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Review: Callaway GBB Epic and Epic Sub Zero Drivers

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Update (January 17, 2017): Launch monitor data added from #TheWRX, a group of eight GolfWRX Members who visited Callaway HQ to be fit for the GBB Epic and GBB Epic Sub Zero drivers. 

“We’ve changed pretty much everything with the way we’ve made this driver,” says Alan Hocknell, Callaway’s Senior Vice President of Research and Development. And even a cursory glance reveals that a lot has changed with Callaway’s new GBB Epic and GBB Epic Sub Zero drivers.

The GBB Epic

GBB_Epic_Hero

Callaway has been adding carbon fiber to its driver designs for more than a decade, using the material to make lighter and lighter crowns that have steadily improved the performance of new models. This year, the company brought carbon fiber to the soles of its drivers, a shift as dramatic as each driver’s vibrant green highlights. According to Callaway, more than 50 percent of the Epic and Epic Sub Zero drivers are made from carbon fiber.

Epic_Triaxial_Carbon

The Epic drivers use carbon fiber inserts on the crown and sole, which improve their forgiveness.

The marquee technology for both the Epic and Epic Sub Zero, however, is something golfers can’t see. It’s called Jailbreak, a structure of two parallel titanium rods located behind the club face that connect the sole and crown. The rods serve to stiffen the crown and sole so they don’t flex as much at impact, Callaway says, which allows the club face of the drivers to flex more and return more energy to the ball. More energy means more ball speed and more distance, and Callaway is claiming an improvement of up to 2 mph in its player testing.

Epic_bars

Jailbreak Technology: Two titanium bars located behind the club face stiffen the crown and sole of the Epic drivers to make the club faces more flexible and improve ball speeds.

Because of the added carbon fiber, internal titanium rods and many more changes, Hocknell says it takes twice as many steps and twice as long (roughly 7-10 days) to manufacture the Epic and Epic Sub Zero drivers. The payoff? The structural changes to the Epic improve its total moment of inertia, a measure of ball speed retention on mishits, to an impressive 8000 g/cm². That’s 20 percent higher than the MOI of the Great Big Bertha, the driver the Epic replaces in Callaway’s lineup.

The GBB Epic Sub Zero

GBB_Epic_Sub_Zero_Hero

The Epic Sub Zero, according to Callaway, is even more forgiving. It has an MOI that’s almost 8500 g/cm², making it a unicorn in today’s driver market. Generally, deeper-face drivers like the Epic Sub Zero are less forgiving than their shallower-face counterparts. Evan Gibbs, Callaway’s Manager of Performance Analysis, says he expects the Epic Sub Zero to be far more popular than Callaway’s Alpha 816 DBD, the driver it replaces in the company’s lineup, because of its added forgiveness, both at retailers and among PGA Tour players.

GBB_Epic_Comparison_Address_Drivers

The biggest difference between the drivers, other than their shaping, is their adjustability systems, which target two distinct groups of golfers.

The Epic has a sliding weight track located on back edge of its sole. It sits lower than it did on the Great Big Bertha, and is also shorter, which helps the driver retain a maximum amount of forgiveness regardless of what setting is used. Even though the track is shorter, its heavier sliding weight (17 grams) actually gives golfers a wider range of draw/fade bias.

GBB_Epic_Slider

Callaway calls the Epic its “most draw-capable driver,” and even in its neutral setting it exhibits a light amount of draw bias. Golfers who don’t fight a slice, however, can easily make the Epic a truly neutral or even a fade-biased driver by moving its sliding weight toward its toe. So if golfers have a one-way miss and want to alleviate it with a driver setting, the Epic is most likely going to be the best new Callaway driver for them.

GBB_Epic_Sub_Zero_WEights

Most golfers will get better performance from the Epic Sub Zero driver with its 12-gram weight positioned in the back of the driver head.

Those who don’t need help straightening out their trajectory may see better performance from the Epic Sub Zero, which is designed to help golfers squeeze every last yard out of their drives by optimizing launch conditions. It uses two weights — 12 and 2 grams — to allow golfers to move the driver’s center of gravity forward to reduce spin or rearward to improve consistency.

The Test

To test the performance of Callaway’s new Epic and Epic Sub Zero drivers, I went to the Ely Callaway Performance Center (Carlsbad, Calif.) to compare them to their predecessors. I hit between 5-10 shots with each driver and tested the GBB Epic Sub Zero in its two settings (heavy-weight forward, or “WF,” and heavy-weight back, or “WB”). Obvious mishits were removed from the data.

