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OFFICIAL FORUM MEMBER REVIEW - CALLAWAY GBB EPIC DRIVER

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Callaway GBB Epic Driver


 


 


Mr_Theoo           Stage 1               Stage 2              Stage 3


 


Fireinthehole       Stage 1               Stage 2              Stage 3


 


JudgeSmails       Stage 1               Stage 2              Stage 3


 


Stillnumber1        Stage 1               Stage 2              Stage 3


 

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Mr_Theoo's GBB Epic Stage 1

Header Epic.JPG

 

 

 

  • Handicap/average score? I took up the game about 5 years ago when a friend of mine was trying to learn because his boss suggested it would be good for business.  I currently play off a 26 handicap but I would say my ability to strike the ball is much better than a 26. As of late, my scores have been in the mid to upper 90s. I didn't get to play much last season but this season I've gotten out much more. hopefully, i can keep improving and break 90 by the end of the season.​

 

  • Strengths of your game? I have a few strengths to my game My distance is one for sure, I'm not crazy long but I have a good advantage off the tee and into longer holes because I can hit shorter clubs into greens. As I've gotten better I'm able to take advantage of it. My game definitely revolves around the tee shot. If I get off well and keep it in play I'll score well. If not then it will be a long, long day.

 

Epic head and tool.JPG

 

  • A weakness of your game? Bunkers and touch shots are a big weakness of my game. I would say from about 70 yards to 20 I really struggle. I think it has to do with not being able to practice them as much as my full swing. Once I get around the green I'm much better as of late because I do practice and hit many more of those types of shots. This offseason I want to dedicate a majority of practice time to get better with my wedges. I feel that if I can my scoring will vastly improve.

 

  • Typical ball flight? My typical ball flight is a push draw, I like this shot because it helps me take on side of the course out of play when I'm striking it well.

 

  • Typical miss? My normal miss is a block, but when the wheels fall off it ends up being a bad snap hook. I live with it because it still takes the left side out of course and doesn't hurt me as much as the snap hook.

 

Headcover.JPG

 

  • What is in your bag? The driver is SLDR 12º set to 11.5º with a Graphite Design Tour ADDI 7x. Irons are  Hogan PtX with KBS Tour V X flex. Standard Lie. Wedges are 52º 56º 60º Nike forged. These are the oldest clubs in my bag. I have had them since I started playing 5 years ago. I want to replace them but I'm too timid to take them out. I did just buy an Edel 60º wedge to try and replace one of the Nike's.  My putter is Ping Sigma G Tyne which I was custom fit for this a few months ago.

SLDR.JPG

 

  • Driver swing speed? When I did a fitting on trackman last season I topped out at 105, nothing spectacular but I can still put it out there pretty good. I may have picked up a few MPHs this offseason from working out and losing some weight. I hope to try and add some more this offseason with much practice and going to the gym a lot more.

 

Epic vs SLDR.JPG

 

I'm very excited to be testing the Epic. All of the hype around it has me thinking that there might be a contender to finally knock my SLDR out of the bag. I'm also intrigued by having a shorter than stock shaft in my driver. Before all my drivers have been over 45 inches. It'll be fun to see if I gain more control of the big stick. I want to do the best job possible for everyone here so please tell me what you want to see pictures and data wise. I can pretty much get on the LM whenever I need to so numbers won't be hard to come by for sure.

 

Stay tuned for stage 2!!!!!!!!

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Callaway GBB Epic – Official MGS Forum Review by Mr_Theoo

 

Headcover.JPG

 

Player Biography

 

I covered most about myself in Stage 1 but the short story is I started playing 5 years ago and am currently a 25 handicap. The driver for me is a strength, I score my best when I am crushing it off the tee. I feel I can be more aggressive when I know I'm gonna be a long way off the tee and somewhere near the fairway.

 

I currently play a Taylormade SLDR 12º set to 11.5º with a Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 7x

 

Epic vs SLDR nike ball.JPG

 

Performance

 

Performance for a club is split into two categories: Range and Golf Course. The point of this split is to show what happens when you go all out (range) and what happens when you're actually playing. How does the product perform for your playing style? Does it hide deficiencies? Does it accentuate a strength? Or take things in another direction?

 

Performance at the Range

 

Describe the following:

  • Accuracy – Are you able to consistently hit your target?- When I first hit the epic it felt like I couldn't find the middle no matter what. I was getting strikes that felt in the heel or way in the toe. It was frustrating, at least until I realized this driver was shorter than my SLDR and I may be standing too far away. Once i made that adjustment I felt I was able to pick a target at the back of the range and fire away. Yes, I still had to occasional toe shot or heel ball but that came back to set up. Guess I need to practice that more :P 

  • Distance – How does the club compare to other products strictly from a distance perspective?- At the range, it was hard to gauge distance just because I couldn't see how the ball landed. Flight wise I think it was at least as long as the SLDR but it seemed to get there a lot faster which I'm pleased with.

