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In this review, I’ll be taking a look at the Callaway Epic MAX Star fairway wood.
The Epic MAX Star is nearly the same as the original Epic MAX, but its ultra-lightweight configuration makes it easier for slower swingers to generate more club head speed and get an even higher launch.
The Epic MAX Star features Callaway’s latest A.I. Jailbreak Velocity Blades, Flash Face SS21, and lightweight Triaxial carbon material.
How does the Epic MAX Star fairway wood shape up when put to the test? How does it compare with the Epic MAX, and is it really the better choice for golfers with slower swing speeds?
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 fairway wood gets much less interest than other, more popular Callaway woods because it’s considered “niche”. Having said that, it currently enjoys an average rating of 4.6/5 (91% recommended) on Callaway Golf Pre-Owned.
What People Like
- makes hitting fairway woods truly easy
- plenty of high-loft options
- same level of speed and forgiveness as the Epic MAX
- luxurious-looking gold colour theme
What People Don’t Like
- crazy expensive
- sole weights have minimal impact on performance
What are the features?
- Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades: spreaded, angled blades designed with artificial intelligence stiffen the body and allow the forged Face Cup to flex more, resulting in higher ball speeds all across the face.
- Flash Face SS21: the latest iteration of Callaway’s Flash Face, designed through advanced artificial intelligence and forged using a high-strength C300 Maraging Steel. It produces faster ball speeds over a large area of the face and also improves spin consistency.
It also features a strong, lightweight triaxial carbon crown. Weight is redistributed to promote enhanced forgiveness and a higher launch.
The Epic MAX Star is significantly lighter than the Epic MAX. The weight savings come from:
- tunable sole weights that are lighter at 5g and 2g. Putting the heavier weight in the back port will lead to increased forgiveness and a higher launch, while putting it in the front will reduce spin and lower the launch.
- a super-lightweight stock graphite shaft in the 40g weight class
- a very light 25g stock grip
- a fixed bonded hosel
The Epic MAX Star fairway wood is offered in 3W, 5W, 7W and 9W at 15°, 18°, 21° and 23° lofts respectively. The 7W and 9W are RH only.
Also available is the women’s Epic MAX Star fairway wood in the same lofts. It’s basically the same as the men’s Epic MAX Star, but the stock shaft and club lengths are meant for women to maximize their performance.
The stock graphite shaft is the UST Mamiya ATTAS Speed Series T110G 40. The stock grip is the Winn Dri-Tac Lite. Custom shafts are available when ordering.
If you’re interested, full information on the fairway wood, shafts, grips and their specs can be found on the CGPO website.
Below are the specs of the Epic MAX Star fairway wood. Click or zoom to enlarge.
How does the fairway wood perform?
The relationship between the Epic MAX Star and Epic MAX fairway woods is similar to that of their driver counterparts. When it comes to distance, the biggest gains will be realized with slower swing speeds typical of seniors or lady golfers.
If you have a driver swing speed between 70-85 mph, you could potentially see distance gains of 10-30 yards or more compared to your previous gamer, depending on the loft in question.
On the other hand, golfers with club head speeds in the mid or high range will likely not be served well by the light ATTAS Speed Series shaft or by the lighter head weight. Nonetheless, the smash factor potential is essentially the same as the Epic MAX.
The Epic MAX Star’s forgiveness is very similar to that of the Epic MAX, but there is one difference worth mentioning. Because the adjustable sole weight is lighter (5g vs 14g), putting more weight in the back will not quite deliver as much stability/MOI, although it’s close.
Theoretically, removing weight from the head (not redistributing it) will reduce the forgiveness to an extent, but at the end of the day, it’s not a difference that will really matter for most golfers.
The forgiveness potential of the Epic MAX Star will be fully realized when the club head speed is low enough to not cause excessive flexion in the shaft during the swing. Thus, it remains important to have a suitable swing profile for the fairway wood.
From what I’ve seen, the Epic MAX Star fairway wood has been a game-changer for many seniors when it comes to getting the launch up and achieving a straighter ball flight.
Moreover, because there are tunable sole weights, you can dial in a ball flight that suits you best — put the 5g weight in the back for maximum launch and forgiveness, or put it forward to get the flight down a bit.
As I’ve said in reviews of other “Star” golf clubs, the biggest risk is hitting an excessively high trajectory that robs you of distance. If you’re set on playing the Epic MAX Star even though your swing speed is higher, you can try using a heavier shaft or a shaft with a stiffer flex.
What about look, sound & feel?
There is virtually no structural difference between the Epic MAX Star and the Epic MAX. Key similarities to note:
- elongated footprint
- shallow face
- a slightly closed face position at address
The main difference, aside from the addition of the “Star” label on the sole, are the golden accents. These match the golden colour of the stock shaft, which together give the Epic MAX Star a premium, luxurious aesthetic.
What I like about the gold theme is the fact that it has a more general appeal across men and women, as opposed to colours like green, red or blue.
The Sound & Feel
It’s easy to feel the light weight of the Epic MAX Star fairway wood when you hold the stock configuration in your hands.
Like the Epic MAX, the feel of the Epic MAX Star is marked by a sharp “metal wood” sound that in this case is fairly high-pitched. Feel across the face is consistent.
The sound & feel aren’t much different from the original Epic MAX. The only thing I would say is that impact with the ball feels just a touch “lighter” and more high-pitched, surely due to the lighter head weight.
Where should you buy this fairway wood online?
The Epic MAX Star fairway wood 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.
The Callaway Epic MAX Star fairway wood delivers the exceptional forgiving performance of the Epic MAX in a lightweight, premium package. We all know how difficult fairway woods can be to hit, and the Epic MAX Star makes it as easy as possible.
At the end of the day, the Epic MAX Star is best suited for senior golfers whose club head speeds have slowed down with age. Such golfers could potentially see big distance gains as well compared to their previous gamer.
The fairway wood 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 $429 price tag, which is over $120 more expensive than the original Epic MAX. Get one or two additional lofts, and it could end up being the most expensive part of your bag. If this can be overcome, the Epic MAX Star is a viable option for golfers who prefer lighter clubs.
Are you interested in the Epic MAX Star fairway wood? Have you tried it yet? What have your results been? Let us know in the comments below.
Callaway Epic MAX Star Fairway Wood
- Undoubtedly one of the easiest fairway woods to hit
- Does pretty much everything well
- Gold accents and stock shaft look very premium
- Distance, forgiveness, great feel, and sole adjustability are all there
- Could be a game-changer for seniors and other golfers
- Massive price tag for a fairway wood
- Lighter sole weights have a slight impact on performance