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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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37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. 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…

  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!!!!

  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

Sam Burns WITB 2023 (January)

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Driver: Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7 TX

4-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (17 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X

Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW (21 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 8 X

Irons: Callaway Apex TCB
Shafts: Project X 125 6.5

Wedges: Callaway Apex TCB (AW), Callaway Jaws MD5 (56-10S
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (AW), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (56)

Putter: Odyssey O-Works #7s Black
Grip: Odyssey

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align

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Whats in the Bag

Aaron Wise WITB 2023 (January)

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Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15 @ 15.75)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 TX

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM2 MAX (19 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX 100 6.5

Irons: TaylorMade P750 (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 (52-12F, 56-08M)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: TaylorMade Ghost Corza
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

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TOUR REPORT: Jason Day’s new Scotty Cameron, celebrity Ben Baller’s WITB, and Xander’s new 3-wood

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The West Coast swing continued this week on the cliffs of San Diego at Torrey Pines for the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open, and we caught up with some of the top players (and celebrities) in attendance to see what clubs are in their bag, and what changes they’re making.

As GolfWRX uncovered, Xander Schauffele, Jason Day and Justin Rose made equipment changes ahead of the event. We also caught up with famous celebrities Ben Baller and Gareth Bale to get glimpse at their equipment setups; both players competed in the Pro-Am on Wednesday. We also spotted some new equipment that players were testing, and we caught up with Gary Woodland to check out his new Cobra setup.

Let’s waste no more time and get right into this week’s Tour Report from the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Check out all of our photos from Torrey Pines here

Day switches to a new blacked-out Scotty Cameron…and a 7-wood

Back at the 2022 Shriners Open in October, I caught up with Jason Day to learn why he switched into a Scotty Cameron putter for the first time in his career, and what he liked about his new rounded mallet putter. He said the previous putters he used in the last few years – TaylorMade’s Spider Tour, and Odyssey’s Toulon Daytona – sat a bit too square, and looked as if they were pointing left of the target. The rounder Scotty Cameron mallet looked to point a bit more to the right, helping him to start the ball on a better line.

Here’s a look at his original Scotty Cameron build:

Last week at The 2023 American Express, however, Day switched into a nearly identical head, except this time it was made with a “Tour Black” finish. He ended up finishing 2nd in Strokes Gained: Putting on the week, and we caught with him on Tuesday at the 2023 Farmers Insurance this week to get a look at the new putter for ourselves:

Could this be the putter that helps Day get his magic back on the greens?

I went into way more depth into the putter switch over on PGATOUR.com, so click the link if you’re interested. We also have more photos and discussion of the putter in our GolfWRX Forums.

For this week, due to the particularly heavy rough and firm greens at Torrey Pines, Day also put in a TaylorMade Stealth 7-wood, equipped with a Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 80X shaft. His caddie says he flies it about 245-250 yards and lands softly.

Check out more photos and discussion of Day’s switches here

Schauffele finally changes up his 3-wood

While Schauffele upgraded into a new Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond driver at the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions, he kept his old Epic Speed Triple Diamond 3-wood in the bag that week. As we covered in our full story on PGATOUR.com, he struggles with 3-woods that spin too low when he hits a right-to-left shot; he doesn’t want the ball coming in too hot and not being able to hold the green.

Since then, however, he found a new Paradym Triple Diamond 3-wood setup that minimizes that concern. His new 16.5-degree HL fairway wood, which is actually bent down to 15.3 degrees, has helped Schauffele tighten spin variation due to the spin consistency across the face.

He put the new 3-wood into play on Wednesday at Torrey Pines.

Xander Schauffele’s full WITB at the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open

Woodland’s new Cobra setup

Gary Woodland officially signed an equipment deal with Cobra at the beginning of 2023, and we finally got a first look at his full WITB setup as a full-time Cobra staffer at the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open. Most notably, Woodland switched into a new set of Cobra King MB irons, which he said are “literally off the rack.”

Check out the rest of his 2023 WITB here

Hideki tests an all-new Graphite Design putter shaft

According to Graphite Design rep Erik Boysen, there have been only two prototypes made of a new Graphite Design putter shaft, and Matsuyama tested one of them this week at Torrey Pines. The shaft is designed to provide increased stiffness and stability throughout the stroke. While Matsuyama isn’t putting it in play just yet, we’ll certainly keep an eye on his putter shaft going forward, and keep an eye on Graphite Design to see how this product may progress.

Join the discussion about the new shaft prototype here

Ben is a Baller

Ben Baller is a famous actor/jeweler/designer/entrepreneur/avid golfer/TaylorMade staffer, and he was also on the winning Pro-Am team this week.

Ahead of his victorious round at Torrey Pines, we got a look at all the clubs in Baller’s bag.

We expected nothing less than an eye-popping custom Scotty Cameron Masterful putter, engraved with his name and paint-filled with Lakers yellow. Uniquely, though, Baller went with a driver-less setup to help avoid the rough at Torrey Pines, so he went with a top-end setup full of TaylorMade Stealth2 and Stealth fairway woods and hybrids.

He fills out his bag with TaylorMade Stealth irons, TaylorMade Hi-Toe wedges and custom TaylorMade golf balls with his logo on them.

Check out Ben Baller’s full WITB here

Kickin’ it with Gareth Bale

 

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Gareth Bale – a newly retired Welsh soccer player (or footballer, if you prefer) – also teed it up alongside Ben Baller on the winning Pro-Am team. While we didn’t get a chance to capture photos of every club in Bale’s bag, we managed to capture a few photos of his setup.

He doesn’t have a bad golf swing, either, especially for being a former world-class member of Real Madrid and Tottenham.

 

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Justin Rose switches drivers

The last time we caught up with Rose at the 2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open, the equipment free agent had an old TaylorMade M2 2016 driver in the bag. He’s been conducting extensive driver testing recently, though.

This week, he ended up switching to a new Callaway Paradym 8.5-degree head, equipped with a Fujikura Ventus Black 6X shaft.

Justin Rose full 2023 WITB at Torrey Pines

Ben Martin’s new EvnRoll putter

Martin was previously using an old Guerin Rife mallet putter, but he switched into a new EvnRoll EV5.2 mallet putter at the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open.

James Hahn shows up with a mixed bag

Former PXG staffer James Hahn has apparently gone the free agent route in 2023, since he showed up at Torrey Pines this week with a mixed-brand setup, which includes a Titleist driver, TaylorMade fairway wood, PXG hybrid, Callaway irons, Titleist Vokey wedges, and a Scotty Cameron putter.

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Hahn’s new free agency and golf clubs

TaylorMade’s San Diego head covers

TaylorMade’s Carlsbad HQ is just down the road from Torrey Pines, so the company typically designs some San Diego-inspired headcover heat when the PGA Tour comes into town. The 2023 Farmers Insurance sunset versions certainly did not disappoint.

Unfortunately, the sun is also setting on this week’s Tour Report from Torrey Pines. We’ll see you next week as the Tour travels up the West Coast to Pebble Beach.

Check out all of our photos from Torrey Pines here

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