Okay, I’ll admit it, when it comes to golf balls, I’m a Titleist guy. Even though I play Callaway irons and a Callaway driver, they’ve never produced a golf ball that I really liked (the original Rule 35’s Red & Blue aside). So when I was asked to test out the new Callaway Hex Black, I was already a little biased.
Well I recently spent a week of vacation and headed down with the old man to play some golf in the Canadian Rockies (highly recommended if you get a chance). We were in the Kimberley area, and played courses like Bootleg Gap, Trickle Creek, Shadow Mountain, and a recently Golf Digest featured course called Wildstone. Like most mountain golf, there were plenty of rocks, trees, sand and the occasional fairway to take its toll on the golf ball. I was playing pretty well considering this was only the fourth round of the year, and gave this ball a true test – one ball, for 36 holes. Here’s what I found…
The Callaway Hex Black Tour golf ball features a combination of six points of performance to make this ball Callaway’s most highly engineered ball ever. From enhanced durability, superior greenside spin, fantastic distance and stability to soft spin and consistent distance control. The cover is made of proprietary urethane with Callaway’s classic hex grooves. The ball’s innards are comprised of different grades of Surlyn ionomers that help produce this balls fantastic ball speed.
The Callaway Hex Black felt really similar to my usual Pro V1x, if anything, I noticed a slightly firmer feel at impact. Especially on the greens, the Pro V1x feels/sounds softer than the Callaway – and much to my surprise, I quite like this firmer feel around the greens. Well struck irons and woods felt great, and I could really feel the ball pop off the face. Overall, Callaway made a great feeling golf ball.
If there was one key differentiator between this ball than my staple, the ProV1, it was in the control department. While I have always loved the control with the Titleist, at times I can find its performance to be unpredictable around the greens. Depending on contact you can really nip it and it will bite, and other times it will run out. With the Callaway Hex black, the ball performed much more consistently. Around the greens the ball was very reliable, with a couple hops, bite and then roll out.
My swing is pretty steep into the ball and I tend to hit a pretty high ball flight with my irons. On occasion with the Pro-V1, I can spin the ball back quite a bit. I noticed a significant difference with the Callaway ball – upon landing it took one hop and stopped. Even hitting to a green on a pretty severe slope, the backspin was kept to a minimum. Hop and stop performance, was a much added asset.
While playing Trickle Creek, I nailed a cartpath (x2) from a pretty steep angle, and I was impressed to see the Callaway ball held up nicely, with very few marks, and little scuffing. I was ready to write this post – exclaiming that Callaway had done it – they had built a cartpath resistant golf ball. But then, I played Wildstone and was unlucky enough to hit my share of cartpaths, and this time from shallower angles, and with both a Pro V1x and the Hex Black. The results? As one would expect – nasty scuffs. Did one ball hold up better than the other? I’ll let you make the decision based on the pictures at right.
Cartpaths aside, I did play one Hex Black ball for 36 holes, and as you can see (in the first picture), it held up surprisingly well. This ball saw its fair share of trees, sand, and dirty clubs along the way too. I can’t remember the last time I played a Pro V1 for 36 straight holes, which doesn’t necessarily say anything about the balls durability, but my ability to keep a ball in play. Anyway – Callaway’s new Hex Black ball gained a place in bag this season.
Distance & Stability
I’ve always hit a pretty long ball, but to be perfectly honest, testing distance on mountain courses is incredibly difficult. From the never ending elevation changes, to the fact that you’re hitting the ball in really thin air, it’s hard to give the ball a fair test in this department. I will say, even taking into account the elevation changes and the thin air, I air mailed a couple of greens before I got my distance dialed in. In terms of in-flight stability, I was impressed at how straight the Callaway Hex flew. I was gunning at pins with my irons and getting some real good chances at birdies (making a couple too). Almost holed out at Wildstone on the par 3 12th hole – hitting my 8-iron to about a foot from 160 yards away. It’s kind of hard to attribute accuracy to a golf ball (maybe that’s my ego talking), but I felt like I was making good swings, and the ball was holding the line well. I’d suggest you give the ball a try and make your own decision.
In summation, Callaway has produced an exceptional golf ball that will likely take some market share away from Titleist. I highly recommend giving this ball a shot, and assure you, you won’t be disappointed.