Callaway Epic - Sub Zero
Approaching 50 years old, the situation for my golf was heading towards an inevitable conclusion, I was losing distance off the tee. I am very keen to maintain my single figure handicap and losing too much distance was putting added pressure on my short game. As I don't have the time to spend chipping and putting like I used to, I wanted a solution, fast. From hitting the driver 250-260 meters a few years ago, I now notice that has come back to 230-240 and sometimes even shorter. Something had to be done.
I knew I could have launched myself into a fitness regieme, where I went to the gym and threw myself into the golf specific exercises, altered my diet and increased my protein intake, but that's Mitch's scene and quite frankly, who has the time or the energy? Well, not me anyway. I'm more of an Al Czervik type than a Tony D'Annunzio type. I therefore started looking for the Holy Grail of drivers. Lighter head, lighter shaft, stiffer tip, an exotic expensive shaft made from materials sourced from our last moon landing, or whatever was going to help. I tried many different options and brands. Although some gave me a little more length, I am only talking about 4-8 meters. Nothing really noticable.
Then Callaway released the Epic. From all the testing I was reading about, this club was producing incredible distances at extremely low spin rates. As I am a golfer that loses distance through too much back spin, I was intrigued. So intrigued, that I decided to buy one and test it out for myself.
Today was the day I hit it for the first time around my home golf course. From the very first hit, I noticed one thing. This club was solid off the face. So solid in fact, it felt like it exploded off the face to places I have not been hitting it for years, even off centre hits flew long. The big surprise for me was how much it ran once hitting the ground. Obviously the spin rate had been lowered to a much more acceptable level for me and the extra distance just seemed to be effortless. I was not swinging any harder than usual, but the club was going 15-25 meters longer than my old driver.
I know how this sounds, as I am normally the one in the place I work telling people that a new driver won't give you much more than 8-15 meters, but this Epic Sub Zero has made me a believer. The combination of the lighter weight materials, the "Jailbreak" bars behind the face and the new HZRDUS T800 shaft is an absolute winner for Callaway. You will have to find what shaft works best for you, but this setup for me, was exceptional. Whilst my swing speed is faster than average, I'm no monster and it max's out at 105m/ph.
Working in the golf industry for as long as I have, I have seen drivers come and go and they all promise so much. True, a lot of them have delivered in the past, but not as dramatically as the Epic has for me. Ok, so I have only used this driver for one round so far. I hit it 9 times in total since I got it, but 8 of those (1 I just will not talk about, as it was my fault and it was bad) are 8 of the longest drives I have hit in the last 3 years. And before you say, "length isn't everything", know that they were also gun barrel straight as well. The pronounced draw I usually hit with was replaced by a low spin straight ball flight that I loved.
The Epic Sub Zero is the option for those players who want to lower their spin rate. The movable weight positioned towards the front will lower spin rates. So playing at a windy course like mine, I changed the weight to the forward position and lowered the loft by 1 degree. This worked perfectly. It may not be the setup that works for you, but I can safely say, the change in setup made a noticable difference for me. I have not hit drives with such a penetrating ballflight ever!
As with most drivers, there is always one thing that you might find you don't like. For me, the feel off the face is very hard. So hard, that some may be put off by it as it does make a unique sound. This is only a small negative as the distance and accuracy of the club far outweighs the negatives. The standard issue Epic driver is meant to be straighter, but if the Sub Zero was anything to go by, I can't see how it could be any straighter than the driver I used today.
The only other negative about this driver is the price. At about $600, it is expensive, but just about all new drivers are these days. Although I knew exactly what shaft and head I was wanted, most do not. Go and get fitted for this driver. It is expensive, so you may as well get it done right. This driver for me is an absolute winner. I cannot wait to get back out there and hit it again. In the end, don't we all want a driver like that? I mark the Epic Sub Zero an A+ go and try it!
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I had a hit in the launch monitor at the shop today and hit my old Nike Vapor Fly 10 times, then the new Epic 10 times. Below is the average of those hits. I hit the same ball every time to try and keep the data fair for both.
LAUNCH MONITOR DATA
Average back spin rate
Average carry distance
Average total distance
Nike Vapor Fly
Nike Vapor Fly
Nike Vapor Fly
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* The longest drive with the Nike was 245 meters.
* The longest with the Epic was 267 meters.
* UPDATE: I have now had this driver for about 7 months and I am still hitting it very well. It's still longer than any of my old drivers and I continue to hit more fairways with less sideways movement in the air. Sometimes you can get sick of a new club quickly, but I still look forward to hitting this driver as often as possible. Go buy one!