Epic_Speed_Step_Crown

Callaway’s Epic and Epic Sub Zero drivers have 3D-printed “Steep Steps” on their crowns, which improve club head aerodynamics for faster swing speeds.

Each driver was tested with the same shaft on Trackman 4, and I hit Callaway Chrome Soft (2016) golf balls. To ensure as much of an apples-to-apples comparison as possible, each of the four driver heads was also digitally lofted and weighed prior to the test to make sure each was as close to 9 degrees and a D3 swing weight as possible.

The Results

CallyDrivers2017

In my testing, the Epic offered the most distance and ball speed of the four drivers tested, but just barely. It produced +0.4 mph more ball speed on average than the Alpha 816 DBD, and +0.3 yards more total distance.

I must admit, I expected to see bigger differences between the Epic, the Epic Sub Zero and the Alpha 816 DBD. After all, the Epic Sub Zero is said to have a whopping 43 percent higher MOI than the Alpha 816 DBD it replaces. Ultimately, the biggest problem with the Epic and the Epic Sub Zero in testing was how well I hit the Alpha 816 DBD. For whatever reason, I rarely missed the screws with the Alpha 816 DBD… and still the Epic edged it.

GBB_Epic_Sub_Zero_Hero_2

Both during the testing and my fitting the day prior, I was incredibly impressed with the forgiveness of the Epic. Even mishits approached 170 mph in ball speed, and when they landed they were closer to the target line that I would have predicted from the strike.

My results weren’t quite as good with the Epic Sub Zero, but it was a great driver on the whole for #TheWRX, a group of eight GolfWRX Members who were selected to visit Callaway HQ and be fit for the driver. In their fittings for either an Epic or Epic Sub Zero driver, they saw an average gain of 11.675 yards of total distance (carry + roll) compared to their gamer driver, which is incredible. 

See the breakdowns of their Trackman number below.

#TheWRX Results

TeamWRX_Epic2017.001 copy

Related: Full Coverage of #TheWRX

With the Epic Sub Zero, I especially struggled with heavy-weight forward setting, which creates a flatter trajectory that can boost distance for high-spin golfers. Ultimately, the setting did what it was designed to do, lowering spin by nearly 200 rpm compared to the heavy-weight-back setting, matching Callaway’s claims. The bad news; it also lowered my ball speeds and widened my dispersion, which is typical of any driver when CG is moved forward.

GBB_Epic_Sub_Zero_Weights_2

Callaway representatives predict the vast majority of golfers who are a fit for the Epic Sub Zero will be better served by its heavy-weight-back setting, which enhances forgiveness. They’ll still be in the minority, however, as Callaway estimates that roughly 70 percent of golfers will be better served by the Epic.

The Takeaway

GBB_Epic_Headcover

Based on my initial testing, as well as the testing of GolfWRX Members, it’s safe to say that most golfers should see at least the small ball speed gains I did with the Epic or Epic Sub Zero when comparing it to older Callaway drivers. And many will see bigger gains, particularly if they’re coming from a driver that’s two or more years old.

The GBB Epic and GBB Epic Sub Zero (both $499.99) will be in stores January 27. Learn more from Callaway’s website.  

Specs

GBB_Epic_Specs

  • Lofts: Epic (9, 10.5, 13HT), Epic Sub Zero (9, 10.5)
  • Head Size: Both 460 cubic centimeters
  • Stock Length: Both 45.5 inches
  • Stock Swing Weight: Epic (D3), Epic Sub Zero (D4)
  • Stock Grip: Golf Pride New Decade Platinum

Shafts

GBB_Epic_Shafts

  • 40-gram range: MRC Diamana Greenboard (294 grams*)
  • 50-gram range: Project X HZRDUS T800 Green (308 grams)
  • 60-gram range: Fujikura Pro Green (313 grams)
  • 70-gram range: Aldila Rogue Max (323 grams)

*     Total weight (with stock head, shaft, grip)

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

74 Comments

74 Comments

  1. Michael A Preiss

    Feb 8, 2017 at 1:12 am

    wow so many cheap, exper,t tour caliber players commenting here

  2. Michael A Preiss

    Feb 8, 2017 at 1:10 am

    WOW! there are so many “experts” tour caliber players commenting here. and f-ing cheap ones

  3. John McNeil

    Jan 27, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Hit these both last night with shafts that were available and was carrying a minimum of 20 yards further than M1 and M2 (2016, and 2017), 917 D2, 917 D3, Cobra F7, F7+. Now I just have to see how it matches up head to head with my 816 DBD although I already think I know. LOL

  4. Resili

    Jan 7, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Great information Zak.

