Golfers are usually split on the major driver releases. Some yawn at another $500 model that promises more "game-changing technology." Others are drooling and can't wait to see the first photos of what is going to be the hottest club of the year.
I'm somewhere in between. While I want to keep track of the latest clubs, I'm keenly aware that you don't need to purchase a new driver every year to keep your game fresh. That being said, I want to test out some of the more significant releases because I know readers of the site are interested in results.
Recently, I tested the Callaway Epic Flash. I was very impressed by the results (even blown away). But should every golfer go out and buy this club? Well, that's a bit more complicated.
What Callaway Is Saying
Callaway's primary goal has been to increase ball speed to deliver what most golfers want - more distance. That was the basis of the Jailbreak technology when it debuted on the original Callaway Epic.
The latest enhancement to Callaway Epic Flash is to deliver even more ball speed across the entire face of the club, on both center and off-center strikes. The engineers at Callaway used Artifical Intelligence to help design the face this time. You can pause to roll your eyes or drool a bit more - it's up to you.
Long story short, Callaway claims that they will deliver more distance for golfers yet again while working within the limitations of the USGA. I'm not very concerned with what their marketing team says about the design of the club. As always they've put a lot of effort into improving the performance and will tout it in their messaging. However, it's up to individual golfers to test to see if there are any meaningful gains for their swing.
The driver will set you back anywhere between $529 - $600, which is a significant investment.
My Testing Was Impressive
I don't do a lot of club reviews on Practical Golf because one golfer's results cannot predict what others will experience with a given club. I know many of you want to see results, so I'm more than happy to experiment to see if there are any noticeable changes.
I compared my Titleist 917 D3 driver against the Callaway Epic Flash. My Titleist driver is custom fit and is optimal for my swing since I am a low spin player. The 917 D3 didn't work for a lot of golfers because it is considered too "spinny," something they addressed in their TS line recently.
I've had my Titleist driver for two years now, and it performs great for me. But I am maxed out on distance, which is why I was impressed with the following results:
I saw a significant gain in distance which was a combination of launching the ball a bit faster and higher. I registered some of the longest drives I've ever seen on my launch monitor with ball speed approaching 155 mph (I usually don't crack 150 mph) and some drives going more than 290 yards.
You could say I was a little impressed with the Callaway Epic Flash. It's entirely possible I could have dialed in the driver a little better with a better shaft/head combo, but I was limited to the demo club I borrowed. As an aside, I loved the look of the club and it felt great at impact. Those are subjective thoughts and can vary from one player to the next. I believe performance is king when deciding whether or not to buy a new driver.
Should You Immediately Go Out and Buy The Callaway Epic Flash?
Long story short, no. Here's why...
Callaway has likely pushed the envelope even further with this driver release. So will TaylorMade, Ping, and several other OEMs. They all have top-notch engineers working on their staffs and build excellent golf clubs. I've learned plenty about club fitting since I started this site and one thing I know for sure is that there is not one perfect club for all golfers.
Every driver has its unique characteristics. One of the essential features, the center of gravity, can vary from one model to the next. Without going into too much detail, it means that golfers can have different results based on their swing tendencies. One golfer might perform best with the Callaway Epic Flash while another might be better suited with the TaylorMade M5. On top of that, if you were already custom fit with a driver in the last several years, you likely don't need to upgrade.
I am very impressed with the Callaway Epic Flash. For me, it outperformed the original Epic and Rogue models, which can mean that their team has outdone themselves yet again. However, my plea to all golfers is to try before you buy. If you can work with a knowledgeable club fitter, do it. If you can't, at least try out several models with a launch monitor to compare your results against your current driver to see if there are any meaningful gains. If you want to throw $500+ at Callaway sight unseen, that's fine too.
You can learn more about the Callaway Epic Flash on their website here. It is available for purchase on February 1st.