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Callaway Lightens Up with Ultra-Premium GBB Epic Star Line

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Callaway’s new Epic Star line targets golfers seeking maximum distance from lighter golf clubs: think seniors, juniors, women, and other slow-swingers.

The new drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, and irons incorporate the same technologies as Callaway’s flagship Epic products, but they’ve have been lightened up with head design tweaks and lightweight, ultra-premium components to help golfers hit higher, faster, and longer shots.

The new clubs are available for preorder on September 22 and in stores September 29. Learn more about each of them below.

GBB Epic Star Driver and Fairway Woods

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Callaway’s Epic Star Driver (12 degrees).

The Epic Star driver is an import to the U.S. market, where the lightweight driver is the No. 1 seller in Japan. Its Japan-inspired theme continues through the shaft and grip. The stock shaft is an ultra-premium, 39-gram Mitsubishi Grand Bassara shaft that’s made at Mitsubishi’s renowned Japan facility. The driver also comes with a Golf Pride J200 grip that was also designed for the Japan market. It has a smaller diameter than standard grips, helping it tip the scales at a mere 41 grams.

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“There are pockets in the U.S. with some [golfers] who are looking for a premium experience with Epic, but in a more lightweight package,” says Callaway Brand Manager David Neville.

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Like Callaway’s GBB Epic driver, the Epic Star (available in lofts of 10 and 12 degrees) includes the company’s Jailbreak technology, two titanium bars located behind the club face that stabilize the crown and sole to improve energy transfer at impact. The new driver also uses the company’s extremely lightweight crown and sole construction, highlighted by its 9.7-gram triaxial carbon crown.

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The Epic Star is different in two important places, however, starting with its sliding rear weight that weighs just 11 grams — that’s seven grams lighter than the GBB Epic’s sliding weight. Callaway also saved seven grams from the driver by shifting to a fixed-hosel design, allowing the club head to weigh just 190.3 grams. The total weight of the driver is a mere 286 grams, making it Callaway’s lightest driver in history.

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The Epic Star fairway woods (available in 15, 18 and 21 degrees) also have a fixed-hosel design to reduce clubhead weight. Their Mitsubishi Grand Bassara shafts weigh in at just 49 grams.

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Callaway’s Epic Star 7 Wood (21 degrees).

The GBB Epic Star driver will sell for $699. The GBB Epic Star fairway woods will sell for $399.

Epic Star Hybrids and Irons

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Photo Courtesy of Callaway Golf.

Callaway’s new Epic Star hybrids are available in three lofts (18, 20 and 23 degrees), and like Callaway’s Epic hybrids, they bring golfers more distance by way of 455 Carpenter Steel Face Cups and an ultra-light, carbon triaxial crown. They also have a center of gravity (CG) that’s concentrated low and deep in the club heads via a metal-injection molded process (MIM) and a tungsten-infused standing wave. This technology, combined with their 50-gram, Mitsubishi Grand Bassara shafts, helps golfers send their hybrid shots higher and farther down the fairway or toward the green.

Callaway_Epic_Star_Irons

The new Epic Star irons come stock with 55-gram Mitsubishi Rayon Grand Bassara shafts, as well as a Black PVD finish that gives the irons a sleek look at address. They’re available in 4-9, PW, GW, and SW.

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Like Callaway’s Epic irons, the GBB Epic Star irons showcase a 360-degree Face Cup design that measures just 1 millimeters at its thinnest point to help golfers maximize distance and forgiveness. They also share the company’s Exo-Cage design, a lightweight, steel framework that provides rigidity to help the irons deliver more ball speed at impact.

“There’s kind of a lighter, longer, stronger spec in order to maximize distance,” says Luke Williams, Senior Director of Global Product Strategy for Irons and Putters. “We’ve seen that there’s sort of an emerging category here and an emerging segment in certain players that really are looking for this type of product. So while this isn’t a broad offering for us — it’s a really targeting offering — there is a market.”

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In conjunction, a hollow-hosel design helped Callaway engineers shift more weight toward the center of the Epic Star iron heads to provide a better feel and optimize the launch conditions of each iron. In the long irons, the CG is positioned lower in the club heads to improve distance. In the short irons, the CG is positioned higher in the club heads to improve trajectory control. According to Callaway, each of the irons are close to achieving the USGA’s legal limit on COR, or coefficient of restitution, a measure of ball speed retention.

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The Epic Star hybrids will sell for $299 each, while the Epic Star irons will sell for $300 each, or $2,400 for an eight-piece set.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the Epic Star line, as well as more photos of the clubs. 

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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.

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Peter in Parker

    Oct 1, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Will any good samaritan buy me one …….. that price of that driver is almost my monthly rent. Wow oh wow.

