We've interviewed Callaway's Head of R&D, Dr. Alan Hocknell, on numerous occasions, picking his brains on the cutting edge of golf club design.
In January he explained the Jailbreak technology found in the much talked about Callaway Epic driver and fairway woods so it is no surprise he's a big part of the story behind the new Callaway Epic and Epic Pro Irons.
Callaway tell us the new irons were nicknamed 'Project Alan's' iron, describing an R&D project involving 70 design and engineering specialists, dedicated to creating the iron Alan would design for himself.
Chip Brewer, CEO, Callaway Golf explains:
A few years ago I challenged Dr Alan Hocknell, our Head of R&D, to design the very best Iron that he would play, seeking maximum performance without any limits to the cost or engineering process. Epic is that iron.
The Epic and Epic Pro irons share the same DNA as the Great Big Bertha Epic drivers, bringing together a number of breakthrough engineering processes to optimise ball speed, distance, forgiveness, accuracy, control and feel.
A host of precision milled and robotically laser-welded components have been brought together to give pin-point control over CG location COR, MOI and vibration control. The degree of specialisation required means it takes 65 days and more than 200 processes, steps and inspections to create each head.
In order to push more of the irons in the set to the COR limit for more distance Callaway worked on improving the clubhead's Exo-Cage construction first found in the Big Bertha OS.
For the Epic irons Callaway incorporated a high-grade steel structure into the centre of the cavity to add
strength and stiffen the body, especially the topline and sole, allowing the face to take on more impact load. This is called "energy lensing" and in the Epic irons it raises the efficiency level of the face to promote faster ball speed and distance. The result? The Epic 3-iron to the 7-iron have been pushed right up to the .830 COR limit meaning consistently faster and longer irons across the whole set.
The team have also made fundamental changes to its long standing Internal Standing Wave (ISW) technology that has been a main stay in several generations of Callaway irons.
The ISW helps to optimally pinpoint CG location to promote the optimum launch and spin required from each head as well as control vibration for enhanced feel. In the Epic the ISW consists of a specially shaped piece of Metal-Injected Moulding tungsten, using finely powdered metal to create intricately shaped parts with tremendous precision. Parts spend up to 41 hours of furnace-time at temperatures up to 2500 degrees Fahrenheit to fuse the powder into a solid piece.
All of this allows Callaway to precisely position CG location differently in each individual iron. In the long irons it is extremely low to promote easier launch and a high long flight. The CG moves progressively higher in the clubface as loft increases, for easy launch and control in the mid irons and a lower flight in the short irons for added control.
The final part of the Epic jigsaw is the updated 360 Face Cup that has reduced rim thickness to 1mm at its thinnest point, allowing the rim to flex more readily and consistently for greater speed across the face. This increased ball speed is most apparent on impacts toward the toe, toward the heel, high up and low down on the face, maintaining distance on all common mishits.
As we've come to expect from Callaway the Epic irons are also available as the Epic Pro Irons that utilise the same material and technological advancements, but in a more compact head with a thinner topline and sole and less offset.
Designed to suit the eye and demands of the better player the Epic Pro irons are slightly less forgiving but significantly more workable, representing the best-ever overall performance package of distance, workability and forgiveness in a Callaway players iron.