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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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38 Comments

38 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.

  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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Accessory Reviews

Talking with Alonzo Guess of Sunfish…and a look at the insane headcover they made GolfWRX

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We last talked with Alonzo Guess of Sunfish in November of 2017 after the Nashville-based company launched a custom headcover and accessory builder on its website.

The company has been producing custom headcovers, yardage books, and other accessories since 2013 when it entered the market with its signature wool headcovers.

We wanted to see what was up, and Guess was kind enough not only to answer a few questions, but to design a pretty incredible GolfWRX driver cover using some raw assets we sent over.

BA: What’s new at Sunfish since we last talked? 

AG: 2018 was a great year for innovation at Sunfish. We worked hard to develop new design and construction techniques, and it has been really exciting combining these new creative elements into one of a kind headcovers and accessories. 2018 was our eighth year in business, but it was probably the most significant in terms of innovation. We’re excited to see where we can go from here!

BA: Looking at your websites, I know one of the new things you developed is something you call Photoflux. What exactly is Photoflux?

AG: Photoflux is our proprietary high-resolution printing process, that gives us the ability to apply to our products anything from photos to complex patterns to intricate logos. The level of resolution and detail is truly unmatched, and can’t be achieved with embroidery. We apply it to our leather and Duraleather products, even our hand-made copper ball markers and divot tools! Those are really exciting, because we can make custom copper ball markers with full color logos, on demand

BA: How the heck did you come up Photoflux?

AG: A customer ordered a scorecard holder with his family photo to be embroidered on each side. We made the piece and weren’t happy at all with the result. The embroidery process couldn’t do justice to the photographs. It was clear that there were certain limitations to embroidery, and we were motivated to overcome them. After months of trial and error, long hours and strenuous testing against sun, rain, and wear, we developed the current process.

BA: What are ways the Photoflux process can be used?

AG: Photoflux is perfect for applying photos, but can also be used for intricate logos or family crests. Really any graphic element can be expressed accurately using Photoflux, including shading. Recently we’ve had fun developing custom patterns such as tiger fur and using them as stripes on headcovers. The sky’s the limit!

Photoflux is best in concert with other design techniques, such as embroidery, laser engraving, and precision cutting and sewing. The featured piece (shown in this feature) incorporates Photoflux, precision cutting and sewing, laser engraving and embroidery. The result is as much artwork as it is a functional golf accessory.

BA: What are the limitations of the technology…what products can you apply Photoflux to?

AG: It’s great for leather and Duraleather headcovers, putter covers, scorecard and yardage book holders, alignment stick covers, cash covers, valuables pouches, wine bags, barrel style tartan headcovers…and even copper ball markers and divot tools!

BA: Tell me about this headcover you made for GolfWRX. I suggested the use of a graffiti wall, a GolfWRX logo, and skeleton hand holding up one finger to denote one club/driver, and you really went to town!

AG: So for the headcover you have, we used Photoflux to apply the graffiti wall image to the top of the cover (did you notice the ‘GolfWRX’ spraypaint in there? We threw that in there for you as an Easter egg!). On top of that, we embroidered the skeleton hand. For the stripe, we laser cut the outline of a typical urban skyline, and laser engraved the chain-link fence pattern over the top, than sewed that down. The bottom portion is a Photoflux image of GolfWRX that you sent over.

With so many new ways to decorate and manipulate the materials, we’re really excited about combining it all for our fans and customers to create really unique products. We feel the sky is the limit, and we hope this headcover illustrates that.

 

 

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Equipment

New XXIO Prime woods, hybrids, and irons aim for lightweight power

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XXIO’s latest club offerings, XXIO Prime, looks to offer easy distance and easy accuracy for the moderate swing speed golfer, according to the company.

XXIO Prime woods

xxio-prime

XXIO Prime Woods feature a new re-designed hosel structure, and reduced stiffness at the tip of the driver shaft, which is designed to help moderate swing speed golfers to close the clubface through impact.