  2. Ron

    Sep 15, 2017 at 1:29 am

    I have an xxioo driver 41gm shaft 10.5*I am 71 years old it’s fantastic. Bought it last year love it 220-230 that’s all I have but I am in the fairway.

  3. Mike

    Sep 13, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    New gear from Callaway, gee it must be at least a month since they promised we could win everything with there last offering. Might wait another month to see what changes the world and then there’s Christmas. Old Mr Callaway would be so dissapointed at these cowboys

  4. Double Mocha Man

    Sep 13, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    I am not a slow swinger (108 mph swing speed with the driver) so 7 years ago I bought the Taylormade Superfast TP Burner driver at 284 grams. Then I removed the 50 gram grip and installed a 25 gram grip. Sucker swings fast. Still have it. Still outdrive everyone in my foursome by 25 – 60 yards, averaging 265 to 295 (300 downhill, downwind, firm ground :)). But I will be checking out this new, lightweight, Epic Star. If you put a good swing on it a lightweight club will go… and go… and go…

  5. Mark

    Sep 13, 2017 at 11:08 am

    The original should have been black and gold. Kinda like the John Player Special Lotus F1 cars of the 70’s.

  6. Lemming

    Sep 13, 2017 at 3:17 am

    OK, I’ll bite. Got me hook line and sinker. I’m a sucker. Take my money. I’ve got plenty of it. lol

  7. UnclePhil

    Sep 13, 2017 at 1:59 am

    Uhhh….would this driver be considered a “game improvement” club? Lol! Hahahahaha!! What’a riot!!

  8. GolfKnut

    Sep 13, 2017 at 1:38 am

    Ultra-Premium ‘Star’ SGI Clubs…. only for the discerning golf gearhead who has more money than brains or talent.

  9. XO

    Sep 12, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Looks like the big OEMs are concentrating their marketing to the upper 1% where price doesn’t matter, and neither does performance because rich guys are mostly incompetent. Their personal clubs are only for show and status symbols.
    An $800 driver is equivalent to $8 for a multi-millionaire….. and a $3000 set of clubs is like $30….. and a $100,000 car is like $1,000 ….. get the drift? And that’s the market the golf OEMs are targeting with their new offerings because multi-millionaires are bigger suckers for glitzy clubs.

    • LITM

      Sep 12, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      Why don’t you get the rest of the trailer park to chip in and y’all share

  10. Orville

    Sep 12, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    If you have a slow (<90 mph) swing speed and dropping yearly, equipment will not compensate significantly to restore speed. Your aging body just can't put out any more swing speed effort and if you believe an $800 "driviagra" will rejuvenate you, you are clinging to hope based on fantasy.
    Just buy a simple economical driver with extra face loft and that is the only prescription for retaining distance. Of course if you want to send your money to Japan ……

    • James

      Sep 12, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      Have you seen any testing with XXIO? Keep holding onto that idea that equipment won’t effect distance as your swing speed slows.

      • XO

        Sep 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm

        No I have not seen any testing with XXIO clubs and I just don’t trust manufacturers data on their own clubs. I have read the many promises made by the company here:
        http://www.xxiousa.com/
        …. but I am still dubious. If you are with XXIO send me a set of forged clubs and I will test them for you.

        • LITM

          Sep 12, 2017 at 7:23 pm

          Or pawn em so he can buy jimmy frank’s shotgun

      • Double Ace

        Sep 21, 2017 at 12:48 am

        As they age they will see things differently, unless they are the old guys who still think they drive it 290 when it’s closer to 150.

  11. GB

    Sep 12, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Greatest clubs since apple pie was stolen by Yanks

  12. Wally

    Sep 12, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Went on the website and saw the specs C-8 SW and the 7 iron has a 26* loft. Not for me.

  13. Swingman/Jerry

    Sep 12, 2017 at 10:49 am

    So you are getting a lighter Epic with a $450-500 aftermarket shaft in the driver. I own that shaft – in R Flex, it is 43g and is incredibly stable with a smooth kick. If you are using a 60g shaft, you may pick up 2-3 mph in this shaft.

    The issue is whether a liteweight shaft fits you – if you are a 70-90 mph speed with a smooth transition, odds are you will like it if you can get sufficient clubhead feel – swingweight D2 or so – to get a consistently high smash factor. Like any other club, get fit.

    I think it’s a club for the 55+ club who don’t have the greatest swing and just want to play, and range time is not play time.

