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One-length wedges are holding Bryson DeChambeau back

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Bryson Dechambeau is a golf anomaly and has been for his entire competitive golf career.

The most recent example has been his single-minded focus to get bigger, stronger, and hit it farther. And if his early results are any indication, he has succeeded in his goal to seemingly reduce most golf courses on the PGA Tour to pitch and putts.

The other well-known example of Bryson’s unique approach is the single length irons and wedges that he has used since college.

This one-length approach allows Bryson to set up the same way for every shot, but when going deeper into his stats, there seems to be one part of his game that is glaringly below-average: his wedge play. Specifically, his proximity to hole: 124th on tour.

I believe his one-length wedges are to blame.

If we go one step further, his approach proximity from 50 – 70 yards of 17’10” ranks him 152nd on tour, an abysmal ranking for one of the top players in the game.

Breaking down the dynamics of a wedge shot

Hitting short irons, particularly wedges, close is about creating consistent dynamics at impact and controlling dynamic loft, launch, spin, and friction. The higher the loft on a club, the more potential friction and spin can be created, depending on player dynamics, to the point of diminishing return where the trajectory becomes more of an influencing factor for low-speed shots where less spin can be generated.

With single-length wedges compared to standard length wedges, it is more difficult to create consistent impact dynamics because the longer wedges don’t offer as much flexibility at setup, especially when you consider how much more ground undulation is generally found closer to green areas. But don’t just take my word for it…

I reached out to one of the top fitters in the industry, Ian Fraser from Tour Experience Golf, aka TXG, to get his take on how single length wedges could be effecting Bryson’s game.

“Playing his sand wedge at 2.25” over standard would lead to a shallower angle of attack which is detrimental to increasing spin loft—also being shallower with a low point closer to the ball increases the likelihood of picking up debris (moisture, grass etc) prior to impact which also reduces friction and spin control.

“We look for around 45-47 degrees of spin loft to achieve maximum friction, so unless Bryson can get steeper, the ball will launch higher due to the loft portion of that ideal spin loft.”

A further explanation

  • Single-length (longer) wedges: Longer wedges lead to less control as lofts get higher because of the naturally shallower angle the club wants to approach the ball. This extra length also leads to the inability to fluctuate ball position as lies differ greatly as you get closer to the green resulting in less control of launch and spin, leading to poor distance control.
  • Standard variable-length wedges: Standard wedges allow for greater control because it is easier for golfers to change ball position, which leads to greater control of impact dynamics which in turn offers better control of launch and spin, resulting in improved distance control. Not only that, but when you combine the shorter lengths with flatter lie angles into the sand and lob wedge (a setup recommended by most fitters) you get even more versatility.

Conclusion

Bryson is currently ranked 11th in the Official World Golf Rankings, and if he continues his fantastic form, that ranking is bound to improve as he puts himself closer to the green with every tee shot and in better scoring positions—he just needs to take better advantage of these shorter approach shots.

As someone who boasts about his willingness to experiment, Bryson has certainly tinkered with a number of wedges from his club sponsor Cobra as well as others in search of improvement, including PXG and Artisan Golf, within the last year.

I believe the next step for Bryson should be to experiment with a combination set that is single length until his 9-iron and progresses down to more standard lengths in his wedges to rein in speed and gain greater control of his wedge dynamics at impact. With his current ranking of 152nd on tour from 50 to 70 yards, he really only has one direction to go: up.

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

72 Comments

72 Comments

  1. Kourt

    Oct 21, 2020 at 1:34 am

    This article did not age well.

  2. Christopher Boyle

    Oct 12, 2020 at 4:50 am

    Holding him back lol. He just won the US open on one of the hardest golf courses on planet earth.

  3. DooshyMillenial

    Jul 18, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    If Bryson gets laid like Tiger his game will improve. Head over to Perkins and they will hook you up. Just remember to pay for her breakfast!

  4. uhgolfguy1

    Jul 16, 2020 at 10:19 pm

    Article is spot on!

    Bryson certainly needs to work on his wedge game after going 23 under par, bringing home a trophy and cashing a $1.35M check.