  • Trajectory Characteristics – Does the ball launch high or low, or somewhere in-between? Do you find it more or less difficult to get the ball in the air? I have my Epic set to 9.5 so the launch does seem lower but only by a little. I used to be a very high ball hitter launching driver is the 17-18º range. But over the past couple of seasons with lessons and practice, we've gotten it down to the 14-16º range which is a lot more controllable for me. I really enjoy the flight I see with this combo.

  • Forgiveness – What happens when you mis-hit the ball? How much distance is lost? Does the ball still remain between the trees? Mis-hits are MUCH better than the SLDR. While they don't go as far it seems like they're much more playable. which matters more when I end up dropping more shots because of lost balls or horrible tree lies.

  • Control – Are you able to make the ball do what you want it to (within the limitations of your own abilities). Can you launch high or low when you need to? Are you able to move the ball right to left or left to right?- Control is hard for me to judge right now because I still feel like I am just getting to know the Epic. The set up is very different from the SLDR in both loft and length. I can say that when I am clicking it does exactly what I want which is all I ask for in the end. I hope with more practice I am able to better shape my shots.

 

Range Score: (Out of 10 points) 7/10

 

Range session.jpg

 

Performance on the Course

 

Describe the following:

  • Accuracy – How well did you hit the fairways? Were you often right/left/short/long? Accuracy on the course was so-so mainly due to that setup issue that wasn't discovered till halfway thru my second round with the driver. When I hit it well it got me where I wanted. I don't hit a lot of fairways as it is. So I can't say it helped me hit any more than normal, I can say that I felt comfortable setting up the shot and taking a more aggressive line because I knew I wouldn't miss too badly.

  • Distance – How does the product compare to other products strictly from a distance perspective? On course, distance seemed to be great. I actually played a course that had GPS in the cart and it would show me how far my tee shots were going. While I didn't hit the ball great that day on a couple of the straighter holes I got a couple out in the 280 range which pleased me. I think the more comfortable I get with the club the better it could be

  • Consistency – If you were going for a 250-yard drive, did you get a 250-yard shot or did it vary by +/- 30 yards? The consistency of the club seemed as good as the SLDR. I didn't get any flyers or hotspots where the ball just flew out of nowhere. Nor were there any dead spots where the ball just didn't fly as far even though I felt I hit it well.

  • Shot Shaping – If the course you play requires a certain type of ball flight for certain holes, were you able to hit this shot within reason for your skill level? I play a draw and the ball drew. As simple as that. On the course I try not to shape my shots too much because my skill just isn't there yet. But I was able to hit the draw on most tee shots when the swing did its job.

  • Carry vs Roll – Does the ball stay in the air forever and stop or do you hit low fliers that roll forever. Which is better for your course? I seemed to have an in between of these two things. I felt like I got good roll when the course was dry but enough height to carry water or hazards when needed.
     

Course Score: (Out of 30 points) 23/30

 

Header Epic.JPG

 

Performance Notes

 
I think this club performed as labeled. I felt I was seeing the ball fly faster off the face when i hit it well and it had great forgiveness on the slight mis-hits. An improvement from my SLDR in that department. I can say I'm pleased with what I got out of the Epic. It is by no means a perfect club and I still had to do the work of swinging well but I feel as it let me get away with a little more than the SLDR. I liked hitting it at the range a little more only because if I hit a bad one I could re tee and hit it again. A lot of the fun is trying to figure out the new feel of this club. But it is a club I can rely on at the course where it matters. I'm not sure if anything is lacking from the club. It feels great and performs as well as one could hope.
 
Subjective

 

Looks

 

At address, think the club looks perfect. The shape pleases the eye. It isn't too stretched like some of the other drivers out. I prefer a compact look but I still want a 460cc head and this checked both those boxes for me. I know some might not like the green but I do. I was a huge fan of the Nike Volt color so the bright green is right at home for me.

 

Looks Score: (Out of 20 points) 15/20

 

Epic head and tool.JPG

 

Sound and Feel

 

The feel of the Epic is quite nice. It doesn't feel like the ball explodes off the face but it feels very solid. Even with the solid feel, I can still tell where I mis-hit it at which I appreciate. The sound at first was alarming and I couldn't quite place it until a guy I was playing with said it sounded like a softball bat when I hit one out the middle. And he was right when I got a hold of one it sounded a lot like an aluminum bat. After a while, I started liking the sound more and more. With my SLDR I knew hit it well when I got a ringing in my hears now with the epic I know I crushed it when it sounds like a homerun.

 

Sound and Feel Score: (Out of 20 points) 20/20

 

Likelihood of Purchase

 

I'm about 50/50 to 60/40 on LOP. The price does factor into it but when you look at all the shafts that Callaway does offer at zero up charge it does seem like a fair price. Ideally, I would have been fitted and maybe not ended up with a shaft that was zero up charge but if saw the proof that this driver was better than what's in the bag then it is a cost I am ok with. Maybe that is because I don't tend to swap out clubs as much as some. I want to know that whatever is in my bag performs as well as possible.