    I just bought a brand new BB Alpha 816 DBD and I hit it in the center of the face with great results. I’m glad to know that the EPIC is just as good.

    Is it possible that the reason could be that the 816DBD has two tubes that connect the sole and the top of the head and have the same effect that the EPIC’s rods?

    Thank you for your review.

  5. dlgravett

    Jan 7, 2017 at 11:10 am

    I will be getting fit for one in the next week! I’m interested in seeing how much better it is than my razr extreme 8.5. Getting fit on a open range with trackman. Wish I could take sub zero down to 7. Any how I’m interested in seeing the difference from a $50 club bought used two years ago to the latest and greatest, same color, EPIC price, bar setter.

    • dlgravett

      Jan 11, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      So I had my fitting. The standard EPIC I could swing faster so I got better numbers than subzero. In comparison to my RAZR Extreme not much of a difference honestly. For the money the win goes to the RAZR Extreme. I flew a few 270 carry under 2k spin which was better, only just. Subzero felt little dull/heavy for my 105-8 swing speed but I’m sure faster swingers will hit it further than standard. Can’t wait to play the EPIC see if it gets better on the course.

  6. Andrew Levy

    Jan 5, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Maybe you should try and launch the ball higher and see what happens. It doesn’t seem like you have optimized your launch so the numbers don’t make a lot of sense.

    • Uhit

      Jan 6, 2017 at 7:38 am

      The most important thing in a comparison is consistency…

      …and he was hitting all clubs obviously very consistent, with about the same numbers in regard of launch.

      Thus, I consider this a good comparison.

      However, he could achieve considerably more carry (for ALL drivers!) , if he would use a positive AoA…
      …but if this causes inconsistency within his swing – then to do this would not make a lot of sense.

      So, if all is said and done, he did his best for consistency – which means, he did his best for a fair comparison…

      …and this is what I like to see.

      • Dill Pickelson

        Jan 6, 2017 at 8:18 am

        Duh. If I shoot a gun at the ground does that tell you anything? This was a terrible review. rick shiels is carrying it over 300y with a +aoa and his mind was blown. Hit the club properly not safely.

        • Lester Diamond

          Jan 6, 2017 at 9:53 am

          Safely is properly.
          I would hate to see you work with power tools.

        • Uhit

          Jan 6, 2017 at 9:59 am

          Rick has sometimes a accuracy like a shotgun…
          …which bullet should count, as representative?

          B.t.w.:
          Rick made, as far as I know, his longest drive with a M1 430…
          …334 yards total distance…

          But what does this mean for the consumer?

  7. golfraven

    Jan 5, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Let the “Epic” propaganda begin. Now that Rory and some new players are on board Cally just need to roll in the cash. Callaway begins to have a bad reputation in their product cycle I don’t even see from TM.

  8. Epic Failure

    Jan 5, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Thank you.

  9. yobo

    Jan 5, 2017 at 1:56 am

    Crossfield and Shiels make the club sound like the Sub Zero plays very well. Shame about the left over green paint from 100 years ago.

  10. KK

    Jan 5, 2017 at 12:05 am

    Why does the Sub Zero spin more than the regular Epic? Hope this is an anomaly because it will be worthless if true for most of us.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Jan 5, 2017 at 10:30 am

      For me it did, KK, but many testers are seeing lower spin from the Sub Zero. Make sure to hit them both and see what works better. It’s not necessarily skill or speed dependent.

  11. Sean

    Jan 4, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Nicely done Zak. 🙂

  12. Mad-Mex

    Jan 4, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Zak, how about a REAL LIFE test? You know, out to the range, hit it, measure distance with a laser or tape, dispersion,,,, even better!! a playing test, go out play 18 and see how it performs under real world situations! How much better is it than your old driver? And if you want to go rouge, give honest opinion weather its worth the money. This phrase “particularly if they’re coming from a driver that’s two or more years old.” could have easily been ” If your driver is less than two years old, don’t think it will be worth it for you”,,,

    • KK

      Jan 5, 2017 at 12:02 am

      Did no one ever tell you that course testing is horrible for driver vs driver comparisons? Have you heard of science? You want to control as many variables as possible in science. Or did you just want to live vicariously through Zak?

