Callaway EPIC review – distance, accuracy or both? By now I am sure you have heard all of the claims that the EPIC and EPIC Sub Zero are re-writing the books on driver and fairway wood performance. The Jailbreak technology that anchors the crown and sole of the club is the first of this technology to hit the market. But, does it work?
We have a testing team that has put both the EPIC and EPIC Sub Zero driver through its paces. Since our team has gone through our fitting process and have actually been “optimized” in terms of driver performance, we knew that this would be the ultimate test. Using shafts that are the same as their “gamer” or very close, we tested their existing drivers with the new EPIC and EPIC Sub Zero.
Our testers run the gamut from 80 to 115 mph swing speed, negative to positive attack angles, inside-out to outside-in swing paths and 1 to 13 handicap. This makes our fittings challenging to get exactly the right shaft to optimize performance. So, we either used the exact same shaft in our testing as our testers had in their gamers, or a shaft with very similar profile (weight, tip stiffness, mid and butt stiffness, and flex). All tests were done indoors with our TrackMan ball flight monitor and the ball the golfer typically plays. So here is what we found out.
Distance: The EPIC and EPIC Sub Zero gained 3 to 15 yards over the testers gamers in 7 of 9 tests. Two testers had their existing driver actually perform better than the EPIC or EPIC Sub Zero. The Sub Zero won the distance challenge in 5 of those 7 tests. The main reason for that is that the EPIC Sub Zero had lower spin and created more roll. Ball speeds and “smash factors” were only slightly better than the gamers. The drivers that beat the EPIC and EPIC Sub Zero? A TaylorMade M1 2016 and a Ping G30 LS TEC, two of the other hot clubs we tested in 2016.
Accuracy: Here is where the rubber meets the road. For every one of our testers, the EPIC or EPIC Sub Zero had tighter shot dispersion. In some cases, the results were pretty dramatic. One tester hit his gamer +/- 45 feet from target with his gamer but +/- 6 feet with the EPIC. And that was at 260 yards!
Consistency: Again, the EPIC and EPIC Sub Zero gave the most consistent results in terms of centeredness of face contact, attack angle, and shot direction.
Now we did not do any testing against other 2017 drivers in this test, just the clubs that our testers had been fit with in the last two years. That will come in future tests.
On the “soft side” of the fitting, 8 out of 9 of our testers liked the appearance of the EPIC drivers. Only one golfer liked the matte black finish of his existing driver a little better. For one tester, the white/black of his existing M1 was more appealing. Sound of the EPIC drivers was appealing…nice and solid, not “tinny”. While feel has a lot to do with the actual shaft in the club, every one of our testers liked the feel of the new EPIC and EPIC Sub Zero.
So, the hype of the “highest MOI”, i.e. most forgiving driver is actually real. The only way you get that type of accuracy and consistency is with a very high MOI (extreme forgiveness) head. The EPIC and EPIC SubZero have virtually identical MOI ratings and the results bore that out in our testing.
So what should you do? If you have not been fit in over 3 years, you owe it to yourself to check out the new EPIC drivers. You may not pick up more distance but the consistency you get may make up for it. After all, hitting 12 out of 14 fairways is a good thing, right?