There have been a few standout occasions in the golf driver technology era where there’s been a huge hype around the anticipated release of a new driver. This is one of those occasions.
The ‘game improvement’ Callaway Big Bertha Fusion was launched in the last quarter of 2016, but now is the time for the GBB Epic!
Callaway have been working on the technology behind the Epic driver for some years and have finally found the secret. Something which is believed to increase ball speed off the clubface resulting in more distance.
We had to find out first hand what all the fuss is about and if it’s worth the big price tag for YOU. So let’s get into our Callaway Epic Driver Review.
We reviewed the Callaway GBB Epic Driver as part of our Best Drivers Review.
Feel free to leave your comment at the end of our Callaway Epic Driver Review.
Callaway GBB Epic Driver
Callaway took a chance naming it Epic as if it didn't live up to expectations it could well have been the laughing stock of current drivers on the market. It's pricey let's not ignore that, but it offers superb value that will add yards and consistency to your game. Only 4 shafts to choose from, which is a plus in our books as it causes less confusion for the average golfer. A slightly dead feel at impact due to the 3G titanium bars joining the crown and sole, but the sound off the clubface is fantastic. Well what I can say is the Epic has lived up the hype and expectation and this baby is long and consistent. Do what you need to do, but when upgrading to a new driver keep the GBB Epic on your (tiny) shortlist.
Pros and Cons
- Mishits definitely travel further than normal and your misses will be a lot closer to target
- The hype around the Epic and how long it is, is valid. In testing the average distance gained over 30 balls, we found the Epic was 9.2 yards longer than other leading drivers
- Concise variety in leading shaft brands ranging from 40g – 80g as well as varying launch benefits
- Superb sound off the clubface at impact leaving you itching to keep on hitting it and hitting it out the middle!
- The feel off the clubface at impact may take a bit of getting used to in comparison with the driver you currently use. Not as ‘springy’.
|Product Details||Callaway Epic Driver Review|
|Launch RRP||$499.00 Check Price: Amazon | GlobalGolf.com | Worldwide Golf Shops|
|Gender||Men’s & Ladies|
|Handicap Range||Low – High|
|Hand Availability||Right & Left Hand|
|Right Handed Lofts||9°, 10.5°, 13.5° (Custom only)|
|Left Handed Lofts||9°, 10.5°, 13.5° (Custom only)|
|Shaft Type and Name||Mitsubishi Diamana (Green), Project X HZRDUS T800 55, Fujikura Pro Green 62, Aldila Rogue|
|Grip||Golf Pride New Decade Platinum|
Callaway GBB Epic Driver Review
5 things you should know about the Epic
Detailed Callaway Epic Driver Review
“Jailbreak technology” is the key factor behind the GBB Epic. Here’s what it means in a nutshell. Currently when you strike the golf ball with your driver there is a slight loss of energy by the clubface to both the crown and sole of the club at impact.
Callaway have come to the party by conserving as much energy as possible at impact by adding two titanium bars that run either side of the sweetspot from the sole to the crown of the driver head.
This “Jailbreak Technology” improves stability through impact, but came at a cost in terms of additional weight to the clubhead so other areas of the driver head needed to be tweaked. The carbon fiber crown is what’s changed. It now weighs only 9.7 grams and is 60% lighter than the XR 16 titanium crown.
This also resulted in a lower center of gravity due to the light crown, which we will elaborate on further down in the Callaway Epic Driver Review.
Control & Performance
There are two variations of the Epic. The ‘standard’ GBB Epic has an adjustable weight perimeter that allows for minor shot shape correction or minimization. Then there’s the Epic Subzero which is for golfers that require as lower spin rate as possible in order to maximize distance.
The GBB Epic is NOT the lesser of the two. In fact we’ve heard from legitimate sources that 8 out of 10 PGA Tour professionals have chosen the GBB Epic rather than the Epic Subzero. Primarily due to its flexibility in terms of both loft/lie as well as adjustable weight.
We’re focused on the GBB Epic here though so let’s stick with that.
Callaway have hit the nail on the head with their standard options particularly in shafts. Four options to choose from (and all top notch quality) ranging from 40 – 80 grams in weight. They each also offer different launch angles and trajectories. The Mitsubishi Diamana Green M+ 50 was the shaft I used in testing and was hugely impressed.
Despite the feel being slightly less explosive than I’m used to and somewhat hard, the launch and ball flight was just outstanding. Out of the 30 balls I hit with the GBB Epic, only 4 were not to my liking due to weak strike.
With modern technology we are still inclined to think ‘It’s impossible to hit a shot offline with this thing’, but sadly that’s not the case. It’s a matter of how the driver offsets the weak strike and improves overall shot result and minimizes shot shape.
Having said that each of these 4 shots traveled further than I had expected due to the forgiveness on off center strikes being aid by the Jailbreak technology.
The ball hardly moved in the air in terms of draw or fade and that gives me huge confidence. A moreish ‘thwack’ in terms of sound at impact is also a positive.
One of my biggest positives is that the average loss of distance between my 5 longest and 5 shortest drives was minimal. I hardly took that into account before, but now I can safely say I will gladly take a driver that has consistent distance than one that is exceptionally long on center strikes, but short on poor strikes.
That being said this is still the longest driver I have ever tested averaging 9.2 yards longer over 30 balls. I’m sure Rory McIlroy will agree on that front. At the BMW SA Open earlier in January European Tour commentators recorded three separate drives of 371, 373 and 391 yards when he had the Epic Subzero in the bag. Nick Faldo who played the same golf course that week was simply flabbergasted.
Design & Appearance
A shiny crown along with the carbon fiber pattern are the first things you notice when putting the club behind the ball. There are two speed steps either side of the Callaway alignment arrow, but these are just there for aesthetics – they have zero influence on increasing clubhead speed or ball speed.
The 3G titanium bars obviously cannot be seen as they are within the structure of the clubhead, but you can see the two ends of the bars on the sole of the Epic which run either side of the sweetspot. You also see the bright green exocage that branches out from center towards the outskirts of the sole.
The adjustable weight at the rear of the head is said to offset shot shape by up to 21 yards, which is great but try not to confuse yourself and reset the weighting after each and every round thinking it must be the driver’s weighting that isn’t correct.
Lastly the Epic has a fairly deep clubface so pay attention to that and you may want to tee your ball up fractionally higher in order to maximize strike potential.
Overall it is decent looking club, but it almost has a rebellious bad boy sort of look about it. Not the typical classic shape and design that some of the older golfers are used to and in my opinion not as beautiful as the Callaway Great Big Bertha.
Value for Money
Ok let’s not beat around the bush here. Our Callaway Epic Driver Review reveals the manufacturer has taken the bull by the horns and named it the Epic as they believe it’s that good and there will be some time before any competition comes close.
It’s a costly investment at suggested retail price of $499.00 and you may well have to sacrifice in other areas. But it is great value.
The Callaway GBB Epic is very long and will on average give you an additional 10-15 yards off the tee along with a slightly higher ball speed.
Shot shape is very straight and I’ve yet to meet an amateur golfer in particular who DOESN’T want a straight ball flight.
Golfers are split into segments of preferred manufacturers, designs and feel however if you’ve never been in the Callaway camp before in terms of driver – now might well be the time to join the starting lineup.