      • Mad-Mex

        Jan 5, 2017 at 12:52 am

        Am sorry, I thought I addressed my comment to Zak,,,,,

  13. Dat

    Jan 4, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Meh at best. Not at all worth the asking price. Good news is the GBB will now be under $250.

  14. jgpl001

    Jan 4, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Seems like we have reached a bit of a limit on ball speeds and ave distance….

    Just saw a new 816 DBD with a Rouge Silver yesterday for €220….clearance of the model to make way for the new Epic, which seems anything but Epic!!

    I know where I will be heading on Saturday morning with €220…..

  15. Dave R

    Jan 4, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    I do realize that r@d costs are up but good god the prices of all products are beyond stupidy. Just wait new ones coming in the spring.

  16. Cohenfive

    Jan 4, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    I look forward to buying one of these in about a year for $250 or less….

    • tlmck1234

      Jan 4, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      I look forward to getting mine from the 2nd hand store in about 3 years for less than $100. Just got a nearly new SLDR 430 for $69 bucks and it is awesome.

  17. suhdude

    Jan 4, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    time for me to go yaw-yaw on the golf course, suhhhhh dude.

  18. Archie

    Jan 4, 2017 at 11:56 am

    I was excited about the Epic but after some reading I don’t think it is an improvement over the current GBB which I have and really like!

  19. Nd

    Jan 4, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Zak……… dude, you have 170 ball speeds yet you hit a 9 degree head to 7 degree launch? Stop hitting down on it so much, man! You’re wasting so much effort.
    With that speed, you should dial it down to 8 and launch it at 17 degrees and hit it to 330.
    Learn to hit up on it, dude.
    That’s why you should stop being the initial tester on here. You’re just confusing people and making them feel very disappointed.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Jan 4, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      Nd,

      I appreciate your suggestion. Since we only published the ball data, I went back and looked at my average angle of attack with the GBB Epic. It was -2.4 degrees. According to Trackman, that’s much closer to the average AoA on the PGA Tour (-1.5 degrees) and average AoA for bogey golfers (-2.1 degrees) than what you’re suggesting.

      We’re always looking to improve our reviews with more testers and different kinds of testers, and you can read about the multiple fittings of GolfWRX Members as part of #TheWRX contest here: http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/1417466-thewrx-christmas-comes-early-at-callaway-golf-8-members-are-treated-to-thewrx/

      I do know how to swing up with a driver, too!

      • Nd

        Jan 4, 2017 at 1:19 pm

        Lets see it. Set the thing to 8 degrees neutral, AoA to 6 to 8 up, and get the spin down under 2000. And why did they make you use the Chrome Soft? They should have at least given you the Chrome Soft X!

      • Dill Pickleson

        Jan 4, 2017 at 11:46 pm

        Zak, seriously, you did not try to get the most out of the driver. i’m not great but i have positive launch and ave. 290 wz the gbb. i changed my thumbs up to a shank.

        • Uhit

          Jan 5, 2017 at 8:18 am

          As soon as he treats all the clubs the same, it is a good comparison…
          …and it seems, that he treated all the clubs the same.

          If he would hit some with a positive AoA and others not,
          it would not be a fair comparison.

          However, I also wonder why a lot of people have a negative AoA…
          …and therefore don´t get the most (distance) out of their drives.

          • Zak Kozuchowski

            Jan 5, 2017 at 10:33 am

            Yes, Uhit, I did my best to swing all the clubs the same. I’ve found I don’t hit as many fairways when I try to swing up all the time, and I’m not unique in that respect.

            • R

              Jan 5, 2017 at 1:25 pm

              But we don’t care about that, we want distance!!!!!!! Callaway is the long drive champ, and you should have hit it like that!

            • Uhit

              Jan 5, 2017 at 5:17 pm

              Thank you for the inspiration Zak.
              Maybe I should try to lower my AoA, to hit more fairways…
              …but long drives make real fun!

            • Dill Pickelson

              Jan 6, 2017 at 8:20 am

              Then don’t review drivers.

      • TR1PTIK

        Jan 6, 2017 at 1:32 pm

        There have been plenty of articles written on the subject of AoA and a lot of tour pros hit down on it because they need the spin to help them find fairways (most already hit the ball long enough). That’s why those same articles recommend following the examples of LPGA players because their slower swing speeds force them to have a + AoA for maximum distance.

  20. Clay

    Jan 4, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I think people are skipping the article and just reading the numbers. If I can get the same performance on slight misses that I got from middled 816 DBD swings I will take that all day.

