Each year the biggest brands in golf roll out the red carpet to unveil their latest and greatest technology. Each year every new driver seems to promise more distance and more forgiveness.
In 2021, Callaway unveiled the new Epic drivers. You might find yourself thinking, “Is the Callaway Epic worth the upgrade?”
Well, we’re here to break it down for you. But first let’s rewind to see Callaway got here as it’s predecessors certainly set up this successful product launch.
Callaway has made some huge improvements to their driver product line the past few years and 2021 is no different. The big changes came in 2019 when they first rolled out the Epic Flash driver. It was their first driver that was designed with the help of A.I and an overwhelming success for the company.
That’s right, artificial intelligence is now part of the golf club making process. The Epic Flash was a huge hit with professionals and amateur golfers worldwide. It looked good, delivered huge gains for golfers, and had tons of new technology.
Then in 2020, they upgraded the Epic Flash to the new Mavrik driver. It had some similarities to the Epic Flash design but the look and sound was a bit different. But still, players of all calibers loved it.
Then, in 2021, they unleashed the Epic family of drivers.
Like its predecessors, it also uses artificial intelligence for even more speed and distance than most thought possible. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the new drivers to make sure it’s the right one for your game.
I’ll start by saying I’ve been playing Callaway drivers since the Epic Flash came out in 2019. After doing a club fitting, it was the clear winner vs. TaylorMade or Titleist for my game. But it was a bit of a switch at the time as the look and sound were very different from my Titleist driver (which I had played for years).
But since then, I’ve played the Epic Flash, Maverick Sub zero, and now the Epic Speed. Now, the latest club in the epic family is making quite a splash in the golf world. As Callaway said on their website, “Epic will change the industry forever with a simple equation that creates a profound impact on driver technology and performance. We’re not just making drivers; we’re framing the future of speed.”
Here’s what makes this club so exciting for golfers of all skill levels.
As you’ll see in my testing, the Epic is fast! I added nearly 10mph ball speed thanks to the new A.I. designed Jailbreak speed Frame (without trying to do anything different in my swing).
While the previous two models had this technology, its design is updated for 2021. Now, it’s a stiffer and larger frame in a vertical and horizontal direction. This means more speed regardless of where you hit it on the face.
Plus, they also used A.I. to help create more speed thanks to super strength titanium design. This also means more speed, regardless of if you find the sweet spot or not. Your misses are about to be a lot better!
Another reason this club is fast is because it’s updated design. It is now more aerodynamic than ever with a taller ribbon and flatter crown for even more speed.
Getting the theme yet? Speed!
Regardless of which model you choose, these drivers are extremely forgiving as well. Thanks to the Triaxial carbon cover on the toe and crown, it’s also lighter than ever. The weight is redistributed making it even more forgiving than past drivers.
Depending on which model you choose, here are the different stock shafts offered from Callaway. Here is a quick overview of them.
The Project X is available only for women golfers and is a lightweight, 40 gram shaft.
The stock shaft for the Speed is the HZRDUS Smoke IM10. It’s available in 50 grams for regular and stiff shafts and 60 grams in a stiff shaft. X-stiff shafts and heavier shafts unfortunately require a custom order.
The final option is the Mitsubishi MMT shaft which is stock for the MAX LS driver. It comes in a 60 or 70 gram shaft with a stiff or X-flex.
All clubs come with a Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align black grip as well.
Like most new drivers from big name companies, there are multiple club heads to suit all different types of golfers. Unlike the Epic Flash though, Callaway now has a third model specifically designed for higher handicap golfers – the MAX series. This was also available with the Mavrik series and made it more inclusive for all types of players
Whether you’re a professional or a 20 handicap, there is a Callaway driver best suited for you. Here is a breakdown of the three different drivers.
First up is the Epic Speed model. This is most similar to the Mavrik or Epic Flash driver (not the sub zero versions) from the past. It’s designed for nearly all types of golfers and has a mid-launch and low to mid-spin rates.
The biggest difference between this model and the other two is that this one doesn’t have an adjustable sliding weight. However, it does favor a semi-draw bias which makes it easy to turn the golf ball over and is very forgiving.
The 460cc club head comes in three different lofts; 9, 10.5, and 12 degrees.
The second is the Epic MAX driver.
As I mentioned, the old Epic Flash only offered two versions; a normal and sub zero design (which was for lower handicap players). But starting with the Mavrik, they now have the MAX series to compete with brands like Titleist and TaylorMade which offer this type of design as well.
The Epic MAX is the most forgiving of the three drivers and has high launch plus mid-spin. This will help get the ball airborne easier even if you don’t have the fastest swing speed.
Plus, it’s also designed to help you with that pesky slice. It has a draw bias plus an adjustable 16 gram sliding weight. Paired together, it’ll make it easier than ever to straighten out your ball flight and find more fairways.
The club is available in 9, 10.5, and 12 degree loft options.
The third and final option is the Epic MAX LS driver. It’s a little confusing because this is the club for lower handicap golfers but not sure why they chose the MAX LS instead of Speed LS? Anyways, just wanted to clarify so that you pick the right one.
The Epic MAX LS (which stands for low spin) is similar to the sub zero driver from past years. It has a low launch, low spin characteristics and is slightly more forgiving than the Speed.
