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Final Reviews: Callaway Epic Speed Driver

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Detailed Ratings

Basic Characteristics
Looks
Miscellaneous
On-Course Performance
Play it or Trade it
Sound & Feel
Testers
Equipment Type: Driver
Vendor: Callaway

Congratulate the Following Testers

Epic Max LS

@DannyDips

@ejgaudette

Epic Speed

@Siamese Moose

@MaxEntropy

 

 

Epic Speed Drivers - View 3

The Epic Max LS was named My Golf Spy's Most Wanted Driver of 2021.  Here's the chance for you to test, review and keep one of these drivers for yourself.  This testing is open to US Residents only. 

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Looks
Sound & Feel
Basic Characteristics
On-Course Performance
Miscellaneous
Play it or Trade it

MyGolfSpy- Callaway Epic Max LS Review

Stage 1 Introduction/Initial Impressions

 

I can’t thank MGS enough for the opportunity to review another product and especially one so coveted as the Callaway Epic Max LS! I was fortunate enough to review and test Bridgestone e12’s back in 2019 (or as we know it the Pre-Covid era…) I guess I didn’t mess that review up enough for them to banish me to the cellar of the forum, so again thank you MyGolfSpy for the opportunity.

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As for myself, I’m a 37-year-old civil engineer from the beautiful Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. I live in what is known as the “Golf Capital of Tennessee”. Crossville, TN is a wonderful place to visit, vacation and play golf as there are several courses with great layouts. I have played golf for almost 30 years now and played all sorts of sports growing up. I was fortunate to play baseball in college at Tennessee Tech University and have spent my after-college competitiveness solely on golf. I have probably improved from a 12 handicap in college to my peak last year of 4.2 GHIN. I’m currently carrying a 5.1 but we had a new addition to my family last summer and its be harder to sneak out and get rounds in for the past 12 months.  
 

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I am blessed with a wonderful garage practice area complete with a SkyTrak, Bridieball Putting green and other various golf improvement tools. So, while the rounds have been slimmer so far this year, I have practiced more than ever. I really feel confident every time I step up to hit the ball and there is never that feeling uncertainty over the ball.

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As for my game, I feel like the strength of my golf game comes from my ability to create speed and distance with the driver and use my wedges to hit greens and give myself opportunities for bridies/pars. Of course, with distance sometimes comes inaccuracy as I often have more “Penalty” strokes in a round than I would prefer due to OB and hazard balls. I’m always looking for increased accuracy and dispersion with the driver and am excited to see how the EPIC Max LS compares to my current Ping G410LST.

In 2018 after reading MGS reviews/tests and taking instruction from a local PING pro I decided to get fitted for the Ping G400. The pro fit me into a PING G400 LST, that eventually cracked and was replaced with a PING G410 Plus that I swapped for a PING G410 LST last fall. I have been super pleased with the change as I’m certainly a golfer that needs to keep his backspin numbers down with the driver. Typically, I carry the driver around 275-280 yards with a swing speed around 110-115. With a strength of my game being my distance, I like to take advantage of it as often as I can on par 5s and be as aggressive as I can reasonably be. My strategy being to hit second shots as close to the green as possible on every par 5.

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Over the past year I have changed ball flight with my driver from someone who has always fought a fade/slice to hitting a more draw bias. It has been challenging but getting to practice whenever I want has been key to making slight adjustments to my swing. I added a new set of irons to my bag as well, playing the new Mizuno JPX-921’s.

But enough about myself, y’all didn’t come here to date my golf game, y’all came for the Bombs, activated calves and the shiny new Callaway Driver!

On June 18th this beauty arrived on my doorstep, it was a bittersweet arrival as Callaway sent a stiff shaft and not X stiff flex shaft that I was fit for.

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The actually fitting was an adventure all itself, as I was notified I had been selected for this test a few days before a 10 day vacation, so I had to drive an hour during the vacation to the closest PGA Superstore to try out shafts and clubhead lofts. Of course, any reason to visit a PGA Superstore is always a plus for any vacation. 

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The fitting was probably one of my worst driving sessions in months but after trying out half a dozen X stiff shafts I settled on the stock MMT 60. The shaft felt extremely similar to the KuroKage shaft that is currently in my Ping G410 driver. After my original driver fitting in 2018, I have come to realize the importance of being fit for the proper shaft, especially for the longest and fastest swinging club in your bag. If I could only be fit for one club in my bag it would certainly be the driver.

The PGA Superstore fitting was also the first opportunity to put the Callaway Epic Max LS against my current gamer. With both clubs having 9 degrees of loft, similar X shafts and weights set to fade bias, my initial impression is this is going to be a very close contest to see which club comes out on top, as the ball speed, backspin and sidespin numbers were all extremely similar.

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When I compare the two drivers’ side by side, I will have to say I’m excited that the Epic Max LS seems to have a smaller profile and slightly larger footprint. The shape reminds me more of the G400 LST I had a few years ago. While I have never been a huge fan of the Callaway chevron for alignment, I also didn’t like the Ping turbulators at first either and have grown to love them.

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Let’s talk about the “Jailbreak Speed Frame” for a moment, as a structural engineer I’m very familiar with how frames work and where they are supposed to reinforce structural members. I can see a benefit to the frame over the two Jailbreak bars to give added reinforcement to the face structure. I think the claim from Callaway is that the reinforcement helps with off-center hits. It makes sense to me that by reinforcing the bottom and crown of the club you are restricting the twisting forces that would be on the clubface during an off-center hit. What I’m not certain of is how much the impact of a golf ball on the clubface puts stress on the bottom and crown of the club. I would think perhaps with the thin metal of the crown and sole it might have added benefit, but we shall see.

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Once the correct shaft arrives (and I’m praying it will be very soon) I’m ready to hit the ground running with testing and comparing the clubs. I’ve got the SkyTrak ready to give me accurate numbers as well as an opportunity to run different tests every day and look closely at ball speed and spin numbers. I’ve also got several upcoming tournaments and practice rounds I’ll be playing in the next few weeks, so I’ll have lots of course experience with the Epic Max LS as well.

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It’s going to take a lot to knock the Ping G410 LST out of my bag. I’ve already shared some screen shots from a round on Father’s Day weekend where the ole Ping was already starting to put up a fight. If the Callaway can do as it claims and keep mishits straighter and can tighten my dispersion, then it will certainly win the spot in the bag. I’ve always been a golfer that makes a decision with a club and sticks with it until the club has become technologically obsolete, so having two drivers only one generation apart to choose from is going to be new ground for me. Hopefully in the coming weeks it will become abundantly clear which one works best for me and my journey will help those of you reading make a decision on what’s right for your game.

I can’t emphasis enough how thankful I am that MGS entrusted this test and review to me and I’ll work hard to pay back that trust.

 

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Final Review

Again, I can’t thank MyGolfSpy and Callaway enough for allowing me to test and review such an amazing product. Due to a mistake in the original club building I have been using the Callaway Epic Max LS for exactly one month. In those four weeks, I’ve played in several tournaments, rounds on the course, driving range sessions and hundreds of balls hit on a Skytrak Launch Monitor. I’ve done my best to test every faucet of the driver in comparison to my current gamer, a Ping G410 LST. I hope these scores, testing data and review gives everyone who reads it a firsthand account of the club and if it would fit their game.

Looks (9 out of 10)

The Callaway Epic Max LS really is a sharp looking club. The shape and glossy black crown of the club are appealing to the eye. The round footprint of the club is classic. The face graphics look tough and give you the impression the sweet spot is huge and covers most of the face, which it feels like sometimes when you hit it off-center.

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I’m not a huge fan of the color scheme, a darker green might have looked sharp next to the gray, white and black. The chevron alignment aid isn’t my favorite either, but I was not a fan of Ping turbulators when I first began playing them. I did mention in the comments earlier that during testing I kept getting the feeling the chevron alignment aid feels slightly on the heel, and I mean millimeters from center but just not quite in the middle. I’m sure it has to do with the actual center of gravity of the entire club, not just the center of the face or where it sets on the crown of the club. 

Overall, the club is very appealing to look at when set up to the ball and really gives the player confidence to make a swing that would result in some serious bombs. I have some very minor issues with the appearance but it’s a very attractive driver.

Sound and Feel (9 out of 10)

The feeling of impact with the Epic Max LS is firm and quieter than the Ping G410 LST. The best thing I can compare it to is the feeling of a hammer hitting a nail versus a tennis racket hitting tennis ball. The G410 LST certainly gives the feeling like it springs the balls off the club face more but from my testing that doesn’t result in faster ball speed or longer carry distance. I rather enjoy the quieter sound at impact, especially when most of my practice comes indoors. I've tried to capture the sound on the following video, you can hear a clear difference. 

Basic Characteristics (20 out of 20)

 

There isn’t a single category that I can think of where the Epic Max LS underperformed the G410 LST. Both had similar trajectory, launch, workability, ball speed. The clear edge going to the Epic Max LS in carry distance, accuracy, and forgiveness. Balls hit off center had a remarkable ability to carry much further than anticipated and curve less. During testing on my Skytrak launch monitor, the Epic had a significantly lower standard deviation (29.1 to 44.4) of shots hit offline from the average yards offline, meaning the dispersion should be tighter.

 

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With extensive testing I can say with a degree of certainty that the Epic Max LS is longer, the caveat being that it’s not significantly longer. Most of the testing showed it carried 1-3 yards longer on similar swings. Ball speed was very similar with slight differences. Off-center hits with the Epic Max LS did seem to create more ball speed than off-center hits with the G410 LST. That may lead to credence that the “Speed Frame” does what it says, providing more ball speed and less side spin than other drivers.

