50 Words or Less
The Callaway Epic Max driver has a very large footprint. Lots of forgiveness. Surprisingly strong feedback. Very adjustable with a sliding weight and adjustable hosel.
2021 got off to a fast start for Callaway driver reviews with Matt Meeker putting the Epic Speed [review HERE] straight into his bag. That kind of endorsement gets the team buzzing, so I was eager to see what else Callaway had in store. The Epic Max is billed as the most forgiving driver in the line up, something I can definitely use early in the season, so I got busy testing.
The first thing I noticed when I set down the Epic Max driver was its size. This driver has one of the bigger footprints I’ve seen, and it makes the Epic Speed look small in comparison. What makes it look so big is the distance from front to back. It’s also a little heel-heavy in terms of shape with a slightly shallower face.
With such a large canvas, Callaway opted to make the sole visually busy. The “Epic Max” branding cuts through the middle of the sole dividing two of the key tech features. Near the face, you can see the four dots that denote the Jailbreak Speed Frame. Near the trailing edge, you’ll find the sliding weight.
Sound & Feel
Though the Callaway Epic Max driver is relatively quiet at impact, its sound delivers amplified feedback. Centered shots produce a solid, low-pitched “crack.” Moving away from the center of the face creates weaker, more hollow sound.
The feel of impact mirrors the sound. Pure strikes feel solid and strong. When you miss the center, your hands will let you know exactly where impact occurred.
As with several other 2021 drivers, the Max in Epic Max signifies maximum forgiveness. This forgiveness is powered by Callaway’s AI-designed Flash Face, the new Jailbreak Speed Frame, and a deep center of gravity. In my testing, the Epic Max had outstanding ball speed on pure strikes and did an excellent job maintaining ball speed on mishits. It’s also above average at keeping those mishits on the golf course.
Unfortunately, I had extensive experience with mishits during my testing sessions with the Epic Max driver. The shape and size of the Epic Max never fit my eye, and, try as I might, I just couldn’t get comfortable with it. I had some stretches of good contact, but I never got the point where I was confident knowing what my swing was going to produce. This is a great example of why we always emphasize getting fit. On paper, the Epic Max should be dynamite for me. In reality, it didn’t suit my personal preferences and that hurt the performance.
One of the things that sets the Epic Max driver apart from the Epic Speed is the adjustability. While both have an adjustable hosel for dialing in loft and lie angle, the Epic Max adds a 16 gram sliding weight. Per Callaway, the Epic Max has “Draw CG + Adjustable” meaning that its default setting is draw biased. I found this to be accurate as I had a much easier time swinging it when the weight was moved away from the heel. With the weight in the heel, this driver definitely wants to go left.
While the Callaway Epic Max didn’t suit my personal taste, by all objective measures it’s a very solid choice for the player that wants forgiveness off the tee. Add in the ability to set the loft, face angle, and CG bias to your taste and you have a driver that that’s worth a look at demo day.
Visit Callaway Golf HERE
Callaway Epic Max Driver Price & Specs
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Hi Matt, great review. I agree if a golf club does not suite my eyes I am seconding guessing myself over the ball. And that is a terrible feeling to have. At 58 I decided not to chase distance off the tee but to find a driver that fits my eye and more forgiving. So I decided to test the new Callaway drivers. The Max was the one. I played the first round with the Max in the iM10 shaft and I was impressed on how well it preformed. Although after the round I felt there was more to this head ( did not feel totally balanced) so I decided to try a lighter shaft. I played the Max with the Cypher shaft in my last two rounds. Wow… My set up with the Max is a 9 degree head with the Cypher shaft at standard . It feels good to know my mishit are playable.
I tried a couple mavrik drivers last season. The unique sound and feel was addictive. The results were great at times my best ever, but it was like taming a wild horse many left or right despite fact I’m a straight down the line driver of the ball. I had to give up something was just off a bit. This review sounds similar.
Great reviews as always. Very succinct and with valuable advice.
Picking it up in the store I felt the same way about the looks… something just doesn’t suit my eye about it. The MAX LS looks a lot better to me, while still looking “forgiving” to my eye. Now I just need to go test it with aftermarket/upgrade shafts becasue I did not like the iM10 or MMT.
Hi Matt-do you know if the big Bertha b21 driver would be lower spin than this epic max – thanks
I didn’t test the B21 driver, but my guess is that the Epic Max is lower spin.
Thanks- it’s just I have decent swing speed – about 110 mph-but a big problem with a slice and they market the b21 as low spin – looking at this driver with the weight moved to heel!
I have the Speed and Max, each in 9 degrees. I love the look of the Speed and it goes straight. So then I took out the Max – the shape is not as pleasing but you recognize it is more forgiving. The adjustable screw works well. I had it all the way to the toe and found a fade, brought it in a bit and flight straightened. Max had a low-mid pitch sound whereas Speed is more muted with a “soft” feel. I am still experimenting with shafts but Max is also a winner as well as the Speed.
I also bought a Max for my son in 10.5 and Riptide 70 XStiff and he says he is pumped. He says that he had to bring the adjustable weight towards the toe and that changed the flight to straight instead of hooks. Probably a combo of the weight and he did not go all out – he was carrying it 285. Said it flighted high and stayed high but did not balloon. I advised him to bring it down to 9.5 to open it a bit and take care of any draw issues. After reading Matt’s review of the Riptide, I advised him to smooth out his transition before putting the pedal down. He is pretty excited about it.
After playing a G400Max for 3.5 years, the Epics seem easier through the hitting zone – it’s a feel thing.
my two cents on the Max is try the 9 degree head. That will also help to keep the ball a littler lower as well with spin. Paired with the right shaft the Max will be a bomb. You will be surprised how much more the Max head has to offer.
Hi, thanks for the review.
Will you be reviewing the Max LS driver?
Yes, that’s something we’re working on.
I have purchased the Epic Max LS and have been playing for since I was 18 now 51. I’ve never hit a longer straighter drive than now. I’m consistently hitting 300 to 330 and even longer. I feel so confident in my drive now. Picking up the Epic Max 5 wood today. Hit at the range and same thing straight and long. Way to go Callaway.
Just got fit for this driver and I am LOVING it so far. I am a newer golfer (about 11 months) and am a 16 Handicap. I put so much faith and trust in the Plugged in golf reviews that I am second guessing my purchase even though I love the driver. Was your main concern that it did not fit your eye?
My personal taste is a like a driver with a bigger club face it gives me lots of confidence at the box, and the drive looks great at address to me.
How much does personal taste go in to club selection?
Personal taste is enormously important, and extremely underrated by many (though not all) people who advocate fitting and a data-driven approach. As I wrote here – https://pluggedingolf.com/should-you-play-blades/ – the game is ultimately about enjoyment, and no one gets to tell you how to enjoy it.
I am grateful that you trust our reviews, but our reviews are merely a starting point for each golfer’s journey to finding the best equipment for them. I’m thrilled to hear that you’ve found a driver that you love.
Thank Matt! And thanks for all you guys do at plugged in!
Where is the best place to position the 16 gram weight for maximum forgiveness?
Is the neutral setting in the center of the track or towards the toe to get the “base” draw bias setting?
Centering the weight should produce the highest MOI, but putting the weight behind your normal strike point should generally create the best performance.
Thank you Matt
A UK YouTuber said it was at the toe because it in the center & couldn’t see how that was the most forgiving. It didn’t make sense.
Glad you’re around to clear things up.
Best to you know the new year.