Along with the debut of the two new Callaway Golf GBB Epic drivers, the GBB Epic and GBB Epic Sub Zero fairway woods have also been announced.
While they do not feature the Jailbreak or Exo Cage technology of the drivers, they still benefit from several key upgrades versus the previous generation, the BB Alpha 816 and GBB fairway woods.
The crown of both GBB Epic fairway woods is made up of the same Triaxial Carbon material found on the drivers. The weight of the crown is only 5.8 grams (a comparable steel crown is approximately 27 grams), allow for more discretionary weight to be added to the club, which will help lower the center of gravity. The crown on both also has the same 3D printed Speed Step tech as the drivers, allowing the head to have better aerodynamic qualities.
In the GBB Epic Sub Zero fairway woods, the two interchangeable sole weights are now 3 grams and 22 grams, up a total of 6 grams from the version it replaces. Ball flight and spin can be modified by simply changing the weights.
The fairway woods have the latest generation of Callaway's Hyper Speed Cup Face technology. The upgraded face allows for more uniform rebound after impact, leading to an increase in ball speed. The face on the Sub Zero version has full scoring lines, with the regular model having a groove design similar to that of the drivers.
The dual-cog adapter has been carried forward in both models, allowing for 3 degree changes (down 1, up 2) in loft and face angle.
There are several stock shaft options available for the GBB Epic fairway woods, including the Aldila Rogue Max 75 (R and S flex) and 85 (X Flex). Also available at no additional upcharge are the Fujikura Pro Green 72 (R, S and X flex), Project X HZRDUS T800 (light, R and S flex) and MRC Diamana M+ Green 40 and 50 series (women's, light, R and S flex).
The GBB Epic fairway woods comes in lofts of 14 (167cc), 15 (177cc), 18 (156cc), 20.5 (166cc), 21 (146cc) and 24 (136cc) degrees. The length of the 14 and 15 degree models are 43 inches, working down to a length of 41.5 inches for the 24-degree model. The lie angle of the 14-degree head is 55 degrees, with the 24-degree version at 59 degrees.
The GBB Epic Sub Zero fairway wood stock shaft options include the Fujikura Pro Green 62 (R and S flex) and 72 (R, S and X flex), as well as the Aldila Rogue Max 65 (R, S flex), 75 (R, S flex) and 85 (X flex). The available lofts are 13.5 (172 cc), 15 (163cc) and 18 (155cc) degrees with lie angles 0.5 degrees flatter then the Epic.
Testing the Callaway Golf GBB Epic and GBB Epic Sub Zero fairway woods
When I hit both models, what struck me the most was the increased effectiveness of the interchangeable weights in the GBB Epic Sub Zero version compared to the BB Alpha 816. The combination of the lighter crown and increased mass of the sole weights made the club play VERY differently. I had a difficult time getting the ball airborne in the standard 13.5 loft with the 22-gram weight in the front position. With the same weight in the back, there were no issues elevating the ball at all.
It should be noted that by changing the loft settings on the hosel adapter, along with the weights, many ball flights can be achieved. Even though the lie angle sits 1 degree lower than the Titleist 917 series, I didn't feel it contributed to making the club more fade bias. Just as in the GBB Epic Sub Zero Driver, replacement weights can found to help change swing weight or further modify the ball flight.
From an address perspective, I really like how both framed the ball. The look wasn't intimidating, and, compared to the drivers, the Speed Step looked in place immediately. For those who do not prefer having a club with the extra features, the regular Sub Zero would fit the bill. Despite not having the lower, movable center of gravity, the club has no issues launching the ball nor does it spin excessively.
While fairway woods haven't seen the same technological leaps that the drivers have, they still have improved the previous models and made them more aesthetically pleasing in the process.
Both models are priced at $279 and the fairways, along with the drivers, will hit store shelves Jan. 27, 2017.