 

On-course/LM Performance (30 out of 30)

 

On the course, I didn’t notice huge differences in performance, I felt like poor swings resulted in poor shots and good swings resulted in good shots. I didn’t find myself longer on the course with the Epic Max LS than the Ping G410 LST but if my Skytrak is telling me it carries 1-3 yards longer, I’m not sure that’s something noticeable on the course. It certainly didn’t change the clubs I hit into greens from what I have in previous rounds.

 

Where I do feel like there is room for the Epic to solidify itself in my bag is with accuracy, shot dispersion and mishits. The G410 LST has never provided the consistency and accuracy I felt like I was getting with my G400 LST. While I haven’t noticed a huge improvement on the course, I have noticed differences on my Skytrak. Ball hits off-center, usually on the toe, come off hot and straight as if they had been squared up. There were at least half a dozen balls I hit that I would assume would carry short and left but instead just kept going with balls speeds over 170 mph and landing very close to where I wanted them. The following screenshots were all on center-toe hits.  

 

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The requirement I put on the Epic Max LS to make it into my bag was that it would tighten my shot dispersion and give me more accuracy off the tee. One of the glaring weakness is my game is the penalty shots my driver costs me each round in hazards or OB. While my distance helps making up some of those shots in a typical round if I can eliminate one or two OB balls each round that would be Epic.

 

Miscellaneous (4 out of 10)

 

There are a few little things that I felt like could have gone better with this test and the Epic Max LS. The most frustrating would have to be a mistake in shipment. Callaway originally sent a stiff shaft instead of the extra stiff shaft I needed for the test. I wasn’t the only tester in which this happened to but for whatever reason I had to wait nearly 5 weeks to receive the replacement shaft that I needed to conduct the test. I can’t complain too much as Callaway did eventually remedy the issue. It just limited the amount of time I was able to test the product properly. Another small issue would have to be the headcover was extremely tight to take on and off the club, which is not a big deal as I've got a sweet white Mizuno headcover I use for my driver. 

 

Play it or Trade it (20 out of 20)

 

Let’s see what club will be donning my white Mizuno head cover drum roll please….

 

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Well, if you’ve been reading along that was anticlimactic. This session about a week ago on my Skytrak is what really cemented it in the bag. 

 

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I will be certainly putting the Epic Max LS into my bag. It was slightly longer than my current driver and provided improved accuracy with both center and off-center hits. I would however probably not go out and buy one if I had a driver one to two generations old. While I feel like it beat my G410 LST in accuracy, it constantly reminded me of the accuracy with my G400 LST and didn’t seem so drastic I would feel the need to purchase one. Of course, I’m a golfer that believes it’s the Indian and not the arrow when it comes to equipment.

 

The Epic Max LS is designed for golfers that create a lot of backspin on the tee and are looking to lower those numbers to maximize their distance and accuracy. Its certainly top notch for this generation of equipment. If you are someone who needs lower spin off the tee and want to replace a driver older than 3 years I would certainly recommend purchasing the Epic Max LS.

 

If I apply these same metrics for my Ping G410 it would score in the mid to upper 80’s due to how much I like that club. In fact, a part of me wanted it to out preform the Epic Max LS for various reasons but I can’t overlook the improvements that I feel the Epic Max LS provides. Its going in my bag and not likely to come out any time soon.

 

Final Score: 92 of 100

 

Again, Thanks MGS for entrusting this test to me and Callaway for providing the equipment for an unbias testing platform. 

 

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  • Like 23
  • Love 5

Location: Golf Capital of Tennessee

 :callaway-small: Epic Max LS 9° Driver, X stiff MMT 60 shaft (MGS Tester)
:ping-small: G410 17° hybrid, X stiff
:taylormade-small:  M1 20.5°  hybrid, X stiff
:mizuno-small:  JPX-921 Tours 4 iron thru PW, Modus 105 X stiff
:mizuno-small:  S18 50°, 56° & 60°
 :bettinardi-1: Single Stock #3 34.5" putter

2019 MSG Forum Tester- Bridgestone e12

2021 Callaway Epic Max LS Driver Test

Link to review
Looks
Sound & Feel
Basic Characteristics
On-Course Performance
Miscellaneous
Play it or Trade it

Introduction

First off thanks to MSG for selecting me as a tester for the Epic Max LS and for Callaway for offering the testing opportunity. I started golfing with my Dad around 12 and played a lot in high school before a lull around college, but now I am back. I have been getting more serious about the game in the past couple years, and as a person who works with data well MSG was a site I really liked.

So… about that golf game. I have been self-taught all this time (code for never 100% sure what I am doing and always working on something) but have backed into a halfway decent game. Putting is probably the strongest part of my game with things getting worse the further back from the green we go. Which of course means driving is the biggest issue. I have always fought a slice and now that I understand the swing more adding too much dynamic loft. This means I am always down to try a new driver to help get that swing into shape.

So, with this test I am looking forward to working with a driver that has a more forward center of gravity to help with dynamic loft and to keep the spin manageable. Of course, Callaway’s biggest driver story has been jailbreak now the AI Speed Frame coupled with the AI Flash Face. To go with this speed Callaway has moved their low spin version in their more forgiving driver shape, now its speed and forgiveness, what’s not to like. To top it off the rear movable weight can affect COG and closure rates of the clubs. What can’t this club do? The real question is does it matter? Well let’s get busy finding out.

Testing Strategy

large.PXL_20210619_011047812.PORTRAIT.jpg.bf287e96bac7e601f86e4cfae97ad9fe.jpgTo that end I want to be transparent about how I am testing the driver on performance. My current gamer is Cobra SZ Extreme at 9° that will serve as the comparison. There is a local location with a GC Quad where I can collect data including head data. So here are they ways I will be testing.

  • Shot Scope for strokes gained data
  • Measured GC Quad performance including
  • Ball speed
  • Spin Rates
  • Dispersion
  • Ball speed retention of off-center hits (I mean I never mishit it)
  • Launch
  • Etc.

I hope to deliver some cool looking charts about this data to make it exciting. I know exciting charts is a bit of an oxymoron but trust me I do that for a living. The overall goals will be if this driver can reduce spin and manage launch without sacrificing dispersions this will be a home run of a test. 

First Impressions

It all started as all these tests do, with a long brown box…

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The only tool for a job like this, the golf swiss army knife,  I knew my Dad gave this to me for a reason 693387372_PXL_20210619_010315338(1).jpg.257f1ae920221c691a537588c8b5ea4a.jpg. Opening this was like Christmas in the summer! The box was very well packed and looked well cared for, and there was a great attention to detail. I also really like the personal card with the specs of your order on it. As my first MSG test I might just have to frame this on and put in in my office 

First impressions are that this club looks absolutely great. With the shiny carbon crown, chev log and small epic and the back of the club head. A nice clean look, with that hint of tech, a nice balance for sure. The sole of the club has a nice color scheme, with the carbon toe section. I really like my choice of the HZRDUS Smoke Black and the Lamkin UTx with green cap, which in all honesty color matching was the main reason for picking that grip. It was a good call large.PXL_20210716_133359629.jpg.4a87e5fffa7f6875105720b76b311770.jpgby me as the club looks sharp. Will it help me hit it better of course no, but I sure will look good slicing it into the woods.

The bottom might be a little busy for some but coming from the Cobra SZ Extreme it looks almost a bit understated by comparison. Speaking of comparisons, the shape is indeed elongated some, that more modern look, and very similar to the SZ Extreme. One change is obviously the Max LS has the weight adjustability which the fiddler in me will probably mover around way too many times.

One tiny negative is that the head cover is currently a bit tough to put on, but I am sure that will get easier as I use it more, which of course will be a lot now. Overall, this is everything I expected and more. I can't wait to get to the range and the course and give this a baby a whirl. And early returns are that if you hit the ball as you intend then yes it does go well off the tee. Stay tuned for more!

 

 

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Final Review - 8/23

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Final Review

Well, it has been a fun summer with the Epic and as my first MSG testing opportunity I have really enjoyed the process. Getting to take a good look at a great new club and compare to my current gamer has been an amazing opportunity. Again, thank you so much to the MSG team and Callaway I am truly grateful. So, lets dive on in and see if the driver lived up to its name…

Looks - 10 out of 10

Right from opening that wonderful big brown box on my door step this driver has looked amazing. I love the simple black top with the carbon starting to show through, simple chev alignment aid is just perfect. I also am a fan of an elongated driver look like the SZ Extreme and the Max LS is in that mold, though makes sense as I still have a soft spot for my old ’07 TM Burner. Then on the sole I really like Callaway’s color choices, as green is a personal favorite. The toe piece is a nice design choice and I think adds some nice pop to the bottom of the club. The sole might seem busy compared to a TSi3 say, but a step down from my Cobra SZ or the Rad Speed so I think it fits in that middle ground. I also enjoyed how the shaft and grip I choose to fit the color way of the driver for one complete package.

Sound and Feel - 8 out of 10

Overall, I have enjoyed both the sound and feel of the club. I have found the sound to be more muted than my Cobra. More like a dull ping, like a cowbell with the end covered say, whereas the Cobra had that high pitch to it that was less pleasant. I still would have preferred a bit more muted on the sound, that duller Taylormade crack that sounds more like a baseball bat, but the Callaway is still very good. Personally, feel is something that I struggle to tell the difference on with many clubs and is not something that would affect how I feel about a club as long as it performs. The Callaway and my Cobra both feel similar with a nice solid feeling, which after camping reminds me of hitting a tent stake into the soft ground, that last strike when you hit the ground and the stake there is a firm feel with some rebound. Solid but with that face flex as the ball takes off, sorry to those that use campers that is the best comparison I got right now.

