I started playing the Callaway Warbird golf balls in the mid-2000s as a young buck and loved them for their affordability and distance.
I’ve dabbled with the latest releases from time to time and watched how the ball has evolved yet maintained key characteristics like its 2-piece structure and low-spinning design.
In this review, I give you my thoughts and findings on the 2023 release to see if the feel is as impressive as Callaway suggests. I’ll also discuss its high-launching design, explosive ball speed, and lower greenside spin.
Table of Contents
- What I Like About The Callaway Warbird
- What I Dislike About The Callaway Warbird
- Overall Rating and Thoughts
The Warbird is a classic 2-piece distance golf ball built to maximize speed and limit spin off the tee. It comprises an extra-large high-energy core and an optimized ionomer cover which accelerate ball velocity and restrict spin revolutions on high-impact shots.
Extra-Large High Energy Core
An extra-large high-energy core powers the Warbird, and despite its moderately high score, I found it highly compressible. The compressibility of the golf ball helped me boost energy transfer at contact leading to a consistently elevated launch.
In addition, the rapid rebound off the clubface restricted spin and accelerated ball zip, aiding my long-game carry distance.
Optimized Ionomer Cover
Callaway optimized the ionomer on the Warbird in an effort to improve greenside feel, but did they achieve it? I find they achieved minor improvements over the 2021 edition regarding softening the feel. However, despite the enhancements, I still feel it is a hard ball and will not sit well with superior players seeking wedge spin and feedback.
While its short game performance was less than flattering, it made up for it with my woods and long irons. The cover contains spin and minimizes ball speed drop-off to produce consistent energy transfer, launch, and yards.
Callaway engineers stuck to the famed Hex aerodynamics dimple pattern, which was efficient as always. It combatted drag as the ball left my clubface, helping me produce a towering launch. Once the ball was airborne, it was untouchable, as my carry distance off the tee proved it.
I typically carry a driver 230 to 235 yards and averaged 237 with the Warbird. This reminded me of why I loved the ball as a youngster. Achieving additional carry on my undulated home course was advantageous. Catching the best slope would cause your ball to run handsomely and leave you within reach of a par 5 in 2.
Although the alignment arrow will not assist your speed, flight, and distance, it is handy for optimizing your aim. I predominantly use it for putts to ensure the center of my putter face is pointing on my intended line.
You can also use it for assistance on tee shots if you are concerned that you are aiming too far right or left of the target.
Unlike the Callaway Supersoft, which is available in a host of optical-friendly colors, the Warbird is only offered in the customary yellow and white. As a traditionalist, I prefer the tour white finish. However, I found the yellow warbirds incredibly easy to follow in flight, and the ball stood out like a sore thumb in the rough.
I wasn’t surprised to find the Warbird golf balls for an attractive price, just shy of $20 for a box. For that price, you do not feel overly disappointed when you slice one out of bounds or hit one in the drink.
Besides making themselves attractive to wayward-hitting beginners, I see them as a suitable option for the budget seeker.
Probably the second significant downside of the Warbird is its rock-hard feel. I’m sorry Callaway, I acknowledge the improvement in softening the cover over previous iterations, but it still feels firm off the clubface.
I’m not whining about the Warbird and expecting a tour-level performance from a budget ball. I just don’t think it is as soft as the manufacturer makes out. If I wanted a soft distance ball from Callaway, I would stick with the hybrid cover on the Supersoft.
As you may expect from a stiff golf ball, it sounds clicky off the clubface and is far from a pleasant experience. However, the sound didn’t impact the outcome of my shots, I simply prefer more harmonic acoustics. But again, it is an economical distance ball, and you get what you pay for.
Callaway places the compression score of the Warbird at around 90, which is moderately high. In most cases, higher compression golf balls demand the swing speed of Kyle Berkshire to maximize energy transfer, boost speed and minimize spin.
That theory was blown out of the water by the Warbird, as even my moderate clubhead speed managed to send the ball consistently airborne. This gifted me with excellent ball speed and impressive long-game carry distance.
I feel the extra-large high-energy core added to the ease of contact, imparting rapid speed and low spin on the golf ball for optimal launch, flight, and carry distance.
In my experience, the 2023 edition of the Warbird delivered low spin across the board. Of course, I welcomed this quality off the tee and on long approach shots, but my mood changed around the green. The firm cover struggled to generate meaningful friction with my wedge grooves, delivering significantly less friction.
Naturally, the lack of spin impacted my control on chip shots and the ability for my ball to check. Instead, I needed to give the ball a few extra feet to run out. I feel this is not a significant issue for the average golfer, who still lacks precision around the green.
A high-spinning tour ball will not help your performance any more than the entry-level Warbirds may.
As a distance ball, you hope it delivers impressive yardage on every long shot, and it does. In my case, it offered an additional 2 yards on top of my average driving carry distance, leading to a total of 237 yards.
My distance was made possible by the low-spinning, explosive high-energy core and spin-busting ionomer cover. The combination saw my ball spring off the clubface on high-impact strikes and sail into the air, aided by the optimal drag resistance of the Hex Aerodynamics.