 

LOP Score: (Out of 20 points) 14/20

 

Conclusion

 

The Callaway GBB Epic is a very interesting club. I feel that the jailbreak technology is legit and that this club performs as labeled. I think this club could end up the back bone of my bag with more time and practice with it. Having the shorter shaft was a very smart choice on my part because I felt greater control over it which will let me be more aggressive in the end.  Will you gain 10 or 20 yards from your gamer? Best answer i can say is maybe. If your current setup isn't fitted then you may have a lot to gain. If it is then you might not but that doesn't mean it isn't worth your time. I think it offers a lot of forgiveness when your swing isn't on. If you are on the fence about this club, I say go try it somewhere that you can hit many different shaft options beyond the stock. Like any club it will perform best for you when it's fitted to you.

 

Total Score: 79/100

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I would like to start by thanking the staff at My Golf Spy for allowing me to partake in this review. A lot of work goes into organizing, not only these reviews, but the myriad number of articles they post- so another thank you!

 

What kind of golfer am I? I would say active, avid, and curious.  I am not trying to buy a swing or any of that nonsense, but I like to try new things and seeing what's out there. I'm not brand loyal, so my bag consists of a lot of different golf companies and that's just how I like it. As far as swing speed goes, I have the most consistency when I hover around 115mph with a shorter swing, sure I can swing 120+ but I'm far too erratic.

 

Photo Jul 18, 6 00 58 PM (1).jpg

 

I have been consistently in the single digit handicap range for the last three seasons. Unfortunately, I also have the single digit handicap disease. What to do I mean by that? I play well enough and have enjoyed breaking 80 enough to get sloppy and not practice like I should. No other place reflects that than my tee shots, primarily with my driver. With my biggest weakness being, what can only be best described as “quitting on shots.” This June was a particularly rough month with all the nice weather here in Oregon, I wasn't as consistent and started developing a two way miss that is only written about in horror stories. I joined a new club in April and at the start of this month I decided no better time to get a lesson with our new pro. I will not bore you with the details, but I'm driving the ball better now, so it is a perfect time to test this driver out. That being said my typical miss now, as its been in the past, is a block to the right- and heel hits (see below). 

 

Photo Jul 18, 6 00 55 PM.jpg

 

I am currently using a 2016 Taylormade M2 9.5* with a Motore Speeder VC 7.2 Tour Spec X. It has spent the longest time in my bag, I like the sound and head shape. I have owned drivers from just about every “top” manufacturer, but full disclosure, I've never gotten along with Callaway drivers, don't know why. I would have to point to the M2's CG location as to why it's been a success. I have a positive angle of attack with my driver, but I strike it higher on the face, perhaps that's why. 

 

The M2 has been very forgiving to me, but I must admit that I am excited about the Epic. A lot of people I play with have raved about it and from most forum posts I have seen around, there is a serious man-crush on it. I have already taken it out a few times and will be throwing it on Trackman to get it dialed in and will post some photos of numbers vs my M2. The prospective of retaining ball speeds when going away from the center is very enticing.

 

Photo Jul 18, 6 00 51 PM.jpg

 

Quick take on the epic. I like the black and green it's a good combo. The way the carbon meets the black crown is a pretty cool effect. The asymmetry of the face and not so round shape of the head does throw me off a bit. The adjustment manual was non existent, but the dual cog is intuitive enough to use without it. I wish manufacturers would go back to the sock head covers, helps protect shafts better, and to be honest taking it on and off is no different for me than the “oven mitts.” All minor things I assure you. Before I forget, I did not order the right shaft, but will be remedying that before stage 2.

 

Photo Jul 18, 6 01 00 PM.jpg

 

Also, please quote my post if you have any questions.  

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Stage Two:

 

 

As I mentioned in stage 1 I am currently using a 2016 Taylormade M2 9.5*. It has a Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 7.2 Tour Spec- what a mouthful! For all other clubs, look no further than my signature.

I am very streaky with the driver, always have been. When I am driving my best, my handicap drops like an anvil. And when it is not, well… if the first part of this season is any indication, it adds close to 20 strokes per round. As I mentioned in stage one, I do not practice as much as I should and so can't complain when I lose my way.

 

I hit the ball farther than your average golfer, which can be disaster when I am not firing on all cylinders. To best sum up my game plan, its bomb-and-gouge. I'd rather hit a wedge over a mid iron into any green, any time.  With this game plan it is boom and bust, but I have started making smarter decisions on club selection when my driving isn't 100%.

 

The Epic I received came with a Diaman Kai'li 70x that I did not get along with so I ended up changing it to mirror my M2.

I played both the Epic and my M2 with the following specs:

-45” both at a D3 swing weight

-Both w/ a Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 7.2 Tour Spec X Flex, Tipped 1”

-Grip: Red standard Tour Warp 2g +4 wraps.

 

 

Subjective- I have moved this to the top, as it is not as important to me and shouldn't be the end all be all of any product purchase.

