Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero Driver Review

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The Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero driver is my favorite driver of 2019 so far.  Substantially lower spin than the Epic Flash.  Excellent forgiveness.  Great looks.

Introduction

For the last couple seasons, a Sub Zero version has become a staple of Callaway’s driver line up.  Players who struggle with high spin have flocked to these models as they’ve proven to produce stronger ball flights and longer drives.  What’s new about the Epic Flash Sub Zero is that dropping spin no longer requires losing forgiveness.

Looks

When I set down the Epic Flash Sub Zero, it was love at first sight.  It’s compact without being intimidating, and the size and shape are perfect to my eye.  That’s complimented by one of the best crown design’s going: Callaway’s black-to-carbon-fiber fade.

Side by side, you can see that the Sub Zero is much shorter from front to back than the standard Epic Flash.  Outside of this size difference, the drivers are identical.  Both carry the green and gold color scheme from the head cover through the grip in a way that gives it visual pop without being gaudy.

Sound & Feel

Just like the standard version, the Epic Flash Sub Zero driver has a conventional impact sound.  It’s not quiet or loud, not shrill or bassy.  The ball meets the face with a “crack” that sounds fast without hurting your ears.  The Sub Zero is slightly higher pitched than the standard Epic Flash, but the difference is minute.

With a more forward center of gravity, the Epic Flash Sub Zero provides a more solid impact feel to my hands.  Feedback through the hands is good, letting you know immediately how well you struck the shot.

Performance

In the past two generations, the distinction between the standard Epic or Rogue driver and the Sub Zero version was pretty stark.  The Sub Zero provided lower spin at the cost of forgiveness; higher handicap players need not apply.  As much as I loved the look of the Epic Flash Sub Zero, I was afraid that same distinction would be present.  It turns out my fears were misplaced.

As I discussed in my review of the Epic Flash, that driver is at the very cutting edge of forgiveness.  To my delight, the Epic Flash Sub Zero is right there with it.  My average ball speed was just as high with the Sub Zero as with the standard Epic Flash.  Similarly, the launch and spin were very consistent leading to repeatable distance shot after shot.

One thing that merits mention is that the standard Epic Flash and Sub Zero versions feel different in the swing because of the different centers of gravity.  For me, neither was uncomfortable but the Sub Zero was clearly preferable.  If you try one version and don’t have success, make sure to try the other.

The calling card of the Sub Zero line is lower spin, and the EFSZ delivered there, too.  On average, my spin rates were 300 RPM lower with the Sub Zero than the standard Epic Flash.  As always, it’s important to note that your results may vary, and you should work with a fitter to find your ideal set up.

Adjustable Perimeter Weighting is paired with a new, lighter OptiFit hosel to give players the ability to dial in their ball flight.  The 16 gram sliding weight made a noticeable difference for me, taking the sting out of my worst hooks and putting a gentle fade on my better swings.

Conclusion

The Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero driver is poised to wreck my happy home.  I’ve had a very solid relationship with my driver for over a year, but with its exceptional looks and surprising forgiveness, the EFSZ is making my eyes wander.  Don’t be surprised if, when the snow melts, you see this driver in my bag.

Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero Driver Price & Specs

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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19 Comments

  1. I don’t know, Matt. Looks to me like a case of a great launch monitor driver that will be tough to put in play on the course. 1600 spin is not reliable long term for all but the very best ball strikers. You hit one high in the face and it’s going to be so low spin that it’ll fall out of the air like a shotgunned duck.

  2. Do not like that white line down the middle of the crown. Looks clunky and not premium.

  3. Thanks for the review Matt. Question: as I am also a low spin player with positive AOA, what’s your opinion on an “ideal” driver spin rate. Is 1600-1700 too low or can you play with that?

    • Matt Saternus

      Odie,

      1600 is definitely on the low end of playable, but I’ve played with spin in that range for a pretty long time. My miss tends to be low and/or heel, so I don’t have any concerns about hitting knuckleballs.

      Best,

      Matt

  4. Matt – the TS2 review had a swing speed 9 MPH faster but only a few more yards. Can you explain what’s going on? If you swung this driver 114 would you see 280s carry and 300+ total?

    • Matt Saternus

      Ben,

      For a variety of reasons, my swing speed was peaking in the fall. Over the winter, it’s fallen off.

      Best,

      Matt

  5. Matt, is the HZRDUS smoke shaft coming out in many of the different clubs an “oem/made for” shaft, or are they high end quality shafts? I ask because it seems to work great when testing – so I’d want the same results/quality shaft when I buy.
    Mahalo!

    • Matt Saternus

      Joe,

      There’s almost always a difference between the stock OEM shafts and the aftermarket shafts. Project X has switched from the “Hand Made” label to one that says “Small Batch” for their aftermarket product.

      Best,

      Matt

  6. I did a fitting today and tried TS3, F9, G410, PXG Gen 2 0811X, Epic Flash, and Epic Flash SZ. The EFSZ was the RESOUNDING winner, not just because of ball speed and distance, but because of ACCURACY/DISPERSION! I was totally shocked at how straight I hit this driver! I got rid of my Epic SZ because I missed all over the place, so I expected the same here… Great driver, and I was NOT expecting it!!!

  7. Gerry Lapalme

    Hi Matt,
    Still waiting to find out what launch monitor you are using for testing…
    thanks.

  8. Hi Matt. I have a swing speed of 85 mph and a 20 handicap. Would you recommend the Epic Flash or the EFSZ. Also, with my numbers, what flex would you recommend?
    Thanks!

    • Matt Saternus

      Rich,

      There’s no way for me to make a credible recommendation without seeing you swing. I would suggest working with a fitter to find the right model, loft, and shaft.

      Best,

      Matt

  9. Im going to disagree with ONLY ONE part of this review. Per the general golf forum and YouTube review consensus, the sound of the Epic Flash SZ is horrendous. Many pages at a competitor forum discussing the sound, returns at my local retailer, as well as the annual driver shootout at another popular competitor website, all describe the sound as loud and unfortunate, from a company who typically does sound really well. And I’ve hit it outside and had to move down to a part of the range where nobody was near me, in order to hit it. It’s offensive.

    • Totally concur. It’s actually awful. The non-subZ is marginally better, but still not great. Head scratcher how this made it past testing.

  10. mike ferrino

    put lead tape over back sliding weight (least 3 or 4 strips). sound completely changes for the better

  11. Pingback: 2019 WGC Dell-Technologies Match Play Recap - Plugged In Golf

  12. Matt,

    How does this compare to the Rogue Subzero? Does one launch appreciably higher than the other? Same question for forgiveness and ball speed.

    Brad

    • Matt Saternus

      Brad,

      With the caveat that this is based on memory, not head to head testing: I think the Rogue launches a bit higher and has slightly more forgiveness. I don’t think either gap is very large.

      Best,

      Matt

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