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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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Whats in the Bag

Kevin Na’s winning WITB: 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge

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Driver: Callaway GBB Epic (9 degrees)


Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD GP 6-TX

3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana BF 70 TX

Hybrid: PXG 0317 X Gen 2 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 95X

Irons: Callaway Rogue Pro (4), Callaway Apex Pro 16 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 Wedges (50, 54 degrees), Vokey Design prototype (’18) (60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Madison

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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Equipment

The top-5 longest drivers on the PGA Tour and their driver/shaft combos

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Let’s take a look at what the PGA Tour’s biggest bombers thus far in 2018-2019 are using to launch their rockets.

1. Cameron Champ

Average drive: 315.6 yards


Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees @ 7.9)


Shaft: Fujikura Pro 63 TS (44.75 inches, tipped 1.5 inches)

T2. Luke List

Average drive: 314.4 yards
Driver: TaylorMade M6 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana White D+ 80TX

T2. Rory McIlroy

Average drive: 314.4 yards


Driver: TaylorMade M5 (9 degrees)


Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK White 70TX

4. Tony Finau

Average drive: 311.5 yards


Driver: Ping G410 Plus (9 degrees @ 8)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana RF 70-TX (45.25 inches, tipped 1 inch)

5. Wyndham Clark

Average drive: 311.4 yards


Driver: PXG 0811 XF GEN2 (10 degrees)


Shaft: Accra Prototype (45.25 inches)

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight Review: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

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Product: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

Pitch: The TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3 is a stronger-lofted version of the standard TaylorMade M5 3-wood. The Rocket is 14 degrees. The standard M5 is 15.

Our take on the TaylorMade M5 Rocket 3

“WOW, you really hit that 3-wood like a rocket!”

” Not like a rocket… an actual Rocket!”

The beloved 3-wood. A favorite club of both average golfers and pros alike, a club that many will hold onto well after what some might consider their “best before” date. But with new options and improved technology, these old faithfuls are getting the boot quicker for a lot of reasons including the ability to better dial in a fit and help minimizing misses.

Since making a club faster off the middle is becoming more and more difficult thanks to the limits set forth but the USGA, OEMs are changing the way we think about clubs and putting a greater focus on decreasing dispersion and optimizing misses. TaylorMade is doing this with TwistFace, which was originally introduced in drivers a generation ago, and has now been included in the M5 and M6 fairway woods.

I got to spend some time with the knowledgeable crew at TaylorMade Canada in their new indoor facility just north of Toronto (lets call it Kingdom North) In that time, we went through a driver fitting, and then to the new M5 fairway woods to try and replace one of my oldest faithfuls: a 14-degree SLDR Tour Spoon. To say I have a unique ability to elevate a fairway wood is something that even my fitter was a little surprised by. My numbers with my cranked down to 12 degree (measured) fairway off the deck were good but could be improved. I can hit it both ways (as much as a 6-handicap can actually claim that) but my trusted go-to shot is a slight fade with some heel bias contact because of my swing. I am willing to sacrifice some distance but usually hit it where I want.

What I saw at the end of the fitting was a club that produced longer shots along with a tighter dispersion without having to make or to try and make any changes to my swing. The final fit was a 14-degree “Rocket” M5 fairway set to 12 degrees. It beat out my SLDR by a total of nine yards, which is an increase of just over a total of three percent, including an additional six yards of carry.

To say I was honestly surprised would be an understatement. The SLDR TS is a club that the first time I hit it I went WHOA! Low spin, workable, looks exactly how I want that club to look (small and compact). You can see from the numbers below when it works it works.

Why does TwistFace work?

Let’s explain and get a little deep in the technology weeds for a second. Bulge and roll is not a new concept. In fact, it would be a lie to claim that all OEMs haven’t done something similar to this is the past or played with these two variables to help golfers hit better shots. Fact: Every OEM optimizes the bulge and roll on their clubs to increase speed and maximize performance. Tom Wishon actually had a line of woods at one point that went the other way had VERY limited roll from the top tine to the sole. With this design, more loft on the bottom of the head helped players who miss low or need help elevating the ball off the deck increase launch and spin. It worked. Cobra also has what it calls E9 technology to tweak bulge and roll to help maximize the speed and forgiveness of their woods. It also works.

What makes TaylorMade’s TwistFace different is that it is the most aggressive iteration of this bulge and roll tweaking yet, and by introducing it into the fairway woods and hybrids, it’s proving to be a winner — even for this now-proven wrong skeptic.

At the end of the day, the M5 Ti “Rocket” was a measurable improvement over my previous 3-wood. Now it would be disingenuous to say “if you aren’t using TwistFace in your fairway woods you’re not maximized,” but if you are someone that struggles with fairway wood dispersion and looking to find some extra distance for taking on par-5s, taking a look at the new M5 and M6 fairway woods as part of your next fitting should be very high on your list.

 

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