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Callaway Epic Flash, Epic Flash Sub Zero are built with machine learning, artificial intelligence

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With the Callaway Epic Flash Driver, the company builds on the very successful 2017 GBB Epic line. The Carlsbad-based company follows up the Epic-complementing Rogue with a driver whose story isn’t immediately visible upon a first glance at the club.

Flash Face technology is the centerpiece of the Callaway 2019 driver offering, and with it, beyond the usual distance-boosting claims, the company has done something truly interesting: leveraged artificial intelligence to create a golf club.

From an appearance standpoint, the inside of the titanium face features dozens of flowing ripples across the entire surface. While it may look like effects of a stone dropped into a pond or a topographic map, the structures actually work together to elevate the COR or the center of face. As expected, this yields increased ballspeed for longer drives.

Interior of Callaway’s Flash Face

Callaway leveraged A.I. and Machine Learning to cycle through 15,000 face architecture iterations, developing a more efficient structure with each one. For comparison, engineers typically do eight to 10 iterations of a new driver face.

“We couldn’t have come up with Flash Face using conventional engineering principles,” said Dr. Alan Hocknell, senior vice president of R&D. “We wouldn’t have gone in this direction without A.I. because it’s non-intuitive compared to previous face technologies, including our own VFT and X-Face. The wave configuration isn’t symmetrical, nor does the pattern seem logical. Yet the ripples work together in a complex manner to maximize ball speed. There’s never been anything like Flash Face before in golf equipment, and the effect on performance is intense.”

Callaway Epic Flash driver

Introduced in the original Epic driver of 2017, Jailbreak Technology is again a feature of Callaway’s driver offering this year.

To refresh, the technology positions two hourglass-shaped titanium bars parallel to one another behind the face. The ultimate effect of the technology is a more efficient face, which equals more ball speed, which equals more distance, according to the company.

Callaway also equips the Epic Flash with an MOI-boosting T2C triaxial carbon crown. As is the becoming an industry standard, the weight savings in the lightweight crown are redistributed in the body of the club. The triaxial carbon, which is-third the density of titanium, is twice as strong as previous iterations with a weight-saving tighter weave. The company has been using carbon composite technology since the 2011 Diablo Octane and Razr Hawk drivers.

Callaway-Epic-Flash-Sole

Another feature of the 2017 GBB Epic, and one that wasn’t included in last year’s Rogue, adjustable perimeter weighting returns in the Epic Flash driver. You know the drill: the sliding 16-gram rearward weight is adjustable for a draw, fade, or neutral bias.

Specs and availability

Product at Retail: February 1

MSRP: $529.99

Lofts: 9, 10.5, 12 degrees

Stock shaft options: Project X EvenFlow, Project X HZRDUS Smoke and Mitsubishi Tensei AV

Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet ALIGN Grip with a special green reminder ridge unique to the Epic Flash

Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero driver

With a 12-gram sliding weight on a track located at the back of the head, the Flash Sub Zero includes Adjustable Perimeter Weighting (APW) technology in a Sub Zero driver for the first time in this low-spin, high MOI offering.

In addition to the draw/fade adjustability afforded by the APW, the Epic Flash Sub Zero also features a weight embedded low and forward in the sole for CG lowering and spin reduction. The standard weight can be swapped out for lighter or heavier options via custom ordering.

“The Epic Flash Sub Zero driver is an extraordinary club,” said Gibbs. “Flash Face is a genuine ball speed innovation, and so is Jailbreak. Putting APW in a Sub Zero driver for the first time is a huge accomplishment. And it retains the rare combination of low spin and high MOI that have made our Sub Zero drivers so popular. We’re confident that a lot of golfers are going to hit longer drives than they ever have before with this club.”