Basic Characteristics - 19 out of 20

Now to the basics of the club and what I have felt about it. My first swing with the driver was on course and it did not disappointment. A nice low fade to the middle of that fairway. Coming into this test understanding more how I deliver the club I was hoping for a club that could help lower launch and spin, and well the Epic Max LS with their more forward CG did the trick. This driver has definitely brought the launch down, even on my bad swings versus my Cobra. With that has come a more controllable spin as well. When working on a launch monitor, I noticed the immediate effect in my dynamic loft coming down at least a couple degrees to pull that launch down and spin.

I did get to play around with the sliding weight and hosel adjustments which does help control the launch and face closure rate when using the weight. In testing both on the launch monitor and driving range the forgiveness has been exceptional. It has tightened my dispersion and I have found the confidence to hit driver on tighter holes again. Just check out this one range session where the Epic took the Cobra to the cleaners.

Club

Swing Speed

Ball Speed

Total Distance

Fairway %

Epic Max LS

100.8

145

258

70%

SZ Extreme

101.2

137.9

246.3

40%

 

To pair with this forgiveness the distance potential has been really great. Especially in my last GC Quad session, as seen in the images here, the Epic has come alive. When getting the ball position right the Epic just dominated. Getting dynamic loft down to 18, still hitting a few degrees up on it, resulting in low 2000s spin with launch in and around 15 leading to multiple balls carrying 270 and rolling out to just over 290, the final rows of the GC Quad data below. These are numbers I have not seen with my Cobra and I think really speaks to its power. One thing I wanted to include but lost with a failed GC Quad data export was the ball speed on mishits, one of Callaway’s big claims. Though anecdotally the smash factor on off center hits did seem to be a bit better on Callaway, though its tough to say without that data (shakes fist in the air).

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The only small nitpick is that head does seem a bit slow higher on the face, when hitting one higher on the face on course and on the monitor took off a bit more speed that I would have liked, but again a very small issue.

On Course Performance - 28 out of 30

As mentioned previously the first ball on course was my first swings with the club and the Callaway went off out without a hitch. A nice lower fade to center cut and this was a pattern that continued where this club really performed. Even when swinging poorly this club fit me much better. It reduced my curvature left to right and lowered the peak height. Of course, it was not immune to my really bad swings, but keeping that more forgiving shape with the more forward CG feels like it delivered the best of both worlds. On a number of occasions when hitting the SZ Extreme and the Max LS side by side the Callaway was hitting it longer on average and in a much better window almost every time.

The driver really came alive in my last round at Owls Nest where I hit multiple drives over 260 even on a windy day. I hit the driver on a few holes where it might have been a bit silly, and it still delivered. It even helped me play a slightly longer tees than I normally do and still never had more than a 7 iron into any par 4s, which when I normally play these tees there are couple holes with much longer second shots. Really the only reason I took a couple points off is because there have been a few balls that felt like ok hits but then they go much shorter than expected given the feel of strike. Overall, though as seen in the shot scope highlights below this club has delivered. I was only gaining about 0.6 shots against a 5 handicap for the season, but in the rounds with just the Epic I am gaining 1.5 shots off the tee versus a 5 cap, now that’s an improvement. In that final round at Owls Nest, I actually hit it so well I gained 0.62 shots against a scratch golfer off the tee. Now that is Epic!

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Miscellaneous - 7 out of 10

From the packaging to the custom order slip the little extras has been great with the Epic. The only nitpick was that the head cover is a bit hard to put on at first, it’s a tight squeeze for sure. Though I will say I love the look of the headcover itself. I even like the simple headcover wrench as well that was included. Only other points lost, as other have mentioned, was for the shaft issues everyone had, I was the lone lucky one to have the right shaft from the start.

Play It or Trade It - 20 out of 20

Well this should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed along or read this far, but I love this club and it will be staying the bag for sure. The driver has done everything I was looking for it to do. It lowered the launch and brought the spin down even with poor swings. With the SZ it was tough to get the spin below 3000 on even good swings, and with the Epic it does that easily and with the right delivery I can get it spinning around 2100 for some serious distance increase. The movable weight has also helped me swing with confidence to hit a slight fade instead of a slice as well. Though I felt this might be the case when I did True Golf Fit this spring the Epic Max LS was the second-best option for me and the first was a SIM. Both are forward CG, low spin heads which made the SZ Extremes days numbered and well they have come to a close. The Epic is a driver that just works for me and that is priceless it might be $530 but I see no need to change it any time soon so it is worth that investment.

Total – 92 out of 100

I came into this year having gained some speed it felt like my driver and the delivery I was making with it were off. So, I decided to see if I might get to test the new driver from Callaway knowing this driver might fit my new swing better. From swing one this driver has delivered. My spin dropped, my launch dropped, and I started hitting it longer that I had been by about 10 to 20 yards. This trend continued on course and on the launch monitors. Each time I came to put the SZ Extreme up against the Epic Max LS the Cobra just didn’t stack up. Then in my last round with the Epic the result was put beyond a shadow of a doubt with distance and consistency that I have not had for a long time in a driver. So, the winner by knockout is the Epic Max LS.

  • Like 20
  • Love 5

:callaway-small: Epic Max LS 9° Project X HZRDUS Black HAND-CRAFTED Wood Shaft - Spargo Golf Smoke Black 70g 6.5 (2021 Official Review) | :taylormade-small: '07 Burner 15° Reax 50 Stiff 

:titelist-small: 816 H1 18° :Fuji: Speeder HB 8.8 Stiff | :titelist-small: 816 H1 21° Mitsubishi Motors Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Chemical industry Mitsubishi  Rayon Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, mitsubishi, blue, company png |  PNGEgg Diamana S+ Blue 70 Stiff

:mizuno-small: JPX 919 HM Pro  5 - PW  :Fuji:  Pro Tour Spec 115i Stiff | :Hogan: Equalizer 52° / 56° KBS-logo - KZG Tour V 110 Stiff

:cleveland-small:  SOFT 11S Super Stroke Mid-Slim 2.0 | :ping-small: Hoofer Bag | :titelist-small: - Pro V1x | Right Handed

Tracked by :ShotScope:

Link to review
Looks
Sound & Feel
Basic Characteristics
On-Course Performance
Miscellaneous
Play it or Trade it

Callaway Epic Speed Driver – Official MGS Forum Review by Rob Westendorf (Siamese Moose)

Intro

Let me start by thanking MyGolfSpy and Callaway Golf for this wonderful opportunity! I will do my best to live up to everyone's expectations.

I am 61, and currently have a 6.4 handicap. I have been as low as a 2 about a decade ago, but in the last four years really turned into a "senior" golfer. I've been through two back surgeries and a right shoulder A/C joint repair, and have consequently lost about 15 mph on my driver speed, and a lot on my back stamina. Due to these injuries my swing had become a miserable patchwork of compensations and band-aids, and last year I started working again with my old instructor (Steve Nelson, Miles of Golf - Cincinnati) to build a new swing that's easier on my body as well as more effective. The changes are quite large, so I am still working on eliminating years of muscle memory. I don't have a video of my old swing, but it was ugly enough that it would frighten you. My new swing has a medium to medium-quick tempo (down from super quick), and I am still working on slowing it down further, which is where I am getting my best results. My swing speed is 94-95 mph, and I generate very low spin numbers. My driver flight is about medium height, usually very little curvature, often a slight pull. Compared to my friends, driving is one of my strengths. I was fitted last October for a Ping G410 with an Aldila NV2K orange shaft in stiff at 45". I have been very happy with this driver, and it's hard to imagine doing better. We will see! I like being aggressive with the driver. I usually choose tees in the 6400 yard range, and for most local courses that gives me at least one chance to reaching a par 5 in two in most rounds. 

My comments for this review are going to run a couple weeks behind the other testers. I recently suffered a cras h in a bike race, and have a hairline fracture of my T6 vertebrae, and a rather painful contusion on my back. I have started playing again, but I'm not yet swinging freely, so it's hard to make judgements on a driver. For that same reason I don't yet have a video of my driver swing, but I do have this with a hybrid:

I was fitted for the Epic Speed by Eric Hensler (also Miles of Golf), and the stock Project X HZRDUS Smoke IM 10 was the best fit. Eric fitted me to 44.75", but unfortunately the club was delivered at 44" However, a new shaft should be here soon. In the meantime there's nothing stopping me from playing it at the shorter length. That means, however, that I should be able to get some numbers on the two different shaft lengths, which is a common topic of discussion here. I will add that my instructor generally prefers seniors to go with a longer shaft, not for swing speed, but in that it promotes a flatter swing that is more around the body, and for most of us that is a more comfortable and repeatable motion.

Update: When I went to my range to get Trackman numbers my fitter pointed out that the shaft included was NOT the one he fit me for. The colors are near identical, but instead of the HRZDUS SMOKE IM10, what arrived was the HRZDUS SMOKE Green PVD, which is a $345 upcharge model. The bend profiles are quite different, and the Trackman numbers (in the comments thread) bear out the the Green was far too low spin for me.

