Callaway Golf's Great Big Bertha Epic driver line has piqued a lot of interest going into 2017, promising a, well, Epic change in driver head design that, the company believes, unlocks dramatic benefits for the player.
The company now has officially announced the GBB Epic and GBB Epic SubZero drivers, giving more details on the specs and technology behind the driver.
The story behind both drivers starts with the concept of Jailbreak technology. Jailbreak technology is two, 3-gram titanium rods behind the face of the driver that connect the crown and the sole of the club's titanium Exo Cage (basically, drivers will have more of a frame base to which pieces, like the face, crown and sole will be affixed). The idea is that these rods stiffen the crown and sole so that the move less at impact, allowing the face to flex more to deliver more energy to the ball at impact. The company is claiming that they're see an increase of 2 mph in ball speed.
The other big story with both drivers is the further use of carbon fiber material -- Callaway's is called Triaxial Carbon -- in the design. Callaway brought carbon fiber into the sole of the Epic line, utilizing it now for more than half of the drivers' construction. This is the path we're going down, and Callaway and TaylorMade are leading the way in using the material.
All told, these features also improve the forgiveness of the driver, with Callaway measuring the moment of inertia factor in the 8,000 range on the GBB Epic, which is approximately 3,000 higher than TaylorMade claims with their 2017 M2. On the Sub Zero driver, the company claims an MOI rating in the 8,500 range.
Of course, there's OptiFit adjustability on the hosel to dial in loft and lie angle. The Speed Step remains on the crown for aerodynamic performance.
The GBB Epic and GBB Epic Sub Zero have some significant differences in their design, too.
GBB Epic driver
The Epic driver has a sliding weight track in the back that's shorter and lower than the Great Big Bertha driver, which this replaces. However, there's a meatier 17-gram weight, so there isn't a trade off in a smaller track. That's a different direction than TaylorMade, which lengthened its track for the 2017 M1.
The Epic is designed to encourage a draw, even in a neutral setting, using its weighting properties. That might be awkward for natural draw hitters, but that's why there's an adjustability setting there.
GBB Epic Sub Zero driver
The GBB Epic Sub Zero driver is intended to be a distance driver, using two weights (12 grams and 2 grams) to let players either move the center of gravity forward for more yards or back for more forgiveness, which is somewhat surprising for a deep-faced driver. In fact, Callaway says the driver has 40 percent higher MOI protection than the Big Bertha 816.
Moving weight forward can be a gamble. It kills spin, yes, but it reduces forgiveness and can create wider dispersion.
The Callaway Golf GBB Epic and GBB Epic Sub Zero drivers will each cost $499 and be available Jan. 27 in any of four stock shafts: Project X HZRDS Green, MRC Diamana Greenboard, Fujikura Pro Green and Aldila Rogue Max.
Callaway also has corresponding fairway wood lines for the Epic and Epic Sub Zero. Neither feature -- nor should they -- Jailbreak technology. However, both have the similar use of Triaxial carbon, the Speed Step and OptiFit adjustability. Both also feature fourth-gen Hyper Speed Face Cup.
The big difference here is that the GBB Epic Sub Zero fairway woods have the adjustable weighting on the sole to change launch conditions and spin, with a 22-gram and a 3-gram weight to move. The Sub Zero also has a shape more appealing to better players while increasing MOI through design that pushes weight back.
The GBB Epic Sub Zero fairway woods are available Jan. 27, 2017 with a stock Aldila Rogue Max shaft. The GBB Epic fairway woods are also available Jan. 27 in 3-plus, 3-, 5-, 7-, 9-wood and Heavenwood options with a choice of four stock shafts: Project X HZRDUS, Fujikura Pro, Diamana M+ Green and Aldila Rogue Max.