    It seems the more you hit the center the less you gain from this driver, but even pros have misses. For your average weekend golfer this could make a big difference.

  21. Smitty

    Jan 4, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Here we go again with nothing more than marketing hype and a $500 price tag for a driver that will generate no performance improvement compared to the 816 DBD, which you can now buy for much less. Save yourself a bucket of money and go buy a driver from 2015/16 or (better yet) go invest in lessons with a golf pro.

    • jifmoli

      Jan 4, 2017 at 11:02 am

      Better still, buy a club that’s 3 to 5 years old to really save money and only loose maybe 5-10 yards compared to the latest. The gains are too small to pay so much for. I play with a driver from around 2007 (TM Burner) and it is better/as good as my mates’ newer ones.

      Nearly stopped reading with the statement “we changed everything”. Really, again? Was the previous crap then?

      • peter collins

        Jan 4, 2017 at 2:57 pm

        even better still, go buy a 10.5 Orka

  22. Scott

    Jan 4, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Wow, with all of the build up, I expected quite a bit more.

  23. xjohnx

    Jan 4, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Though I will admit, like the rest of you, I was expecting better results. It’s worth noting that most people will not hit the 816 DBD nearly as well as the new epic and would likely see much better results when comparing.

  24. Buck

    Jan 4, 2017 at 9:45 am

    We’ve reached the point of diminishing returns.
    Spend your money on lessons or a few rounds on top-tier courses.

  25. CRot

    Jan 4, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Is there a typo on the launch angle, seems very very low.

  26. Ron

    Jan 4, 2017 at 9:36 am

    My XR16 works fine. It’s a bit longer, but not quite as straight as my old Titleist 976R, which I was able to pipe down the middle most of the time. I’m toying with the idea of going back to it (though, to most of my mates, it looks like a 3W). If I look back at the drivers I’ve been suckered into buying over the past 10 years, if I gained 5 yds, it’s a lot.

    I think I’ll keep my current clubs and count my extra money instead.

    • Mike

      Jan 25, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      Well put Ron, There’s an old adage, if it goes well don’t change it, Love my 2016 GBB rear slider, and the Fujikura speeder 60 R shaft

  27. Desmond

    Jan 4, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Would have preferred a collective review by several golfers – not just one guy who can hit a DBD on the screws.

  28. G.W

    Jan 4, 2017 at 9:33 am

    So you are at a Callaway fitting centre and you are launching the ball at 8 degrees. The fitter should be let go. I’m sorry but that is crazy.It appears that they did not fit you properly for any of the clubs in the test.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Jan 4, 2017 at 9:47 am

      G.W.,

      I was fit for the Epic the day before this test. And based on Trackman’s optimal launch conditions for my swing speed (about 115) and average angle of attack (about 0), I was optimized for the Epic. Here’s a link to a great story about this very topic from our Trackman Master Tom Stickney: http://www.golfwrx.com/303248/how-far-you-can-actually-hit-your-driver/.

      • G.W

        Jan 4, 2017 at 10:07 am

        I apologize.I guess I having been watching to many youtube guys claiming to carry the ball 295 with a 115 swing.I thought the 8 degree launch seemed very low but obviously it works for you.Thanks for the reply.

        • Zak Kozuchowski

          Jan 4, 2017 at 11:13 am

          Yes, a lot of people think they need to be launching their drives at 17 degrees and with 1700 rpm of spin to optimize results, and for some it does. Bubba Watson can do it on demand, but even his average launch angle on the PGA Tour in 2016 was 9.73 degrees.

          As we write all the time, the most important part about buying a new driver is being properly fit. When golfers do that and upgrade to the newest technology, very impressive results often occur. It can be game changing!

  29. Desmond

    Jan 4, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Seems as if the difference will be more consistency with the extreme higher MOI and a tighter fit due to head choices and adjustements.

    As many have stated, a perfect strike makes little difference – It’s the forgiveness and fit that give you better and more consistent (longer) driving.

  30. Greg V

    Jan 4, 2017 at 9:05 am

    If you were rarely missing the screws with the Alpha 816 DBD, I hope that you took that very driver home with you!

  31. tzed

    Jan 4, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Still not enough progress for me to change my Cobra Amp Cell. I’ll spend the $500 on 8 lessons from my club pro.