First Impressions

The club is gorgeous! It's a nice gloss black with a simple alignment mark (Callaway's trademark chevron), and while "Epic" is written across the back edge, I don't notice that at address. Compared to my G410 it has a very simlar shape, just slightly shorter heel to toe and slightly deeper:PXL_20210716_130710589.jpg

The first shaft delivered, the SMOKE Green, is a beautiful deep green that nicely compliments the green accent color of the head:PXL_20210716_133626897.jpg.34d78669ed8e8da79e53ef7adc74b948.jpg

The proper shaft that followed is similar looking if you don't know the full range, but obviously different when placed side by side:1575319767_SmokeIM10shaft.jpg.5272627d460b0f35c20f1bed342cc3ed.jpg

Too bad the SMOKE Green shaft isn't right for me. It's real purrty!

Callaway touts it's "Jailbreak Speed Frame" construction, which they say "Improves stability in horizontal and torsional direction for increased ball speeds across the face." My big miss, which comes when I'm tired, is to lose my spine angle and pull up and away on the downswing, leading to hits high on the toe. Improved performance on that miss is my Holy Grail, and that might well be the aspect I'm looking for the most from this club.PXL_20210716_133615824.jpg.1602819dba88de10919690ae16a19a73.jpg

As I mentioned, I got fit for this club. I could have easily have gotten the loft right myself, and the slight draw bias matches the weight settings I have my my Ping. The fitting was primarily about the shaft. I learned long ago that I like counter balanced shafts, going back to the old Harmon Tour Design HTD series of the 90's. It's why I have Aldila NV shafts in all of my woods. The HZRDUS Smoke is right in there, and i liked it as soon as I first tried it in the fitting. We tested at 44", 44.75", and 46" (the three lengths Eric had available). My center hits at 44.75" were better than at 44", but at 46" I was awful. So 44.75" it is! Like most modern drivers it has an adjustable hosel, but unlike my Ping, where the adjustments are fine tuning, the Callaway has bigger changes. I essentially have four options: Standard loft and lie (10.5° and 59°), +2° loft and standard lie, +1° loft plus draw lie, and -1° loft and draw lie. Based on my earliest swings I won't be changing from the standard setting. PXL_20210716_141106551.jpg

I have played a little with the club so far, but since my back is still crash sore, I don't want to pass any judgement this early. My intial impression is good, but I have no numbers yet. (I will make one early observation: compared to the G410 the sound is a lower pitched "thwack", and it sounds more powerful, and I like it.) Going forward I will be playing as much as I can, and whenever possible will hit both the Epic and G410 and chart my results. I have a Trackman session scheduled for July 27th, and I plan to have numbers for both drivers, as well as both shaft lengths for the Epic. I should also have a video of my driver swing up soon as well. Wish me luck in healing, and thanks again to Callaway for the opportunity! 

Update 19 August, on to my final review!

Looks: 9 out of 10 points

The head is a pretty classic shape, a little deeper than broad, with what Callaway calls a mid footprint. The top is a deep gloss black, and you can just see the carbon weave under the finish. The standard Callaway chevron is a nice simple alignment mark that I really like. It has "Epic" written on the trailing edge with a few green lines, but this is nice and subtle, and I never noticed it at address except when looking at it critically for this review. I frankly don't care about the looks of the sole, since I don't see it once it's out of the bag, but the white and green graphics look decent against a real nice black chrome background. If you want a formal traditional look, this isn't quite it, but I think having the slight showiness calls attention to the high tech nature of the design. I can't take any points off for the head alone. My one point off is for the shaft, and I'm probably not being fair here. There is nothing wrong whatsoever with the dark charcoal of the SMOKE IM10 shaft. However, I fell in love with the rich green of the SMOKE Green shaft originally sent by mistake, so by comparison, the IM10 shaft costs a one point deduction. My regular driver is a Ping G410, with the turbulators and a matte finish, and I like the Epic Speed looks significantly better.

Sound and Feel: 8 out of 10 points

I tried to record the sound to compare it to my Ping, but my phone video quality is not good enough to tell a what I think is a rather distinct difference. Whereas my Ping has a higher pitched metallic note, the Epic Speed is a deeper sound that doesn't make me think it's hitting a metal face at all. It's a solid thwack. It's an exaggerated comparison, but the Ping is more like an aluminum baseball bat, while the Callaway is more a major league wooden bat. For my taste, the Callaway wins hands down. (I'll point out, however, the Ping sound is not objectionable like some of the other brands I've heard, just not as sexy to my ear.)

Describing feel is difficult for me. I don't have much sense for different sensations, especially compared to how I hear others describe their experiences. Hit dead center, the club feels really solid. Hit on the toe, the club still feels really solid. If that's due to the Jailbreak technology, I'd say it works. Hit on the heel, the club feels even more solid. This is where I'm taking off two points. I don't think mishits should ever feel better than good strikes. I asked my playing partners to just listen to my drives, and estimate the strike quality just on sound. They could tell if I hit it thin or way on the toe, but they also described my heel hits as sounding like I really pured one. 

Basic Characteristics: 18 out of 20

I'm not a "player" when it comes to driving. I just want it to start on line with minimal curve, and preferably the same curve very time. I don't try to work it. I want predictability. My whole life I've hit it low. It's only since I got the Ping last year that I've hit a mid trajectory ball. The Epic Speed is very close to the Ping. The Trackman numbers say I hit it marginally higher (93' vs. 87'), but there's not enough difference for me to eyeball it. My full Trackman charts are in the comments thread, but the averages are: 

  Shaft Club Speed Ball Speed Launch Angle Spin Rate Land Angle Height Carry Total
Ping G410 Aldila NV 2K Orange 91.5 136.4 16.1 2178 36.1 87 222.8 248
Callaway Epic Speed SMOKE IM10 90.7 135.7 16.7 2339 38 93 223.5 246.2
Callaway Epic Speed SMOKE Green 90.7 134.9 16.4 1890 34.4 82 219.1 244.2

(Note: I edited out one shot from the SMOKE Green shaft, as it was a massive outlier.)

There's very little to pick between my Ping and the Epic Speed with the IM10 shaft. As a scientist by trade, I'd say they're the same within statistical allowances. I included my numbers from the "wrong" shaft (SMOKE Green). A great many people post here with the same question, "Can I really change spin that much with a different shaft?" Based on a nearly 500 rpm difference between the two SMOKE shafts, I'd answer that as "Yes!" FWIW, the manufacturer describes the IM10 as a mid-low launch and spin shaft, and the Green as low for both. I'd bet if you used their mid or mid-high launch and spin models the difference would become even more pronounced.

I tried to quantify forgiveness by tracking my numbers for mishits on the course, as well as by trying to intentionally create mishits using Trackman. Those numbers were a confusing mess, so I can't reasonably claim any firm conclusions. My impressions, however, were that my more extreme misses, especially on the toe, did better with the Epic Speed than the G410. I can remember a few swings that were just awful that were only 20 yards shorter than average. That's about half the loss that I expected. My heel misses, on the other hand, tended to be further left with the Epic Speed, including a couple lost balls.

I tried a final range session yesterday, where all I did was change the hosel settings and look for differences. These numbers were worthless also. I found that, because I sole the club before starting my swing, that the head would always end up in the same orientation, regardless of hosel setting. I think I was adjusting my hands and arms to the way the club lay, and negating the hosel changes. If you hover the club (which my instructor wants me to do, but I just can't manage to make it work) I'm sure it would show a greater impact. Note that the Epic Speed does NOT have adjustable weights. Callaway says it's a "semi-draw flight bias", and it certainly seems to be about the same as my G410 with the weight set in the "draw" position. My inability to make any changes to ball flight is why I deducted a couple points.

On Course Performance: 29 out of 30 points

The range is fine for testing, but on the course is where it matters. I've played mostly the Epic Speed since receiving it, but I also have a number of rounds where I hit both it and my Ping from the same tee for comparison. (I did not do this when it slowed down play, or generally late in a round when my swing started getting less predictable.) I can't measure carry on the course, but I can get total yardage. I measured accuracy by a personal judgement of quality of 0 to 5, where 0 means I hit it exactly where I intended (not neccesarily the center of the fairway), and 5 is a lost ball. Those averages are:

  Yd Quality
Ping 231.6 1.53
Callaway 225.1 1.71

Not much difference here, but a small edge in both measures to my Ping. My best judgement of why the Ping edged out the Epic Speed is the shaft. I think the Aldila NV2K is about as perfect as it gets for me, and just edges out the SMOKE IM10. The Aldila, however, is a $100 upcharge shaft, while the IM10 is stock, so it means the overall Ping price is higher. Still, that small difference in these numbers is why I took points away. I would dearly love to put my Aldila shaft in the Epic Speed and confirm my suspicion. I understand why every manufacturer has it's own hosel system, but right now I really wish there was a standard.

I'm not good at trying to be super aggressive with the driver. When I try to "really bomb one!" my tendency is to get quick, both in takeaway and in transition, and my hands race ahead of my body. All too often it's a short pop fly to right field. However, as testers we're asked to get out of our comfort zone and challenge the club and ourselves, so I tried it more than a few times. (Note: I did not include these results in the "quality" number in the chart above.) I failed more often than succeeded. These attempts account for almost of of the balls I've lost since this test started. (To be fair to Callaway, I tried the same thing with my Ping, with generally the same results.) When it worked, though, I had a few monster results. I had a handful of 250 yard carries, and a couple in the 290 range with roll. 

Overall, the Epic Speed performed quite well for me, just a couple inches from perfect. The performance on toe misses means that Callaway's Jailbreak technology really has made more of the face faster. The feel and sound are awesome, and I hope they never change it. Looking closer at Callaway's product matrix, I think I might be better served by the Epic Max, though Callaway's online model selector does recommend the Epic Speed for me.

