Callaway MAVRIK Sub Zero Driver Review

50 Words or Less

The Callaway MAVRIK Sub Zero driver is the low spin member of the MAVRIK driver family.  Great look at address.  Improved impact sound over Epic Flash.  Great ball speed.

Introduction

I promise that this review will be unlike any other MAVRIK review that you read: there will be zero Top Gun references.

Instead of jokes from the 1980s, I’m going to dive into what makes the MAVRIK SZ unique and whether it’s the Callaway driver you should be testing in your fitting this year.  Why?  Because I’m not that funny, but I do know things about golf clubs.

Looks

Long before it was officially announced, the “experts” on the golf forums were chiding MAVRIK for its orange accents.  Seeing it in person, I find the orange rather subdued.  While it’s not my first choice, when a driver looks this good at address, you can make the accents any color (except light blue) and I’ll play it.

The MAVRIK Sub Zero driver has a tall face and a round, symmetrical, compact head.  The head is slightly smaller – 450cc – than the legal limit, but it’s not intimidating.  Callaway’s crown design with the carbon fiber only visible away from the ball balances a sharp look with the need to minimize distractions at address.

Finally, it’s worth noting that if the orange really bothers you, there are twelve different color options available through Callaway Customs HERE (standard MAVRIK driver only, as of this writing).

Sound & Feel

The performance of the Epic Flash (review HERE) was undeniable, but some players weren’t fans of the sound.  Callaway took that feedback to heart and put their AI to work on improving the acoustics of the MAVRIK SZ.  Thanks to an internal titanium rib system, the MAVRIK SZ driver is much quieter than the Epic Flash, and the impact sound is much deeper in pitch.

The MAVRIK SZ driver also has two interchangeable weights – one is 2 grams, the other 14 grams.  This allows you to change the feel of the driver as well as its performance.  I found that when I flipped the weights the difference was noticeable but not uncomfortable.  I could play both positions, but I had a preference for the weight back.

Performance

Just as with Epic Flash, the story of the MAVRIK drivers centers around the face.  Callaway invested in better super computers so that their artificial intelligence could make an even better club face.  The result is Flash Face SS20, designed to create faster ball speeds across more of the face.  This design is paired with a FS2S Titanium, a new face material which is 6 grams lighter than traditional titanium.

Tech talking points aside, does the MAVRIK SZ actually deliver on the promise of being low spin with high forgiveness?  Well, in my testing sessions, I had one swing with a smash factor below 1.49, and that was a 1.48.  So, yeah, it rips.  I was hitting it side-by-side with TM’s SIM MAX, ostensibly a more forgiving driver, and my average ball speed was higher with the MAVRIK SZ.

When it comes to spin, the Sub Zero is lower spin than the standard MAVRIK, but not wildly so.  This fits a trend I see of OEMs shifting away from offering dramatically different drivers and toward finer variations.  If you’re testing the MAVRIK drivers, my message to you would be to try them all.  You may be surprised by which one works best for you.  I expected to be in the standard MAVRIK, but actually found the Sub Zero to be the best for me.

Finally, with regard to the movable weights, I found that their performance change was similar to their feel change.  Could I play with the 14 gram weight forward?  Sure.  However, all my numbers were a bit better with the weight back.  I didn’t need the lower spin that the weight forward gave me, but I did benefit from the added forgiveness and slightly higher launch.

Fitters’ Take

Fitters’ Take is a new feature that we will be adding to select reviews.  A panel of Master Fitters from Club Champion will share their thoughts based on their own experiences and what they’re seeing during fittings.

With regard to the Callaway MAVRIK Sub Zero driver, two of our fitters noted that it is very low spin with one adding that it is meant for better ball strikers.  He further noted that misses on the toe performed noticeably better than heel strikes.

Multiple fitters – and their clients – have commented on the improved sound compared to the Epic Flash.  The fitters were also impressed with the shape, one stating it’s the “best looking Callaway head” in some years.

Finally, one fitter gave very strong, in-depth praise of Callaway’s Flash Face SS20 Technology.  He stated that each model and each loft has a unique face designed to help different types of misses.  Because of this, he stated, “We can literally fit any golfer who walks through the door into a MAVRIK driver.”

Conclusion

The MAVRIK Sub Zero driver is a beast that will keep Callaway at the top of the driver wars for another year.  This club delivers on low spin while also being more forgiving and creating more ball speed than other OEMs “forgiving” options.  The MAVRIK SZ is another in a growing list of reasons why I can’t wait for golf season to start.

Callaway MAVRIK Sub Zero Driver Price & Specs

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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16 Comments

  1. Christopher Shively

    Matt,
    I like the new “Fitter Take” feature. Great add to your reviews and yet another reason PIG is head and shoulders above others in the equipment review world.

    Also, I see what you did there with the “light blue” comment…..(rolling my eyes)….Duke fans….

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Do you know if the Rogue and Riptide are “real deal” or “made for”? I’m hoping at the prices they are charging for these new drivers, they are giving golfers the real deals.

    • Matt Saternus

      Brandon,

      I have been told that the Rogue is the real, aftermarket version. I haven’t seen the RipTide shaft in person, but if it doesn’t say “Small Batch” on it, it’s not the aftermarket version.