  5. Wrong wrong

    Jul 10, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    Just proven wrong by your own website. See the article from 8 hours ago.

  6. Dirk

    Jul 7, 2020 at 2:40 am

    The GolfWRX comment section feels similar to Twitter these days.

    • drkviol801

      Jul 7, 2020 at 9:39 am

      Yep! Tons of experts, I think its hilarious some people actually think they know Bryson’s game better than he does.

  7. Richard

    Jul 6, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    The origin of the length variation in wedges arises out of the legacy design goal of creating a swing weight matched set, nothing to do with ball position flexibility.
    Since there is no data re Bryson playing with variable length wedges on tour, the article is a speculative crock.

    • geohogan

      Jul 8, 2020 at 8:10 pm

      Spin caused by friction?
      Ball to club impact is as little as 5/10,000 second.

      Hasnt it been more than half a century since theory said the friction of the clubface
      grooves caused the ball to ride up the clubface?
      The ball compresses and spins due to COR, not friction.
      The lower the contact on the ball the more the spin due to COR(compression)
      …not friction.

  8. Getemgoose

    Jul 6, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Hey Ryan, just save yourself the grief and erase the article, man. Chalk it up to a good try.

    • Logical Person

      Jul 6, 2020 at 9:15 pm

      Seriously dude, he had to become the first winner since like 2004 to lead in Strokes Gained off the tee and Stokes gained putting. The main reason that had not happened before was that you normally win with good iron play, it’s unusual to be that bad at approaches that you have to beat everyone with Driving and Putting. If he doesn’t putt lights out, he doesn’t win. If he ever gets the wedges figured out he won’t need to have a career week on the greens. Some people are really dense.

  9. DaveJ

    Jul 6, 2020 at 11:47 am

    I wonder how the longer wedges relate to sand play? Bryson is among the best on tour in sand save percentage and sand scrambling. Maybe the longer wedges actually help him from the sand.

    • Rich

      Jul 6, 2020 at 1:44 pm

      The longer sand wedge is harder because it requires such a flat swing–normally. But BDC isn’t normal; his swing is already very, very upright, so those sand shots work for him.

      I play single-length irons, but I use a “normal” LW out of most greenside bunkers for this reason.

  10. Dyson Bochambeau

    Jul 6, 2020 at 10:49 am

    what a stupid article

  11. Ben

    Jul 6, 2020 at 8:43 am

    What about his set makeup. I think that could be looked at. He currently has a Pw at 42 degrees and then wedges at 47, 52 and 58. That seems very light at that end of the bag. Especially with his swing speed. Phil has so many more lofts at that end. Tiger has a 49 degree PW and 56-60 degree wedges. I would think for a guy that drives it as long as he does, he could use a few more wedges. Ditch the extra 3 wood (seems pointless) and maybe one of the lower lofted irons and get another couple of wedges to have more lofts.

    • benforprez

      Aug 11, 2020 at 9:54 pm

      bingo. please run for president. or at least ryans job. pluease

  12. Dan

    Jul 6, 2020 at 8:40 am

    The kid is so talented he’s winning inspire of those irons/wedges. I can’t believe he’s lasted this long with wedges that long and upright??
    Short shots around the green are just easier to hit when you can get the handle lower to the ground.

  13. Rich

    Jul 5, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    Oops.

    Yes, his wedge play is lacking. It’s not clear that it is because of the one-length issue, especially since his swing is so steep anyway. But it is not holding him back, as we saw today.

  14. ChipNRun

    Jul 5, 2020 at 11:12 pm

    Length of the wedges a problem?

    TV announcers in Rocket final round today suggested he should go with steel vs. graphite shafts in his wedges. They suggested he was overpowering the graphites and that heavier steel shaft would smooth out swing close in.

    • Rich

      Jul 5, 2020 at 11:32 pm

      That was Faldo, who lives in another era. Today’s graphite shafts can perform like steel, they can even weigh the same as steel. To suggest graphite is the problem is simplistic.

      • Andrea Rusconi

        Jul 6, 2020 at 5:46 am

        I agree modern graphite shafts are are good even for wedges. I have 125g Recoil Proto Wedge shafts installed and they are fantastic. Stiff and heavy similarly to steel but with added feeling and touch.