 

Looks: Well here we start. I do not like, what I perceive as  a very asymmetrical face and head shape. The chevron alignment is too close to the hosel for my liking. I don't need help hitting it on the heel and this certainly did not help with that the first few time taking it out.  I am not a fan of the green graphics on the back of the head, but it doesn't distract me, it would've made for a cleaner appearance. It looks far more upright than I would like and I believe it is because the toe side is a little more bulbous than I am use to, having used an M2 for so long. I do like the black, silver and green combo- perhaps why my girlfriend says I would be in house slytherin (harry potter reference) I probably spelled that wrong; a harry potter fan, I am not. I had to say it again, but the chevron is too close to the hosel(See below). I hate to have the looks impact the score, but I must go with the following.

 

Looks Score: 15/20

 

Photo Aug 16, 9 00 24 PM.jpg

 

 

Sound and feel:

The epic has a mild thwack with center hits, but a muted sound when going away from the center- it almost feels dead. Center hits have a real pop- like ball is really rebounding off the face. Heel and toe hits feel dead to me, sometimes I can't tell if I hit it high or low, but I know I hit it away from the center. Perhaps it is the jailbreak tech that contributes to this, not allowing the head to flex all sorts of ways. By contrast I would say that I love the M2, which sounds and feels like a cannon; not an offensive tinny sound, but one that causes playing partners to say a prayer for the ball. I have played Callaway drivers, X hot pro and Big bertha alpha being the last and I can say it is keeping in line with them, so if you've liked them in the past you'll like this driver.

 

Sound and Feel Score: 15/20

 

 

 

Performance at the Range:

Accuracy- What I am about to say will be expanded in the performance on the course section. With that out of the way, I would say that curvature caused by striking closer to the heel and toe wasn't as pronounced as I have found from other drivers. It took me some time to get comfortable lining up the ball properly, missing the white stripe on my M2 that i use to square the face, I often found myself aiming incorrectly. Though the numbers in the distance section below will look the same, look at the dispersion! Yellow circle is the epic and the M2 is the giant white circle. As I mentioned above the ball did not seem to curve as dramatically as the M2 on miss hits.

 

Photo Aug 05, 6 42 07 PM.jpg

 

Distance- I saw an increase in average distance vs my M2; a whole whopping 2.2yds, based on trackman results. I was not able to stop myself from swinging like a savage. I fell into  the trap, I sometimes do- the one man long drive competition. What ends up happening is I squeeze the daylights out of the grip and leave the face open or hang back. In any case the only way I was able to have respectable numbers was to swing with an almost vertical shaft backswing- If that makes any sense. What I found as you can see below is that the Epic did indeed retain ball speed on miss hits. The numbers are close, but the epic had better ball speed and distance on worse shots and even on negative AOA swings. But when you are spitting out a launch angle of 17* with spin averaging 3721 during your session, it's hard to get hung up on the data.

 

Photo Aug 14, 7 28 50 PM.png

 

Photo Aug 14, 7 28 59 PM.png

 

Trajectory/ Control- It launched true or what I would expect from a 9* head, my M2 is at 9.7. It was lower than my M2 regardless of shot shape. I found it harder to get a high fade, but it may have been a result of having the weight a tick closer to the draw side. Now I don't try and hit hooks or cuts, usually that leads to bad habits on the course for me, but I thought I'd try for this review. I could get a hook far easier than a cut, my cut was more like a block. Again, I attribute this to having the weight closer to the draw side.

 

Range Score: 9/10

 

 

Performance on the course:

Without reservation this is the make or break for any club to me, especially since I don't spend much time on the range.

 

Accuracy- As I said above, the amount of curve given the strike location is unreal. The jailbreak tech must be contributing, because when I strike the heel as you can see below. I do not expect to be on the fairway as you can see further below. The flight I observed from this drive was very minimal left to right. The M2 by contrast would've been an easy 30-40 yards behind and in the rough or in that pond. The picture was taken immediately after my drive and the gps screen shot afterwards.

 

Photo Aug 13, 11 01 40 AM.jpg

 

Photo Aug 14, 7 24 53 PM.png

 

 

Distance/ Consistency- On good shots the M2 and Epic were similar. On fantastic shots the M2 actually edged out the epic on average of about 4 yards, but on the not-so-great shots the epic out shined the M2. Shots that felt bleh actually produced respectable results. I could see the Epic out-performing the M2 with a little more tweaking on great shots. Its consistency across the face was better than the M2. With the amount of ball speed I was getting off it, I wouldn't be surprised to see the tables turn and have the Epic deliver longer drives.

Shot Shape/ Trajectory: It was tough hitting a fade, but I refused to change the weight on the epic from its position, as it felt the best to me with a click closer to the draw setting. It also looks to be more upright than my M2, which could have been why it was harder to get it to go left to right. Hitting a draw to hook was far easier. The flight looked lower than my M2 on the range and that carried over on the course. With the course that I play regularly this is not an issue, and I don't see it being an issue in the future. If anything my home course can get a little windy and I fared better on those days with the epic vs the M2. I had no trouble playing my normal shot which varies from a push draw to a slight pull draw.