  32. Moses

    Jan 4, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Wow. First Ping, then Titleist, then TM and now Callaway. The latest and greatest is worse/same than previous years model. M1 2016 = M2 2017, G30>G, 915>917, and GBB DBD > Epic SZ. This is why the used golf club market is so strong and more and more people don’t buy new anymore

  33. Kenny

    Jan 4, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Is there going to be a version with a non-adjustable hosel?

  34. Perry

    Jan 4, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Why would anyone expect to expect higher ball speed? Ball speed is capped. Jailbreak or no… MOI is capped. The only thing left to do is expand the sweet spot and aerodynamics. That’s it.

    • The Club Nut

      Jan 4, 2017 at 8:35 am

      I think most people were expecting something closer to the actual limit of ball speed and MOI. while things are close, nothing is really “maxxed out” on more than one of the numbers if at all. If you get to the maximum limits, minus the error allowed, then you can get more distance, but i feel that callaway definitely under delivered on this driver given all the advertising and promises.

      • Perry

        Jan 4, 2017 at 2:32 pm

        Anyone that doesn’t think balls speed is maxed out is on glue. Every few years there is a recall on a driver that’s too hot. Remember the original Nike SuMo that every said was short? Recalled for being too hot, and the conforming one got replaced with the circle version. I had a Mizuno MP-001 that was amazingly long. It also made the non-conforming list. MOI maxed out is basically do you want to go square or not.

        MOI only helps curvature due to gear effect. Even with a max MOI you can slice the ball with a path angle inside the face angle.

  35. Jim

    Jan 4, 2017 at 8:10 am

    One ‘good hop’ longer for 400+? I don’t think so…puke green – again?…It didn’t fly even one or two shots remarkedly longer in testing?

    If it proves to be more forgiving, it’ll last 6 months. It’ll be on sale @ the remaining DSG ‘pro shops’ (lol) for 299 by July 4th either way

  36. Spitty

    Jan 4, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Excellent initial review, the 816 has been out for a couple of years now there is still plenty in the marketplace. , yet according to your data and review, not much as changed. I am some what surprised by this givin the name “EPIC” and the subliminal advertising.

  37. TheCityGame

    Jan 4, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Make no mistake, the biggest thing you’re paying for is this —> http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/08/fashion/color-of-the-year-2017-pantone-greenery.html

    An honest review. . .”that carbon fiber crown looks cool and that green is going to be in vogue this year and you’ll buy anything at this point.”

    You can be expected to gain .3 yards distance. Sounds like a good use of 500 dollars.

    Quote, “which allows the club face of the drivers to flex more and return more energy to the ball. More energy means more ball speed and more distance.”

    So…they’ve bypassed the COR limits?

    “And many will see bigger gains, particularly if they’re coming from a driver that’s two or more years old.”

    Yeah, those 3-year old drivers, with the old COR limits. So short. Please try to convince me this club is longer than my G15. I’d love to hear it.

  38. Joseph

    Jan 4, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Thanks. Doesn’t seem like there is enough difference here to justify the $$ going from an M1, or at least from prior Callaway.

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pga tour

Ian Poulter WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Honda Classic (2/20/2018).

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Orange CK 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik TP7HDe 7X

Hybrid: Titleist 816 H2 (21 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green ATX85H TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shaft: Project X LZ 130 7.0

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52-12F, 56-14F, 60-04L)
Shaft: Project X LZ 7.0 (52), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (56, 60)

Putter: EvnRoll Tour ER
Grip: Odyssey Pistol

Putter: Rife Antigua Island Series
Grip: Odyssey Pistol

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Poulter’s clubs. 

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From our featured image of Rory McIlroy putting in a different kind of work on the range in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday morning, to shots of Tiger Woods’ similarly early pre-pro-am range work, to some intriguing shots Patrick Reed’s prototype Bettinardi putter, GolfWRX has plenty of fantastic photo content from PGA National.

Here are some of the best shots from Wednesday.

Tiger Woods at work prior to his crack-of-dawn pro-am tee time. Gentleman in the foreground: You do know that as the sun has not yet risen, you do not need a hat to aggressively combat its rays, right?

“My feet do not look like that at impact.”

All eyes on the Big Cat…except those focused on the live video on their cell phone screens…

Let’s take a closer look at Patrick Reed’s yardage book cover. Yep. As expected.

Do you think these two ever talk?

It looks like Captain Furyk already has some pre-Ryder Cup swag in the form of a putter cover.

If you’ve ever wondered why Rickie Fowler selected these interesting locations for his tattoos, this may be the answer: Visible when he holds his finish.

