Callaway Golf has been at the forefront of AI-led driver design for several cycles now. They believe they employ machine learning and virtual prototyping better and more fully than their competition.
Naturally, then, the next step for Callaway in designing drivers is to the AI handle more of the workload. That's the story with their 2021 line of Epic Speed, Epic Max and Epic Max LS drivers.
These are the first drivers to feature an AI-designed successor to the Jailbreak structural bars that fortified the connection between the crown and the sole. The new product is called the Jailbreak AI Speed Frame. The era of two bars has ended, and it's been replaced by a piece of titanium that looks a little like an old-timey window frame. The goal, though, is the same: deliver stiffness side-to-side and up-and-down to absorb energy at impact, help the face flex more and get more energy back to the ball at the moment of truth.
The new Speed Frame is featured in three aforementioned models. One of them, the Epic Max LS, is a new take on a low-spin model that's not quite the Sub Zero driver we've been accustomed to seeing in prior years.
The Epic Speed, though, is the leader and is going to fit the most people. The cyclone-style head design from Mavrik carries through here, and as the name implies, it's the fastest of the lot. Callaway looks to build speed not through crown shaping but rather in the reverse, with an aggressive curvature to the sole that joins a flatter crown. Callaway has improved the head design in Epic Speed, generating somewhere in the area of another 1 mph in clubhead speed for the average golfer. A mild draw bias will help most golfers.
The Epic Speed also has the most forward center-of-gravity position of the trio, which both kills spin and also allows for high baller speeds. Callaway says golfers should expect forgiveness to be addeed via the overall design to more than make up for the reduction in spin off the tee.
The Epic Speed is available in 9-, 10.5- and 12-degree models with the Project X Cypher and HZRDUS Smoke IM10 as stock shaft offerings.
Consistent with competitors who use the Max moniker, the Epic Max driver is the model with the highest moment of inertia. It's the most forgiving. We're not talking top-of-the-charts forgiveness here, though. It's relative but ample. Callaway leads with speed and delivers enough forgiveness to make the juice worth the squeeze.
Unlike the Epic Speed, the Epic Max has a weight track that can help dial in shot-shape bias. The 17-gram weight on the track can account for 16 yards of side-to-side shaping.
The Epic Max is available in 9-, 10.5- and 12-degree models with the Project X Cypher and HZRDUS Smoke IM10 as stock shaft offerings.
Epic Max LS
The Epic Max LS is a bit of a new concept for Callaway. As the name implies, it's a direct cousin of the Epic Max, and it's lower spinning -- hence the LS. If you want a more forgiving driver that can kill spin, this is probably your holy grail. A lot of golfers need to lower their spin but can't comfortably play a forward-CG driver.
Conceptually, this fits more people -- more skilled players -- than those who would have been interested in the old Sub Zero models.
The driver has a neutral profile, which better players want. There's a 13-gram weight in a weight track to dial in shot-shape bias. It's not supposed to emphasize any particular design principal so much as give the golfer a sound product that they can use to fit their needs.
The Epic Max LS is available in 9- and 10.5-degree models with the Mitsubishi MMT as the stock shaft offering.
All three models are available Feb. 18 at retail for $530 each.
Epic Speed and Epic Max fairway woods
Augmenting the three driver models is a pair of fairway wood models, the Epic Speed and Epic Max. They're designed to deliver maximum distance within their category, so to speak. The Epic Speed is faster, while the Epic Max is more forgiving.
How ball speed is built in the fairway woods, though, is different compared to the driver. The Speed Frame isn't part of these, but rather the stiffening system is called Jailbreak Velocity Blades. The blades are narrower compared to the original Jailbreak bars and they sit further apart and at a bit of an angle. The thought is the blades will allow for more space for the face to flex, delivering higher ball speeds, while creating more space to actually offer more forgiveness on side-to-side strikes.
As we've seen irons get individual attention in how they're designed -- not only for loft but for function -- we haven't always seen that in fairway woods. We get that here with these models, with unique face cups in each. After all, a 3-wood does different things for most golfers than a 7-wood. Why design them similarly?
As you'd imagine, the Epic Speed is more for a good player than the Epic Max, has a more forward center of gravity and has a smaller overall profile, but still represents MOI improvement over the Mavrik cousins. The Epic Max has a front and back weight to dial in center-of-gravity position and a shallower face.
The Epic Speed is available in three stock shafts: Project X Cypher, HZRDUS Smoke IM 10 and Mitsubishi MMT (70g – X). The Epic Max has the same shafts available, but the Mitsubishi MMT is not an option.
Both models are available Feb. 18 at retail for $300 each.