 

Course score: 28/30

 

 

 

Performance Notes: I have grown quite fond of my Taylormade M2, I mean its place in my bag hasn't change in over a year and no other club can say that. The Epic is the first serious contender. I think the best part of it has been seeing how much “straighter” it is on miss hits and the amount of distance it retains when going away from the center. I don't believe I have come across anything quite like that. I can see why it's been a big hit. I did not see my longest drive ever with it, but it has only been a little over a month and I think I am closer to finding a setting that is going to be permanent and give me the best conditions.

 

 

Likelihood of Purchase:

Would I purchase this driver? Yes, a resounding yes! For more see below.

 

LOP Score:  20/20

 

 

Conclusion:   Total score: 87/100

 

On the course is where I make my decision, I don't like to go by range time, and the Epic bested my M2 on consistency. The only problem that I ran into is, do I want a push fade that goes over 280 or am I ok being at 260 and not being in a hazard or trees. Try as I might I can't argue with the performance I was getting on the course. The jail break does what it advertises, and I say that having seen it on the course through distance retained on miss hits and on trackman. I may not love the feel or sound, but performance is king. It feels almost dead on miss hits, but I'm starting to get accustomed to the pop at impact. I placed it in my bag for my last tournament and that to me is a testament of the trust I am having in it. Maybe it's the new toy, but I've already played close to 30 rounds with it. I did not give it a score above 90, but I would say that it was weighed down by the sound/ feel and the looks score. Like I said the chevron/ alignment aide is not in the center of the crown and that bothers me more than I would like to admit, but I have been adjusting to it. The jailbreak tech though I've seen it validated makes the face rigid and miss hits feel terrible, but should they feel any other way? I do like that it doesn't punish me as much as the M2. That tech alone is why I gave it a 20/20 for likelihood of purchase. I think with COR limits almost reached across the board, what pushes this driver ahead of the pack is the jailbreak tech. If you haven't already, get out and take some swings. I didn't like it with the shaft I originally got it with, but having changed that and doing as close to an apples-to-apples comparison with my M2, the Epic has pulled ahead. This has truly tested my resolve of loving the feel of the M2 over the performance of the Epic. I use Golf pad GPS shot/ score tracking and I love that strokes gained has been added. The reason I bring this is up is that I have moved into the positive number for driving, it may be a 0.02, but it's the direction I want it to go and the Epic has been the driver that has gotten me to this point. I would like to give all the credit to myself, but I am not spraying tee shots like I use to.

 

I'll leave you with a push draw and a balanced finish.

 

Photo Aug 17, 10 00 37 PM.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q and A: If you have any questions, remember to @ me or quote my post so that I know you are asking me a question. 

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 Stage 3

 

  1. Will this product go in your bag? Why or why not?

-Yes! It stayed in my bag all summer, I am not gaming it now that the weather has turned cold and rainy. I'm not sure the carbon fiber sitting in cold is a good mix. The combo was a good mix all of the summer and I had the best driving near the tail end that I could remember in the nearly 5 years I have been golfing.

  1. To whom, if anyone, would you recommend this product? Why?

-If you don't strike the center of the face consistently this is the club for you. Hitting it against a host of other drivers it kept more ball speed on off-center hits then all of them.

  1. How, if at all, did this product change your overall impression of [brand]?

-It helped me get over my Callaway hoodoo. I felt that no matter what I did Callaway drivers and I did not get along. I had ignored a couple of earlier releases from Callaway because of this.

  1. What feature would you change or eliminate from the next generation of this model?

-Perhaps modify the acoustics a bit, the sound is not my favorite, but the performance has increased my apathy towards it. The almost bulbous toe was took the most time to get accustomed to. It seemed like the X on the face was closer to the heel, which I felt lead to more heel shots for myself.

  1. What feature do you really like, and would most like to see continued or evolved in future models?

The Jailbreak tech was legit, I would like to see that continue, possibly evolve to see if there could be more pop to the face. I think they made for a stiffer ride, not harsh, but not so much feedback wise. They did their job as marketed, so can I really complain? 

 

 

 

 

This driver truly was the test of performance over looks. It wasn't my favorite looks wise, sound/ feel wise, or even as a total package. But where it outshone everything was out on the course. It was as accurate throughout the whole summer, well past the "honeymoon" phase, though to be honest, I never was head over heels in the beginning.

 

If you didn't get out and try this driver or give it a fair shake, then remedy that before the year is out. Who knows it may be the missing piece to your game. 

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Hello All!  You all know me as JudgeSmails, my real name is Scott.   I am a 41 year old, certified golf nut.  Not a day goes by that golf, in some form, is not on my mind.    I love to play, watch, talk and of course...TEST out Equipment.   My day job is in the IT field, I work for a large Credit Union here in Indiana.  My 2nd job has become a small business that I started this year, making custom ball markers out of copper.  It has certainly kept me busy, but I am really enjoying it and still spending as much time as I can on the links.

 

I was honored (and excited) to be chosen to test the Callaway GBB Epic a while back.   Of all the new drivers on the market, this is the one I wanted to put through the wringer.   I had hit it in a demo days, and was liking was I was seeing.    Will the results be as EPIC, as I'm hoping for?  We shall see in Stage 2.