      • geohogan

        Jul 7, 2020 at 9:54 pm

        To suggest that graphite shafts is the problem is simply Wrong.

        Nunchuk Xi are as tip stiff as any steel shaft and have been used by
        many pga tour players.
        Xi are simply easier on the body, expecially the joints, by removing the shock of impact.

  15. Brian

    Jul 5, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    Why does this hurt him? Isn’t it just a matter of him dialing in the shallow wedge game like he has his driver? He’s a smart guy and it talented enough to control these shots

  16. Ugh

    Jul 5, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    So are they going to print “his wedges held him back” on the trophy?

  17. Bradley Read

    Jul 5, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    None of you hackers….(me included)….are a toenail clipping on Bryson’s bathroom floor. So just stop with all the Monday morning quarterbacking.

  18. Bradley Read

    Jul 5, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    Uh…yeah. those wedges really held Bryson back today….are you guys geniuses?

  19. Matt

    Jul 5, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    Because of how far he hits it off the tee, he skews the stats. His approach shots do not qualify and as approach shots statistically. I call it brilliant: he avoids the approach he struggles with by hitting past that!! Watching Bryson and Wolff on Sunday is a riot.

  20. Paul

    Jul 5, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    This article didn’t age well….

  21. RIch

    Jul 5, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    Largely nonsense. Every player has weaknesses. Jack Nicklaus, the greatest golfer of all time, might as well have left his sand wedge out of the bag. BCD has always been shaky with the wedges.

    I play SL irons and have done so for almost 4 years. Part of Bryson’s difficulties with the wedges is that his set is built around a 6-iron length. (Mine is around an 8-iron length.) What a lot of SL players do it carry traditional sand and lob wedges. (I still hit the SW from the fairway, but I use a traditional LW within 50 yards and from most greenside bunkers.)

    But there are huge advantages to having your wedges the same length (and lie and weight and MOI and swing weight and offset and…). The advantage that all your irons feel the same and you swing them in the exact same way cannot be overstated. I’d love to have that LW from the fairway–I’ve played it–but it was just too restrictive around the greens and in bunkers–too flat.

    Having your wedges at progressively shorter lengths negates the whole idea of SL irons and would impact your irons game overall.

    Bryson already has a very upright swing anyway (check is absurd lie angles), so I totally oppose the author’s thesis. Yes, BCD needs to get better with his short shots, but his clubs aren’t the problem.

  22. Bill Y.

    Jul 4, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    He will figure it out and when he does golfwrx or another media can rip on him
    about some other part of his game.
    The guy wants to win. End of story.

  23. Walker

    Jul 4, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    I play the f9 SL 5-SW. Never hit my wedges better. I think currently his biggest challenge is tempo and feel. He is so bulked up, and swings so hard on his driver that his touch shots seem thrown off. Watching him today he had an 8 iron in that he looked like he was trying to drive it 300 on an approach shot. Once he dials in that part of his game, which I think he will, look out.

    • geohogan

      Jul 7, 2020 at 3:23 pm

      Agree that tempo and feel are intangibles that
      often are less precise when golfers “bulk up”

      It happened years ago to Johnny Miller. If I recall he took time off
      after seenmingly winning at will. He built a new house and came back
      muscle bound. his touch was never the same. Once proprioception is compromised it could be that it never gets back to the optimum.

      https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/proprioception

      Whatever happened to course management to place your tee shot to make the next shot easier,to be consistent rather then simply as close to the green as possible.

  24. Fallacy

    Jul 4, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    This is the dumbest article ever. I feel dumber for having Read it. He is a crappy wedge player with bad technique. That’s it case closed. He did a full interview last year about chocking down to get proper angles, spin blah blah.. it’s not the length of the wedge. It’s the technique. And you use fallacy arguments left and right.

  25. Dennis

    Jul 4, 2020 at 9:57 am

    Its a great article and you surely got a point. But as I understand it, Proximity to the hole is measured by the average distance the ball comes to rest from the hole after the player’s approach. The shot must not originate from on or around the green and the shot must end on or around the green, defined as around 30 yards of the edge of the green. So ALL his approach shots a not good enough, including his 8, 9 and 8 iron shots….

