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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Location: Golf Capital of Tennessee
Epic Max LS 9° Driver, X stiff MMT 60 shaft (MGS Tester)
G410 17° hybrid, X stiff
M1 20.5° hybrid, X stiff
JPX-921 Tours 4 iron thru PW, Modus 105 X stiff
S18 50°, 56° & 60°
Single Stock #3 34.5" putter