 

I was giddy when I pulled into the driveway and finally saw that beautiful Callaway box sitting next to my door, it had been almost a month since we were selected, and I was getting anxious to say the least.

 

20170627_154255.jpg

 

Upon opening the box, no surprises.  Not sure if anyone cares, but the contents were standard for a modern driver.   The club, headcover and adjustment tool w/ instructions.

20170630_093448.jpg

 

I will save some of this for Stage 2, but let's talk looks.  I know they got some flack for the green on this driver, but I love it.  Could be because I love green in general, but I think it is very good looking.  And if you're not a fan of the bright green, at address, all you can see are 2 tiny little lines at the back of the club.  The headcover is nice, and feels like good quality.  The looks of it are OK, but that is certainly something is open to everyone's opinion, not everyone will like or dislike it.

20170630_093547.jpg

 

Here is the 'unwrapping' video if you want to check it out

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B13drBZZNYTOR0hjX1RoZ2xXV0E

 

Now it's time to run through some of the Pre-Testing questions, I am going to save a lot of my comments/opinions/information for Stage 2, which is the "meat and potatoes" of any review.  I will tell you that I have already done side by side testing and have several rounds in the books.....but you'll just have to wait for that part.......

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  • Handicap/average score?  10 (don't play to a hcp, just calculate to see how i'm doing)
  • Strengths of your game? irons/short irons….can hit GIR if I get in position
  • Weakness of your game?   Inconsistency off the tee….is it 250 down the middle, or 220 into the woods
  • Typical ball flight?  all over, used to be  a line drive hitter, but can get the ball up in the sometimes now, part of my game I've been working on
  • Typical miss?  RIght….almost always Right
  • Current comparable equipment?  Callaway 2014 Big Bertha...I had bought an M1 last year after a fantastic demo days experience, but I just couldn't get in a groove with it (prob wrong shaft for me)..so I went back the old lady
  • Swing tempo?  smooth/moderate….occasionally ‘go after' one
  • Driver swing speed? Low 90's
  • What makes you love the game?  Anything and Everything….Playing, Watching, Talking about it….nothing I don't love except 3 Putts
  • How long have you been golfing?  on and off for 20 years….Have gotten more serious about it in the last 5
  • What kind of golfer are you?  hmmm...serious about the game, but still like to have fun on the course.  You won't see my pounding drinks, but will hear lots of Tin Cup/CaddyShack/Happy Gilmore quotes going around, at the same time, I'm concentrating and trying to get better.
  • What is in your bag?

Driver:  TBD

FW:  Callaway GBB Epic 5W

Hybrid: Wilson-Staff D200 4hy

Irons:  Wilson-Staff C200 5-gw

Wedges:  Wilso-Staff PMP 52/56/60

Putter: Scotty Cameron Fastback Select (codename, Little Scotty)

 

  • How did you choose them?  The WS equipment I won in a contest here last year!  Love the irons/wedges/Hybrid…….Bought the Epic 5w after I hit about 40 shots at a demo days from every spot imaginable, and couldn't hit a bad one...it has, this time, translated to the course..love that club
  • What region do you play out of?  NE Indiana
  • Are you a tinkerer or a set and forget it type? Probably a Tinkerer, always love to mess with/try/talk about equipment

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Stay tuned for STAGE 2..............

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Callaway GBB Epic Driver – Official MGS Forum Review by JudgeSmails

20170630_101454.jpg

Player Biography

I covered most of my BIO in stage 1, but just as a refresher:

I am a 42 year old, certified golf nut.  Not a day goes by that golf, in some form, is not on my mind. I love to play, watch, talk and of course...TEST out Equipment.   My day job is in the IT field, I work for a large Credit Union here in Indiana.  My 2nd job has become a small business that I started this year, making custom ball markers out of copper.  It has certainly kept me busy, but I am really enjoying it and still spending as much time as I can on the links.

I have been playing golf off and on for 20 years, but really gotten serious about in the last 4 or 5.  I strive to get better. I don't play to a handicap, but calculate to track my progress….I'm sitting at roughly a 10…..Most of my rounds are in the low 80's, and I occasionally break 80 if some putts are falling.   My goal is to hit the single digits by the end of the year, and next year start creeping into the 7-8 range, but I know I need to practice more.

When it comes to testing out equipment, I think most of us agree, Drivers are at the top of the list.  They are fun to test and they really move the needle in the golf equipment industry.   I was VERY excited to test the Epic. I have always liked Callaway drivers and had demoed one very briefly and liked what I was seeing.  If I had to pick one club at the beginning of the year I would want to test, THIS WAS IT.

 

Performance

So let's get to the meat and potatoes.   Performance, this is what it's all about.   I really don't care about anything but the results when it comes to golf clubs.

The EPIC:  Fitting

    I used the Callaway online fitting tool, combined with trying a couple different shafts out at my local shop.

