It’s not exactly one of those too good to pass up Cyber Monday deal, but it’s nonetheless exciting (maybe) that Callaway’s upcoming Mavrik drivers (and fairway woods) have found their way to the USGA’s conforming clubs list. Folks, we’re in the home stretch of 2019 and rolling towards the 2020 PGA Show. That means its Release Szn, so expect plenty more where this came from.
Callaway’s Two Metalwood Families
You’ve probably heard me say it a few times by now, but I’ll say it again: Despite the reality that there’s almost always a new one on the shelves each season, most manufacturers are actually on +/- 2-year release cycles with their metalwoods (drivers, fairways, and hybrids). Some take an Apple iPhone approach where every other year, there’s the equivalent of an ‘S’ model. Groundbreaking technology is minimal, and typically what you get are subtle feature enhancements over the previous model. If you bought the one that came before it, you probably don’t need the new one.
Callaway, for its part in all of this, has shifted to a two-family approach to solving the challenging of keeping it new while giving yourself enough time to actually develop a fundamentally different product by offering up two distinct product lines on alternating 2-year cycles.
I suppose you can think of it as the modernization of its previous XHot vs. Razor/Bertha. The primary difference is that while XHot was positioned as a more affordable option, neither the Epic and Rogue/Mavrik lines offer XHot’s budget-friendly price point. Callaway sees itself as a premium brand, and the starting point for .premium these days is above $500.
A quick aside…giving the naming convention at play here, my thesaurus tells me we can look forward to the Callaway Rapscallion, Scalawag, and Scoundrel drivers in 2022, 2024, and 2026, respectively. Synonyms are fun. I digress.
Epic vs. Mavrik
To be clear, when we’re talking about Mavrik, we’re talking about something akin to a Rogue 2.0…or perhaps a Rogue Flash type of driver. To understand what that means, we need to briefly discuss how the families are alike and how they’re different.
The first thing you need to understand is that Callaway isn’t likely to make its key technology exclusive to one family or the other. Jailbreak Technology is visible on the Mavrik sole, and it’s not a stretch to believe that the AI-drive Flash Face technology is going to carry on either. These are Callaway signature technologies – and that means they’re going to be part of every driver Callaway produces right up until they’re rendered obsolete by new Callaway signature technology.
So if the key tech is the same, how are Epic and Rogue different? The primary differences boil down to shape and weight.
Shape – Epic line, for the most part, is traditionally shaped. One could argue its more likely to appeal to the traditionalist. While, as far as we know, all of the models will be 460cc, Rogue, by comparison, had a larger address footprint, most notably, it was more elongated from face to sole – like a stretched out Epic. The USGA photos suggest that could be true with Mavrik as well.
Weights – The most apparent difference in the platforms can be found in Callaway’s use of weight. Epic (original SZ notwithstanding) is a track weight platform. The movable weight slides around the perimeter and is designed for shot shape correction (draw or fade bias).
The standard Mavrik, like the standard Rogue, features a fixed rear weight port, which, we assume, can be used for swing weight adjustment. The Mavik Sub Zero (like Rogue Sub Zero) features movable front and rear weights. Similar to Cobra’s SPEEDZONE, the purpose of swappable front/back weights is to tune trajectory – heavy weight forward for a flatter trajectory with less spin, heavy weight back for a higher trajectory, a bit more spin, and increased forgiveness.
Both Mavrik designs feature Optifit hosel adjustability.
As you would expect, a pair of fairway woods complement the Mavrik lineup. The standard model offers a fixed rear weight, while the Sub Zero offers trajectory turning front back weights. It’s a reasonable assumption that the standard model will be better suited for average golfers, particularly those who need a little help getting fairway woods in the air.
The Sub Zero will offer a more forward center of gravity. Again, that means a more penetrating trajectory with lower spin. Typically these types of fairway woods are billed as more workable relative to the standard models.
Finally, it’s worth a brief mention that brands typically put clubs on the USGA list so their tour staff can put them into play. Products that aren’t designed for tour pros often don’t get listed until closer to retail dates, so it’s at least possible the Mavrik family could grow before all is said and done.
More details expected soon.