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This is a full review of the Callaway Epic MAX Star driver.
The Epic MAX Star basically has identical head technologies to the original Epic MAX, but it’s 52g lighter, making it easier for slower swing speeds to generate more club head speed.
Aside from that, the Epic MAX Star features Callaway’s latest A.I. Jailbreak Speed Frame, Flash Face SS21, and lightweight Triaxial carbon material.
How does the Epic MAX Star actually perform on the course? How does it compare with the Epic MAX, and who is it best suited for?
Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, stock shafts and stock grips are used when evaluating this club. In most cases, the golf clubs reviewed on Golfstead are acquired temporarily for testing purposes and are not purchased. The review that follows is based on the personal experience and research of the author. Because everyone’s swing and body are different, results with a particular club may differ from person to person.
What are the reviews like?
The Epic MAX Star driver doesn’t get as much interest as other, more popular Callaway drivers because it’s considered “niche”.
What People Like
- excellent forgiveness and great distance like the original Epic MAX
- sliding sole weight gives you more options
- light weight makes the driver easy to swing and helps many golfers increase distance
What People Don’t Like
- no adjustable hosel
- a little less room for custom specs when ordering
What are the features?
The Epic MAX Star driver has the same cutting-edge technologies as the Epic MAX, namely:
- Jailbreak A.I. Speed Frame: vertically connects the crown and sole to produce more ball speed, and through artificial intelligence, it also adds horizontal and torsional stability that improves ball speed towards the heel and toe.
- Flash Face SS21: produces faster ball speeds over a large area of the face and improves spin robustness.
- Triaxial Carbon Crown: saves 19 grams of weight as opposed to 16 grams in the Epic Speed.
The main difference that sets the Epic MAX Star apart is lighter weight. There are many elements that contribute to the 52g total weight savings, and they are:
- an additional Triaxial Carbon toe patch which also adds draw bias
- a lighter adjustable perimeter weight (7g savings)
- a lighter stock shaft (19g savings)
- a lighter stock grip (26g savings)
The total stock weight of the driver is 253 grams.
The Epic MAX Star driver is available in 10.5° and 12° standard lofts at 460 CC.
Also available is the Epic MAX Star driver for women in 10.5° and 12° lofts. The women’s version uses a stock shaft tailored to women to maximize their performance.
Unlike the Epic MAX, the Epic MAX Star doesn’t come with an Optifit hosel that allows you to adjust loft and lie. This removes a degree of adjustability but allows for additional weight savings.
The stock graphite shaft is the UST Mamiya ATTAS Speed Series T110G 30. The stock grip is the Winn Dri-Tac Lite. Custom graphite shafts are available when ordering.
If you’re interested, full information on the driver, shafts, grips and their specs can be found on the CGPO website.
Below are the specs of the Epic MAX Star driver for men and women. Click or zoom to enlarge.
How does the driver perform?
The original Epic MAX driver already tended to give slower swingers more distance due to the high launch characteristics. The Epic MAX Star moves even further in that direction.
In particular, if you have a swing speed between 70-85 mph, you could potentially see distance gains of 20 yards or more compared to your previous gamer. The Epic MAX Star simply allows these golfers to generate more club head speed, translating into more distance.
You can see the results from 74-year-old John Wunder Sr. in this video:
On the flip side, golfers with average or high club head speeds probably won’t have good results with the Epic MAX Star, as the light weight can introduce consistency issues in the path and possibly even deceleration in the downswing.
The Epic MAX Star driver retains practically all of the exceptional forgiveness found in the Epic MAX.
More specifically, it maintains a high-MOI design that minimizes twisting at impact, with very impressive performance vertically and horizontally across the face.
However, this forgiveness is only realized fully when your club head speed is low enough to not cause excessive flexion in the shaft during the swing.
In fact, high swing speed players will likely find the Epic MAX Star to produce wider dispersions than the Epic MAX and ultimately be less forgiving. This is why it’s so important to have the right swing profile before picking up the Epic MAX Star.
Your ball flight with the Epic MAX Star driver will depend heavily on your swing type and swing speed.
In general, the higher your swing speed, the higher the launch. Senior golfers with slower swing speeds are likely to find a “sweet spot” ball flight with the Epic MAX Star that maximizes their performance off the tee.
The inherent draw bias of the driver will help take the edge off slices and straighten out shots. On top of that, the adjustable perimeter weight helps golfers dial in a ball flight that suits them best — slide the weight towards the heel for additional draw bias, and slide it towards the toe to introduce some fade bias.
In my view, the biggest risk with the Epic MAX Star is hitting a trajectory that’s too high that robs you of distance. If you’re set on playing the Epic MAX Star even though your swing speed is on the higher side, you can try using a heavier shaft or a shaft with a stiffer flex.
It’s worth mentioning that the stock “ultra-premium” ATTAS Speed Series shaft is really impressive in terms of its quality and performance. If it fits your game, you won’t want to use anything else.
What about look, sound & feel?
There is virtually no structural difference between the Epic MAX Star and the Epic MAX. A few things to note:
- a traditional, pear-like shape
- an “X” pattern on the face indicating the horizontal stability added by the A.I. Speed Frame
- an oversized, confidence-inspiring footprint
The first difference is the absence of the screw head by the heel, since the Epic MAX Star doesn’t have an OptiFit hosel.
Second is a changing of the coloured accents from green to golden yellow, reflecting the “star” theme of the driver and matching the shaft colour. The “Star” label is also tastefully incorporated into the sole right next to the perimeter weight track.
Like the Epic MAX, this is a look that will give a lot of confidence to golfers who need some help with their drives, and the way it sets up at address also encourages players not to make an outside-in swing.
The Sound & Feel
There’s no doubt that the Epic MAX Star driver feels substantially lighter than the Epic MAX in the stock configuration.
The driver makes a nice “crack” at impact with a feel that is very balanced — not too hard nor too hollow. Mis-hits feel a little less firm than sweet-spot strikes.
The Epic MAX Star does come off with a little higher pitched sound compared to the Epic MAX. This isn’t surprising because there are weight savings directly in the head that originate from the lack of an adjustable hosel and lighter perimeter sliding weight.
I have found that most senior golfers who benefit from the Epic MAX Star tend to like the feel a lot more than their previous gamer. That says a lot.
Where should you buy this driver online?
The Epic MAX Star driver is a few seasons old, so you can no longer order it custom directly from the Callaway store.
The best you can do now is look for it on Callaway Golf Pre-Owned or eBay. CGPO offers a 90-day buy-back policy, 12-month warranty, and free headcover. If you’re interested in the women’s variant, go here.
You can also buy from PGA TOUR Superstore, which offers a performance guarantee, financing payment plans, lessons, club fittings, and more.
Note that the Epic MAX Star is quite a bit more expensive than the original Epic MAX.
The Callaway Epic MAX Star driver delivers the exceptional forgiving performance of the Epic MAX in a package that is 52g lighter. Great distance, excellent forgiveness, a modern look, comfortable feel, and an easy launch are all there.
At the end of the day, the Epic MAX Star is best suited for senior golfers who have significantly slowed down their club head speeds. The driver can also be very effective for some women or for beginners to the game who are in the process of developing their golfing muscles and learning how to swing.
The big stumbling block I see is the $700 price tag, which is over $150 more expensive than the original Epic MAX. If this can be overcome, the Epic MAX Star is a viable option for a surprisingly large number of golfers.
Are you interested in the Epic MAX Star driver? Have you tried it yet? What have your results been? Let us know in the comments below.