Launch Date: 27th Jan 2017
There has been a lot of hype, interest and anticipation surrounding the new Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic driver from both tour players and club golfers. Especially when Rory decided to put one in the bag after the withdrawal of Nike towards the end of last year.
Callaway have never been shy when it comes to innovative driver technology. They introduced large headed drivers into the market with the Biggest Big Bertha and who can forget the square headed FTiQ driver .... which needless to say has not stuck around for long. So is the GBB Epic all it claims to be?
The GBB Epic retails at £469, which is slightly higher than some of its competitors, but if you look back over the years this is similar to previous prices for Callaway's premium driver and is certainly worth the price tag if it can give you a few extra yards and accuracy off the tee.
The latest innovation to be implemented by Callaway is 'Jailbreak' technology, which is essentially two 3g titanium bars sitting just behind the club face. These bars connect the crown and sole of the head which stiffen the outer structure, allowing the clubface to flex more, resulting in higher ball speeds. For more information about 'Jailbreak' Technology see the video at the bottom of the page.
The upper exoskeleton of the GBB Epic is made from one single sheet of TriaXial carbon, which is much lighter, meaning excess weight which has been saved can be re-distributed to other areas of the head resulting in an increased MOI and greater control.
The opti-fit hosel which is a standard with any premium driver, works well if needed, however I tend to keep this set to neutral for most tests to provide a fair review. There is also the option of adjusting the 17g sole weight for more draw or fade, which is something I rarely do, but when I did change it you can really feel and see the difference in your ball flight.
The Epic comes with a 55g ProjectX HZRDUS shaft as standard, which is available in stiff, regular and X-Stiff to suit individual players needs. I tried out the 5.5 shaft, which felt brilliant and is a great shaft for players of all levels, producing a higher flight but also reducing spin rates. I would usually opt for a shaft a little stiffer and heavier such as a 60g 6.0, the 55g 5.5 will suit most players.
Setting up to the ball, the first thing you notice is the carbon fiber finish and polished crown, accompanied by the Boeing designed speed steps and green accents. These are a great feature of the Epic and one that certainly makes it stand out.
The head shape of the standard GBB Epic will appeal to all players, which is great to see as players needs vary so much. Often the head shape of the more forgiving drivers is much bigger and does not appeal to low handicap players, but both Epic can be used by all players depending on desired spin rates.
The Sub Zero model offers a deeper profile with reduced spin rates and lower launch angles. Which is perfect for those players with higher swing speeds who need to keep the ball down or struggle with lost distance through high spin rates.
Due to the carbon crown, the noise of the Epic is very different to that of the XR16, which is more of a 'ting' sound but not unpleasant and similar to that of the previous ERC fusion driver.
I found the Epic certainly gave me a few extra yards carry, as well as roll, which is a positive as struggle with high spin rates unless I have the correct set up. As the GBB Epic SubZero reduced my spin rates even further, that would be the choice for me.
Even through the emphasis of the GBB Epic has been focused around distance, I found it to be extremely forgiving, and my dispersion was also much lower with that of previous models.
The Epic stands out as an innovative and all round well designed driver, suitable for players of all levels wanting a few extra yards, but not wanting to sacrifice accuracy in the process.
It feels great, looks brilliant and performs well even with off centre shots. The standard GBB Epic is more suited to mid-low handicap players, with the SubZero or SZ model aimed for those players with slightly higher club head speeds, spin rates and more control.
The price tag is a little higher than some other brands out there, but if you are wanting a driver that is both long and accurate, the Callaway Epic is one to try.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT JAILBREAK TECHNOLOGY