Picking between these two drivers from Callaway is a little like choosing your favourite child …
TESTED BY: Jimmy Emanuel, Golf Australia Writer (GA Handicap 9.4)
MODELS PLAYED: Epic Flash with 9° loft, fitted with Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei Blue 65 S shaft and Epic Flash Sub Zero with 9° loft, fitted with Project X HZRDUS Smoke 60gram 6.0 shaft.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: More in your face than the previous Epic, the Epic Flash’s headcover and sole certainly make a statement. Once the drivers are at address however, both models possess classic Callaway driver shapes.
The Sub Zero is slightly more compact and has a marginally deeper face, while the standard model resembles the confidence-inspiring Rogue driver, with a wider and flatter head.
I expected to prefer the more traditional Sub Zero, but I continuously went back and forth over the slight visual differences, with the look of the standard model seemingly showing more of the composite crown making it feel easier to sit behind the ball.
Off the clubface there was a noticeably different feel to the previous Epic. The Flash models are louder at impact but remain solid like its predecessor, while the distance gains over my own driver were instantly obvious and only increased as I got the drivers more dialled in.
HOW IT PERFORMED: Initially the ball flight with both models was a little low to my eye, but with some tweaks to the loft sleeve I was able to achieve a driver ball flight that launched higher than my own but with low spin that seemed to just keep going.
The Sub Zero launched noticeably lower than the Epic Flash, which was super consistent even on mis-hits and always carried a nice tight draw. The low spin model produced a straighter ball flight that erred on the side of a fade if anything, while the feel off the face was duller than the standard.
As my time with both drivers went on, I would have happily taken either one due to the slightly varied performance offered by each. Both exceeded my own driver for distance, allowing me to keep up with a regular playing partner who is generally about a club longer than me. The Sub Zero once optimised a couple of metres longer than its standard counterpart.
The standard model will appeal to most players for its ease of use, and this greatly appealed to me as an extremely trusty option from the tee. The ball flight was predictable and mis-hits across the face weren’t harshly punished. My big misses did seem to go slightly further off line due to the slight increase in spin but this was not drastic by any means.
Designed for harder hitting golfers looking to lower spin, the Sub Zero really impressed me when my swing was on. The powerful trajectory was awesome to watch, particularly on some baked fairways and when I set the sliding weight to the maximum fade setting I never saw one drive go hard left, my dreaded miss.
Indeed the adjustability of both drivers performed well. Moving the weight didn’t cause huge fades or draws but it took one side of the course out of play and I even thought (may have been the summer sun getting to me) that shifting the weight from one extreme to the other was able to be felt when waggling the club.
Picking between the two ended up being a little like choosing your favourite child. Every slight advantage was matched by a contrasting one possessed by the other model, even down to the Flash Face illustration on the faces, which is less obvious on the Sub Zero for a cleaner look and clearer on the standard to help aid alignment.
In the end, I would probably just give the edge to the Sub Zero for me due to its ability to avoid the left side of the golf course, but as a player who straddles the line of the two models, I would happily use either driver permanently.
FACTS AND FIGURES
SUITABILITY: Offered in 9˚, 10.5˚ and 12˚ models with a four degree loft sleeve as well as low spin 9˚ and 10.5˚ Sub Zero heads, the Epic Flash suits any standard of player.
LEFT-HANDED: Every loft is offered in left handed.
SHAFTS: Various weights of Project X Even Flow and HZRDUS shafts as well as a number of Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei options come as standard.
CALLAWAY SAYS: “The Epic Flash drivers employ a new technology called ‘Flash Face’. Flash Face’s unique, internal mapping consists of dozens of subtle ripples flowing from heel to toe that work together cohesively to elevate COR in the face’s centre region. This results in a significant ball speed boost for a noticeable distance increase when you make solid contact.
“Flash Face’s sophisticated architecture was created by Artificial Intelligence 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.
“The Epic Flash drivers also incorporate ‘Jailbreak’ technology, which connects the crown to the sole to promote fast, face-wide speed.”
For more information visit the website, www.callawaygolf.com.au