Forged from Super-TIX PLUS Titanium, the new cup face includes a sweet spot that is noticeably larger than previous designs, which aims to increase distance performance significantly. The Super-TIX PLUS Titanium Cup Face is thinner, lighter and stronger than previous additions, creating a maximum COR across the face, which aims to increase ball speed and distance.

According to Chuck Thiry, Vice President of XXIO USA

“The speed increases, higher launch angles, and draw bias of the new Prime will show immediate results from swing one. It’s legit lightweight power for the players that absolutely need it the most.”

Featured in the XXIO prime woods is the SP-1000 shaft, with TORAYCA T1100G carbon fiber and NANOALLOY resin, which creates a strong but lightweight club. Along with the lightness in the shaft, XXIO has made weight savings in the grip and club head, which aims to produce woods that are both fast and easy to swing.

The XXIO Prime woods feature an expanded toe and narrowed heel, a tungsten-nickel inner weight that is low and deep, a lighter hosel repositioned closer to the center of the face, and reduced stiffness at the tip of the shaft, all with the aim of offering golfers with maximum forgiveness from their woods.

The XXIO Prime woods will be available from March 1 and will cost $579,99.

XXIO Prime hybrids and irons

The new XXIO Prime hybrids feature an expanded COR and a lower center of gravity, which is designed to increase distance and ball speed while delivering a straighter ball flight.

The hybrids from XXIO contain a Forged Maraging Steel Cup Face which includes a large sweet spot which aims to increase distance performance.

Just as with the woods, the XXIO irons also feature the Super-TIX PLUS Titanium Cup Face, though along with this, they also contain a CNC milled speed groove, which significantly increases the COR, creating a larger sweet spot, designed to provide greater distance, ball speed and accuracy.

Both the hybrids and irons include the SP-1000 Shaft, with TORAYCA T1100G carbon fiber and NANOALLOY resin. The hybrids and irons also feature weight savings in the grip and club head, with the aim of increasing swing speed.

With an expanded toe and narrowed heel, plus a crown step that moves weight low and deep, XXIO claim that this is their most forgiving suite of Prime hybrids. While with two high-density tungsten nickel sole weights and an overall profile that is 3mm shorter than the previous model, the company also claims to have created their most forgiving irons yet.

Speaking on the new XXIO Prime series, Chuck Thiry stated

“XXIO Prime is, quite frankly, the most unique and beneficial product ever available to moderate swing speed players. Period. People might think that is marketing hype, but they simply haven’t hit Prime yet.”

Both the XXIO Prime hybrids and irons will hit retail stores on March 1. The Prime hybrids will cost $379.99, while a single graphite iron will be available for $259.99.

 

 

 

 

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Equipment

SPOTTED: 2019 Mitsubishi shafts

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The Diamana shaft line from Mitsubishi Chemical is probably one of the most iconic in the sport. Released in 2005, Blueboard, Whiteboard, and Redboard, were the first generation of shafts.

Photos of the full fourth generation Diamana lineup, offering new materials and technology, along with new names, have surfaced in the GolfWRX forums. Like previous generations, each color shaft offers different ball flight and spin characteristics.

“RF” is the highest launching and spinning in the Diamana line, offering high launch and mid spin, while the “BF” is the mid-launch and mid/low-spin model. Finally, the “DF” is mid/low-launching and the lowest-spinning shaft in the lineup.

All of the fourth generation Diamana shafts use updated technologies and materials that you would expect from a premium lineup. DIALEAD pitch fiber is helps reduce shaft deformation, while still producing exceptional energy transfer.

Each shaft contains MR70 carbon fiber that is 20 percent stronger than conventional materials and Boron fiber for its compression strength and shaft reinforcement. ION plating has been done before in the Diamana line, in vacuum chambers — silver alloy ions are bonded to the shaft to give it a chrome-like finish that can’t be replicated by paint.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying in the forums.

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