  26. Keith

    Jul 4, 2020 at 9:08 am

    This is great article and I hope Bryson reads it. I’ve ‘felt’ this for a long time, exactly what they explained with tapering from his 9 iron, Great to see it put into the numbers and confirmed.

  27. Mickey D

    Jul 4, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Many comments were right on the money. Opinions will always vary when golf equipment is the topic. Short game skills will come in time. Bryson needs Phil to work with him for a few months and he’ll be just fine. But I do agree that the shorter length golf club is always easier to control, given you have the correct lie angle.

  28. Martien Schwencke

    Jul 4, 2020 at 4:27 am

    There is no shallower angle as you stated
    Bryson plays all is iron at 72-degree lie …that’s even steeper than al the wedges on the market

  29. NE14Golf

    Jul 3, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    What an interesting article. Thanks.

    • Mathew Kamuchey

      Jul 3, 2020 at 9:15 pm

      hes looking for the unified theory of irrelevancy. moe would smack himself upside the head if he read this article.

  30. No Thanks

    Jul 3, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    You guys could make the same arguments about SL irons, but he’s doing just fine. He is getting there, and this post will not age well.

  31. David Haak

    Jul 3, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    From a club fitters point of view, neither of the club fitters contributing to this article would have recommended any of the set ups that Bryson is currently playing on tour, as his approach is so far from conventional. All players on the tour have weaknesses in their games, but find ways to capitalize on their strengths while working on the areas that hold them back. Bryson is no exception and has proven that you can go against convention and win at the highest level.

  32. Ronald Montesano

    Jul 3, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Did you mention lie angle, beyond “flatter lie angles?” Do #BigBangTheory’s irons have the same lie angle? If not, couldn’t/doesn’t he negate the issue by altering the angle at which the shaft enters the club head, for all of his wedges? I’ll click off and listen/read.

  33. joro

    Jul 3, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    So we are saying that choking down is a problem. That is stupid, choking down 2 in. is not that difficult. 2 inches = nor much and this guy is a Pro,commenters are not. I have chipped with a long Wedge and had not problems. I don’t play with one length and probably never would, but I tried them. I am too old school. All my clubs are 1 inch long anyway.

  34. brenner

    Jul 3, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    I guess yall are watching a different game.

    The guy is the odds on favorite to win week after week and he needs to change something according to random golf wrx 10 handicap guy. Got it . cringe.

    • Ryan Barath

      Jul 3, 2020 at 12:28 pm

      HI Brenner,

      It’s not that Bryson isn’t a great golfer, it’s that his technique with his shorter clubs continues to have a negative effect on his ability to control shorter, lower speed shots with the precision needed to be highly effective compared to his peers.

      Also, just as a point of reference, Ian Fraser from TXG is one of the most highly sought after and respected club fitters in the world, so I’m happy to listen to his expertise on the subject of proper wedge technique. As for myself, this “random GolfWRX guy” I continue to be a highly trained club-fitter with lots of experience fitting, building, and grinding wedges too.

      • Jack Nicholas

        Jul 3, 2020 at 6:38 pm

        …please leave the Bryson fans alone; you’re confusing them with reason, rationale and research. Those of us in the clear-thinking minority are perfectly happy seeing him failing to win week-in, week-out. He’s just a show pony.

        • Greg Sark

          Jul 6, 2020 at 7:49 am

          He just won by 4. So whose the irrational one?

  35. Benny

    Jul 3, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Great article and detailed numbers. Also like the comments above from George and Uglande. It does make sense and one would think the close you are to the ball the more control you have.
    Which could be why long irons at 37” could ne why guys are so good and comfy while wedges at 37” means less comtrol.
    Either way I still 100% believe Bryson is on some sort of PED. No way he gained that much size in so little time. You couldn’t even gain 25lbs of fat in 3 months. Muscle is way harder!

  36. Kourt

    Jul 3, 2020 at 11:28 am

    Stupidest take of all time. You act like he can’t choke down the grip when he’s hitting chips and finess shots. I’ve played single length for 5 years and my short game is better than ever. You just grip down on a single length wedge the same way you do with any other wedge.