Specs and availability

Product at Retail: February 1

MSRP: $529.99

Lofts: 9, 10.5 degrees

Stock shaft options: Project X HZRDUS Smoke and Mitsubishi Tensei AV

Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet ALIGN Grip with a special green reminder ridge unique to the Epic Flash

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40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Billie Smith

    Jan 6, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    I just think what Jack would do. He is the greatest golfer of all time and I don’t think he’d buy a driver like this. He’s going to go with the TM and win more majors.

    • TAYORswiftMADE

      Jan 6, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      Huh, really, TM rep. It didn’t help tiger wins more major. in fact , the twist face didn’t help tiger keeps the ball in the fairway.

  2. Hellyeaigolf

    Jan 5, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    You people with your “go ahead and waste your money, gearheads” talk sound resentful because you frankly just can’t afford it. There is new tech in these drivers whether you want to believe it or not. I do agree that buying a new driver every year might not be necessary but I’m not knocking anyone that does.

    • Al

      Jan 8, 2019 at 7:09 pm

      Go to you tube and watch Rick Shiels videos. He has reviewed a lot of golf clubs. One of his videos compares several drivers, from the same brand to each other. In other words he compared the latest and greatest from a certain brand, and compares it to the older models from the same brand. He did that with a few popular brands. His take was that there wasn’t enough difference in the new clubs to make it worth upgrading. He actually found that some of the older versions were better than the newest. If you have money you want to throw away, or you get a boner having the newest clubs, by all means, buy away!

  3. Travis

    Jan 5, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    I can’t wait to see what the 2020 releases look like… Callaway states that their fancy “AI” came up with this as the face design. So that means you can never, ever switch face designs, right? This is apparently “the best”. Then Taylormade says now they’ve made their faces illegal but dialed them back with foam… what’s next? We’ve made our faces SUPER illegal and added MORE foam! This is all market BS at its finest…

    • Billie Smith

      Jan 6, 2019 at 12:18 pm

      Awesome club. Looks like something the green hornet would play.

  4. Steve

    Jan 5, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Ripples…..twist face….everybody advancing…..McDonald Douglas…Boeing
    Rockets….
    How about moving up a couple tee’s….that will put short irons back in play….or just make courses shorter
    How does one expect to grow the game when only the rich can play….. $550. drivers..
    $4000. set of clubs at the bag drop…
    $100. to $500. green fees…..and 5 hour rounds….
    and I play for $2.00…front,back, 18..

    Pretty funny when you think about it

  5. Joe Sudeith

    Jan 5, 2019 at 2:28 am

    Epic Flash with AI? This is the worst release I have ever seen. Callaway has hit rock bottom with this release and I will never look at there products again. Everyone involved with this design should be fired!!!!

    • John

      Jan 5, 2019 at 9:59 am

      Joe..

      Have you hit it ? What makes you say it’s the worst release ever?

    • John

      Jan 5, 2019 at 9:59 am

      Joe..

      Have you hit it ? What makes you say it’s the worst release ever?

    • Billie Smith

      Jan 6, 2019 at 12:20 pm

      Yeah I agree. This is a massive bad move.

    • bj

      Mar 26, 2019 at 8:10 am

      Liar

  6. ogo

    Jan 5, 2019 at 12:18 am

    epic — particularly impressive or remarkable….
    flash — ostentatiously expensive, elaborate, or up to date…..
    Epic Flash — impressively remarkable, ostentatiously expensive, elaborately up to date.
    Yup.. sorta fits…. 😉

    • Regis

      Jan 5, 2019 at 7:16 am

      I think next year’s edition should be called “Bling”. The Epic “Bling”. It’s loud. It’s colorful and all your friends and partners will know you’re gaming the latest driver from Callaway. Man that headcover is so dope, I gotta get me one.

  7. smz

    Jan 4, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    Golfers who will buy these new clubs do not read WRX comments because they are pasionately besotted with new toys with new colors and new built-in gadgetry. They are anonymous gearheads with more money than brains or talent.

    • PeterP

      Jan 4, 2019 at 8:13 pm

      Since most gearhead golfers lack intelligence, a dose of ‘artificial’ intelligence built into their golf clubs may be the solution to prevalent duffing and hacking. One can only hope. Great product Callaway.