   Here is what I came up with:

GBB Epic 10.5*

Project X HZRDUS T800 55 Graphite REGULAR Flex

Standard Golf Pride Plat/Black/White/Green grip


Performance at the Range

FirstRange.png

Let's talk 2 different range sessions.  The first time I unwrapped her, I went to the outdoor range at a local course.  I kept the hosel at standard from factory, and pushed the sliding weight towards draw, since I do fight a slice. Put the Epic through a small bucket and was loving what I was seeing.   I was launching the ball fairly high and mostly straight.  Of course I'm not consistent enough to put a perfect swing on it every time, but even the decent ones had a great ball flight and seemed to fly forever.   The feel was nothing different than I'm used to, when you hit the sweet spot, you know it, when you don't, you feel that as well.   I will say my mishits, were mostly shots that would be ‘playable' on most courses, and not much distance loss.  I can't comment on workability, I'm not someone that is trying to work the ball off the driver, just shoot it down the fairway when I can….I will let the better players speak to that.

Now, an outdoor range session is all well and good, but you can't really tell exactly what the ball is doing...so for the 2nd range session, I setup an hour at an indoor simulator, to test the GBB Epic vs the 2014 Big Bertha (my old driver).  It is also 10.5* w/ stock R Flex shaft, so I think this will be a great comparison to how far they may have come in 3 years.

The TEST:  

20170710_135452111111.jpg

     I hit 15 balls with each driver, using the same ball.

      Wilson Staff DUO Urethane, which is the ball I play

     I alternated drivers after 3 shots each, taking some short breaks so that

      fatigue would not be an issue.

      I removed the worst shot with each driver, to take that outlier out of the

      equation. I will say, the 2014 BB worst shot was a TERRIBLE heel strike of my own fault, I did not have such a shot w/ Epic, so hopefully that makes the numbers fair.

HERE ARE THE RESULTS, 14 CALCULATED SHOTS EACH

EpicvsBertha-final.png


As you can see, EPIC outperformed in every category.  I'm paying most attention to Ball Speed and Carry distance here, total distance would be taking into account some imaginary roll out.   Also, the Offline dispersion was MUCH better with the Epic, although I did hit a few bad hooks with it.   I'm not sure how accurate this part is on a simulator, because I have ALWAYS fought a slice, but on the simulator, my miss was almost always to the left.   Take that for what it's worth.

6 yards of carry distance might not sound huge, but I won't overlook it.  That's a ½ club closer for me and the strength of my game is the shorter irons.  If I can get a 9i in my hands instead of an 8i, I will take that all day.  And if the dispersion numbers are even somewhat accurate, it's the difference between gently rolling off the fairway and being in the trees.  Something else my game needs immensely, the ‘blow up' hole for me starts off the tee and has killed many a round.


Range Score: 9/10

 

Performance on the Course

  • Accuracy – Performs very well.  My good strikes have been straight as an arrow and held their line well.  The off center strikes have been playable, particularly the toe hits.  I can certainly feel when I catch one on the toe, and results have been great.   The toe hit seems to produce a low draw, which has started down the right side and came back to the right edge of the fairway, with minimal distance loss.  I have hit my share of bad shots as well, but that's my inconsistency off the tee.   A few bad slices and the unexpected duck hook, no club can fix that for me.

  • Distance –Distance has been GREAT, I am hitting some BOMBS that I have never hit before (see pic).  As I stated before, even the slight mishits are getting solid distance and not costing me big time on the course.  I have found that when I take a good whack at it, I am actually hitting the ball straighter, than when I try an easy swing to hit the fairway.  I have no idea why, but it is an observation.  I have hit a couple of the biggest drives I've ever had over just a few rounds with Epic.

  • Consistency – This word is not part of my game...lol….BUT, the driver itself performs great, I have a lot of confidence stepping on the tee, which had been lacking.  I really feel when I peg that tee in the ground, I'm gonna slap something out there, with good distance and be in playable position.

  • Shot Shaping – Like I said before, I won't comment on this because it's not something I do….at least on purpose

  • Carry vs Roll – The ball seems to really launch off this driver, and hang in the air for what seems like an eternity.   Roll out has also been very acceptable.  I used to be a line drive hitter, now I like seeing that ball climb in the air and hang there as long as possible.  I am certainly getting that result.

Course Score: 28/30   (no driver is perfect, but I would say this is getting close as it fits my swing well)

Long Drives.png

Performance Notes

  • How did it perform?  Performance has been great, tough to ask for more

  • Were you pleased with how the club(s) performed?  I think it has lived up to my expectations, which were high

  • Please compare and contrast it to what you are currently playing?  Longer and More forgiving, but the 2014 Bertha is no slouch itself

  • What improvements would you like to see?  Perhaps a slightly more visible center alignment on top, that's getting pretty picky, but hey, you asked

  • What would you do away with?  I think for the price this driver goes for, a little nicer headcover or some more no upcharge grip options would be a nice addition


 

Subjective

Looks
I really like the look of this driver.  I am partial to green as a color in general.  The way the carbon fiber ‘fades' in on the crown is a very cool look, but not at all distracting on the tee.  The green only shows just a tad at the back of the crown.   I also love the combo of Grey/Green on the HZRDOUS shaft as well, again…..it looks very cool, but will not be distracting at all when in use.   I give the Headcover a C+, sometimes less is more and it's a little busy for my taste. I would also like to see the alignment spot on the crown stand out just a little more.  

