What we say...
Golfers needing forgiveness have sometimes been forced to sacrifice speed and distance – the Callaway Epic Max and Epic Max LS seek to end that compromise.
Callaway have been using Jailbreak to boost ball speeds in their drivers since the original Epic launched back in 2016.
For 2021, the two Jailbreak bars have been developed and enhanced to create a new Speed Frame design that reduces crown deflection by a further 20%, resulting in more energy being transferred to the ball.
It’s in all three of Callaway’s new drivers for 2021, which are the Epic Speed, Epic Max and Epic Max LS.
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Whilst the Epic Speed is all about, you guessed it, speed, the Epic Max also has its eye on offering maximum forgiveness. The Epic Max LS, meanwhile, is designed to reduce spin for players whose spin rates can get too high.
All three Epic drivers can also be colour-customised for an additional £50 (£549). Each of five different zones (crown, sole and the Jailbreak Speed Frame Medallions) can be changed into 12 different colours, meaning the new range has 248,832 possible colour combinations. The colour-customised Epic drivers also come with an exclusive and premium ‘Customs’ headcover.
The new Epic drivers join Mavrik, Big Bertha B21 and Rogue in Callaway’s driver line-up for 2021.
Callaway Epic Max driver review
The Callaway Epic Max is likely to be the most mass-market driver of the three-model 2021 Epic family. It can produce the greatest draw bias, it offers the highest launch, and it’s the most forgiving of the three models. And, thanks to a 17g sliding backweight, you can adjust it to create up to 20 yards of shot bias in order to dial in your desired shot shape.
Sit the Epic Max next to the Epic Speed and the difference is head shape is very noticeable. We’re yet to encounter a golfer who doesn’t prefer the look of the Epic Speed to the Epic Max, but most golfers will (quite rightly) choose performance over a slight preference in aesthetics, and that’s why the Epic Max will be in more golf bags than the Epic Speed in 2021. We still think the Epic Max is an improvement in looks over 2020’s Callaway Mavrik Max.
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The Epic Speed is a great driver in its own right, particularly where pure distance is concerned, but the Epic Max almost matches it for distance while offering more forgiveness that the vast majority of golfers will benefit from. Opting for the Epic Max may mean you surrender a yard or two compared to the Epic Speed, but it will keep you on the straight and narrow more often, which will probably have a bigger impact on your scores.
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And the Epic Max is far from short. In fact, aside from the Epic Speed, it was our test pro’s longest driver (tied with the Honma TR20) in our 2021 drivers test. That means it offers a combination of distance and forgiveness that any manufacturer will find hard to beat.
It’s also highly customisable, with good adjustability using the back weight and lie angle, plus a wide selection of shafts that will enable fitters to deliver each golfer their maximum performance. The 1″ shorter than standard HZRDUS shaft will be of particular interest for those who struggle to make consistent contact with their driver.
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Driver Specs: Callaway Epic Max
Shafts and Grips: Callaway Epic Max driver
Tested: How the Callaway Epic Max driver compares in performance with other Callaway drivers
Callaway Epic Max LS driver review
The Epic Max LS is Callaway’s low spin driver for 2021, but it’s not reducing spin at all costs like some low spin models have done in the past.
Callaway have found that tour players are gravitating away from low spin models, largely because they can be unforgiving on mishits. The Epic Max LS is designed to target a spin rate of 2600-2700rpm. It has an MOI (moment of inertia) of 8400, which is higher than any previous Sub Zero driver, further adding extra forgiveness.
Callaway designed the Epic Max LS to give low to mid handicappers a lower spinning option that still offers decent forgiveness, and our testing suggests they’ve hit the nail on the head.
A 13g back weight enables shot shape to be tuned by up to 13 yards, not as much as the Epic Max, but that again reflects the target audience; most golfers who suit the Epic Max LS won’t be battling huge slices or hooks very often.
The Epic Max LS is a much more well-rounded proposition than previous low spin drivers which might have performed well on a launch monitor but would often be hard work to live with on a golf course.
Good players will likely prefer the head shape of the Epic Max LS to the wider-bodied Max.
But performance is what matters most, and the Epic Max LS delivers that in spades. It was the joint-longest driver of all low spin models in our 2021 drivers test, and was impressively forgiving, seeing just 5.3% dropoffs in carry distance on mishits.
If you need a low spin driver in 2021, the Epic Max LS should definitely be one you’re considering.
The Epic Max LS launches lower and has a lower peak height than the Epic Speed or Epic Max. Whether that suits you will depend on your typical shot pattern, what you like to see from your ball flight, and the type of course you tend to play.
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Driver Specs: Callaway Epic Max LS
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Shafts and Grips: Callaway Epic Max LS driver
Tested: How the Callaway Epic Max LS driver compares in performance with other Callaway drivers
Callaway Epic Max £499
Lofts: 9° / 10.5° / 12°
Stock shaft options: Project X Cypher / Project X HZRDUS Smoke IM10
Adjustable hosel: Yes (-1°+2°)
Callaway Epic Max LS
Lofts: 9° / 10.5°
Stock shaft: Mitsubishi MMT
Adjustable hosel: Yes (-1°+2°)