Today is the day we’ve all, well, at least some of us, have been waiting for. Callaway’s Epic Metalwood lineup is official. It’s go time.
There won’t be a lot of gray area on this one. The Epic Driver will either prove to be the greatest performance breakthrough since the USGA put a limit on CT, or it will be the single biggest disappointment in recent memory.
Forget nuance; it’s Epic performance or Epic fail.
Unfortunately, we can’t yet give you any real indication of which it is.
The matter of fact reality is that Callaway chose to go in a different direction with respect to the media outlets it provided with early access to information and product samples. This isn’t a unique situation. I don’t think it’s any secret that with increasing regularity, manufacturers are choosing to disseminate information via media partners (I despise that phrase) that can be counted on to stay on message.
Call it a business decision.
As you know, Callaway has declined to send Epic samples for Most Wanted Testing. The official reason stems around Epic as a fitting platform, rather than a run of the mill, off-the-rack offering. For whatever it’s worth, this isn’t much different than the reason PXG gave us for not participating as well.
The result is that we will have to wait to try Epic just like you. Regardless, the Epic line will be included in Most Wanted Testing (which will begin as soon as we can get them). So, until we can give the line a proper test, here are the significant bits from the Callaway press kit.
Great Big Bertha Epic Driver
Jailbreak Technology – The reason for all of the hype, Callaway claims Jailbreak fundamentally changes the way the head and face behave at impact. At the heart of Jailbreak are two parallel 3-gram titanium bars that directly connect the crown and the sole.
The bars reduce the amount of crown and sole deflection which allows the face to take on more of the load at impact. As you’d expect, the result is more ball speed across a larger portion of the face.
Callaway is putting the number at 2 MPH, which while substantial, is a bit less than some of the early numbers we’ve seen kicked around. Just yesterday, somebody claimed Rory McIlroy picked up 8MPH. Now that’s insane.
Exo-cage with Triaxial Carbon Crown – First seen in the Big Bertha Fusion driver, Exo-cage construction trickles up the line while serving the same purpose; saving weight. Callaway is putting the weight of the crown at 9.7g and the carbon fiber sole panels at 5.8g.
Increased Shot Shape Control – Callaway’s adjustable perimeter weighting provides greater shape correction due to a redesigned track and a heavier (now 17g) sliding weight. Callaway is claiming 21 yards of change, which is a 22% increase over the Great Big Bertha.
Speed-Step Crown – I think I’m supposed to mention Boeing here. You know the story, aerodynamic features on the crown reduce club drag and increase head speed.
Of the two new Epic drivers, this will likely launch higher and be more forgiving than Sub Zero.
Great Big Bertha Epic Sub Zero
Callaway is describing Epic Sub Zero as a true paradigm shift; a contention I’m fairly certain we can’t quantify on a launch monitor. Regardless, the story is a powerful, low-spinning, Tour-level driver that’s also incredibly forgiving. Don’t let the Tour thing scare you; Callaway believes a wide-range of players will want to play Sub Zero.
As you’d expect, there’s plenty of overlap with the standard Epic Driver. Epic Sub Zero offers Jailbreak Technology, Exo-cage/Triaxial crown construction (10g crown, 7.4g sole panels), and unlike the previous Sub-Zero, a speed-step crown, which as you may have heard, was developed in partnership with Boeing.
Sub Zero does away with the weight track and instead leverages swappable weights (12g and 2g) to adjust spin rates. Robot testing puts the number at 200 RPM. Your actual mileage may vary.
Most intriguing perhaps is that Callaway is touting the forgiveness of the MOI (calling it its most forgiving Tour-level driver ever), and has uncharacteristically given us enough info to come up with some reasonable estimates about where it fits.
The numbers Callaway is tossing around are 43% higher than Big Bertha 816 (based on CAD measurements) and 22% higher than the TaylorMade M1. If we assume M1 in the neutral position, that would put the comparative forgiveness of the Sub Zero in the general ballpark of the PING G LSTec. That’s solid company.
The total package makes for an intriguing driver, which, quite honestly, I can’t wait to get my hands on.
Pricing and Availability
Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic Drivers will retail for $499. Retail availability begins 1/27/2017.
Stock Shafts include:
- Diamana Greenboard (45g)
- HZRDUS (56g)
- Fujikura Pro (63g)
- Aldila Rogue MAX (70g)
GBB Epic Fairway
Let’s cut right to the chase; the Epic fairway doesn’t offer Jailbreak technology. Who else is disappointed?
The big selling point is the inclusion of a triaxial carbon crown (5.8g), which reduces crown weight by 78% compared to steel. As per usual, that extra weight is strategically reallocated low and back in the head. Easy to hit and plenty forgiving. You know the drill.
Distance increases (whatever they may be) can be attributed to the fourth-generation Hyper Speed Face Cup, and the Epic Fairway’s Speed-Step crown.
Loft options are expansive, ranging from a 14° strong 3-Wood to a 20.5° Heavenwood (It’s back!).
GBB Epic Sub Zero Fairway
As with the drivers, there’s plenty of carryover technology between the standard and Sub Zero models. The Sub Zero features a Triaxial carbon fiber crown, a Hyper Speed Face Cup, and a Speed Step crown.
Your Sub Zero bonus feature is the inclusion of interchangeable weights (22g and 3g), which can be swapped to alter launch conditions. For those of you who like numbers, Callaway is putting your spin change at 250 RPM, but again, individual mileage will vary.
While we don’t know how low, with the weight in the forward position, Sub Zero offers the lowest center of gravity of any Callaway fairway wood currently on the market.
Pricing and Availability
Callaway Big Bertha Epic and Big Bertha Epic Sub Zero fairways will retail for $279. Availability begins 1/27/2017.
Stock shaft options in the standard model include Project X HZRDUS, Fujikura Pro, Diamana M+ Green and Rogue MAX.
The stock shaft in the Sub Zero is Aldila’s Rogue MAX.
Will Epic Live Up to the Hype?
Without question, this is the most exciting driver release I’ve covered since I started at MyGolfSpy. The implications if the hype is real are truly paradigm shifting. The harsh reality, however, is that there is an abundance of products that have failed to live up to the hype surrounding them. As we’re fond of saying around here, it’s all bullshit until it isn’t. The same goes for Epic.