by Dominic Choma, Club Fitter
On the heels of the massive success of the Callaway GBB Epic line of drivers in 2017, Callaway announced the release of the Epic and Epic Pro irons on June 16th. These irons will retail at $2000 for a set of 8, or $250 per club. Both of these irons incorporate some of the technologies found in previous Callaway irons, along with new technology to help take performance to the next level.
There are two models in the Epic line of irons: The Epic and the Epic Pro. The Epic is a game improvement iron that is designed for the golfer who would like to hit the ball farther and straighter, along with getting some help on their mis hits. The Epic Pro iron is designed for the better player who would also like to gain distance, without giving up the smaller head shape and less offset that a “players” iron is known for. This iron will give the skilled player the ability to alter their trajectory either high and low, or left and right. Both of these irons incorporate 360 cup face technology, which has been in previous Callaway irons. The 360 cup face creates more ball speed across a wider area of the clubface, which helps to boost distance. In the Epic irons, this cup face has been improved to where the face is only 1mm thick at its thinnest point. Also in the Epic irons is the Exo-Cage, which helps to stiffen the body of the clubface which should also increase ball speeds. This technology is featured in the Big Bertha OS irons as well.
The new technology in the Epic irons is the incorporation of tungsten into the internal standing wave of each iron head. What this allows the engineers to do is to position the CG of each individual iron where it will be most effective. In the longer irons the CG is lower for a higher launch angle and more carry distance, while the short irons have a higher CG that promotes a more penetrating and lower ball flight with more control.
We recently received our demo’s for this iron, and as always we like to get them out to the Cluboratory immediately to see how the club performs and to see who it could help. I used the Dynamic Gold X100 shaft at +½ longer than standard for this test, which is my gamer shaft and length. I used the 2 up lie angle club head for this test, and all data is normalized for 75 degrees at 1000 feet altitude which is a typical summer day here in Michigan. Results are as follows:
|Model||Club Speed||Ball Speed||Launch Angle||Spin Rate||Peak Height||Landing Angle||Carry Distance|
Starting off with the Epic, the first thing that stands out to me is the ball speeds being produced. At an average of 133.3 with an average clubhead speed of 92.9, this equates to a smash factor of 1.43. Smash factor is an efficiency rating that essentially tells us how well the club is doing in turning the clubhead speed the player generates into ball speed. I consider anything above 1.4 to be very high for a 7 iron, so at 1.43 the Epic iron does extremely well. Another number that stands out to me is the peak height at 105 feet. I tend to hit the ball pretty low, so anytime I can get a 7 iron to consistently get about 100 feet I am very happy. This iron was consistently doing that in my test, which means it should help the average golfer hit the ball higher too. More height is a good thing in most cases. One last comment that shows up more on the dispersion chart is the left bias this club had for me. The shots I was hitting definitely wanted to start slightly left and draw, which is a good thing for the general golf population as the vast majority of golfers tend to miss to the right. The average carry distance with the iron was 189.9 yards which is about as far as I can hit a 7 iron, which shows that this iron is no slouch when it comes to distance. Overall this iron produced fast ball speeds, higher peak height, slightly left bias, and good distance for me. The golfer who wants more forgiveness, while hitting the ball higher and farther will enjoy using this iron.
The Epic Pro iron is designed for a completely different golfer than the Epic, so the numbers look a little different. In terms of where this club slots into the Callaway line of irons, based on looks I would say it is between the Apex Pro (Tour/Players level) and the Apex CF 16 (Game Improvement/Players level). It is slightly bigger and offers more forgiveness than the Apex Pro, but appeared smaller with a slightly thinner topline than the Apex CF 16. In terms in the numbers, the Epic Pro produced an average ball speed of 130.1 mph with an average clubhead speed of 92.3. This equates to a smash factor of 1.41, which again is very good especially when you consider that this iron is designed for the better player. This club produced a slightly lower launch with a slightly higher spin rate, which ended up with a lower overall peak height of 96 feet. This peak height is right around what I typically see from a players iron that fits me well. One thing I felt which does not necessary show up in the numbers is the look and workability of this iron. This iron has very little offset and a thin topline, which is pleasing to eye and also helps the skilled golfer to the different types of shots that they might encounter on the golf course. I definitely felt like I could attempt to pull off whatever shot I wanted to hit with this iron (as long as I did what I was supposed to do, big if there). Overall this iron produced good ball speeds for a players iron, while also providing the look and workability that a better player likes to have in a iron. Skilled golfers who would like more distance without giving up what they are used to in a players iron will gravitate towards this iron.
Callaway Golf’s Epic and Epic Pro irons feature technology that we have and have not seen from previous Callaway Irons. Combining all of this technology into two different models will allow many different golfers to benefit from it. The golfer who wants to hit the ball higher, farther, and straighter will benefit from the Epic iron, while the player who wants more control over their ball flight while also gaining distance will like the Epic Pro iron. Both irons are available to be fit in the Cluboratory right now.