Miscellaneous: 7 out of 10 points

This is about little things. The box it came in is a marvel of packaging. Everything was not only well protected and secure, but the box didn't have all of it's parts glued together. It was easy to disassemble, and I didn't need a knife to get it into the recyle bin. The head cover is well made and fits snugly, though all of the white on it is starting to show more dirt than I'd like. (But then, I use an MGS headcover anyway.) All of my interactions with Callaway were through MGS, so I can't ding them for the slight slowness between being selected as a tester and getting something to test. Where I am deducting points is the club coming with the wrong shaft. That's serious. I would not have realized it if I hadn't gone back to my fitter for Trackman numbers, but then again, if I had ordered it through him he would have known it was wrong before I ever got it in my hands.

Play It or Trade It? 18 out of 20 Points

Most of us never get the chance to test a driver over two months, not to mention comparing it to a club that my fitter says is an exceptionally good fit for me. If I were to compare this to the Cleveland or Wishon drivers I had at this time last year, it would be a slam dunk into the bag, and you'd have to kill me to take it away. At $530 list I'm not going to be changing drivers very often, but it's certainly in the range of fair compared to competitors. I'm a little torn right now. I think the performance improvement on toe misses is attractive enough that I am seriously considering buying an Aldila shaft to see if my performance suspicion is right. (Actually, the more I think about it the more likely I am to do it. I used to do a bunch of clubmaking, and I miss tinkering.) It's been a while since I had a Callaway club, and I'll admit that I thought they were a step behind in technology, just a step ahead of most in marketing. I don't feel that way any longer.

Conclusion

This is a damn fine club! In performance it comes out to 99% of a club my fitter says is an exceptional match, and it did so without the upcharge shaft in my G410. It looks better than the Ping, and it sounds better than any other current driver I've heard. I know most of the people who read this are probably stronger hitters than I am, but I am a Senior, and probably closer to the average strength player than most of you. The draw bias in this club is perfect for most of us, and sometimes I think not having adjustable weights is a good thing (my friends who tinker have screwed themselves up). I'm going to keep the club and reshaft it, and see if I can push it past my previous 100% level.

Final Score: 89 out of 100

 

 

 

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Link to review
Looks
Sound & Feel
Basic Characteristics
On-Course Performance
Miscellaneous
Play it or Trade it

Callaway Epic Speed – Official MGS Forum Review by MaxEntropy

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Intro

First, thanks to MGS and Callaway for the opportunity – it is always an honor to be able to see how new products perform in the hands of an “ordinary Joe.”

My name is Blake and I am a 53-year-old living in Akron, Ohio. I caught the golfing bug after graduating from college in 1991 (Go Zags!) and generally played a couple times per month through the 1990’s into the early 2000’s, with a few years of playing in leagues that got me on the course more. With the help of a couple friends and a single lesson that corrected a huge swing flaw, I got my “unofficial” handicap down to around a 14 (18 holes). At that time, my game was all about distance. I could not hit a wood to save my life, so 4i was my go-to off the tee. A solid strike was usually in the 240-yard range, so I saw no need to really worry about woods.

Life smacked me in the face pretty hard in the mid-2000’s and my clubs stayed in the basement for the better part of ten years. A friend encouraged me to get out with him a few times in the mid-2010’s and I’ve become fanatical about golf since then and I joined MyGolfSpy in 2017 in my pursuit of learning more about equipment, techniques, rules, etc.

By the time I started playing again, age had started catching up with me and I had become more out of shape than I would prefer. I can’t even hit a 4i anymore, much less get 240 out of it, so it became apparent to me I needed to figure out how to hit a driver.

For my age/handicap, I am pretty long and being an official tester for SuperSpeed last year was a great help. My baseline swing speed was 102 mph and I peaked at 120 mph near the end of the test period. I have taken the PRGR radar to the course with me a few times, and I will still typically be in the 110-mph range. Not bad for an out-of-shape old(er) fart! I’ve been in a league now for 4 years – I started as a 10 HC (9 holes) and have dropped steadily to the point that about 3 weeks ago I dropped to a 6.  In my opinion, there are two primary reason for the improvement: 1) I am slowly figuring out how to swing a driver (trial and error); and 2) I have become more risk averse when I am in trouble. I used to favor the “spectacular” shot with the low probability of success because DAMN it feels good when you pull it off that 1 time out of 50! Now, I’m more likely to take my medicine and rely on scrambling to minimize the damage. Even then, execution is sometimes an issue.

I wish I could say I have an Ernie Else or Fred Couples swing, but I don’t. I tend to have quick-ish tempo with an aggressive transition. See for yourself…

This video was taken the day after going to the gym for the first time in over a year – not optimal swing, but you get the idea.

My typical ball flight is high, usually with some fade to it. Historically, the banana slice has been my big miss, but over the last few years, I’ve developed a terrible two-way miss when swinging driver with near equal probability the ball is going left or right. 🤦‍♂️

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It’s not as bad as it seems, though…oh who am I kidding, it SUCKS! How do you play to your tendency when there isn’t one?!?!? The image above is all drives since I started using Arccos (Aug 2019). The left misses tend to be less tragic than the right on average, so I still play for the ball wanting to go right. From my fitting, I learned that my path is fairly consistent (at least it was that day), so getting/keeping the face where it needs to be is a big issue, which leads to driving being my biggest weakness. The closer I get to the hole, the stronger my game becomes with putting being my biggest strength.

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Arccos also tells me that, even though my accuracy off the tee is detrimental, my distance is a strength. Over the last 20 rounds:

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My current gamer is a TaylorMade M5 9* I purchased from @MattF in the offseason after he bought his new Titleist. He was playing it with an EvenFlow Blue (stiff), but it also came with a Tensei CK Orange (stiff). Although I had never been fit, I had played around enough at hitting bays in various stores to know that something about the CK Orange agreed with my swing. It didn’t take me long to figure out the CK Orange was my clear choice. I have one of the weights in the “low” position and the other set to “draw”. This has resulted in much better ball flight so I can now get some roll out of my drives! I also love the sound the M5 makes on solid contact. I don’t even really know how to describe it, but it almost seems wood-like rather than metallic to me. Whatever it is, it’s a great sound!

I have this strange mental conflict when it comes to pulling a driver – I know the stats generally say SEND IT and I probably get myself into more trouble than I should by being aggressive (especially with the width of my dispersion cone), but my primary goal with driver is pretty simple – hit the ball as far as I can and hope it ends up some place that leaves me a shot at the green. Most of the courses I play don’t have super long rough, so there really isn’t too much of a penalty for missing the fairway – just give me a shot and I can score better.

I typically play tees in the 6200-6500 yard range. At that length, I probably have the ability to reach about half of the par 5’s in two, depending on the course. At our league course, reaching 3 of the 4 of them in two is not a problem with a decent drive and the 4th is gettable with two perfect shots (which means I’ve never reached in 2). Our league course also happens to be relatively short (5900 yards from the tees we play) so many of the par 4's are little more than a wedge to the green if my drive is in play.

Why did I sign up for the Speed rather than the Max LS? When the announcement first came out, I was attracted to the Max LS due to its design goal of killing spin. Then reading Tony Covey's release article, I saw the following statement: “LS is a relative term. The Epic Max LS is low spin relative to the Epic Max but should generate appreciably more spin than the Mavrik Sub Zero did. In fact, if you’re looking for a new Callaway driver that offers launch and spin characteristics on par with last year’s Sub Zero, your best bet is the buy the Epic Speed and turn the loft down by one degree.” He also made a comment to the effect that the Speed version should be the best fit for the majority of golfers. Good enough for me!

First Impressions

Disclaimer: I have preconceived notions about Callaway – I am not really a fan of the company as a whole. They strike as more of a marketing machine than someone making technological advances and letting the product speak for itself (right or wrong, that’s my perception). A friend has some Apex CF16 irons that I’ve hit a few times, and I don’t like them. The ball test 2 years ago (and the backlash from Callaway employees on social media) did nothing the dissuade my thoughts. With that said, I played a RAZR Fit 3 wood for a few years that I absolutely loved and have considered testing it against my current Bridgestone 3W. I am also a fan of the Stroke Lab putter I tested a couple summers ago, so even with my thoughts about the company, I like to think I am open-minded enough to play what helps me score better.

These days, even though the marketing hype around Jailbreak/AI Speed Frame and Flash Face are substantial, the technology behind the marketing at least sounds legit to me. According to Callaway, both Flash Face and AI Speed Frame are intended to help with forgiveness by maintaining speed on off-center strikes. Is this true? So far, I have seen some very good forgiveness on balls hit very high on the face, so that’s encouraging. Nothing in on the heel or too far out on the toe just yet, so we’ll have to see.

I understand my inability to hit a driver consistently is very much a “me” thing, but the questions I have is will the forgiveness built into these heads help? What role will playing a shaft that is closer to optimized mean for me? I won’t recap my shaft fitting – it’s described in detail in the comments, but I ended up with the Epic Speed 9* with the MMT 70 X-stiff. I ordered an Align grip, but due to an error in the build, it is currently on a MMT 70 Stiff shaft sitting in my basement. I blew a fairly new SuperStroke Cross Comfort Midsize off my old SW and it is now on the Epic. The good news is that, time permitting, I can do some testing with the Stiff version to help determine if any improvement is related to the shaft, the head, or both.