Besides the added carry distance, the firmness of the Warbird propelled it to keep rolling after landing, gaining me an additional 23 yards on average. Therefore, I enjoyed an average total distance of 260 yards with the Warbird.
Launch and Flight
Despite an almost 90 compression score, I found the ball easy to compress at contact, prompting increased velocity and restricting spin. The outcome was optimal rebound off the clubface, resulting in a towering powerful launch.
Once my ball left the clubface, the Hex Aerodynamics dimple pattern got to work and began warding off drag during lift-off. The Warbird provided stability without erratic deviations in flight.
The minimal spin revolutions on the golf ball restricted the damage of a slice but didn’t completely eradicate the unpleasant shot shape. However, overall the flight was consistent, high, and long.
Although the Warbird produced limited greenside spin, I found the landing on short irons and full wedge shots rather tame. The ball only rolled out a couple of yards before coming to a halt. This stemmed from the steeper descent angle engineered by its elevated ball flight.
What I Like About The Callaway Warbird
Low Driver Spin
At optimal levels, I generate 2500 to 2700 rpm backspin with a big stick in hand, and the Warbird smashed that ceiling. It lowered my revolutions to 2300 rpm, helping me retain ball velocity for a high powerful launch. However, it still did not spin as low as the Callaway Chrome Soft X LS, which delivered 2200 rpm.
I also noticed the benefit of the low spin design on my shot shape, as it minimized deviation in flight, marginally lowering the damage of a slice.
Despite the stiff nature of the golf ball and its elevated compression core, it was surprisingly easy to compress with my moderate clubhead speed. I managed to spin off the golf ball, preserve my velocity, and consistently get it airborne.
The highly compressible extra-large high-energy core is a welcome gift for slow to moderate-swing-speed golfers struggling to consistently get their ball airborne.
High Ball Flight
Thanks to the compressible core, low spin, and rapid speed, I found myself producing a mountainous degree of launch and corresponding trajectory. It was easy to launch this golf ball, despite my moderately slow swing speed, and I enjoyed the carry distance this prompted.
Once again, the enhanced trajectory sits well with slow to moderate swing speeds, searching for a reliable partner. You do not need the swing speed of Kyle Berkshire to enjoy pleasant flight and carry yardage. Strike the ball smoothly and watch it take off.
What’s not to love about the entry-level price tag of the Callaway Warbird. I managed to snatch up 2 dozen balls for less than the cost of a dozen Chrome Soft Xs. Their affordability makes them a value-for-money option for beginners or mid-handicappers on a strict budget.
Losing a budget Warbird never feels as gut-wrenching as slicing a new Chrome Soft out of bounds at $4.17 a pop. Based on today’s exchange rate, I paid $19.99 for a dozen, but that may vary between retailers.
What I Dislike About The Callaway Warbird
Minimal Greenside Spin
My admiration for the Warbird began to fade as I reached the green. However, through my experience with its predecessors, my expectations were low. It has never been a ball that delivers many revolutions around the dancefloor, and the 2023 edition is no different.
Despite Callaway engineers doing their best to soften up the cover and improve greenside performance, it’s a far cry from the level demanded by low handicappers. I couldn’t get my ball to check on chip shots, but I just had to adjust my landing spot to allow the golf ball to run up to the cup.
Since most high handicappers deliver inconsistent distance control, I don’t think the lack of spin makes a significant difference. However, golfers that have their wedges dialed and demand precision will be disappointed with its lack of dancefloor revolutions.
I recommend considering the Callaway Chrome Soft X if you desire enhanced short-game spin and control.
Rock Hard Feel
Its rock-hard feel is my next least favorite feature, as it feels firm and sounds clicky off the clubface, providing limited feedback. I especially disliked the stiffness of the ball with my putter, making it incredibly difficult to identify where the ball struck the putter face.
Although feel isn’t a train smash for beginners or weekend warriors, it is for superior golfers who are serious about feedback and a delicate feel. If you prefer softer-feeling golf balls with enhanced feedback, the Chrome Soft is worth tinkering with.
The final gripe I had with the Warbird was the towering launch it delivered compared to the Callaway Superfast. Although it simplified getting the ball airborne, I ballooned a few of my short iron and wedge shots, costing me distance and control on some strikes.
The ballooned strikes were particularly annoying in windy conditions because my ball went nowhere. I eventually solved the challenge by taking an extra club on all shots to ensure a lower launch.
Overall Rating and Thoughts
My Callaway Warbird golf balls review clearly showed that you get what you pay for with this entry-level construction. The 2-piece ball produces explosive speed, minimal spin, and launches consistently high for optimal carry and total distance.
Despite its outstanding long-game performance, the Warbird struggled around the green, battling to produce any meaningful spin. In addition, it was firm and clicky off the clubface, which superior golfers will despise.
However, I feel its affordability, flight stability, and distance are welcome features for beginners, weekend warriors, or serious discount seekers.
Overall Rating: 7.2/10