Review: Callaway Tour I(s) and I(z) Golf Balls

Spin and Long
If I had to describe each of the new I series golf balls in one word, I would say that the I(s) is “spin”, while the I(z) is “long”.
First of all Callaway has been using the unique “Hex” dimple pattern for years.  I have always liked these dimples because these balls always seems to be least affected by the wind.  Now I don’t play in Chicago or on the British Isles where the wind is always howling, but I hate to hit a great shot and watch my ball trail off its intended line because of the wind.  There is nothing better than “Hex” dimples for the wind.  The “Hex” dimples have been used for a few generations now.  In 2010 Callaway introduced the newest line up, the I(s) and the I(z).
I’ll start with the I(z).  I got a substantial amount of time in with this one and found little to nothing to complain about.  I found it longer than the 2009 I(x) and as long as if not longer than any other ball on the market.  The I(z) is a mid to low launch ball that seems to just go and go.  It was long without feeling harsh off the driver.  Iron shots were also longer and straighter.  When it came to wedges they were not super spinners, but still very adequate.  I still have not moved over to professional conforming grooves (because I don’t have to or want to) so my wedges were able to put more than ample spin on these golf balls.  It felt just a touch softer than the I(x) off the putter.  This was one of the couple of improvements I noticed over previous versions.  I liked the feel better with the I(z) and thought that the color was a little brighter.  I always complained that previous I series golf balls looks so dingy and dirty after just a few holes, these stayed a little brighter white throughout the round.

The I(s) is a real soft spinner.  It has a higher launch and higher spin off the driver.  Irons were a ¼ club shorter and wedges were spinning off the charts.  I hit one wedge and sucked the back off the green almost 20 yards.  Again with non-conforming super groove wedges, the I(s) spun as much as any premium ball I have ever played.  So if you have moved to the lesser grooves, these might be a great benefit in the spin category.  These too stayed brighter white than previous models.  The other big area of improvement with the I(s) is the improved feeling in general, especially off the putter.  This is a super soft putting ball.  I liked it much better than previous Callaway balls.

To me the I(s) and I(z) took previous versions of the I series and moved them further apart.  More spin in the I(s) and more distance in the I(z).  I think that the I(z) will be a favorite of many top players, while the I(s) will appeal to those who like the softer, spinnier balls(or those who might need them).

As far as the cover durability, I think it is pretty similar to past Callaway tour balls.  I would put them up near the top of my list for durability, yet super aggressive grooves will still leave their mark.

I think Callaway designed better golf balls for 2010 and the I(z) might find a home in my golf bag.

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