    • GB

      Sep 12, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      U will only have a stable shaft with this 39gram Bassara if the driver head weighs very little. 190 grams is still on the heavy side, so I’m surprised that Callaway didn’t go sub 180gram, as this shaft will bend a lot because of that 190 weight and might make the ball spin too much. But to put that Epic head on it, this is as much as they could have done. And they didn’t want to put a heavier grip on, obviously, nor shorten the club.

    • James

      Sep 12, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      Anyone who thinks that you’re getting the $500 Grand Bassara is greatly mistaken. Please look at the link and tell me where there are the 49 gram wood options and any resemblance of an iron shaft with Grand Bassara name. You also do not own a 43 gram Grand Bassara shaft. You may own the GG or P Series, but not the Grand Bassara.

      http://www.mca-golf.com/products/grand-bassara%E2%84%A2

  14. Steve Hamer

    Sep 12, 2017 at 10:31 am

    is it made of gold not for me at that price

  15. B-Man

    Sep 12, 2017 at 10:04 am

    There is no opinion given by the author in this article. Therefore it appears as nothing more than an advertisement.

    • Robert Parsons

      Sep 12, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      That’s wrx for ya! The owners and staff get free equipment plus they get invited to all the corporate outings. Of course they’re more than willing to run these ads. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. And believe me, these guys are fed well!

  16. Dat

    Sep 12, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Callaway will be going the way of TaylorMade sooner than most think (holding company). Laughable price tag and product strategy.

    • XO

      Sep 12, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      The big US car companies are surviving only on sales of hugely overpriced pickup trucks for the macho midgets who use them for personal transportation. Little men in big trucks.

      • OX

        Sep 13, 2017 at 2:44 pm

        So you mean to say little geeky men will want to own the TM GBB Star SGI drivers because they suffer from TD (Trajectile Dysfunction)?

  17. Jon

    Sep 12, 2017 at 9:21 am

    I see the Epic Star line more of a competitor to the XXIO Prime line of clubs rather than PXG.

  18. Marc Oreille

    Sep 12, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Slow swingers on WRX?

    • Casa Nova

      Sep 13, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      I have an 85 mph swing speed and launch the ball over 250 yards carry. My Smash Factor is 1.65 !

      • Kym

        Sep 28, 2017 at 12:44 pm

        A Smash Factor of 1.65 when only 1.50 is possible. You should perhaps do your homework before posting such a non-sensical comment

        • Kym

          Sep 29, 2017 at 11:32 am

          Further if we take your Club Speed of 85 mph, even on your best day you will only see 229 Carry (Club Speed X 2.7)

          With an impossible Smash Factor of 1.65 and a Swing Speed of 85 the Ball Speed would be approaching 140+ which is very unlikely with a Club Speed of 85

  19. cgasucks

    Sep 12, 2017 at 9:01 am

    It seems that every OEM is trying to get on the PXG bandwagon…

  20. Scott

    Sep 12, 2017 at 8:27 am

    $800 driver, $300 each iron. Laughable. Heads should roll at Callaway for this strategy. I’m pretty sure they’ve misread the market….

  21. Mark

    Sep 12, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Being a senior golfing, this REALLY had my interest until the price… are you kidding !!!

    • Swingman/Jerry

      Sep 12, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      You can always pull the shaft and re-use it – it is a great shaft for the market it fits and its aftermarket price is $450.

  22. Scott

    Sep 12, 2017 at 8:06 am

    $800 driver!? Bye

    • Shadow

      Sep 12, 2017 at 8:56 am

      Agree bye! Geeze you really getting ripped off in the US with this driver. First of all it comes in 10.5 & 12*. The 12* is not even offered in Japan. Overall you are getting a recoloured driver from Japan. The grip mentioned, not even stock or an option in Japan – I cant find it here in Japan. The bassara shaft is just a one off option in customisation for Japan. They don’t even make this driver/shaft combination to buy off the rack!

      The stock offering in Japan is 9.5 & 10.5*. The stock or base model Epic star weighs 289grams just 3 grams more than the US version. Stock shaft is 49grams. The Bassara in Japan also comes in 32.5 & 35.5 grams. The “speeder” option shafts come in weights of 29.5, 33 & 35.5 gram options.

      Save yourself money and buy the stock Japan version through Rakuten @ about US$450.

      For US$799 I would look at the GBB Epic Forged driver direct from Japan.

