (GA Handicap 9.4)
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The most obvious thing about the new ERC Soft from Callaway is the company’s ‘Triple Track Technology’. The three alignment lines borrowed from aircraft carriers are designed to make it easier to align the ball and putter to the hole.
Most golfers already use some sort of line when putting, and the addition of two extra lines and various colours certainly helped me when putting.
Beyond the new alignment technology that Phil Mickelson has incorporated on his Chrome Soft X, the biggest takeaway for mine was the feel. Clearly identified as a model built for distance, the ERC Soft is in no way hard or clicky like some others in this category. And the spin around the greens was very consistent, if not as high, as the Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X.
HOW IT PERFORMED: Testing the ERC Soft during a number of rounds and practise sessions – with the Chrome Soft and Chrome Soft X to compare against – I found consistent differences between the models that while not hugely significant, were enough to understand the addition of another ball to Callaway’s line-up.
The ERC Soft was extremely long.
From the tee, the flight was higher-launching with lower spin that really suited me and consistently managed a few extra metres over the other Callaway models. The feel off the driver was also worth noting, as the difference here was minute ... A major positive given I am big fan of the Chrome Soft range’s feel.
Throughout the bag, I was a little longer with the ERC Soft, once again the reduction in spin seemed to be the root cause behind this. This reduced spin did make the new ball slightly more difficult to work left and right, but proved a great characteristic in the wind, where the ERC Soft was terrific at holding its flight. I particularly enjoyed hitting longer irons and hybrids with the ERC, the high and straight flight a pleasure to look up and see when taking a shorter club off the tee for safety or laying up on a par-5.
Around the greens, the ERC Soft was extremely consistent without reaching the heights of the company’s two premium models. Again, like the feel, the ERC certainly offers more spin and stopping power than a number of distance golf balls, but it wasn’t as much as the top models. This is perhaps due to slightly different cover formulation, which was very durable, and three-piece design as opposed to the four of the Chrome Soft models.
Still, after all my testing, the most noticeable takeaway was the Triple Track alignment lines. Callaway has identified a characteristic that many average golfers will reap an immediate benefit from. Even for someone like myself, who often doesn’t use a line, I found myself using the three lines every time as I didn’t follow my normal tendency to aim the line left from behind the ball.
Overall, the performance of the ERC Soft exceeded my expectations. The new model straddles the line of distance and premium golf balls very well, which should suit a large number of golfers. The distance was certainly one of the most impressive aspects, as was the straight flight ... A combination I am always happy to take in a golf ball.
FACTS AND FIGURES
SUITABILITY: The ERC Soft will suit a wide range of golfers from players looking for added distance to those hoping for similar benefits of a premium ball model at a slightly lower price point.
CALLAWAY SAYS: ERC Soft is an extraordinary achievement: it’s Callaway’s longest golf ball and it’s designed for soft feel, and increased control around the green.
This is an exceptionally high level of performance for a distance ball, and it’s made possible by the ground breaking new ‘Hybrid Cover’. The incredibly soft multi-material cover promotes fast ball speeds for long distance through the bag, and great feel. And around the green it’s engineered to create noticeably higher spin for excellent control, allowing you to play aggressively on approach shots and in your short game.
ERC Soft is loaded with ground-breaking technologies, including the largest graphene-infused Dual SoftFast Core in company history.
The high tech core maximizes compression energy for extremely fast ball speeds, while also promoting low spin off the driver and high launch for longer distance. And new patented Triple Track Technology utilizes ‘Vernier Acuity Precision’ – the same visual technology used to land planes on aircraft carriers. Triple Track Technology helps to improve alignment compared to a regular side stamp alignment aid.
For more information, visit www.callawaygolf.com.au