We’ve got a Pistol Pete sighting!

Patrick Reed’s droolworthy Bettinardi Dass prototype.

Fun fact: Wedges double as magnetic putter cover holders, as Jon Curran illustrates here. Healthy application of lead tape, as well, from the tour’s resident graffiti artist.

Wednesday’s Photos

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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Accessory Reviews

Review: FlightScope Mevo

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In 100 Words

The Mevo is a useful practice tool for amateur golfers and represents a step forward from previous offerings on the market. It allows golfers to practice indoors or outdoors and provides club speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, spin rate, carry distance and flight time.

It also has a video capture mode that will overlay swing videos with the swing data of a specific swing. It is limited in its capabilities and its accuracy, though, which golfers should expect at this price point. All in all, it’s well worth the $499 price tag if you understand what you’re getting.

The Full Review

The FlightScope Mevo is a launch monitor powered by 3D Doppler radar. With a retail price of $499, it is obviously aimed to reach the end consumer as opposed to PGA professionals and club fitters.

The Mevo device itself is tiny. Like, really tiny. It measures 3.5-inches wide, 2.8-inches tall and 1.2-inches deep. In terms of everyday products, it’s roughly the size of an Altoids tin. It’s very easy to find room for it in your golf bag, and the vast majority of people at the range you may be practicing at won’t even notice it’s there. Apart from the Mevo itself, in the box you get a quick start guide, a charging cable, a carrying pouch, and some metallic stickers… more on those later. It has a rechargeable internal battery that reaches a full charge in about two hours and lasts for about four hours when fully charged.

As far as software goes, the Mevo pairs with the Mevo Golf app on your iOS or Android device. The app is free to download and does not require any subscription fees (unless you want to store and view videos of your swing online as opposed to using the memory on your device). The app is very easy to use even for those who aren’t tech savvy. Make sure you’re using the most current version of the firmware for the best results, though (I did experience some glitches at first until I did so). The settings menu does have an option to manually force firmware writing, but updates should happen automatically when you start using the device.

Moving through the menus, beginning sessions, editing shots (good for adding notes on things like strike location or wind) are all very easy. Video mode did give me fits the first time I used it, though, as it was impossible to maintain my connection between my phone and the Mevo while having the phone in the right location to capture video properly. The only way I could achieve this was by setting the Mevo as far back from strike location as the device would allow. Just something to keep in mind if you find you’re having troubles with video mode.

Screenshot of video capture mode with the FlightScope Mevo

Using the Mevo

When setting up the Mevo, it needs to be placed between 4-7 feet behind the golf ball, level with the playing surface and pointed down the target line. The distance you place the Mevo behind the ball does need to be entered into the settings menu before starting your session. While we’re on that subject, before hitting balls, you do need to select between indoor, outdoor, and pitching (ball flight less than 20 yards) modes, input your altitude and select video or data mode depending on if you want to pair your data with videos of each swing or just see the data by itself. You can also edit the available clubs to be monitored, as you will have to tell the Mevo which club you’re using at any point in time to get the best results. Once you get that far, you’re pretty much off to the races.

Testing the Mevo

I tested the FlightScope Mevo with Brad Bachand at Man O’ War Golf Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Brad is a member of the PGA and has received numerous awards for golf instruction and club fitting. I wanted to put the Mevo against the best device FlightScope has to offer and, luckily, Brad does use his $15,000 FlightScope X3 daily. We had both the FlightScope Mevo and Brad’s FlightScope X3 set up simultaneously, so the numbers gathered from the two devices were generated from the exact same strikes. Brad also set up the two devices and did all of the ball striking just to maximize our chances for success.

The day of our outdoor session was roughly 22 degrees Fahrenheit. There was some wind on that day (mostly right to left), but it wasn’t a major factor. Our setup is pictured below.

Outdoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our outdoor testing are shown below. The testing was conducted with range balls, and we did use the metallic stickers. The range balls used across all the testing were all consistently the same brand. Man O’ War buys all new range balls once a year and these had been used all throughout 2017.  The 2018 batch had not yet been purchased at the time that testing was conducted.

Raw outdoor data captured with range balls including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

You’ll notice some peculiar data in the sand wedge spin category. To be honest, I don’t fully know what contributed to the X3 measuring such low values. While the Mevo’s sand wedge spin numbers seem more believable, you could visibly see that the X3 was much more accurate on carry distance. Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our outdoor session when separated out for each club. As previously mentioned, though, take sand wedge spin with a grain of salt.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (outdoor testing).

