This is my full review of the Callaway Epic irons. The Epic iron was born out of Senior Vice President of R&D Alan Hocknell’s passion for the game after he was tasked with designing the best iron possible for himself.
Labelled “innovation without boundaries”, Callaway claims that the Epic irons use ultra-premium materials and advanced revolutionary technologies to create the most ball speed, forgiveness and performance ever featured in a Callaway iron. Does this hold up in reality? Read on to find out what you need to know before putting these in your bag.
In a hurry? Here’s the quick overview and verdict for you…
Rating: 8.8/10 (Great)
Pros and Cons: See review box at bottom of review
Best suited for: Beginners; high-handicappers; mid-to-low handicappers who want a top-quality forgiving iron
Best places to buy online (open all links in new tabs to compare prices quickly): For new Epic irons (sets, individual), see this page or the Callaway website. For new and used Epic irons (often at unbeatable prices), I highly recommend checking out this eBay page.
Want a high-resolution look at the Epic irons? Click on the composite image at the top of the page and navigate the photos.
What are the reviews like?
The reviews are fairly positive, although disappointment seems to be a common theme in both the consumer and critic space. The iron currently has an average review score of 4.2/5 on the official Callaway website, with 75% of reviewers recommending the irons.
What people like: Looks fantastic; nice solid feel; great distance and forgiveness; quality construction means you could keep these in your bag for many years
What people don’t like: Performance doesn’t justify the relatively expensive price point; distance gains over previous Callaway irons are minimal to non-existent; some feel the launch is too high
What are the features?
Face Cup Technology: The Epic irons advance Callaway’s “industry-leading” 360 Face Cup Technology into the next generation for longer-than-average distance. The rim of the Face Cup is 1 mm at its thinnest point, which adds even more ball speed on center hits and further minimizes loss of distance on off-center hits.
Exo-Cage: The Epic irons have a Exo-Cage head construction that stiffens the body to allow the face to take on more of the load of impact. This is known as “energy lensing” – it increases the coefficient of restitution (COR) right up to the limit, promoting faster ball speeds and hence more distance. Callaway says that they’ve never reached this level of speed before in an iron.
Metal Injection-Molded Tungsten-Infused Standing Wave: With its multi-material construction, the Epic irons have strict tolerances, seamless fit and secure bonding. Epic Irons are precision-milled and robotically welded. Every iron in the set is uniquely constructed for very high integrity and optimal performance. Callaway engineers incorporate tungsten in the Internal Standing Wave, allowing them to precisely position the center of gravity (CG) in each individual iron — the long irons have a lower CG for higher launch and carry, while the short irons have a higher CG for a lower, more controllable flight. Left-to-right CG control works together with the hollow hosel.
Lofts increase and lengths decrease as you move from the long to the short, in order to optimize distance through the set.
The stock shafts offered are the Project X LZ 95 in steel and the UST Mamiya Recoil ES 760/780 in graphite. A variety of premium steel shafts are available at no additional cost. Here are the specs of the irons:
|Name||Loft||Standard Length||Lie||Offset||Swing Weight (Steel)||Swing Weight (Graphite)||Availability|
How do these irons perform?
Distance: Some people report distance results as being no better than previous Callaway offerings like the XR OS, while others report substantial distance gains. It really depends on the person and several other variables, but when it comes to myself and my testing, I found the distance to be slightly longer than the XR OS and roughly the same as the Apex CF 16 for equivalent numbers in the set. There’s no doubt that part of this is due to the Epic’s stronger lofts, but I do think that part of it is due to Callaway’s refinement of the COR and Face Cup technology. Overall, I wasn’t blown away by the distances, but at the same time they were more or less what I expected.
Forgiveness: The Epic irons have terrific forgiveness; it’s one of their strongest attributes, really. Whether the hit was toward the heel, toe, top or bottom groove, loss of ball speed and distance was very minimal during my testing — less than 10 yards difference. The Epic iron also does a great job of mitigating hooks and slices. I’m not really surprised by this as all indications point to the Epic being a game-improvement iron, which it is. Still, if you’re looking for a truly forgiving iron, you can’t do much better than this.
Workability: Workability is surprisingly good. The Epic iron may be forgiving across the face, but skilled players should have no problems manufacturing draws and fades if they want to. Some game-improvement irons give you a really hard time when it comes to shaping shots — the Epic isn’t one of them.
What about look, sound and feel?
Look: It’s quite compact from heel to toe and looks great behind the ball. Its offset is not excessive — it’s actually identical to that of the Apex CF 16. Top line and sole thickness are medium. The satin-finished Epic is definitely one of the sharpest, best-looking game-improvement irons I’ve ever reviewed. The cool design on the back of the face is simple and effective. All in all, I think the Epic provides a perfect look for those who prefer game-improvement irons but don’t like a lot of the over-the-top aesthetic qualities that come with them.
Sound and Feel: On center hits, the Epic irons feel amazing: hot, crisp and snappy, like the ball is exploding off the face. They’re certainly one of the best-feeling GI irons I’ve ever hit. Mishits, however, are a different story; they are reflected both in the sound and the feel. I find that mishits sound quite hollow, and they feel progressively duller and heavier as you move away from the sweet spot. The upside to this is good feedback: you’ll be able to discern the location and severity of your mishits.
Where should I buy these irons online?
Right now, brand new sets of Epic irons are being sold on Global Golf and the official Callaway website among other places. Checking out eBay is a must when looking online, as they usually have deals for both new and used sets that you just can’t beat! The links on this review will take you right to the listings.
Summary and Conclusion
The Epic irons are arguably Callaway’s best offering on the game-improvement side to date, with great distance, incredible forgiveness, a nice launch and a gorgeous look. Unfortunately, their steep price point will be outside the budget of many golfers; many will consider them not enough of an improvement over previous Callaway offerings and just not worth the cost. With that said, golfers who are willing to meet the cost of a set of Epics will enjoy their top-of-the-line performance, as well as excellent durability that will withstand many years of use.
If you have any thoughts or opinions about Callaway’s Epic irons, be sure to leave a comment below!
Callaway Epic Iron
Sound and Feel9/10
Value for Money7/10
- Fantastic overall forgiveness: hardly any distance loss on mishits (normally less than 10 yards)
- Plenty of feedback for recognizing mishits
- Good workability considering forgiveness and GI classification
- Gorgeous iron
- Awesome sound and feel on solid strikes
- Very expensive and not worth the cost to many
- Little to no distance advantage over previous Callaway offerings
- Mishits don't have the greatest sound and feel