    • Ryan Barath

      Jul 3, 2020 at 12:09 pm

      Gripping down might be easy but it doesn’t change the lie angle of the club, and in Bryson’s case the oversized grips he uses are shorter and taper rapidly at the bottom.
      Gripping down would put his bottom hand onto the shaft of the club a majority of the time which for a lot of reasons doesn’t seem like a logical approach.

      It’s not that I don’t believe average golfers cant benefit from one-length clubs, its that the proven science and physics ( something Bryson is apparently very familiar with ) behind the technique of hitting controllable high-spinning wedge shots is counter to his much longer clubs and his pitching technique, and at the highest level on the PGA Tour every single shot counts.

    • Lex

      Jul 3, 2020 at 2:40 pm

      Stupidest reply of all time. Choking down on the shaft is a good idea? Go ahead and choke down on your 3-iron to make it the same length as your wedge or, even better, a choked-down wedge. Let me know how that works out.

      • Kourtney Knowles

        Jul 4, 2020 at 5:03 pm

        What? People grip down on clubs all the time when hitting certain shots. Most pros grip down when hitting chip shots. What the hell does gripping down on a 3 iron have to do with this topic of wedge play? His wedge play sucks simply because he doesn’t practice it. He’s said himself that he spends most the time on the range hitting drivers working on his speed and working on his full swing. I’m sure he will start improving his wedge play next. It’s not the club it’s the player.

    • alvin

      Jul 5, 2020 at 1:04 am

      Well of course. Why wouldn’t you be better than Bryson

  37. uglande

    Jul 3, 2020 at 10:50 am

    As a former one-length club player, I agree with this. In addition to the widely discussed problem of compressed gapping at the top end of the bag with one-length clubs, the wedges are another major problem. On full shots, the wedges go sky-high, which makes them harder to control, and on other pitch shots, the trajectory is all over the place. No two pitch shots were the same for me. I actually loved chipping with one length wedges. As a tall golfer, the upright posture worked nicely for those shots. But pitch shots and full shots with the wedges were a nightmare. Another reason for that is that with the super-long shaft lengths in the wedges, the club heads had to be incredibly light. And while the swing weights were all the same, the lack of head weight reduced short game feel and created a pronounced lack of forgiveness on slight mishits.

  38. Imafitter

    Jul 3, 2020 at 10:31 am

    Watching Bryson’s approach shots, I’ve wondered why he can’t get close to the pin. Now we know.

  39. George Steer

    Jul 3, 2020 at 10:20 am

    I’ve been playing Cobra F9 One Length 4-7 and standard length 8-PW with my GW at PW length. Absolutely love the set. It gives me more control on 8-GW, but now love hitting my 4 iron as much as my 7 iron…with plenty of height and distance.

    • Ryan Barath

      Jul 3, 2020 at 12:01 pm

      Hi George,

      I have done testing with the exact same setup as yours for the same reason – I couldn’t get what I wanted out of the shorter irons for control.

      I still believe in the merits of one-length clubs and they help a lot of golfers but for absolute precision, I think the higher-lofted clubs need to be shorter.

      • Michael

        Jul 3, 2020 at 9:46 pm

        I tried the F8 One Lengths and had this exact issue. I could not get the PW or GW to stop, on one of the few good hits I had, on approach shots. I kept the 4 hybrid from the set though. Absolute banger.

        • Walker

          Jul 4, 2020 at 8:52 pm

          If you want to try single length again the F9 are miles ahead of f8 or f7 in my opinion. I played them all, and for me there is no comparison. Cobra finally got it right from 5-SW with the F9 series.

      • geohogan

        Jul 9, 2020 at 11:04 am

        If your making fine furniture would you use a sludge hammer to drive home the finishing nails? Of course not. You would use a very small hammer
        that brings your hands closer to the nail for precision.
        You sure would not use an oversize handle on that hammer, just as
        we dont write with oversize pens.

        It takes touch and feel, we get from smaller instruments. Think surgeon
        operating on internal organs.