      Best,

      Matt

  3. Interesting comparing the Mavrik review to the Epic Flash SZ review from last February. The numbers with the Epic Flash were better (marginally so). Sound aside, what’s the upside in upgrading? I’ll stick with my Epic Flash SZ, which was a marked step up from the Epic for me.

    • Matt Saternus

      Jeff,

      The face technology has been improved, so the ball speed across the face will be measurably, though perhaps not noticeably, higher.

      -Matt

  4. I tried all the models and settled for the sub zero. 10.5. Had Graphite design izr1 installed. Best hitting driver i have had. Hcp 8 and i am 73 yrs of age.

  5. Interesting review, despite the appearance a lot of things appear to be winners on these new drivers. I was confused about one thing though. My understanding of smash factor is that it is ballspeed/clubheadspeed. The higher this number is, the better, as it means that the ball speed is increasing compared to the club head speed.

    You said, “Well, in my testing sessions, I had one swing with a smash factor below 1.49, and that was a 1.48. So, yeah, it rips.” Does that mean the rest of your smash factors were above 1.49? Isn’t that very good? Also, is smash factor regulated to peak at 1.5? Please correct if wrong, and thanks!

    • Thanks for reading James. You are correct on the definition and higher is indeed better. Rips = good. Mathematically, smash factor can be higher than 1.5, but that is considered “best”.

      – Meeks

  6. Matt,
    Presuming the numbers you show are with the 14g weight in the back, what were your ball speed, launch and spin numbers with the 14g weight forward? Thanks!

    • Matt Saternus

      Chris,

      Average ball speed was down slightly, spin was a little lower, launch was about the same but less consistent.

      -Matt

  7. Matt,

    I got fitted at club champion in Milwaukee and got to try everything it came down to cobra speedzone and the Mavrik SZ but it was pretty clear the SZ was more consistent. I was fitted with the Ventus blue 5s but fairly heavy D7 SW. What surprised me is the ball speed consistency even on some misses . Great feeling club carry is up about 7 yds over my Rogue SZ but that was a std shaft to be fair.

    Can’t wait to hit this for real

  8. Matt,

    In terms of forgiveness, how would this compare to the G410 lst?

  9. Matt,
    The 45.5 inch Sub Zero is too long for me. I need to go down to 44.5 inch. However, that will affect overall swing weight. When I called Callaway they said they would have to have two 14 gm. shafts in the head instead of the 2 gm up front and 14 gm in the back. My question is will this have any different affect on the club. The fitter only had a 45.5 inch Sub Zero yesterday. Just don’t want to be disappointed that I spent a lot of money and it did not work out. However, it’s a go I’m ready to buy and get back to playing.

    • Matt Saternus

      Mark,

      Yes, putting in two 14 gram weights instead of one 2 gram weight and one 14 gram weight will change the CG of the club and will take away your ability to swap the weights to change the spin/launch. Where did you go to get fit? I would think most good fitters, such as Club Champion, would have extra weights so you could see how the head performs with two 14 gram weights.

      -Matt

  10. I have an interesting story about this driver…

    I’m a 36 y/o 8 HCP player with a swing speed around 112MPH. I spent A LOT of time practicing a few years ago, tuned my swing stats to hit a high draw where my AoA was +5* and +4* path. Spin has always been an issue for me. These days I have 4 kids and a lot less time to practice. I also have recurring issues in my back and hip which cause me to lose range of motion and really messes with my swing.
    Last year I completely ditched the draw and went back to my natural fade. I give up about 10 yards in distance but gained tremendous accuracy (FW% went from 56% to 78%). To achieve this I dropped my AoA to around -1* and path is now -3. This results in tight and controllable “baby fades”.
    As my back/hip issues act up, it limits my rotation and traps me in a -5 club path and my AoA drops to a very steep -6*, which was causing my spin number to get up around 4200 RPM (obviously a nightmare scenario). Swing speed also drops to around 107MPH.

    When I was fit in to my last driver, my ball striking was very consistent and I was fitted in to a PXG 0811 with a HZRDS XS shaft. Numbers were great under old swing conditions, but have been a disaster for me when I’m dealing with physical limitations. So I went to a fitter to see if we could find a solution that plays great when all is going well, but that could drastically improve my outcomes when I inevitably start dealing with swing problems. We tried 3 different heads and multiple shafts and my totals were barely reaching 250Y with spin rates between 3800-4200 RPM. Then we hit the sweet spot…… Mavrik Sub Zero with Accra FX 2.0 360 M5. Same swing problems, same limitations, but spin dropped to around 2600RPM and my shots were averaging 281Y and dispersion was very tight. That’s a 30 yard gain when things are going badly for me. I expect that the numbers would be comparable to my PXG when everything is going great, but this kind of forgiveness when my swing breaks down is CRAZY impressive! To be able to hit down and across that much and still put the ball out at 280y is mind-blowing to me and was exactly the result that I was hoping that I could find. Fitting while I wasn’t swinging my best may have been the best thing that I’ve ever done!

    I couldn’t be happier and can’t wait to get it in play! There are no short cuts. FITTING IS KEY!!!

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