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “Best 3-wood of the newest releases?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from Kaexo, who asks fellow GolfWRX members for their opinion on what they feel is the best 3 wood of the recent releases. Described as the “hardest spot in the bag to settle on” by one of our members, an array of different 3 woods get a mention in Kaexo’s thread.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Phil6380: “Cobra F8 is the best I’ve hit. Something about those rails when hitting it out of the turf. I have no fear of hitting down when needed. It’s also my most consistent club off the tee BY FAR! I give up a little distance, but when I need to hit a tight fairway, or I’m not hitting my best, that’s the club I’m grabbing.”
  • calfan36: “King LTD is great if you have some speed/launch. Very low spin, very forgiving, and an amazing feel. Also, I love that I can play it shorter and easily add weight via the space port.”
  • aussieb: “The two best fairways of recent releases are the G400 and Epic SZ for different reasons. G400 for forgiveness and great launch conditions from just about any lie, plus it sounds extremely solid.  Might still make my bag if I can find the right shaft combo, the Epic SZ is better for me than the Rogue for adjustability, ball speeds and head shape.  I found it worked off the short grass better than anything, and if I miss the fairway, it’s more likely to be the hybrid or a layup.”
  • ChipNRun: “Reality check: for many golfers, the best 3W is a 4W – slightly shorter shaft for better control, and extra loft to enhance launch.”

Entire Thread: “Best 3 wood of the newest releases?”

 

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Bargain Challenge 2: Putting together a $500 set of clubs for a mid-handicapper

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Last week, I posted about what clubs you can get with $500. I built a set that I would use myself to show that even golfers with particular specs can find what they want for a decent price. Overall the feedback on the post was good, but I did want to follow up since one of the commenters put me up to a challenge. See below.

Well alright James, challenge accepted.

Challenge: A set of mid-handicap clubs with stiff shafts for less than $500.

Driver

Since I was going to be building a set of a mid-handicapper, my goal was to find a driver that got solid distance, but was also forgiving. I found this R9 460 in 10.5 degrees for $65. While the paint has seen better days, this should perform exactly how we want it to. Plus it is adjustable.

Wood

The 3-wood search stumped me for a bit. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to go with. I knew I didn’t want a strong three wood and I knew I needed something with forgiveness. After some searching I found a Ping K15 16 degree with a stiff shaft. While the loft is higher, I have found that many higher handicap amateurs can find good use out of a higher lofted 3-wood. On top of that, the K15 is an incredibly easy to hit and forgiving head.

Hybrid

I knew what most mid-handicappers would have a hard time hitting a 2 or 3-iron, so my mind immediately went to a 3-iron hybrid. After some searching, I stumbled on this Ping Rapture V2 with a stiff shaft. Historically, the Raptures have been really easy to hit which makes this a great addition to the bag.

Irons

I had the hardest time in this entire process finding irons. There were just too many to choose from. You had great player irons like the Ping S57 and you also had the super game improvement Adams irons. To find something slightly more in the middle, but still easy to hit, I went with the 2012 TaylorMade CBs. A great year for TaylorMade irons and easy to hit with the irons only going down to the 4. This is where someone can have some fun with their choices if they want.

Wedges

Wedge shopping was still hard this time around. Since the PW in the iron set was strong, I knew I needed a stronger gap wedge. I found a Callaway X-Jaws 50-degree for $24. Really, the entire point of the 50 is to have another iron and bridge the gap to the sand wedge. Speaking of the sand wedge, I went with the 56-degree Ping Gorge SS wedge. It has good grooves and will get the job done around the greens. For the lob wedge, I went with the Cleveland RTX 2.0 60 degree: A really solid wedge with good groves to give you the zip you need around the greens.

Putter

And finally, I went with another great blade putter for $55. Honestly, there were a lot of different options in the range from mallets to blades, so don’t be afraid to search around.

Total

In summary, anyone and any skill level and swing speed can find something in the used market. In fact, it was even easier to find clubs in stiff than X-stiff because most X-stiff clubs are custom and are in less demand making, them more rare and expensive than stiff clubs. Take a look, you never know what you may find.

Related: Bargain Challenge: Putting together a set of clubs for $500

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Forum Thread of the Day: “What’s the best budget wedge?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from bamagator, who asks fellow GolfWRX members what wedges they feel offer the best bang for your buck. As always, our members display their diverse taste, however, Maltby wedges prove to be a particularly popular choice.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • BIG STU: “Depending on the fine line of how you really want to do it and the budget Maltby is a good bet. Their stuff is as good of quality as any. If you are able to build your own clubs, you can do the shafts, and grips like you want them. You can also mix bounces and even style of heads within the set.”
  • Orlandogolfguru: “Rock bottom t7 for 69. Dicks – gg rtx 3 for 69. Or Maltby for like 39. I have all of them and can’t decide which I like best. They are all great, depends in the shape you like really. Can’t go wrong.”
  • Lefty431: “Don’t sleep on Wilson FG tour pmp wedges…  especially tour grind!  They seem to be readily available and super affordable!!”
  • kiw1982: “Wilson PMP. You are welcome.”

Entire Thread: “Best Budget Wedge”

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