        • Rich

          Jul 10, 2020 at 11:18 am

          How is that analogy relevant?

          You know what correlates best to success on the Tour? Driving distance. You know what best creates strokes gained? Distance from the hole. BDC, a student of the game, knows these things.

          The FedEx Cup listings are filled with sledgehammers and very few surgical tools and small hammers. Look for yourself.

          • geohogan

            Jul 15, 2020 at 10:22 am

            if that is the case , how many tour winners use over length shafts in their wedges?
            The topic is accuracy with wedges
            nothing to do with long drives.

            Save your arguments for another topic.

            • geohogan

              Jul 15, 2020 at 4:00 pm

              Looking at Morikawa’s performance over the four-round tournament, it is obvious that approach is the most dangerous weapon in his bag. He gained 3.6 strokes on Thursday and more than six strokes on the field Sunday. His approach game kept him in the tournament despite losing strokes with the flatstick.

              He was number one in approach shots from 150 yards in
              using conventional length wedges…

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Equipment

2021 Callaway Epic Speed Launch Day Report: Everything you need to know about the new equipment from Callaway

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It’s the official launch day of the all-new Callaway Epic Speed line of metal woods, which includes both driver and fairway wood models—Epic Speed, Epic Max, and Epic LS. To summarize the newest releases, Callaway engineers are taking their artificial intelligence as far as they ever have by using it to optimize both the face and body of the driver to deliver forgiveness and distance increasing ball speed across the face like never before.

If are looking for in-depth information, on the ins and outs of the new designs and the technology that makes them possible, check out our full launch pieces below.

The new 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver

The Epic Speed is the fastest swinging driver Callaway has ever made. The elevated Cyclone Aero Design gives players a clubhead that gets through the air and down into impact faster creating even more ball speed opportunities.

2021 Callaway Epic Max driver

The new 2021 Callaway Epic Max driver is a heater, but more than anything, it’s forgiving. Using all the tech bells and whistles from Epic Speed (AI-designed Jailbreak and Flash Face), Callaway made the Epic Max crown lighter with even more triaxial carbon, saving 19 grams of discretionary weight, which allows them to create an even deeper CG and higher MOI. A rear sliding 17-gram weight in the trunk to tune in launch and shape and the OptiFit hosel provides up to 20 yards of shot shape correction.

2021 Callaway Epic Max LS

Out with the Sub Zero and in with the most playable players driver Callaway has created. With a neutral shape and weight configuration that is the more fade bias of the Callaway family, the new LS has a very high MOI (8,400+) for a tour-inspired driver. The idea was to give high speed players something fast all while mitigating the big miss better players fear. Yes, we all fear a big miss, but at high speeds, the foul ball is, well, a bit more foul. The new triaxial carbon crown saves 13 grams of weight, which was redistributed to increase MOI and lower CG.

Perspectives from the GolfWRX forums

  • bcflyguy1 – I’ve also found the Max head to be excellent when lofted down and weight pushed to the toe; becomes surprisingly neutral when configured as such. Obviously can see where many will prefer the more muted sound/feel and compact footprint of the Speed head or may need the greater fade bias from the Max LS and its Trip Diamond-ish shaping. However, the Max offers a VERY rare combination of tons or horsepower but with sufficient traction control to keep even me from figuratively wrapping it around a light pole.
  • noodle3873 – Just got back from hitting balls. My local Pro was breaking in his Epic LS 9° against his Mavrik SZ TD 9°. Both heads were built/hotmelted to the same weight. He was using GC Quad and brand new Srixon range balls (not ideal but numbers are like for like). On average he was getting more launch, more ball speed and a couple more yards out of the LS.
  • mtp –  I hit the whole lineup today. Not a fitting.  Just trying them out. Was using the HZRDUS Smoke Green. LS was best for me. Prefer the shape, sound and feel over my current Sim Max.
  • zeke66 – This thing is a beast. Hit it with a Paderson ballistic tp. I was swinging awful with all 3 drivers I was hitting including gamer, and wouldn’t leave the hitting bay until I started hitting it better. So I grabbed the Max Ls 9.0 and worked through it. Average ball speed was around 177 low 120’s with spin around 2100-2200, launch 12-15. When you catch one on the screws… it goes as good as anything I think.

