Carbon fiber is no stranger to Callaway Golf. Callaway has been adding carbon fiber to its driver designs for more than a decade, using the material to make lighter and lighter crowns that have steadily improved the performance of new models. This year the company brought carbon fiber to the soles of its drivers. According to Callaway, more than 50 percent of the Epic Sub Zero is made from carbon fiber.
But carbon fiber, even the triaxial carbon used in both Epic drivers, isn’t the story here. The marquee technology for both the Epic Star and Epic Sub Zero, however, is something we can’t see. It’s called Jailbreak—two parallel 3-gram titanium rods behind the club face that connect the sole and crown. The rods serve to tie the crown and sole together so they don’t flex at impact which, in turn, allows the club face to return more energy to the ball. More energy means more ball speed and more distance, and Callaway is claiming an improvement of up to 2 mile per hour in its player testing.
Because of the added carbon fiber, internal titanium rods and many more changes, the Epic twins are the most difficult to manufacture of all of Callaway’s drivers…ever. It takes twice as many steps and twice as long (roughly seven to 10 days) to manufacture the Epic and Epic Sub Zero drivers. The payoff is increased moment of inertia; the Epic Sub Zero’s MOI is so high that it puts other player’s drivers to shame. Callaway claims that even a mid-handicap golfer will have no trouble playing the Sub Zero.
That’s a real breakthrough. Normally, deep-faced drivers, like the Sub Zero, aren’t the most forgiving. In fact, many are intended for better golfers only but not the Sub Zero. Its MOI numbers are high enough that one might think it a game improvement club.
Beyond its accessibility, it is the prodigious distances you’ll hit the ball with the Epic Sub Zero that will endear it to you. People buy new drivers to hit the golf ball further than they did with their old one. If your driver is two or more years old, you should see a healthy jump in driving distance with the Epic Sub Zero.
Although we have yet to test the Epic Sub Zero on a launch monitor to confirm Callaway’s claims of faster ball speeds, field tests indicate that the ball leaves the clubface in a hurry. In my rounds with it, I’ve reached parts of the golf courses that I’ve played that have been out of range with my other drivers. Not scientific, to be sure, but most encouraging.
The Epic Sub Zero backs that up with forgiveness and ease of use that you’d normally experience in a game improvement driver. Obvious mishits get far better results than they deserve, validating Callaway’s claims of high MOI. Feel at impact is unique. It’s not the sensation of the ball flattening against the clubface before taking off. The sensation is akin to that of the ball jumping off the face at impact, much like that of an aluminum baseball bat. It feels like a home run.
If you’re considering one of the Epic twins as your next driver, here’s a quick guide to help you find the model best suited for you. If you struggle with your shot shape (be it hooks or slices) then the Epic Star with the weight on a sliding track should be a better fit for you. If the height of your drive is the issue (you hit some high others low) and you generally play one shot shape, then the Epic Sub Zero is the more appropriate choice.
Whichever you choose, you can rest easy in knowing that you’ll have one of the longest drivers in golf in your bag. Let your playing partners beware.