In the short time I have played the M5, I have grown to like it, so in order for the Epic Speed to kick it out of the bag, I am going to need to see something substantial to warrant it. For me, that means a measurable (statistically significant) improvement in dispersion, preferably with similar distance. I need something that finds less trouble! I saw a comment from @chisag in one of the threads related to distance. Something to the effect that a shot on the same line as his 260-yard drive in the rough that carries 300 will find a lot more trouble. This fact is not lost on me and had me concerned during the SuperSpeed testing. Specifically, that I was going to find myself in more trouble in new places that were previously unreachable to me. Fortunately, I can only think of a couple occurrences where that has likely been the case, but I hope the Epic Speed is able to help as much as it can in the hands of someone like me.

Let’s get on to the pictures….

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The glossy black carbon fiber crown is very attractive to me. I typically prefer more of a matte finish because smudges show up so easily with high gloss. With the black MMT shaft and gray grip, I think the package looks very good to me.

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The head shape is nice and looks good behind a ball. One thing I have noticed is that if I let a driver sit on the ground how it wants to naturally, the M5 wants to open up the face, whereas the Epic Speed stays pretty neutral. I wonder if this tendency has any effect on me psychologically, thinking I have to try to get the face square knowing it wants to be open. Real effect or placebo, I have no idea, just a thought.

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I tried to do my best to make sure the perspective was the same in the above pics. Although I failed, I think it does illustrate my point – the M5 naturally wants to sit open.

The graphics on the sole are OK – a little busier than I prefer, especially without any weight tracks to add to it, but I do like the color scheme. This is of no concern to me as I never see the sole except when I am taking off/putting on the head cover (or posing it for pictures).

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I really like the head cover. Yes, it is a tight fit initially, but it has already started to loosen up some. My only concern is it being primarily white – me and white don’t mix. I’m sure I’ll find a way to spill coffee on it even though I almost never have coffee on the course. I am being careful, though. I want it to look as pristine as possible for as long as possible.

My primary intention with testing is to rent some simulator time to get firm numbers on both drivers – hopefully enough swings to determine whether any differences are statistically significant. Do those numbers translate to the course?

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Thanks again to MGS and Callaway. It's time to have some fun!

_______________________________________________________________________________________

8/22/21

Callaway Epic Speed – Final Review by MaxEntropy

I’ve now had the properly-spec’d driver in my hands for about 7 weeks. In that time, I have had 3 good range sessions (and 1 not-so-good), played 117 holes of golf, and spent an hour on a simulator. (There was also a range session and 36 holes with the Epic Speed head and the wrong shaft). On the course, I made no effort to do and A versus B testing – my driver swing is too inconsistent, so I saw little value in trying it. At the range was a different story – almost all focus was on pounding the ball with the competitors – TaylorMade M5 with Tensei CK Orange S versus Callaway Epic Speed with Mitsubishi MMT 70 X. I tried hitting 5 or 10 at a time with each, hoping to establish some sort of a groove. In the simulator, I wanted to make sure I was doing as well as could be with each so hit as many as was required to end up with 15 “acceptable” shots each (i.e. neglecting tops and obviously bad contact) before switching clubs.

On to the results….

One of my primary goals with this test was to see if my accuracy would be improved. I am plenty long for my age and handicap but tend to spray the ball too badly (see shot distribution in the Intro which is all driver shots since I started using Arccos until I put the Epic Speed in play). Whether any resulting improvement is related to a properly fitting shaft or the Callaway head (or combination of the two), I don’t really care. I believe the only way I could truly separate the head from the shaft would be put a CK Orange in the Epic, but that is not likely to happen. If you recall, Callaway made a mistake on my original build and sent an MMT 70 S. I did make some effort to see some shaft effect (at least S versus X in the MMT).

I have spilled some of the beans already in this and other threads – the Epic Speed/MMT 70 X really has almost become an anti-left machine for me. This is great news as it allows me to go back to playing for a fade/slice. There are still occasions where I hit the high, wipey fade, but I know that is more of a “me” problem and no technology is going to fix that.

Here are some Arccos screen caps. First is my driver dispersion and distribution since I started using the M5…

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My average dispersion is nearly 75 yards wide (I assume the ellipse contains ~50% of the shots) with extremes spanning almost 160 yards(!!!!!) and the most probable result is left. I struggled to pick a target line with this data in mind, so I would typically aim towards the center and pray for the best. FYI – the 311 was real – I smoked that ball but got an atypical August-like bounce and roll in June.

Now looking at the same data for the Epic Speed…

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Average dispersion has gone down to something more like 55 yards and, if I neglect the one way, way left (that one was a wind-aided brutal pull, toe-hook. Fortunately, the hole it happened on has plenty of bail-out room over there), the overall span is down to “only” 120 yards. I am also now hitting more fairways with more misses being on the right. I would argue with time this will get even better. Now that I can have almost no thought about the left (most of them are toe-hooks), I am getting more and more confident about aiming up the left side without fear of a looming pull/pull hook. As I have been looking at the data to write this, it is just giving me more confidence. FYI – the 331 was aided by cart path, so it is not real, unfortunately.

Anyway, on to the grades…

Looks (8 out of 10)

The package is generally attractive, and I like how the club sits very neutral on the ground (unlike the M5 that likes to sit open). I docked a couple points just because I am not a big fan of glossy finishes – they show smudges and water marks too easily. The graphics on the sole are OK to me – perhaps a bit busier than I like, but since I almost never see them, it doesn’t really matter. The current colors are certainly better than the orange of the Mavrik, in my opinion. Combining the black head with the black MMT shaft with very little graphics and gray SuperStroke grip makes a sexy package.

Sound and Feel (9 out of 10)

The club feels great and, although I am addicted to the sound of the M5, this one produces a very satisfying, albeit more metallic sound than the TaylorMade. Strangely, the sound is completely different than the Epic Max LS a good friend of mine purchased this year. I docked it 1 measly point for a very minor aerodynamic issue – the club whistles. I assume this is due to air passing over the hosel screw cavity at around 105 – 110 mph. Fortunately, I only notice it during practice swings, but I assume it still happens on real swings.

Basic Characteristics (18 out of 20)

I ordered the 9 deg head and currently have the hosel set to -1 and neutral. This combination has given me closer to the ball flight I have been searching for. It still seems a bit higher than the M5 but is perfectly acceptable and I now am getting some roll on all but the dampest of courses. I cannot assess the workability of this club as I never try to work the ball. Clearly the accuracy is an improvement over the M5 at equal distance. Jailbreak and Flash Face are also for real! Both are intended to help maintain ball speed on off-center strikes, which I read as forgiveness. Generally, I do decent job of hitting near the center of the face with typical misses being either very high on the face or out towards the toe. In both cases, I’ve ended up with pretty ridiculous distance out of these misses, frequently still ending up in the 250+-yard range, so I give this club very high marks for forgiveness. In terms of adjustability, other than the hosel, there is none, whereas the Epic Max LS has an adjustable weight. I can only assume it was deemed unnecessary for their target demographic, but I docked them two points for the lack of a weight track.

On-Course/LM Performance (30 out of 30)

To try to get some firm numbers I rented a bay at the Golf Galaxy near me. They have updated both of their hitting bays with all new screens, projectors, and switched from Foresight to Trackman. I took the Epic Speed (with both the MMT 70 X and the MMT 70 S) and the M5. I used my own balls – TM TP5 Pix. After warming up with the Orange Whip, I hit just a few leisurely drives to make sure I felt loose. I started with the Epic Speed with the MMT70 X. My routine was to hit as many balls as needed until I had 15 “good” shots. “Good” was determined entirely by carry distance as a measure of how solid the contact was. I did not want to start getting too subjective with left/right issues, especially given the amount of time I had in the bay, so anything with a carry less than 235 was excluded, everything over that was included, regardless of direction.

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To me, the most shocking thing was the amount of spin with the 70 X, especially if you compare it to what was nominally the same head/shaft combo from the fitting (* in the table is data from the fitting). Why did I gain nearly 500 rpm? I guess the main point, from a statistical perspective, is there is almost no difference between any of these combinations from a distance perspective. The dispersion chart shows the MMT 70 X (purple) as the best, followed by the MMT 70 S (blue), and the M5 (red). The red dot at the top of the chart is a good example of my filtering criteria – it was solid contact, carried over 250, but was nearly 20 yards further left than anything else.

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To-date, the on-course performance has been very good to me – I’ve nearly double my fairways hit and almost eliminated one side of the course. What’s not to like about that?!?!? Unfortunately, this has not translated to lower scores – I guess that happens when you have a great driving day but can’t hit an iron to save your life or you putt like garbage. As I stated in my intro, I would be willing to sacrifice some distance for improved accuracy. Fortunately, that does not appear to be needed. According to Arccos and Trackman, distance has stayed the same. I think there is still “meat on the bone” where distance is concerned if I can lower the launch/spin just a hair, although with no more adjustments I can make, that means tweaks to my swing (not a bad thing, but more time consuming).

Both the launch monitor and the on-course data seem to confirm each other – distance is essentially the same and dispersion is greatly reduced with the Epic Speed.

Based on this experience, I have to be honest and say that this club has somewhat changed my opinion about Callaway. There are still some preconceived notions that will need to be overcome, but this experience goes a long way towards swaying me.

Miscellaneous (0 out of 10)

When I first received the driver, I was jacked up and ready to roll. Then I discovered they sent the wrong shaft (MMT 70 S instead of MMT 70 X). They rectified the situation fairly quickly and even let me keep the “wrong” shaft. If this had been a “one-off” mistake, I would be more willing to overlook this, but Callaway had build errors on 3 out of the 4 of us. To me, that seems very unprofessional for a company with Callaway’s overall reputation. Does this kind of thing happen to normal paying customers? Was the process different due to this being a forum test? We know the specs were accurate when they left MGS. Maybe I’m being harsh here, but 3 out of 4 clubs wrong is not good and delayed things quite a bit.

