Your read that headline right. Earlier this week, Callaway (and the USGA) put another NINE Mavrik heads on the conforming clubs list. That’s nine in addition to what was already there.
Let’s count together
- Mavrik (Version 2) – one diamond
- Mavrik (Version 2) (LH) – one diamond
- Mavrik 440 (LH)
- Mavrik Max (Tour)
- Mavrik Max (Version 1)
- Mavrik Max (Version 2) – one diamond
- Mavrik Sub Zero (Tour)
- Mavrik Sub Zero (Version 2) – one diamond
- Mavrik Sub Zero (Version 2) (LH) – one diamond
Some of you may be fired up, but I’m going to ask everyone to chill out for just a minute and not just think rationally but to think about the future.
Obviously, there’s some redundancy here with the left-handed stuff, and anything with a diamond stamped on the hosel isn’t likely to see a retail shelf soon either.
The same is probably true for anything with Tour or Version 2 in the name. That left-handed 440 – that’s almost certainly intended for a specific guy.
That leaves us with Mavrik Max as the one that’s likely to be relevant to you and me…at least in the short term. The reasonable assumption here is that MAX will have the same meaning it does in the PING lineup – and based on some leaked photos, the same is probably true for TaylorMade as well.
It appears that Max now has an industry-wide agreed upon spec.
Bottom line, Mavrik Max is likely to join the nondescript Mavrik and Mavrik Sub Zero in a trio of retail offerings.
Breaking it down, what we’ve seen so far suggests Mavrik is for the middle of the bell curve. Sub Zero will be for the better player, or the guy trying to kill spin. Max will serve the guy looking for increased (MAXimum) consistency, forgiveness, or whatever your preferred word for balls go to the same place (give or take) happens to be.
The Future of Driver Customization?
14 (the total number of Mavriks currently on the USGA List) would be absurd, but three models is perfectly reasonable (and manageable for the retail guys). But what’s the deal with the others?
The answer comes down to Callaway’s AI-drive Flash Face Technology. “This [AI] allows us to have essentially bespoke drivers in the purest sense,” says Sean Toulon, SVP at Callaway (and GM of OGIO).
The implication here is that, like everybody else’s, each of Callaway’s retail offerings are designed to fit a type of player, but through the power of AI, it has a growing capability to design for a specific player. The heads in this new and seemingly excessive basket of tour stuff may each be designed to fit one or maybe two players. They may look nearly the same, but there’s more to the individual heads than meets the eye.
“The differences in each of the heads is pretty significantly different in that we totally redesign the face (ai) depending on the mass properties of the head,” says Toulon. As Callaway continues to learn and its super-computers continue to eat inputs and spit out answers, some of what the company learns from tour pros could make its way to you and I…someday…maybe.
“We will have more designs on tour and decide over time we want to commercialize more of them, says Toulon. We have a lot more R&D capabilities now than ever before and are therefore capable of solving in ways that we could before. AI is fueling that. It’s honestly awesome and has a long runway.”
Let’s hope the plane doesn’t crash or skid off that runway before any of this matters.
It’s safe to assume it’s a long way off, but we could reach the point where customizing your Callaway driver will go far beyond choosing some paint colors. A few generations from now, tools might exist to fit golfers into the right combination of not just head and shaft, but also face.
It makes sense, but is it achievable?