  8. smz

    Jan 4, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    Golfers who will buy these new clubs do not read WRX comments because they are passionately besotted with new toys with new colors and new built-in gadgetry. They are anonymous gearheads with more money than brains or talent.

  9. Golfraven

    Jan 4, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    AI, really? Where is the golf world heading?

  10. Jim Powell

    Jan 4, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    I have been golfing for over 40 years and have always kept my equipment up-to-date to take advantage of new technology. Callaway’s new drivers and fairways are the most technologically advanced designs I have ever seen. The Epic Flash are must-have golf clubs in my WITB equipment.

    • Gregor

      Jan 4, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      Hahahaha. Love this sarcasm. Your wit is so dry. Well done sir.

    • Scheiss

      Jan 4, 2019 at 4:52 pm

      Jim
      How long have you worked for Callaway

    • dat

      Jan 4, 2019 at 10:45 pm

      You should design the next set using a bitcoin based economy as your inspiration.

  11. Speedy

    Jan 4, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Is this meant to entice Marvel movie fans? Good luck with that.

  12. Tom

    Jan 4, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Its good to hear Callaway utilized artificial intelligence in the products’ design, because if consumers buy this marketing hype they will prove they have NO INTELLIGENCE! Sellers Be Sellin! Save your cash….USGA equipment standards all but make it impossible for manufacturers to introduce anything new with any meaningful performance advantage…duh!

    • Speedy

      Jan 4, 2019 at 2:50 pm

      NI. Right on, Tom

    • smz

      Jan 4, 2019 at 3:08 pm

      But these new club designs are so fabulous and will give you extra status when playing with your buddies. Soooo sweeeet….

  13. DB

    Jan 4, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    Has anyone else noticed that “artificial intelligence” used to mean sentient intelligence in a computer life form, and now just means “We ran some algorithms and programs on the computer and it said these wave patterns were the best”. Uhhh… OK.

    AI has become a buzzword, it doesn’t mean anything.

  14. ~j~

    Jan 4, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Years of research and advanced technologies and this ugly mallet is what they came up with?

    Green/Yellow = fail.

    AI and ML generated ‘waves’? I can’t see this being legitimate as there’s too much dispersion between golfers to produce anything near as consistent as a computer generated test could perform. ‘for best results, hit the ball squarely and perfectly off this pin-sized dot at precisely at 120mph’.

  15. ogo

    Jan 4, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    … drool… drool… drool… {{{sigh}}}

  16. HDTVMAN

    Jan 4, 2019 at 10:54 am

    I like the adjustable weighting, but if you have purchased a new driver in the last 4 years, any brand, don’t expect much more length and tighter dispersion. Modern drivers can’t get much closer to the USGA numbers for fear that some, during manufacturing, might exceed the max and become non-conforming. Before buying a new driver, compare your current model to the new model on the same monitor with the same balls. Don’t worry about spin or any numbers besides carry and your dispersion pattern. Anything less than 10 years with similar dispersion, put your money away!

    • Daniel

      Jan 4, 2019 at 5:01 pm

      MY driver is a 2007 TM SuperQuad. Took it to PGA Superstore last summer and hit it up against the TM M1 and Callaway Rogue. I gained 5 yards on average, with no better accuracy. I looked at the fitter and said I don’t think paying $500 for 5 yards is worth it. He nodded and said no its not.
      I’ll keep testing that driver every year until something comes out that can give me real improvement. I bet I get 5-10 more years out of this one.

      • Tom

        Jan 4, 2019 at 5:35 pm

        Daniel you can probably get that 5 yards in your 2007 TM SuperQuad if you simply upgrade its shaft. That was a great head.

    • Jeffrey

      Jan 4, 2019 at 5:07 pm

      Amen. I still play Titleist 913 Driver. I have compared every later model Titleist driver up against it on the course, and for ME, found very little to no difference.