Play It or Trade It (20 out of 20)

I know the fight was close for a couple of the other testers, but for me, there really is no debate. I was hoping for better accuracy and got it. I was willing to accept a loss in distance, yet I’m seeing at least the same. How much is due to the head? How much is due to the shaft? I don’t know and I don’t care. Is anybody interested in buying an M5 with two shafts?

Conclusion

TL;DR – For this particular 53 year old with a relatively high swing speed, the Epic Speed has dramatically improved my accuracy and almost eliminated one side of the course for me. Expectations in this sport being what they are, is it actually reasonable for a 14-ish handicap to expect any better than what I saw the last couple months? I kind of doubt it. With improving self-awareness, I am working on the big miss to the right, but the left misses are almost becoming a fluke, which opens my comfort level for proper targets given my natural shot shape. If I can continue to whittle away at the dispersion, I can’t see how my scores would not improve over time – more shots at the green will lead to lower scores.

Final Score (85 out of 100)

Thanks, again to MyGolfSpy and Callaway for the awesome opportunity!

Time to go hit more bombs….

 

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Driver:  :callaway-small:Epic Speed 9* (set -1) Mitsubishi MMT 70X
3W: :bridgestone-small: Tour B JGR 15* Recoil 460ES
3H, 4H: :bridgestone-small: Tour B JGR 19*, 23* Recoil 780ES
4-AW:  :bridgestone-small: Tour B JGR HF2 Modus3 Tour 105
SW: :cleveland-small: Zipcore Black Satin 54*
LW: :cleveland-small: Zipcore Black Satin 58*
Putter: :odyssey-small: Stroke Lab Marxman
Bag: BigMax Dri Active Lite
Ball: :taylormade-small: TP5x Pix
Pushcart: BigMax iQ+

2021 Test - Callaway Epic Speed

 

Link to review

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Since my decision has been made with the Epic Max LS, I decided to try and dial in my aim line and start line with the driver. I noticed my last round that when I try to start my ball a few degrees right of target it draws less and ends up where my body is aligned. (At least with my current swing)

I started trying on my skytrak to aim my body straight with my target but start my golf ball 3-7° right of my target line and let it draw back to where my body is aimed. 

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It seemed to work really well, in twenty shots my avg off line was 3 yards. Seems like a good place to start working on dialing the Driver in. 

 

Also the bombs just keep coming...

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Yesterday I played some pretty average golf, but driving was pretty stout. Here are a few screen caps....

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The left misses were barely misses so this driver continues to be an anti-left machine for me. There were 2 high flares, so I am starting to figure that part out, too. Too bad the rest of my game was garbage.

The 320 was downhill, but it looks great on paper.

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This past weekend I played The Golf Course at Grove Park Inn. My wife and I were on a little get away for our anniversary and we both got a round in at the Donald Ross designed course. I will have to say it was probably my best driving day of the year, 46% fairways hit, several 300+ bombs and way too many putts... 

 

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The Epic Max LS continues to impress... 

 

 

 

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So I forgot to post about a round about a week ago at Owls Nest it was windy so the down hill wind hole were fun, into not so much. The first hole is straight down wind and I was this close to hitting my first 300 yard drive. I think if I just caught the fairway I would have gotten it. Still loving the Max LS and everything about it. Plenty straight and still long. My only regret is that winter is coming but I am hoping to get some good numbers throughout the winter and might end up being able to produce some cool images I had hoped to have for the review.

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12 minutes ago, ejgaudette said:

So I forgot to post about a round about a week ago at Owls Nest it was windy so the down hill wind hole were fun, into not so much. The first hole is straight down wind and I was this close to hitting my first 300 yard drive. I think if I just caught the fairway I would have gotten it. Still loving the Max LS and everything about it. Plenty straight and still long. My only regret is that winter is coming but I am hoping to get some good numbers throughout the winter and might end up being able to produce some cool images I had hoped to have for the review.

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Windy there? Noooooooo!

That is one of my favorite starting holes of all courses I have played. Heck of a par.

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6 minutes ago, Lacassem said:

Windy there? Noooooooo!

That is one of my favorite starting holes of all courses I have played. Heck of a par.

It helps that the tees were up a bit so carrying the bunker down wind was no problem, but yeah windy and hilly, better know your yardages and leave the ego a home hitting two clubs more uphill and into wind.

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I reshafted the Epic Speed with an Aldila NV2KXV orange shaft to match the one in my Ping G410. Unfortunately, the result has been quite a disappointment, as all of my metrics are worse than with the stock SMOKE IM10 shaft. I've gone back and forth (4 rounds each) between the Epic and the G410, and the G410 is consistently better. The difference is small, but it is real. Despite the new shaft in the Epic Speed being the same model and flex as the G410, it does not feel the same. The two shafts have the same butt end frequency (within my measurement limits, +/- 5 cpm), though maybe I should do a full profile. It's possible that there is a slight manufacturing difference betwen the two Aldila shafts, but I think it more likely that there is a difference in the head (or adaptor) that accounts for the difference I'm getting. I'm also sure that this shows Callaway did their shaft homework well, and picked the best performer as their stock choice. I really wish the tip adaptors were compatible between the two brands. That way I could eliminate the variable of two different Aldila shafts. I know I could swap the tip adaptors between the two, but there is always the risk of damaging the shaft, and at this point I think it isn't worth any more effort. So final, final result, I'm sticking with my Ping. I'm keeping the Callaway as a back up.

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2 minutes ago, Siamese Moose said:

I reshafted the Epic Speed with an Aldila NV2KXV orange shaft to match the one in my Ping G410. Unfortunately, the result has been quite a disappointment, as all of my metrics are worse than with the stock SMOKE IM10 shaft. I've gone back and forth (4 rounds each) between the Epic and the G410, and the G410 is consistently better. The difference is small, but it is real. Despite the new shaft in the Epic Speed being the same model and flex as the G410, it does not feel the same. The two shafts have the same butt end frequency (within my measurement limits, +/- 5 cpm), though maybe I should do a full profile. It's possible that there is a slight manufacturing difference betwen the two Aldila shafts, but I think it more likely that there is a difference in the head (or adaptor) that accounts for the difference I'm getting. I'm also sure that this shows Callaway did their shaft homework well, and picked the best performer as their stock choice. I really wish the tip adaptors were compatible between the two brands. That way I could eliminate the variable of two different Aldila shafts. I know I could swap the tip adaptors between the two, but there is always the risk of damaging the shaft, and at this point I think it isn't worth any more effort. So final, final result, I'm sticking with my Ping. I'm keeping the Callaway as a back up.

Not surprising to hear the shafts feel different between the two heads. PING is known for having heavier driver heads and Callaway usually is lighter. This means the same shaft in the PING might feel more active than the same shaft on a lighter Callaway head. Still whatever works for you is what its all about.

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Well my season has basically come to an end so I thought I would give a final update before going to the offseason. I have really enjoyed the Max LS and have found a decent groove, though I was out of sync last round, but still hit it alright. The sound and feel is still great and love the lower trajectory and spin with this driver. I am looking forward to some off season training and some slight swing changes, just getting a bit shorter as I tend to get very long. How is everyone else feeling about the driver, any more changes or updates. The only change to the driver itself I am thinking of getting the swing weight up a bit as I like the feel of a heavier head.

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5 hours ago, ejgaudette said:

Well my season has basically come to an end so I thought I would give a final update before going to the offseason. I have really enjoyed the Max LS and have found a decent groove, though I was out of sync last round, but still hit it alright. The sound and feel is still great and love the lower trajectory and spin with this driver. I am looking forward to some off season training and some slight swing changes, just getting a bit shorter as I tend to get very long. How is everyone else feeling about the driver, any more changes or updates. The only change to the driver itself I am thinking of getting the swing weight up a bit as I like the feel of a heavier head.

Bummer your season is ending. I'm actually looking forward to some Fall golf as its probably my favorite season to play golf in (except for leaves hiding my ball...). I've got couple tournaments on the calendar in October and a week long Fall Break where I should get several rounds in. I'm still so pleased with the Epic Max LS, I've gotten so confident in the ball flight it recreates and where my aim lines are with it. Its become a weapon in the bag again instead of a question mark. I foresee it staying in the bag a long time...

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16 hours ago, DannyDips said:

Bummer your season is ending. I'm actually looking forward to some Fall golf as its probably my favorite season to play golf in (except for leaves hiding my ball...). I've got couple tournaments on the calendar in October and a week long Fall Break where I should get several rounds in. I'm still so pleased with the Epic Max LS, I've gotten so confident in the ball flight it recreates and where my aim lines are with it. Its become a weapon in the bag again instead of a question mark. I foresee it staying in the bag a long time...

Feeling the same way that this club is sticking around for sure. Hoping to just find the groove again and turn it into that weapon.

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22 hours ago, ejgaudette said:

Well my season has basically come to an end so I thought I would give a final update before going to the offseason. I have really enjoyed the Max LS and have found a decent groove, though I was out of sync last round, but still hit it alright. The sound and feel is still great and love the lower trajectory and spin with this driver. I am looking forward to some off season training and some slight swing changes, just getting a bit shorter as I tend to get very long. How is everyone else feeling about the driver, any more changes or updates. The only change to the driver itself I am thinking of getting the swing weight up a bit as I like the feel of a heavier head.