More from the GolfWRX forums

GolfWRX’s resident equipment tester, Brian Knudson of the Club Junkie podcast, had this to say

Epic Max driver: A lot of draw bias, but easy to launch high and takes some right side out even with a neutral weight. Sound and feel are improved over Mavrik, much more muted and solid feeling. Center strikes are hot, and even misses carry some good ball speed.

Epic Speed driver: The best looking of the Epic drivers. Offers the most penetrating flight. Seems to be pretty low spin and easy to work the ball in either direction. Misses don’t stay online as well with more curvature. It is long and going to be a really good option for skilled players.

Epic Max LS driver: Very forgiving and offering a straighter flight than Max. Slightly lower trajectory as well. Toe misses hold their line better than the other two. Shots low on the face don’t get up as high as expected but still carry. Misses off-center still have good carry distance

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Equipment

Best utility iron of 2021 – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing 2021 utility irons. WRXer ‘Krod10359’ kicks off the thread, saying:

“Just want to know your opinion on what new utility iron you have hit this year. Looks like a lot of solid offerings out right now from Ping, Srixon and Callaway. Let me hear what you have to say about these clubs.”

And our members have been sharing their thoughts in our forum.

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.

  • hypergolf: “This…(photo above)”
  • TigerInTheWoods: “Sim Udi is a beauty. Launches a bit higher and is a bit more forgiving than the P790 UDI which was really the benchmark for this kind of club.”
  • craz-e: “Hard to go past the Srixon for performance and value. The current offerings from Titleist (u500 & u501) and Mizuno (HMB) are also great options and worth trying.”
  • Golfingfanatic: “The new Callaway one is pretty good.”

Entire Thread: “Best utility iron of 2021”

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Equipment

2021 Callaway Epic driver: Epic Speed, Epic Max & Epic LS drivers

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Callaway Golf introduces new Epic driver lineup for 2021—Epic Speed, Epic Max, and Epic Max LS drivers—giving us the best of everything.

When it comes to a hot face, Callaway Golf has been at the top of the heap since its introduction of Jailbreak Technology back in 2017. In simplest terms, Jailbreak allowed Callaway to vertically stiffen the face, which allows the face to absorb a ton of energy and release it right back into the golf ball.

When Epic hit the market, it was instantly the driver of that year due to its ball speeds and forgiveness across the face, but most importantly for Callaway, it gave the company a strong foundation to build from for models to come.

In 2020, with the help of artificial intelligence, Callaway engineers were able push that idea a bit further with the successful Mavrik line. This time, artificial intelligence took Jailbreak and found ways to make it even more efficient with the addition of the Flash Face.

Now, in 2021, using every piece of tech at its disposal, Callaway officially launches the new 2021 Epic Speed, Epic Max, and Epic Max LS drivers.

The new AI-designed, carbon-loaded, MOI machines are the culmination of now four iterations of Jailbreak technology, and in my opinion, Callaway has its fastest but more importantly—most golf-course friendly—driver ever.

Let’s dive in…

The new 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver

New 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver

The Epic Speed is the fastest swinging driver Callaway has ever made. The elevated Cyclone Aero Design gives players a clubhead that gets through the air and down into impact faster creating even more ball speed opportunities.

New 2021 Callaway Epic Speed Driver, Cyclone Aero Shaping

In addition, the AI-designed Flash Face SS21 and the new look Jailbreak Speed Frame create stiffness not only vertically across the face but east and west as well. The result? Speed, stability, and a ton of forgiveness.

The new 2021 Callaway driver, face on

“Spin robustness” is another key term in the 2021 Callaway campaign. What this means for us is giving players spin where we need it (i.e. off the heel spin stays down, off the toe spin stays up, out of the middle the ball goes forever).

Another key aspect to notice across the line is the enhanced composite crown. The new 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver has a triaxial carbon crown that covers even more real estate allowing Callaway to redistribute 16 grams of discretionary weight. The larger carbon surface area also innately created a way for Callaway R&D to make the Epic Speed a bit more draw friendly without having to add external weight to the heel.