  17. dat

    Jan 4, 2019 at 9:58 am

    “AI” “Machine Learning” – may as well throw in “blockchain” as the lemmings who buy this $530 technobabble would buy it anyway even if it was no better than the last couple generations you can get used for a fraction of the price!

    Slow down the release cycle. Clearly it worked for Titleist this time around.

    • Anon

      Jan 4, 2019 at 10:33 am

      Got something else to complain about? People still buy new stuff. That doesn’t mean it’s for you.

      • dat

        Jan 4, 2019 at 10:43 am

        That’s all for now. Go ahead and purchase.

    • Soreno

      Jan 4, 2019 at 10:24 pm

      They have gone every 2 years just like Ping and Titleist. The original Epic came out in 2017. The Rogue was a different series or model. It’ll be replaced next year. Now Taylormade still goes every year.

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “Anti-hook hybrid?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from kgeisler13 who is looking to replace his current 3-iron with an anti-hook hybrid. Our members give their thoughts on the subject to kgeisler13, with Ping’s G410, as well as Callaway’s ’19 Apex proving to be popular suggestions.

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.

  • Joelsim: “Ping G410. I’ve hit about 60 shots with my new one and not a single hook. I sold the G400 as it was prone to hooking.”
  • Banker: “G410 flat setting, KBS hybrid 95x. Swing as hard as you want.”
  • Golfingguru11: “Callaway apex has the highest toe and most open face of any I’ve seen since the original idea pro.”
  • eaglestan66: “Titleist 818 H1 can be very fade biased if weight and lie angles are set correctly. This is one of the reasons I purchased the 3 and 4-hybrid version.”
  • phil75079: “The Callaway ’19 Apex hybrid. Everyone who has hit it agrees it is neutral to fade biased.”

Entire Thread: “Anti-hook hybrid?”

 

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Whats in the Bag

Shane Lowry’s winning WITB: 2019 Open Championship

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Driver: Srixon Z 585 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70X (45.25″, tipped .75″, D3 swing weight)

3-wood: TaylorMade M4 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-8X

Irons: Srixon Z U85 (2 [18 degrees], 3 [20 degrees bent to 21]), Srixon Z 585 (4 [23 degrees], 5 [26 degrees]), Srixon Z 785 (6-PW)
Shafts: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White TX Hybrid (2), KBS Tour 130X (3-PW)

Wedges: Cleveland RTX 4 (50 [bent to 51, 35.75″, D5], 58 degrees [35.25″, D7.5)
Shafts: KBS Tour Wedge X

Putter: Odyssey Stroke Lab Exo 2-Ball (Lowry’s putter has an all-black finish, and he switched into it earlier this year at the RBC; 34″)
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Pistol GT 1.0 (custom shamrock)

Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV Pure White

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R (logo down)

Image c/o Srixon (obviously, Lowry does not have all wedges pictured in play)

Additional Shane Lowry WITB notes, via Johnny Wunder

2019 Open Champion Shane Lowry, compared to Tommy Fleetwood, is on the other side of the spectrum in regards to brand loyalty. He is Cleveland/Srixon in 12 clubs including the ball with the only two exceptions being the TaylorMade M4 3-wood and his Odyssey Putter. In this case, that makes sense, those clubs seem to be a challenge to swap, especially the 3-wood, and Cleveland/Srixon isn’t really known for putters on the PGA Tour.

I got some interesting intel on his driver Switch from the TaylorMade M2 into the Srixon Z585.

According to Rodney McDonald, VP of Tour Operations for Cleveland/Srixon, Shane is a dedicated staff member that is always willing to get all Cleveland/Srixon in the bag.

On Lowry switching into the Z585 Driver McDonald had this to say

“The switch was very easy. Even though he had won early in the year with another driver, he was not driving it good at all. He is very loyal to our team and our products that he came to us to find a new driver. He instantly loved the look of the Z 585 and once we started testing the numbers were exactly what he was looking for. His main comment about the driver is how his misses are minimal and he can hit all the shots he wants to.”

