Choosing a ball was once a straightforward exercise. Skilled players trended toward high-spin Tour caliber models. Weekend warriors went the two-piece distance route. The times they have a-changed. Better materials and boatloads of R&D — which includes mixing and matching covers and layers of varying hardness with cores in a dizzying array of sizes — have accelerated golf ball design at Ferrari-like speed. Selecting the best one for your game, as a result, isn’t as black and white as it once was. One example: choosing between Callaway’s flagship Tour model, the Chrome Soft ($45/doz.) and its low compression, distance-oriented cousin, the Supersoft ($22/doz.). “Manufacturers now have the ability to make a ball very soft without compromising its speed,” says Jason Finley, Callaway Global Director, Brand Management, Golf Balls. “A ball like Supersoft — with its soft ionomer cover and an extremely low compression — is very low-spinning on long shots, delivering big-time distance and a straighter flight, but due to the soft cover, can still provide solid greenside performance.“ Sounds like a Tour model, no? Actually, the solid greenside performance Finley mentions applies only if your game is based on hitting less-demanding short-game shots. In other words: square-face pitches and basic bunker blasts. An ionomer cover will never spin as much as one made of urethane on wedge shots. But it will give some players more distance off the driver. “As long as your swing speed isn’t in the triple digits,” Finley adds. The Chrome Soft is a low-compression four-piece ball with a Graphene Dual Fast Core and urethane cover. The use of graphene (light and strong material) allows for a larger, softer inner core and a smaller outer core. The result: a hefty dose of spin separation.