What's new? How much does it cost? And how does it perform? Steve Carroll has everything you need to know about the new Callaway ERC Soft golf ball

A new level of complete performance. So say Callaway about their ERC Soft golf ball as they look to combine long distance with a soft feel. But does it do what it says in the marketing campaign? Let’s see how this year’s model fares.

Callaway ERC Soft golf ball review: NCG Summary

Callaway ERC Soft golf ball review

Callaway’s latest ERC Soft golf ball is designed to be optimised for maximum distance and great greenside control. But poor technique and ball striking limited the benefits in my testing session.


  • Triple Track Dagger means alignment remains a doddle.
  • Lack of roll may suit players who want a high, stopping, ball with their irons.
  • Consistent feel around the greens promotes a more positive strike.


  • It didn’t feel very forgiving for me following some poor striking.

Callaway ERC Golf Balls

Now: £34
Callaway ERC Soft golf ball review

Check out the best deals on the Callaway ERC Golf Balls

First Impressions

Callaway have been busy with their latest version of the ERC Soft. The renowned equipment giant says a new GRIP Urethane Coating System provides more greenside spin, while the equally new HyperElastic SoftFast core “increases ball speed, while maintaining soft feel through the bag”.

Callaway ERC Soft golf ball review

How is that done? The spin is achieved through “high-elongation paint” and the core is optimised for faster driver speed.

Add in a Hybrid Cover that combines maximised distance from high launch and low spin and a High Speed Mantle which “creates more efficient energy transfer between the layers for more ball speed and provides more wedge spin around the green” and you’ve got a lot of technology combined with a lot of promises.

NCG Review

Firstly, you need to understand the variables of testing balls as an 11 handicapper. The way I swing the club, and the impact I create, varies with every shot and can skew the data. I worked hard to try and put together a consistent set of numbers that would accurately reflect what I might produce out on the course. But I’m human and sometimes I hit it badly.

That said, there is no way around the numbers. I did not hit this ball particularly well with driver in hand. The numbers were better than the Supersoft but still down on what I’d expect to see out on the course.

Some of this was definitely a matter of technique – I felt like I wasn’t swinging very well at this stage.

Callaway ERC Soft golf ball review

I’m pretty low spinning with the driver, so I was surprised to see this average out at 3,600rpm. I’d normally be a good 600 less or more with the big stick (again down to technique).

Driving is my Achilles heel. I’m not a confident striker off the tee and poor performance here almost always leads to a poor day of scoring for me, but I have to say I didn’t feel the ERC Soft was the most forgiving ball when I got things wrong.

That poor striking continued into the irons – with some very variable distances in the carry totals as I struggled with contact.

Now, you might look at those spin numbers and say they’re probably what you’d expect to see with a 7-iron.

But they are very high for me and, as a result, I felt like the ball was just dropping out of the sky. That might be exactly what you’d hope to see from a mid to short-iron approach to the green, and I’d agree with you.

Callaway ERC Soft golf ball review

My game is built around a certain amount of roll on landing, though, and which masks the fact I’m a pretty short hitter. No one would be claiming 137-yard carry with a 7-iron is long.

So while that average number is exactly what I’d expect to see on the course, I reckon I’d have to recalibrate my overall distances to put this ball into play. Little roll would mean clubbing up, and who wants to do that?

On the flip side, if that’s what you are looking for in your shots to the putting surface, and you’ve got more in hand in terms of how far you hit your irons, that lack of roll might be perfect.

Another exhibition of poor hitting arrived with the wedge. I just couldn’t find any consistency in my yardages at all and look at those spin rates – was I hitting wedge or driver? If they weren’t thin they were fat and it’s hard to draw too much from the data as a result.

When I did occasionally hit it properly, the ERC Soft felt a little on the hard side, with a clicky sound from the face, and I preferred the Supersoft from the same position.

Callaway ERC Soft golf ball review

You’ve got to love the ERC Soft ball around the putting surface and on the greens, though. There was good, consistent, roll out from the fringe, and the Triple Track Dagger remains an absolute winner.

Alignment really is a doddle with this and those big bold lines – not to mention the fact there are three of them – makes a really simple task to get the ball pointing exactly where you want to.

That done, you do get a little surge of confidence that it’s going to set off on target and that you’re going to have a decent chance of making the putt. It is a huge plus and it sets Callaway’s balls apart from their competitors.

It felt a little harder off the putter face than some of its rivals and, especially on long putts, you might want to hit it a little bit harder to be confident you’re going to get the distance right. I felt, though, that it promoted a positive stroke and, for most mid to high handicappers, getting it past the hole is not a bad thing in the slightest.

The feel is consistent, and on the occasions you do mis-hit a putt you know about it right away. I personally prefer that sort of feedback rather than questioning why the ball hasn’t travelled the distance I expected.

Greenside there are a lot of positives for the ERC Soft ball and the Triple Track Dagger is a compelling reason to put it in your bag.

Callaway ERC Soft golf ball review: The Details

Available: Now.

RRP: £34

Callaway ERC Golf Balls

Now: £34
Callaway ERC Soft golf ball review

Check out the best deals on the Callaway ERC Golf Balls

How do we test golf balls?

At National Club Golfer, we are passionate about producing accurate and thorough reviews and make sure our testing process is rigorous so we get a good understanding of how each club performs.

We headed to Woodhall Spa Golf Club to allow us to collect launch monitor data with our in-house TrackMan and Flightscope. We tested each golf ball on the putting surface and around the greens before collecting data on 50-yard pitch shots, with a 7-iron and with a driver.

What to consider when buying a new golf ball?


Golf ball feel is a personal preference. Different balls on the market will feel softer or firmer depending on their compression and structure. It is crucial to test balls when putting, chipping and hitting long game shots to check you like the performance across all areas.


How far you want to hit the golf ball is a crucial consideration when picking a brand and model. Getting the right compression relative to your swing speed and strike will help you get the maximum distance out of a golf ball. You also need to consider if getting maximum distance is important to you or if you would rather give up some yardage to gain in other areas.


Generally, lower handicappers are looking for a ball that spins more so they can get more control around the greens. In this case, getting a ball with a urethane cover is really important as it will give you the most spin and control.


Not everyone wants to spend £50 a dozen on golf balls. When picking the right golf ball for you, you should consider how much you want to spend relative to what performance you want.

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Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. Steve is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2 3-Wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Hybrids: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Irons: TaylorMade Stealth 5-A Wedge Wedges: TaylorMade Hi-Toe 54 and 58 Putter: Sik Sho Ball: TaylorMade TP5

Handicap: 11.3

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