After the release of last year’s Great Big Bertha Epic, Callaway Golf finds itself in a little bit of a pickle.
How do they top what many consider the best driver ever produced?
Like all golf equipment makers, however, they never stop researching, tweaking, or trying to outdo, not only their competition but, themselves too. For 2018, their efforts paid off.
Thanks to a little more distance, somewhat more forgiveness, and a noticeably more solid sound and feel, this year’s Rogue Driver may very well claim the throne from the seemingly unbeatable Epic Driver.
For 2018 though, Callaway has also added the Rogue Draw Driver for players with chronic slices, and those that play a strategic draw as part of their game.
(Editorial Note: Callaway released the Epic Flash Driver in early 2019. If you are looking for the latest and greatest, head over to our full review of the Callaway Epic Flash Driver.)
The Callaway Rogue Driver Review
The Rogue Driver come with a lot of new features:
1. Jailbreak Technology – The Jailbreak effect in Rogue drivers helps promote faster ball speed from a relatively large area of the club face.
Golfers attain long distance, more often, from both on and off-center contact. Callaway’s Jailbreak technology features two internal bars which stiffen the body by joining the crown and sole.
The stiffer body allows improved energy transfer to the face which, in turn, transfers more energy to the ball and provides exceptional distance.
For the Rogue Driver, Callaway engineers improved on last year’s version of “Jailbreak” by subtly shaving 25 percent off of the two stiffening bars and reshaping them into an hourglass form. This, coupled with Callaway’s proprietary “X Face technology, increased both forgiveness and distance.
2. X Face Technology – By analyzing one-hundred and seven different impact locations, Callaway learned which parts of the clubface experience the most and least stress at impact.
This data led to the new “X-face” design with a variable face thickness selectively thinned out in different areas. The thinner face flexes more on impact, and in turn, creates more ball speed and added distance.
3. Triaxial Carbon Crown – Thanks to Triaxial carbon – which comes in at sixty-five percent lighter than titanium - the new Rogue drivers have the largest, thinnest, and lightest crown of any Callaway driver to date. This allowed designers to push weight to the outer edges of the club and significantly increase the M.O.I. (resistance to twisting) over even their most recent offerings.
4. Boeing Aero Package – After successfully collaborating on “Speed Step Technology,” Callaway and Boing once again worked to design a club head which improves airflow and promotes a faster swing speed.
5. Premium Shafts – Along with their own branded shafts, Callaway offers a large selection of premium aftermarket shafts such as Aldila Quaranta, Aldila Synergy, Project X HZRDS Yellow, and Project X EvenFlow, just to name a few. Shafts come in various weights from forty to seventy grams, in ten-gram increments.
6. Optifit Technology – The Callaway Optifit hosel consists of upper and lower cogs that independently rotate to create eight possible lie and loft combinations. Starting at the loft stamped on the club, users can either subtract one degree, or add one, or two degrees of loft.
The lie cog can be set at “N” for neutral. This setting lets players work either a fade or draw. The “D,” or draw setting, lets players cut down their slice, or work a draw.
Callaway Rogue Sub Zero Driver Review
Jailbreak Technology, X Face Technology, Triaxial Carbon Crown, Boeing Aero Package, Adjustable Hosel, Optifit Technology, and Premium Shafts – The Rogue Sub Zero Driver shares these key features as previously described for the Rogue.
Adjustable Center of Gravity Weighting System - Two interchangeable weights of two and fourteen grams, located in the sole's front and rear, let users adjust spin-rates up to plus or minus 300 rpm. Placing the heavier weight forward helps to lower spin and launch angle. Positioning the heavier weight in the rear port increases spin, launch angle, MOI, and forgiveness.
Callaway Rogue Draw Driver Review
Jailbreak Technology, X Face Technology, Triaxial Carbon Crown, Boeing Aero Package, Adjustable Hosel, Optifit Technology, and Premium Shafts – The Rogue Draw also shares these key features as previously described for the Rogue.