I'm loving the thing.  I blame you guys and this review for making me get it, but I love it! 

I'm still getting used to the different flight I have with it versus the Speedzone and M5 so I can go left if I get lazy, but its been super consistent for me on everything but my worst swings.  Arccos has my dispersion for my last 10 rounds down to 16 yards with the driver... when I made the switch from the Speedzone I think it was around 22, and I've gained a yard or two as well!

The Epic Max LS is one sweet stick.  I'm curious to see what Callaway does from here, but I don't see myself letting this one go anytime soon.

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6 minutes ago, B.Boston said:

I'm loving the thing.  I blame you guys and this review for making me get it, but I love it! 

I'm still getting used to the different flight I have with it versus the Speedzone and M5 so I can go left if I get lazy, but its been super consistent for me on everything but my worst swings.  Arccos has my dispersion for my last 10 rounds down to 16 yards with the driver... when I made the switch from the Speedzone I think it was around 22, and I've gained a yard or two as well!

The Epic Max LS is one sweet stick.  I'm curious to see what Callaway does from here, but I don't see myself letting this one go anytime soon.

I do wonder history says next should be a Rogue/Mavrik follow up, but after that they would be onto a fourth Epic which is long by golf industry standards with the driver, unless your PING of course. 

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It just occurred to me I didn't update this thread after the MGS event at @tony@CIC's place. That day was probably my best driving day ever....

Screenshot_20211006-183558.jpg.58bcb23db8d6eaba00ec8aeb25a05f38.jpg

Irons were a mess, but fortunately this thread has nothing to do with them....

Best drive was on the second hole:

Screenshot_20211006-183520.jpg.96775d4e97f37164400ede7c3a2ee245.jpg

This thing continues to be an anti-left machine for me...sort of. My left percentage is up a bit, but they are not big misses. Mostly me aiming left to play a fade and the ball not fading, so it's not terribly often that I'm in too much trouble that way. I am still prone to the odd high flare, but I know that's a "me" issue, so I can't hold that against the driver.

There is still a little nagging feeling that I should have tried the Rogue White shaft, but we are ho's like that.

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14 hours ago, MaxEntropy said:

It just occurred to me I didn't update this thread after the MGS event at @tony@CIC's place. That day was probably my best driving day ever....

Screenshot_20211006-183558.jpg.58bcb23db8d6eaba00ec8aeb25a05f38.jpg

Irons were a mess, but fortunately this thread has nothing to do with them....

Best drive was on the second hole:

Screenshot_20211006-183520.jpg.96775d4e97f37164400ede7c3a2ee245.jpg

This thing continues to be an anti-left machine for me...sort of. My left percentage is up a bit, but they are not big misses. Mostly me aiming left to play a fade and the ball not fading, so it's not terribly often that I'm in too much trouble that way. I am still prone to the odd high flare, but I know that's a "me" issue, so I can't hold that against the driver.

There is still a little nagging feeling that I should have tried the Rogue White shaft, but we are ho's like that.

Great round there, and yes indeed I am thinking of getting a little more weight on the head, why because I feel like it I guess. That's a good enough reason right?

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Last week was Fall Break here in Tennessee so we took the kids to the beach in South Carolina. That meant dad snuck out a few times to get in some rounds of golf. I was fighting a hook but managed to get the clubface open a few times and hit a few bombs.

 1a.png.48aedfa9105751d2bb8891e9de490e50.png1c.png.254dd4762e0e86f2871819796a4ba44b.png1d.png.1f87bc64fdf4527a099fe868ef0959b3.png

Pretty solid for sea level on a course that had rain for like a week straight before I played. There was also some roaming dinosaurs and my favorite playing partner joined me for 9 holes one day. I still can't say enough amazing things about the Epic Max LS. 

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With the season over and about half the year being played with with the Epic Max LS I wanted to make a quick comment on the durability of the driver. I don't think I am supposed to admit this but I have skied a few drivers this year and I have to say that there is not a really a single sky mark on the club. That is one thing I liked about the Infinity Face on the Cobra, but the Callaway has help up well on this as well. Other than a few scrapes on the face from some really rough range balls, the club is holding up really great and still looks fantastic. How is everyone else's driver holding up?

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30 minutes ago, ejgaudette said:

With the season over and about half the year being played with with the Epic Max LS I wanted to make a quick comment on the durability of the driver. I don't think I am supposed to admit this but I have skied a few drivers this year and I have to say that there is not a really a single sky mark on the club. That is one thing I liked about the Infinity Face on the Cobra, but the Callaway has help up well on this as well. Other than a few scrapes on the face from some really rough range balls, the club is holding up really great and still looks fantastic. How is everyone else's driver holding up?

This post is pointless without a battle wound (or lack of battle wound) photo... come on man! haha 

I have been impressed by the durability as well.  The non-black face finish seems to hold up really well even with some crappy range balls.  Even more so than my Speedzone was.  That had a few sand marks on the black finish there..  and I am also happy to report that my top line is essentially as good as the day I bought it despite some efforts to chip/mark from poor swings.

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I know was busy at the time, here is one coming your way. Ignore the one on top children dropped a super speed stick on it, but the face itself is holding up great and need to take a quick magic eraser to get those tee marks off.

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It was 70 today on the Cumberland Plateau so I snuck out to hit some Bombs. Gave the clubs a nice bath after with my pressure washer so thought I’d snap some pics of the driver after these months. 
 

40A1C690-8A1E-4537-B540-0654853DCD19.jpeg.bd1a769b8686c1046bd479732f606681.jpeg454F348F-0596-4815-911C-0EED3DFC3820.jpeg.6b81cc73b85886cfb5a6cd55f6f10c0e.jpegD06A9C23-5F45-4EFB-80D0-6454F4EF7B6C.jpeg.ad076586c7a72d6538d7499f1a83fc01.jpeg

 

Club looks still almost brand new. What a gem. 

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486 Comments




Just so happens I’m in the market for a new driver. My old titleist 910 is still a great club though

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Was told by my club fitter the Epic Speed was best for dispersion; would love to test that on the course.

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I love my Ping driver even though it is getting long in the tooth (G 400).  The Epic would have to really impress me to replace it but I would give it a proper evaluation.  Over the years I have gone back and forth between Ping and Callaway drivers.  They are my two favorite wood brands.

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6 minutes ago, TarheelsFan said:

Was told by my club fitter the Epic Speed was best for dispersion; would love to test that on the course.

Check out the MGS testing on it. Ranked #1, good read.

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I've been looking at these Drivers to replace my Ping G Series. Sure would be great to test them out first!

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I have read about the Epic Max LS and was very interested in trying. Currently I am still using the XHot pro fairway wood and hybrids. To this day I have never hit a Callaway driver. I would say my bag needs some upgrades!

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36 minutes ago, JerBooth said:

I honestly wish it was in Ontario. We've been locked down and will be until the 20th.....most likely longer.

yeah I have seen some crazy things online about what ya'll are dealing with. Not sure how much is true but I really hope things improve everywhere!

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In need of a new driver.  I'd be able to mash this on the range and play a couple a rounds a week.  

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Looking forward to this one!!  I could really use a decent driver to replace my no-name club!!!

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I love my Callaway RAZR Fit Driver. It is several years old, so I would like to see how the new Epic Speed stacks up to the old Fit. I doubt I get selected, I am new to MGS. However, you never know.

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Was fit into Epic Flash Sub Zero 2 years ago at Callaway demo day at my club. Really liked it but had a fairly new Titleist TS2 at the time. I would like to try Callaway again...hell yea!

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Currently playing with a 9* Rogue SZ with a concave face. Went to Club Champion for a fitting and they suggested the Epic Speed although I did not try the LS version. Would be interested if the spin rates come down.

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Sign me up. I would be happy with either. But would prefer the LS. 

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I’m hitting my 0211 driver so well, but I’m a sucker for drivers. Sign me up for a chance to test the Epic Speed. The Epic Flash SZ was up there distance wise with anything I have played to date but man was it unforgiving for me.  

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I recently purchased an Epic Flash and it would be great to see the difference in the two. To me, there are no better drivers than those that Callaway makes. It would be awesome to see how this feels.

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I’m in. Looking to replace driver soon and would love to swing this one. More speed is always good right?

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If I wasn’t still enjoying my G400, would consider throwing my name in. Good luck testers. This year’s driver seems quite hot

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Really hope to get a chance to play with this, whether here or demo somewhere else. First time in 10 years looking at new clubs, so really want to see how much technology really can improve game. 

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My latest Driver is a PXG 0211, still not sold on it, would love to see what the Callaway has to offer.

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Would like to test Callaway Epic in regular flex,currently aTitleist TS1 regular flex.

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My whole bag is Callaway.  Just upgraded from Callaway Epic Flash 10.5 to a (Custom) Mavrik 10.5, so would LOVE to try the Epic Speed, especially since it is getting good feedback for slower swing speeds!  I've tried many shafts - current gamer is Fujikura Ventus (Velocore) 5 S.  Like Phil I'm recently playing a Callaway strong 3 wood (13.5 degrees), Epic Flash Sub Zero with a Fujijura Speeder 60 S shaft (JV) set at 14.5 and it is awesome.  Now with summer weather shots are rolling out to my driver distance. Highly recommended - great for long par 5's.  Fighting back for added distance with a Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 5 S shaft, since that shaft in my 5 wood is killing it.  Time will tell.  Hard getting older; one needs to work hard at optimizing the game (by working out too)....I play with my son and younger friends.  I do find stock shafts work quite well, but high-end shafts optimize distance and dispersion too.

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