What is Phil’s New Ball All About?
Phil Mickelson is on a roll in 2019. The 48-year-old has already bagged a win this year, a T2 and he’s hit every fairway in one round for the first time in his career. He’s also rising through the Strokes Gained Putting stats and his three putt avoidance numbers have shot up – and that’s all down to his radical new ball.
If you look closely on TV when he’s putting, Phil’s Callaway Chrome Soft ball has three lines on it. It’s called “Triple Track Technology”, and it’s based on the same idea that helps pilots land on aircraft carriers, known as “vernier acuity”.
According to Carl Bassi, a Ph.D. professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry, vernier acuity refers to the ability of the brain to process subtle differences in alignment detected in the eyes.
He told Golf Digest that by having the right kind of multiple reference points (like a centre line flanked by two parallel lines), the brain perceives the straightness of aim better. It’s a technology used in gun sights and the landing strips on aircraft carriers.
“Your ability to discern small levels of discontinuity or levels of change in a signal is 20 times greater than just the optics of the eyeball itself,” said Alan Hocknell, Callaway’s senior VP of R&D. “That’s the kind of phenomenon being used here.”
Bassi tested the idea by embedding a laser in a golf ball and compared the aiming accuracy of three lines versus one alignment line found on many golf balls. His testing revealed a 12% improvement in accuracy for the three-lined ball on a 10-foot putt.
It’s not just three random lines, either. Their colour, width and spacing is crucial – in Callaway’s case, a wide red centre line is flanked by thinner blue lines.
Mickelson is using a specially made version of the Chrome Soft X ball with lines added just for him, but Triple Track Technology does feature on Callaway’s new-for-2019 ERC ball.
How you can try Triple Track Technology
We couldn’t advise you to get out the Sharpies and try to recreate Phil’s lines on your own ball! But if you want to try the idea that’s working so well for Mickelson, pop down to your pro shop and pick up a dozen Callaway ERC Soft balls.
Named after the company’s founder, Ely Reeves Callaway, they says this is the longest ball in their 2019 line-up, but still offers lots of spin and control around the green.
How? A graphene dual-soft fast core, which is similar to the core in the Chrome Soft, in a new “Hybrid Cover” of multiple materials that offers speed.
The most visible change though is that “Triple Track Technology” – three lines on the ball that has the same visual cues used to land planes on aircraft carriers.