ClubTest First Look: Callaway’s Epic Speed, Epic Max and Epic Max LS metalwoods

Epic and Epic Flash will go down as two of Callaway’s most impactful driver creations — and that’s saying something when you look at the company’s impressive resume with the longest club in the bag.

The one-two punch of Jailbreak and a supercomputer-designed “Flash Face” not only took Callaway’s drivers to new heights, it opened the door for new groundbreaking fairway wood and iron designs featuring similar technologies.

When you have two of the hottest tech creations in the industry, what do you do for an encore? If you’re Callaway, you let the supercomputer rip and come up with something that takes it over the top. In this case, the end result is an audacious Jailbreak AI Speed Frame design — created with the help of Artificial Intelligence — that makes its debut on the new Epic Speed, Epic Max and Epic Max LS drivers.

If you’ll recall, the original Jailbreak design was comprised of a pair of 3-gram titanium bars connecting the sole and crown that stiffened the body for a more efficient transfer of energy across a larger area of the face at impact. Instead of simply focusing on vertical stiffness, the supercomputer came up with a design that added two additional contact points in the sole and crown for horizontal stiffness as well.

“We were definitely looking to add stiffness in vertical direction again,” said Dr. Alan Hocknell, Callaway’s VP of Research and Development. “But we also wanted to see if we could get rotational and torsional stiffness. Doing so helps improve the stiffness of the body and makes energy exist in the face, in the direction of impact, for a broader range of impact locations.”

Callaway’s Epic Speed driver.

Jonathan Wall

All three drivers feature the new Jailbreak AI Speed Frame design and Flash Face SS21 architecture, but they’re geared for specific player preferences.

Epic Speed (9, 10.5 and 12 degrees) is designed around the speed-inducing Cyclone Aero shape found on the Mavrik driver that’s highlighted by a raised crown, shorter body and lifted sole to eliminate unwanted drag. Where the drivers differ is in the MOI department. With Triaxial carbon covering a large portion of the crown and toe, designers netted over 16 grams of discretionary weight that was returned to the head to increase launch and improve forgiveness. An additional carbon toe patch — located in the sole — adds a slight draw bias to the head while saving weight at the same time.

The slightly deeper Epic Max (9, 10.5 and 12 degrees) offers a better aero package than the Mavrik Max with a 17-gram adjustable perimeter weight track to dial in ball flight. According to Callaway, the weight track provides up to 20 yards of shot shape correction, along with a noticeable uptick in overall forgiveness. The additional weight situated in the back of the head — the Triaxial carbon netted 19 grams of discretionary weight — also ensures golfers won’t have any trouble launching it high with a slight draw bias.

Callaway’s Epic Max driver.

Jonathan Wall

Replacing the Sub Zero model in the lineup is the Epic Max LS (9 and 10.5 degrees) — only it’s a completely new configuration. With fewer players opting for low spin driver heads, Callaway used feedback from its tour staff to create the Epic Max LS.

“The pursuit of ultra-low spin is not really one of the major objectives here,” said Hocknell. “Yes, it’s lower spin than some of the other models like the Max, but not super low spin. This driver is actually derived from tour feedback. They’re not really searching for the lowest possible spin anymore. They’re playing golf with spin rates around 2,600-2,700 RPMs. This driver is designed to do that with neutral characteristics.”

Callaway’s Epic Max LS driver.

Jonathan Wall

With an MOI above 8,400 — due to a deep center of gravity location — Epic Max LS is the most fade bias product in the lineup, a trait that’s sure to appeal to the better player. The 13-gram weight in the sliding track and OptiFit hosel provides 13 yards of shot shape movement to fine-tune flight.

While the new Jailbreak system in the driver is sure to garner the most interest, it’s actually not the only club getting a complete makeover. The Epic Speed and Epic Max fairway woods also received Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades that stiffen the structure in an effort to generate efficient speed.

Callaway’s Epic Speed fairway wood.

Jonathan Wall

“We have a different design problem than we do with the drivers,” Hocknell said. “The materials are different. The face is a lot shallower. And we have a face cup in the fairway wood. We also have more low impact locations on the face. Add it all up and it stands to reason that we’d have a different solution when we try to optimize the stiffness of the head and make the most out of the face cup performance.”

The internal blades are wider apart to allow the face cup to flex more effectively, particularly on the hinge areas at the face-crown and face-sole radius. A slight incline also allows for some horizontal and torsional stiffness for an improved energy transfer. Forged C300 maraging steel delivers strength and flexibility to a face cup design that’s constructed to optimize speed and spin consistency across the entire structure.

Callaway’s Epic Max fairway wood.

Jonathan Wall

The forward CG location on the Epic Speed (13.5, 15, 16.5, 18 and 21 degrees), combined with a new leading-edge design, promotes a strong ball flight with less spin than the previous Mavrik model.

The oversized head and shallow face of Epic Max (13.5, 15, 18, 20, 21, 23 and 25 degrees) is made for a wider handicap range with a higher launch and more draw bias compared to the Speed. Although the launch is higher, it can be lowered with two adjustable sole weights (2 and 14 grams). Depending on where they’re located (front or back) in the sole, launch and spin can be altered with the turn of a wrench.

Callaway’s entire Epic ’21 lineup with be available Feb. 18 and retails for $529.99 (driver) and $299.99 (fairway wood) with a myriad of stock shaft options.

Want to overhaul your own bag for 2021? Visit the expert fitters at our sister company, True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, make sure to check out our recent Fully Equipped podcast in the Spotify link below.

generic profile image

Jonathan Wall

Golf.com

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour.