What we say...
The new Callaway Epic Flash driver features the first AI developed new ‘Flash Face’ technology for faster ball speeds across the face
Callaway have employed Artificial intelligence to create what they are saying is the best driver face design currently available on the market, and they've put it in to their new Callaway Epic Flash driver.
The brand tasked their new $5million super computer with the job of producing the ultimate driver face, and the design that they have come up with is nothing like anything you've seen before.
Whereas in the past Callaway had an x-face, which was thicker in the centre and quite thin around the edges, the new Flash Face is nothing like that.
Callaway Epic Flash Driver Price: £499
Callaway Epic Flash Driver Release Date: 1st February 2019
Watch: How the face in the Epic Flash driver works
In a nutshell, the technology is an amalgamation of ridges behind the face which they say optimise ball speed all across the face, and the thinnest part of the face is now in the centre - a complete departure from what Callaway drivers have previously looked like. (jump to: What is Flash Face technology?)
In addition, the Epic Flash driver features their renowned Jailbreak technology for faster ball speeds, a new T2C Triaxial carbon crown for higher MOI, a forged titanium insert and adjustable perimeter weighting for control.
Callaway say their Tour pro's are seeing an average gain of 1.7mph of ball speed and often up towards 3mph in the new Epic Flash driver, which is absolutely huge. So we decided to put this their latest driver to the test.
Watch: Epic Flash vs Epic Flash Sub Zero Review
Callaway Epic Flash Driver: Our Verdict
Flash face as a story is every bit as compelling as TaylorMade's 'speed injecting', and builds on Callaway's proven (and brilliant) Jailbreak tech. For us, the Flash sounds more muted and powerful than the Sub Zero, which to some will be important, as will the curved graphic across the Flash's crown.
For hard hitting Chris, the Flash produced his fastest ball speeds and longest drives, which speaks volumes about how the Flash tends to be more at home in club golfers' hands than the lower spinning Sub Zero. The best part of £500 on a new driver is a substantial investment, and not one to be taken lightly.
As with everything Jailbreak that's gone before it though, there are gains (no matter how small) to be had here, and you'll really notice the improvements if you're upgrading from a three-year-old driver or older.
The Epic Flash has a traditional looking head which sits square and looks create at address. You'll notice there isn't a lot going on on the crown which is a big improvement over the first Epic driver, and it is very easy to align with the V-Shape.
Feel and Sound
Our test pro remarked that the driver feels solid, feels like it's going to produce quite a lot of ball speed and has a great, muted sound from the face.
To get the fairest results, we compared the new Epic Flash Driver to last year's Callaway Rogue Driver, crunching the numbers using both the stock shafts offered by Callaway and our Test Pro's preferred shaft.
Using the stock shaft - Evenflow for Rogue and Tensei for Epic Flash - the immediate gains seen were an increase in 2.1mph ball speed and a 5 yard increase in carry distance from 265 to 270.
Watch: 2019 Driver Test - Flash vs M6 vs G410 vs F9
Using the Tour AD shaft in both drivers, our Tour pro had an increase in ball speed of 0.7mph, but a considerable increase in backspin which saw him lose 4 yards over the Rogue - yet this was still an increase of 3 yards over the stock shaft, recording a carry distance of 273.
His best numbers came from using that same shaft in the Epic Flash Sub Zero driver, giving an average carry distance of 282 thanks to lower spin generated.
Callaway Epic Flash Driver: Key Technology
Flash Face’s unique, internal mapping consists of dozens of subtle ripples flowing from the heel to toe on the new Epic Flash driver. Though the size, height and configuration of the ripples appears random, they in fact work together cohesively to elevate COR in the face’s centre region.
The sophisticated architecture of the Epic Flash driver face was created by Artificial Intelligence – the first known instance of using A.I.in the golf equipment industry – and “Machine Learning”, a field of computer science that uses statistical techniques to give computer systems the ability to “learn” with data without being explicitly programmed. A new driver face design typically takes 8 - 10 versions. Through Machine Learning Callaway’s computers went through 15,000 iterations, learning from each one, before arriving at Flash Face.
The distinctive topography on the inner side of the Epic Driver's Flash Face is forged from a special titanium and heat treated at 595° (1100F) for two hours to create a face that combines a low modulus measurement, for flexibility and speed, with excellent strength properties.
“The centre of the face is now the thinnest region of the face, not the thickest,” says Hocknell.
“It’s completely the reverse of some of the things you’ve seen from us. In a lot of our driver designs of the past we were limited by the rules about the ball speed from the middle, so we focused on ball speed when you don’t hit the centre.
"This face does that, but also delivers more ball speed from the centre of the face. So you’re best shots just got even better, which is something we haven’t been able to say for a while. You can illustrate the benefits of this driver very clearly because there’s a direct advantage in ball speed.”
2. Jailbreak technology for faster ball speeds
The Epic Flash driver – and the Epic Flash Sub Zero model – also incorporates Callaway’s Jailbreak technology that promotes fast, face-wide speed. The two internal, hourglass-shaped Jailbreak bars connect the crown to the sole, stabilising and stiffening those two parts at impact, allowing the face to take on greater impact load to generate faster ball speed.
Together, Flash Face and Jailbreak make the Epic Flash one of the most innovative and technologically advanced drivers in Callaway history.
3. New T2C Triaxial carbon crown for higher MOI
The Callaway Epic Flash driver also incorporates a new triaxial carbon fabric, called T2C, which has a tighter weave. It allows weight to be moved from the crown and repositioned strategically in the head to create a high MOI that promotes better distance and accuracy performance on mis-hits.
4. Adjustable perimeter weighting for control
Callaway's Epic Flash driver also benefits from Adjustable Perimeter Weighting, with a 16g sliding weight that can be positioned anywhere on the built-in track at the rear of the clubhead. The golfer can promote draws, fades or a straighter flight by positioning the weight in different places along the track.
5. Forged Titanium Insert
Callaway had to use a stronger grade of titanium to withstand the forces that are now involved in creating more ball speed, so have used a forged titanium insert in their latest Epic Flash driver.
"It’s a forged titanium insert we’re using," Hocknell says, "and there’s only one or two machines in the world that can create this particular pattern. And once we’ve created this pattern, it’s flipped around and 100% milled on the other side to control the thickness precision we need in all areas of the face."