Looks Score: 18/20

20170630_101501.jpg

Sound and Feel

The feel is what you would expect from a premium driver.  When you hit the sweet spot, you know it immediately.  You can definitely feel you mistakes as well, when I hit that toe strike, I can actually feel the head rotate back.  The results from the mishits have been more than acceptable though.  I've had a few toe strikes where I thought “OH SH!T”, then watched a nice line drive drawing back down the fairway.   Sound wise, it seems louder than the 2014 version.  Kind of a high-pitched crack...but I will let you decide.  Check out the video below, really picks up the sound well.  It is a teebox tucked back in some trees and you can really hear it.


Sound and Feel Score: 18/20

 

Likelihood of Purchase

This is always a tough one for me, I love me some golf equipment, but am also frugal by nature.  Based on the performance of this club, I honestly can't imagine there's a better driver on the market right now for my game.  However, the drawback is the hefty price tag of $500.   I'm not sure I can see myself buying it out of pocket;  how much better is it than a driver I can get for $300, will I just be wanting the EPIC2 or whatever next spring.  That being said, IF i had $500 to spend and wanted a driver, I would not hesitate to purchase.   The points you see docked off here, are 100% due to price, not quality.


LOP Score: 16/20

 


Conclusion

The GBB Epic is a great driver, that fits my game well.  I play much better when I am confident on the tee box, and I am feeling that here.  Will you get 20+yards over your current setup, probably not, but if you are already thinking of this driver or just a new driver in general, you would be good to give it a demo and see if it fits you as well.  

Even before I received my driver, I went to my local demo days to try out 5 woods (i had currently only carried hybrids and wanted to give a FW another shot).....I tried out the Epic, along with the Fusion, Cobra F7, M2 and the newest Mizuno…...the results weren't even close, the Epic destroyed them all and I had to walk out with it.   The Epic Driver and 5w have become a great combo in my bag, and I expect them to be there for some time.

Total Score: 89 / 100

APPROVED (1).png

Ask any questions you like and I will try to answer them when I can..thanks for reading!

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STAGE 3

 

The Five Questions

  1. Will this product go in your bag? Why or why not? It is in the bag, and will be staying there for a good long time. % wise, I'm not hitting more fairways, but misses are longer and more playable. The ones I'm hitting well are getting me to spots I haven't really been before, distance wise. I even seem to be favoring a slight draw much of the time now, my miss has ALWAYS been a big slice. The toe hit is probably what has impressed me the most, I can feel it immediately and start thinking "Oh Sh!t", that is, until I see a low bullet with a little draw going down the right side of the fairway about 250 :D 

  2. To whom, if anyone, would you recommend this product? Why? Anyone who is considering a new driver should have this on the demo list. Of course getting the correct shaft for any driver will be key

  3. How, if at all, did this product change your overall impression of [brand]? I don't think it changed my impression at all, I've always like Callaway woods, and that opinion hasn't changed

  4. What feature would you change or eliminate from the next generation of this model? It's hard to really think of anything, to be honest.

  5. What feature do you really like, and would most like to see continued or evolved in future models? I'm a fan of adjustable weights, and I doubt that is going anywhere, maybe even more weight options in the future would an improvement. Also, if I'm paying $500 for a driver, let's make pretty much any grip I want a no-upcharge....mmmmmKayyy

 

Here's a video from this past weekend, probably one of the combination longest/straightest drives I've ever hit.....measured 285, down the middle....it didn't waiver an inch either way.

 

In conclusion, I am in LOVE w/ the Epic, so much I am gaming the 5 wood as well.   My good hits are BOMBS down the fairway, and my mishits have been mostly in a playable position with good distance.   My 89/100 on my stage 2 was probably a little harsh on it, to be honest.   I can't imagine there is a driver out there that better suits my game.   
 
Thank you all for reading and Thank you MyGolfSpy for this opportunity
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I'll definitely be watching this closely, I've taken the demo out a few times and I really like it, just not sure I get enough improvement vs my current driver to justify $499

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I guess it's OK to reply now since the placeholders are holding places.

 

 

Samesies. I'm generally not a Callaway guy but the buzz has been crazy around the Epic. Hopefully these testers currently game TM or Titleist for comparison.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

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Buzz has been huge this year. If anything I think a little overrated. I hit it about the same as the Cobra F7+

 

 

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Looking forward to seeing these for sure!!

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Buzz has been huge this year. If anything I think a little overrated. I hit it about the same as the Cobra F7+

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

 

I like hearing this!!

 

Especially since I have a F7 on the way for the Cobra Connect Challenge!

 

Back in early February I wandered into a Golf Galaxy while in Colorado for work and the guy working let me into the simulator and he ran me through several drivers including the Epic and the F7...all with the off the rack shafts and for that particular day the F7 came out on top but with the right shaft who knows.

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Be reading these with interest

 

 

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