- The Callaway Epic Max Star driver and fairway woods target “force-limited” golfers.
- The new offerings rely on lightweight design to increase clubhead speed and distance.
- Retail price is $699.99 for the driver and $429.99 for the fairway wood.
As we’ve mentioned before, fall is the season when Callaway typically releases its more, shall we say, “niche” offerings. Just last week, the company launched the APEX UW, the promising—though somewhat unusual— lovechild of a hybrid and a fairway wood. This time around, Callaway is launching the Epic Max Star family—a premium-priced offering that targets “force-limited” golfers.
To be sure, the golf industry loves its candy-coated euphemisms and so, yeah, “force limited” is the sweetest possible way of saying “slow,” but for golfers in the Epic Max Star wheelhouse, money may not be able to buy happiness but it might just buy you some distance.
If you take nothing else away from the story of the Callaway Epic Max Star, all you really need to know is that it’s long, and light, and gold.
That last one won’t be on the test but you can bet the accents are meant to convey that Epic Max Star is a premium or perhaps even ultra-premium product. If for whatever reason the paint doesn’t deliver the desired messaging, the price tag certainly will.
What you get for that is the technology and performance of Callaway’s more mainstream Epic Max drive offerings with some tweaks designed to help the “force limited” among us gain speed.
Epic Max Driver Technology and Benefits
In Callaway’s testing, some golfers gained 3-5 mph of clubhead speed with the Epic Max Star driver. That translates to 5-10 mph of ball speed. Allowing for variation in launch and spin, we’re talking about something in the ballpark of 20 yards potentially on the table. That’s not to say anyone is promising 20 more yards, but if you’re a slower … excuse me, “force-limited” golfer playing a standard weight driver, you’ve likely got the most to gain from the Callaway Epic Max Star.
As far as the technology story is concerned, there’s nothing new or revolutionary here. The Callaway Epic Max Star shares the same Jailbreak AI Speed Frame design as the current green lineup of Callaway drivers. Jailbreak and Speed Frame are all about generating ball speed and while there’s evidence that it works, for the Epic Max Star crowd, the percentage math suggests you won’t get as much out of it as non-force limited golfers.
Your speed is coming from weight savings and shaft length. To that end, the Epic Max Star offers a lightweight triaxial carbon fiber crown. A patch of carbon fiber is used in the toe as well. By subtracting weight from the toe, Callaway can create a bit of draw bias without the need to do anything funky or otherwise unsightly.
Like others in the Epic Max family, the Epic Max Star features adjustable perimeter weighting. At nine grams, the weight is a bit lighter than what you’d find in the mainstream offering but the Star family is all about mass savings so, while you can’t shift the center of gravity as much as you can with the other Epic drivers, it fits well with the larger objective of trimming weight.
Likewise, the Epic Max Star doesn’t offer an adjustable hosel. Callaway’s Optifit hosel is among the heaviest in the industry so, again, given the goal of saving weight, ditching adjustability seems like a sensible decision.
Weight Savings By The Numbers
Breaking down the weight savings, the Epic Max Star is about 52 grams lighter than the standard Epic Max and 11 grams lighter than Callaway’s previous Epic Flash Star. Most of the mass savings come from shaving weight in stuff like the accessory pieces, not the head itself.
By itself, the head weighs 186 grams. That’s 10 to 15 grams lighter than Epic Max. The ultra-premium (Callaway’s words, not mine), UST ATTAS Speed T1100 shaft is only 36 grams. A Winn Dri-Tac Lite grip adds only another 25 grams. That gets you a total weight of around 260vgrams instead of the 312 grams of the Epic Max.
Now is probably the right time to point out that the shaft is 46 inches long. While I wouldn’t recommend that for most golfers, force-limited golfers typically hit the ball reasonably straight so shaft length is a reasonable way to increase speed without creating too much in the way of undesirable spray off the tee.
As noted, the Callaway Epic Max Star driver retails for $699.99. It’s available in 10.5 degrees (RH and LH) and 12 degrees (RH only).
Epic Max Star Fairway Wood
If you understand the approach taken with the Epic Max Star driver, it should be reasonably easy to wrap your head around what’s going on with the namesake fairway wood. It’s an “ultra-premium” (Callaway’s words again), ultra-lightweight take on the standard Epic Max fairway wood.
It also has gold accents, so you know it’s fancy.
The key technology in play is Callaway’s Jailbreak AI Velocity blades. The Velocity blades are placed farther from the center of the face than the original Jailbreak design. It’s a design tweak that allows the face to flex while adding vertical stiffness. Simply put, it’s a more efficient implementation of Jailbreak technology.
Fairway woods are notoriously difficult to hit and so, with the Epic Max Star fairway, the emphasis is on making it easier for force-limited golfers to get the ball in the air and generate more distance. It’s a familiar story, of course, but the lighterweight design should help better accomplish the objective.
Adjustability and Options
The Epic Max Star fairway wood is outfitted with flippable weights to finetune trajectory though, again, the weights are lighter so the impact of adjustment should be relatively minimal. Like the driver (and Callaway’s standard Epic Max fairway wood), the Epic Max Star fairway is not adjustable at the hosel.
What’s perhaps most compelling is the range of loft offerings. Callaway is offering the Epic Max Star in 3- (15°), 5- (18°), 7- (21°) and 9-wood (23°) versions. The 9-wood should be particularly compelling for golfers who struggle to get enough lift out of their long irons and even hybrids.
Epic Max Star fairway woods feature UST ATTAS Speed shafts and Winn Dry-Tac Lite grips.
Retail Price is $429.99
Epic Max Star Availability
The Epic Max Star family of clubs is available for pre-sale beginning Oct. 23. Full retail availability begins Oct. 30. For more information, visit CallawayGolf.com.