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Equipment

Tommy Fleetwood’s bag is as awesome as he is (Tommy Fleetwood WITB)

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I’m obsessed with this guy. If there was a movie about his life, Aaron Taylor Johnson would play him…can we make that happen?

His bag has taken over for my past obsession with Charles Howell III, David Toms, and Rocco Mediate. I’m drawn to players that tweak a bit, it keeps it fun for me on Getty Images at 3 a.m.

Much like a Bernhard Langer, there is no telling what OEM sticks will land in Fleetwood’s bag. It’s awesome and a sign of the non-contract “eat what you kill” mentality shared by some of the biggest names out there (BK and Patrick Reed to name a couple).

Tommy has messed around quite a bit in the past two years with his bag and the fun part is, he’s not afraid to shake it up.

Here is a partial list of clubs that were previously in the bag since ’17 leading up to his current setup

  • TaylorMade M3 driver (Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 70X shaft)
  • Titleist 917 D2 driver (@ 8.5 degrees) (Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 70X shaft)
  • Nike Vapor Fly 3-wood (13 degrees) (UST Mamiya VTS ProForce Red 7X shaft)
  • Nike Vapor Fly 5-wood (Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 80TX shaft)
  • Titleist 917 3-wood (14 degrees) (UST Mamiya VTS ProForce Red 7X shaft)
  • Titleist TS3 3-wood (12.75 degrees) (UST Mamiya ProForce Black 7X shaft)
  • Nike VR Pro Blades
  • Callaway MD4 wedges
  • Ping G410 3-wood (14 degrees) (UST Mamiya ProForce Black 7X shaft)
  • Ping G410 7-wood (18 degrees) (Mitsubishi Diamana BF 80T shaft)
  • Odyssey 2-Ball (plumbers neck)

His grips are also a fun one, he goes Blue Golf Pride TVC in his woods, Iomic Sticky in his irons, and black Golf Pride TVC in his wedges. God, I love this guy!

Tommy Fleetwood WITB @The Open

Driver: TaylorMade M6 (9 degrees @7.5)
*has lofted up a bit, his driver has been down to 6.5 I’ve heard.
Shaft: Mitsubishi DF 70X (45 inches)

3-wood: TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees @14)
Shaft: Mitsubishi DF 70X (42.5 inches)
*was in a Ping G410 until the Scottish Open where he switched into the M6.

Irons: TaylorMade GAPR Lo (@18.75), Srixon Z785 (4-iron, 23 degrees), TaylorMade P7TW (5-9)
Shafts: GAPR: Project X 6.5 (39.5 inches), 4-iron: Project X 6.5 (38.5 inches), 5-9: Project X 6.5 (38 inches @ 5-iron, minus 1/2 inch from there) (26, 30, 34, 38, 42 degrees)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (47, 52, 55, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Wedge notes: 48.10F (bent to 47) Tour chrome finish
52.08F raw
56.10 (bent 55) raw
60.08 raw

Putter: Odyssey White Hot Pro #3
Grip: Super Stroke Mid Slim 2.0


Quick thought: I do see a specific trend when it comes to free agents, and it’s mildly telling. Keep in mind I understand that it’s not 100 percent, but the trends are there.

In woods and wedges specifically, TaylorMade seems to be a popular choice in the overall woods category for non-signed players and Vokey is hands down the wedge of choice. Makes sense in my opinion, I’m not a big “best company” guy, but I do understand the choice. Both companies make and have made extremely high-performing sticks for many years. Consistency in anything is a hard opponent to beat. When Nike bounced out of clubs Rory, BK, Casey, and a few others put Vokeys straight in, and a BK and Casey put TM woods in the bag. (Just an example for context)

Anyway, Tommy Fleetwood is four back going into the final round. I have a weird feeling if it blows he could be holding a trophy.

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