Dedicated Center of Gravity Weight – The Rogue Draw Driver places a significant amount of weight in the heel. It manages this, however, without using a closed face, an exaggerated lie angle, or an offset hosel.
The Players Review of the Rogue Driver
Compared to the Rogue Sub Zero Driver model or last year’s GBB Epic Driver, the Rouge Driver looks noticeably longer from front to back.
Like most modern drivers, all three versions inspire confidence on the tee.
One impressive note regarding the Rogue Draw Driver - it looked the same as the standard model with no significant offset or angled hosel found on many draw clubs.
All three versions of the Rogue Driver felt and sounded solid on impact, possibly even a little better than Callaway’s other flagship driver, the Epic Driver.
Even with the large head, all felt light and easy to swing.
The standard Rogue Driver produced some impressive ball speed and carry distance with the loft set at ten degrees, although launch angles seemed a touch high on some shots.
The Sub Zero Driver, also set at ten degrees, with the 14g weight in the back, and the 2g in the front lowered spin slightly and improved carry over the standard model. With the weights reversed, spin went down and carry improved, yet again.
The draw driver model worked as advertised adding about twenty degrees of draw to most shots.
All three versions of the Rouge seemed to correct slight to moderate mishits on every part of the face.
Overall, all three versions played long, straight, and were fun to hit.
Should I upgrade to the Rogue from my Epic Driver?
The most natural comparison for the Rouge would be to last year’s Epic drivers from Callaway. The Triaxial carbon crown on the Rogue Driver leads to a significantly more stable overall structure and a seven-and-one-half percent increase in MOI compared to last year's GBB Epic Driver and a sixteen percent increase over the XR16 Driver of two years ago.
Callaway says that users should see as much as sixteen percent tighter dispersion with the Rogue, as compared to the Epic. For draw, even in their maximum draw settings, neither Epic provided as much draw bias as the Rogue Draw driver. While the Sub Zero Driver models of the Rouge and Epic matched up well, the Rouge Sub Zero Driver won again offering slightly less spin than its Epic predecessor.
How does the Rogue Driver compare to the other drivers on the market?
Straight up comparisons may be easier than ever this year as several of the major club makers have introduced new and proprietary technologies, most with a focus on forgiveness.
TaylorMade, for instance, launched “Twist Face” technology with the release of their M3 and M4 drivers. On the F8 and F8+, King Cobra also employs a similar non-standard shaped face. Both manufacturers claim their reshaped face will advance club forgiveness to new levels.
Like the Callaway, the F8 Driver, F8+ Driver, M3 Driver, M4 Driver, the Ping G400 Driver, the Titleist 917D2 and 917D3, and Mizuno ST180 drivers all offer lie and loft adjustable shafts. Also like the Callaway Rogue line, almost every other top of the line driver has at least one changeable CG weight in the sole.
For more detail on all the new drivers of 2018, check out our guide to the best drivers of 2018.
Which Rogue Driver works Best for Me?
Callaway designed each of these clubs with a specific level of player in mind.
The general population will likely find the Rouge Driver best suits their game. The longer front-to-back profile promotes confidence at address, while the adjustable shaft provides enough flexibility for players to tweak the club if their swing changes.
Just like the Epic Sub Zero Driver, Callaway designed the Rouge Sub Zero Driver for tournament players and scratch golfers. But, mid and lower handicappers should also take a close look, as it offers a little more flexibility than the standard version.
Most players buy draw clubs to cure a slice that they haven’t been able to fix on their own. Some golfers, however, prefer to play a draw for strategic reasons. Draws tend to be low line drives with plenty of forward roll. This type of shot comes in handy for golfers who regularly play windy courses.
With the tremendous success of the GBB Epic Driver last year, adding another top of the line driver for 2018 almost doesn’t make sense for Callaway. The Rogue Driver does, however, offer enough improved performance to stand on its own.
Compared to the Epic Driver, It plays just as long, a little more forgiving, and sounds and feels more powerful on contact. The Rouge Driver may not be enough to motivate Epic Driver owners to spring for a new driver again this year but, it certainly could make them just a little bit jealous.