Callaway Epic Speed driver, address

2021 Callaway Epic Max driver

Sole view of the new Callaway Epic Max driver

Yes, the new 2021 Callaway Epic Max driver is a heater, but more than anything, it’s forgiving. Using all the tech bells and whistles from Epic Speed (AI-designed Jailbreak and Flash Face), Callaway made the Epic Max crown with even more triaxial carbon, saving 19 grams of discretionary weight, which allows them to create an even deeper CG and higher MOI. A rear sliding 17-gram weight in the trunk to tune in launch and shape and the OptiFit hosel provides up to 20 yards of shot shape correction.

The New 2021 Callaway Epic Max Driver, Sliding weight

The New 2021 Callaway Epic Max Driver, Address

2021 Callaway Epic Max LS

Incorporating the AI-designed Flash Face SS21 and Jailbreak technology, Callaway has created a new more forgiving profile in a players driver.

Out with the Sub Zero and in with the most playable players driver Callaway has created. With a neutral shape and weight configuration that is the more fade bias of the Callaway family, the new LS has a very high MOI (8,400+) for a tour-inspired driver. The idea was to give high speed players something fast all while mitigating the big miss better players fear. Yes, we all fear a big miss, but at high speeds, the foul ball is, well, a bit more foul. The new triaxial carbon crown saves 13 grams of weight, which was redistributed to increase MOI and lower CG.
Like Epic Max, LS also has a sliding weight to tune in adjustability.
Inspired by the Triple Diamond tour heads of the past, Callaway decided to go away from cranking spin down to oblivion and offer a driver that was actually closer to what the tour leans towards. Yes, they love a low spin head, but not too low spin. The Triple Diamond heads were basically a Sub Zero shape in a higher MOI profile. If you go through our tour photos, you will see more Triple Diamonds than anything. Obliterating launch and spin sounds good for Trackman, but it’s hard to play that way on the golf course all the time.

Initial Tour Reaction

I had a chance to chat with  Callaway’s PGA Tour Manager Jacob Davidson on the early response and this is what he had to say.

JW: In early testing, what is the first thing players are seeing with Speed and LS?

JD: Early feedback from the tour guys has been a noticeable difference in an increase in ball speed across the face but more importantly the dispersion has tightened down range. Many guys have also quickly fallen in love with the sound of the new metal woods.

JW: What most excited you with the new line?

JD: We knew early on with this product launch that we had an exceptional driver. To start- the look of the heads and the shaping allows the clubs to sit beautifully at the address position. From there the overall feel and sound matches exactly what tour guys prefer. The guys we have worked with have converted into the new woods extremely quickly with very positive feedback. For us, we are excited to have some great starting lines, a competitive ball speed advantage, and an increase in forgiveness.

We are constantly studying what makes world class drivers of the golf ball world class. After much research, we determined the ideal spin/ degree of launch and worked closely with our R&D team to reach these numbers. We were absolutely amazed to see what they came back to us with. Using AI they were able to figure out how to increase the MOI in this line of drivers while also focusing on more ball speed. It truly is remarkable the new frontier of technology we are using in our drivers to help our players play their best golf.

Overall Thoughts

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of Epic Flash (acoustics), and Mavrik was solid but didn’t blow me away. This new 2021 Callaway Epic line of drivers is exactly what players want: a golf club that is playable all while providing the distance and performance we have gotten used to over the past few years. It’s a new trend in the market that I’m loving. Drivers are becoming golf course friendly again. We tried to kill spin—when ultimately it was our best friend in the long run.

Specs

At Retail: 2/18

Lofts: 9, 10.5, 12 degrees (Epic Speed) 9, 10.5 degrees(Epic Max & Epic Max LS)

Price: $529.99

Stock Shaft Offerings

  • Epic Speed Driver: Project X Cypher 40g (WMS, L). Smoke IM 10 (50g – R,S. 60g – S)
  • Epic MAX Driver: Project X Cypher 40g (WMS, L). Smoke IM 10 (50g – R,S. 60g -S)
  • Epic MAX LS: Mitsubishi MMT (60g – S,X. 70g – S,X)
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