This model does have a sliding adjustable weight as well but it’s only 12 grams, not 16 like the MAX. It’s a neutral flight bias clubhead shape but can adjust the weight to the heel or toe for more customization.
It also has a 460cc clubhead but the shape itself is different from the other two models. It’s only available in 9 and 10.5 degree lofts as it’s designed for lower handicap golfers who don’t need more loft or extra spin.
If you have a Mavrik, you might be thinking… Do I need to upgrade? Is it worth the money?
While I’d love to say it’s a blanket statement yes or no, I think it depends on how much you love your current driver. Even though I loved the Mavrik, I saw serious gains with the new driver. And if you have the Epic Flash from 2019, I would say 100% yes, make the switch for more distance and accuracy.
The new Epic Speed drivers look better, sound better, and have tons of new technology. Not to mention, different models designed for different types of players. Plus, great shaft choices as well.
As I mentioned, I’ve been playing Callaway drivers for two plus years as a scratch golfer. Switching drivers is a big deal to me and I never switch unless it’s 100% the right club for me.
My previous club was the Mavrik sub zero, 9 degrees with Project X HZRDUS X-stiff shaft. For my driver testing, I used the same shaft to keep all things equal. Plus, I’m a huge fan of this shaft for my game and it’s used in all my fairway woods and hybrids.
Since the MAX driver wasn’t designed for my game (I need lower launch and spin), I tested out the MAX LS and Speed. Pretty quickly, I was surprised that I liked the numbers of the Epic Speed more than the MAX LS. Plus, I liked the look of the clubhead more as well.
Once I narrowed down which model suited my game best, I compared my Mavrik Sub zero vs. the Epic Speed with the same shaft. I ended up keeping the loft the same (adding one degree, going from 9 to 10), and leaving it on the draw setting to keep things equal.
Here were my numbers from the driver fitting:
- On really good shots, I picked up 6 mph ball speed and 5 yards of carry with the Epic Speed Driver.
- On what I would consider just okay shots, I picked up 6 mph ball speed and 9 yards of carry with the Epic Speed.
The numbers speak for themselves. I added 5-9mph in ball speed and almost 10 yards extra in carry distance. I don’t look too much at total distance on the simulator as roll differs for each course you play. But overall, I was carrying it further, it was rolling further, and it felt amazing. Who doesn’t want that?
Do you have more questions about the Callaway epic driver? See below for some common questions..
In one word – yes!
It’s the most forgiving model since they started using AI in 2019 for the Epic Flash. Each version gets a nice upgrade each year to make it even faster and longer. Plus, the Epic MAX is the most forgiving version which makes it a great choice for higher handicap golfers.
For higher handicap golfers, opt for the MAX driver (make sure you don’t accidentally get the MAX LS as that’s the low handicap model). The MAX is the most forgiving and highest launching driver of the three.
Plus, it has a slight draw bias and adjustable slighting weight as well. This makes it easier to hit it both long and straight off the tee.
For most golfers, I would say 10.5 degrees. While a lot of guys want to get what the pros play, it’s usually not right for your game.
Remember, loft is your friend with a driver, just like bounce is your friend in the sand.
With more loft, it’s easier to get the ball airborne, even on mishits. That means more carry and total distance off the tee which means shorter approach shots. And hopefully, lower scores too!
Guys on the PGA Tour are playing both the MAX LS and Max Speed. John Rahm recently signed with Callaway (and shot 59 that same week) and has loved the new Epic design. As he said, “For me it was such an easy transition into Epic. It’s really long, the ball speeds are high, and I know that I can control it. That makes for a great driver.”
Yes, there are Epic Speed fairway woods available now as well. There are two models, the Epic MAX fairway woods and Speed models.
Like the drivers, the MAX ones are slightly larger and for mid to high handicap golfers. While the Speed series is a smaller design and geared more for lower handicap players. Its smaller design makes it easier to shape shots and flight it differently.
How do the Epic drivers compare to others on the market?
These are some of the best drivers on the market period. For a full discussion, read our list of top drivers for 2021. If you’re a beginner, we have a list of beginner golf drivers here. If you’re a slicer, these are some good drivers to tame that slice. Finally, here are our favorite drivers for senior golfers.
Callaway isn’t playing around with their latest driver models. These clubs are hot, help you create more ball speed (without swing changes), and will help you hit bombs off the tee.
Plus, they look phenomenal. I’m a huge fan of the green, white, and black design that looks good from any angle.
But the biggest upgrade in my opinion is the addition of the MAX model for higher handicap golfers. It’s extremely forgiving, high launching, and great for golfers who liked the Epic or Mavrik clubs but wanted more forgiveness. If you have a slower swing speed, are a senior golfer, or need help with that slice, opt for the MAX version.
For mid to low handicap golfers, I recommend testing the MAX LS vs. the Speed. Like I said, I was surprised with the outcome and the clubs definitely produce different results. And if you’re looking for the lowest spin, lowest launch driver, go for the MAX LS.
Regardless of which model you choose, I think you’ll be impressed with another amazing new driver series from Callaway. Here’s to you hitting more bombs in 2021 and beyond!