The first thing we noticed was that the Mevo displays its numbers while the golf ball is still in midair, so it was clear that it wasn’t watching the golf ball the entire time like the X3. According to the Mevo website, carry distance, height and flight time are all calculated while club speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate are measured. As for the accuracy of the measured parameters, the Mevo’s strength is ball speed. The accuracy of the other measured ball parameters (launch angle and spin rate) is questionable depending on certain factors (quality of strike, moisture on the clubface and ball, quality of ball, etc). I would say it ranges between “good” or “very good” and “disappointing” with most strikes being categorized as “just okay.”

As for the calculated parameters of carry distance, height and time, those vary a decent amount. Obviously, when the measurements of the three inputs become less accurate, the three outputs will become less accurate as a result. Furthermore, according to FlightScope, the Mevo’s calculations are not accounting for things like temperature, humidity, and wind. The company has also stated, though, that future updates will likely adjust for these parameters by using location services through the app.

Now, let’s talk about those metallic stickers. According to the quick start guide, the Mevo needs a sticker on every golf ball you hit, and before you hit each ball, the ball needs to be placed such that the sticker is facing the target. It goes without saying that it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to spend time putting those stickers on every ball, let alone balls that will never come back to you if you’re at a public driving range. Obviously, people are going to want to avoid using the stickers if they can, so do they really matter? Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls with and without the use of the stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you use the metallic stickers and when you don’t

The FlightScope website says that the metallic stickers “are needed in order for the Mevo to accurately measure ball spin.” We observed pretty much the same as shown in the table above. The website also states they are working on alternative solutions to stickers (possibly a metallic sharpie), which I think is wise.

Another thing we thought would be worth testing is the impact of different golf balls. Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls as compared to Pro V1’s. All of this data was collected using the metallic stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you switch from range balls to Pro V1’s

As shown above, the data gets much closer virtually across the board when you use better quality golf balls. Just something else to keep in mind when using the Mevo.

Indoor testing requires 8 feet of ball flight (impact zone to hitting net), which was no problem for us. Our setup is pictured below. All of the indoor testing was conducted with Titleist Pro V1 golf balls using the metallic stickers.

Indoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our indoor session are shown below.

Raw indoor data captured with Pro V1’s including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our indoor session when separated out for each club.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (indoor testing)

On the whole, the data got much closer together between the two devices in our indoor session. I would think a lot of that can be attributed to the use of quality golf balls and to removing outdoor factors like wind and temperature (tying into my previous comment above).

As far as overall observations between all sessions, the most striking thing was that the Mevo consistently gets more accurate when you hit really good, straight shots. When you hit bad shots, or if you hit a fade or a draw, it gets less and less accurate.

The last parameter to address is club speed, which came in around 5 percent different on average between the Mevo and X3 based on all of the shots recorded. The Mevo was most accurate with the driver at 2.1 percent different from the X3 over all strikes and it was the least accurate with sand wedge by far. Obviously, smash factor accuracy will follow club speed for the most part since ball speed is quite accurate. Over every shot we observed, the percent difference on ball speed was 1.2 percent on average between the Mevo and the X3. Again, the Mevo was least accurate with sand wedges. If I remove all sand wedge shots from the data, the average percent difference changes from 1.2 percent to 0.7 percent, which is very, very respectable.

When it comes to the different clubs used, the Mevo was by far most accurate with mid irons. I confirmed this with on-course testing on a relatively flat 170-yard par-3 as well. Carry distances in that case were within 1-2 yards on most shots (mostly related to quality of strike). With the driver, the Mevo was reasonably close, but I would also describe it as generous. It almost always missed by telling me that launch angle was higher, spin rate was lower and carry distance was farther than the X3. Generally speaking, the Mevo overestimated our driver carries by about 5 percent. Lastly, the Mevo really did not like sand wedges at all. Especially considering those shots were short enough that you could visibly see how far off the Mevo was with its carry distance. Being 10 yards off on a 90 yard shot was disappointing.

Conclusion

The Mevo is a really good product if you understand what you’re getting when you buy it. Although the data isn’t good enough for a PGA professional, it’s still a useful tool that gives amateurs reasonable feedback while practicing. It’s also a fair amount more accurate than similar products in its price range, and I think it could become even better with firmware updates as Flightscope improves upon its product.

This is a much welcomed and very promising step forward in consumer launch monitors, and the Mevo is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for one.

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