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In this article, I’ll be taking a look at the Callaway MAVRIK Sub Zero fairway wood.
The Sub Zero is the better-player offering in Callaway’s MAVRIK line of fairway woods. It has the most compact head and adds two interchangeable weights that can be used to fine-tune spin and launch angle.
So, how well does the Sub Zero fairway wood actually perform out on the course? Should low handicaps choose it over the standard MAVRIK or even other fairway woods like the Epic Flash?
Read on to find out everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
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?
As with the other variants of the MAVRIK fairway wood, the Sub Zero has earned a gold medal on the 2020 Golf Digest Hot List.
The SZ is more popular than you might think given the fact that it’s intended for skilled golfers. It has been received exceptionally well by consumers and critics: a 5/5 (100% recommended) score on the CGPO website, and very high scores by testers.
More than anything else, people are amazed by the hotness of the face and almost driver-like ball speeds.
What People Like
- hot face with incredible distance
- better forgiveness than expected given the BP profile
- penetrating ball flight
- buttery-smooth and solid impact feel
- compact footprint is very appealing to many
What People Don’t Like
- off-center hits can produce some funky shots
- on the expensive side
What are the features?
Most of the features of the MAVRIK Sub Zero are, naturally, shared with the standard and MAX variants:
- Flash Face SS20 w/ C300 Steel: the A.I.-built Flash Face SS20 maximizes ball speed across the face. It’s tailored for each loft and is made with very strong forged C300 maraging steel.
- Face Cup: allows the face to flex and increase ball speed.
- Jailbreak Technology: vertical bars behind the face that connect the crown and sole, placing more impact load on the face and increasing ball speeds.
- T2C Triaxial Carbon: a very light carbon triaxial material in the crown that enables maximum weight savings. This weight is redistributed in the head to improve performance.
- Optimized Leading Edge Geometry: improves launch and performance.
The two key differences lie in the footprint and weighting.
First, the MAVRIK Sub Zero has a more compact head, altered face shape, and different leading edge architecture that is typically preferred by better players. As an example, the 3W is 169 CC versus 174 CC for the standard.
Secondly, two interchangeable weights (14g and 2g) are positioned in the sole at the front and back, just like with the Sub Zero driver. This allows you to alter the CG and fine-tune the launch angle and spin rate: place the 14g weight in the back for a higher launch and more stability, and place it in the front for lower spin and a lower launch.
The MAVRIK Sub Zero fairway wood is available from 3W (LL) through 5W, over a loft range of 13.5° to 18°. As expected, the average loft is lower, and there are less high-loft options than the other variants.
In order to save weight, Callaway did not include the OptiFit hosel.
The stock graphite shafts are the ALDILA ROGUE White 130 MSI 70/80 and Project X EvenFlow Riptide 60. The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet ALIGN Grey. There are hundreds of custom shaft and grip options to choose from, and you can also specify a custom length.
Full information on the fairway wood, shafts, grips and customization options can be found on the CGPO website.
Below are the specs of the MAVRIK Sub Zero fairway wood. Click to enlarge.
How does the fairway wood perform?
In my review of the standard MAVRIK fairway wood, I lauded its amazing ball speed and distance. This was in large part due to the hot Flash Face SS20.
The Sub Zero is able to generate just as much ball speed as the other MAVRIK models.
The distance depends on how you have the weights configured. However, what many people with fast enough swing speeds find is that the SZ often goes farther because of the lower spin.
With the 14g weight in the back, you have more stability and forgiveness, but a slightly higher launch and higher spin that leads to about 10 yards less distance on average.
Put the 14g weight in the front and make solid contact, and the ball will take off like a rocket. In this case, I get some of the longest carry and distance I’ve ever seen in any fairway wood — definitely longer than the Epic Flash.
And when it comes to ball speed preservation on off-center hits, the Sub Zero is nearly as good as the MAX (minimal loss), which some might find surprising.
The MAVRIK SZ may be designed for better players, but it’s still fairly easy to hit and launch off the deck.
As expected, the ball flight seems to be a little lower and more penetrating than with the standard model, particularly when the weight is in the front.
With the weight in the back, the trajectory is a little higher, so if you find that your drives are coming out too low, you should try putting the 14g weight in the back slot.
One of the things I was very pleased with during my testing was the ability to finesse and control the ball. Although I’ve seen other models do even better in this regard, the SZ is certainly workable, and you can hit any shot you need to with it.
Overall, you should definitely experiment with the weight placements to see which one gives you the best results.
As I mentioned above, ball speed forgiveness is actually really good — all but the worst mis-hits should only lose a few yards of distance.
The main weakness of the SZ lies in its directional forgiveness. If you don’t catch it solidly, it can do some strange things: it may take on a shape that you didn’t want or go pretty far off line. In this sense, the dispersion is quite large.
If you can’t consistently hit your woods in the center of the face or you don’t want to bother learning to hit it better, you should probably consider a model with a larger footprint.
What about look, sound & feel?
One of the first things you might notice about the MAVRIK Sub Zero fairway wood is that it sets up a bit more towards the heel at address. This is typical for better-player clubs where you would be more likely to hit a natural draw.
The SZ has the smallest footprint in the MAVRIK line. It has a compact shape, but there’s actually not that much of a size difference compared to the standard MAVRIK. I personally would have liked to see a bigger differentiation there.
The face of the SZ has rounded edges and sharper corners, comparatively speaking. As for the design and aesthetic, it’s typical MAVRIK with orange and white accents, and two prominent weight ports on the sole.
All in all, I think it looks absolutely perfect behind the ball. Some may feel more comfortable with a larger head, but for me, a tight and compact setup gives me confidence more than anything.
The Sound & Feel
Boy, do sweet-spot strikes with the MAVRIK Sub Zero ever feel amazing!
I can attest: it’s unbelievable how hot the face is. And (at least for me) it’s even more satisfying to hit a great shot on a smaller footprint.
There is a bit of a sharp sound that is characteristic of MAVRIK clubs, but when you catch one solidly and stick your finish, you just feel like the ball is going to fly forever (don’t overshoot the green, now!).
Mis-hits, in contrast, have a feel and sound that is noticeably worse. It’s not horrible, but you’ll know when it happens and you’ll immediately long for that next sweet spot strike.
Feedback is great though, particularly in the hands, so you should be able to dial in your contact very nicely.
Where should you buy this fairway wood online?
The MAVRIK Sub Zero fairway wood is now more than a few seasons old, and you can no longer order it custom-made directly from the official Callaway website.
The best you can do now is look for it on Callaway Golf Pre-Owned and eBay. CGPO has a bunch of these fairway woods on offer with a 90-day buy-back policy, 12-month warranty, and free headcover included.
If you want to save more money, you can find deep discounts on eBay.
Alternatively, look at what’s available on Global Golf.
The MAVRIK Sub Zero is a terrific better-player fairway wood offering.
Aside from mis-hits producing some bad directional misses and the fact that there are more compact, more workable options out there, the SZ doesn’t really have any weaknesses.
In fact, it produces some of the best distance and ball speed forgiveness that has ever been seen. Adding to this is a smooth and explosive feel that makes this fairway wood a joy to hit, at least when you can hit it solidly.
If you’re a better player, or even if you’re a higher handicap that just wants to play a sleeker fairway wood, definitely give the MAVRIK Sub Zero a try.
Have any thoughts or opinions about the MAVRIK Sub Zero fairway wood? Feel free to drop a comment below.