The Callaway Epic iron is not only the brainchild of their SVP of R&D Alan Hocknell, but quite possibly the love child too.
That is because he was given a blank page, a blank cheque and a blank calendar to come up with the best iron he could make for himself and being the passionate golfer he is, the Epic is what he gave birth to.
Being a low single figure player himself, the Epic had to appeal to this market and both the Epic and Epic Pro irons are compact, along the lines of the Apex CF and Apex Pro.
However to maximise performance it also had to incorporate all Callaway's other distance features that are found on larger headed irons by using the best materials available, so that involves up to 200 different processes per club in order to cram all this into a smaller head.
The Face Cup that Callaway has used on a lot of its irons to increase ball speed on off centre hits now has a thinner rim around the perimeter of the inner side of the Epic face that drops to 1mm thick in places.
The Internal Standing Wave that rises out of the floor of the iron is now a tungsten infused tsunami that breaks at different points to keep the CG low in the long irons and high in the short irons for the best launch conditions.
All this rests on an Exo-Cage chassis that was first used in the Big Bertha OS iron and helps to stiffen the body so that the Face Cup can flex away to its heart's content.
Called 'energy lensing' it enables the speed of the face to match the legal limit for lower lofted clubs of 0.83 COR in the 3 to 7 irons, which is impressive in such a small head.
There are two models in the Epic Irons range which incorporate all these design features so I will review them in turn.
Callaway Epic Irons Review
The standard model is what I would call a mid-compact iron and is closest in size to the Apex CF or Steelhead XR Pro in size.
Compared to the latter the Epic also has a longer hosel, more offset and a wider sole so it should offer a little extra club head speed.
The lofts are the same as the Pro version, but the 3-6 irons have progressively longer shafts, presumably to offer a little extra distance.
At address I think the Epic strikes the right blend between performance cavity back and compact better player club with all the usual curved lines that we have come to expect from Callaway irons.
Performance wise on GC2 with a 5-iron, the Epic was the longest for me when compared to the Epic Pro, Steelhead XR and Steelhead XR Pro.
The reason for this was not because it was just the longest overall, as the other models all had their best shots maxing out about the same, but that it was consistently putting up these numbers to make the overall average higher.
This could be due to the face being more forgiving or the Epic shaft suiting me better as the other stock shafts were slightly different. However the Epic was the lowest spinning of the four models and that is probably the key to the extra distance as the launch and everything else was the same
With the 46° P wedge, the consistency of the low spin gave a five yard advantage and with a higher flight and slightly steeper landing angle it should still stop on the green fine.
Compared to the two Steelhead XR models the Epic irons feel lighter too and that is thanks in part to the premium Project X LZ 95 steel shaft that is stable and delivers as good performance here as I have seen in other reviews.
With all the materials and design features in the head, the only thing that maybe counts against the Epic is the sound as it can be a little hollow, especially in the long irons and not what some might expect from something with a super-premium price.
Callaway Epic Pro Irons Review
The Epic Pro irons bring everything from above but in a more compact style to appeal to a better player's eye.
The head lengths are the same, but the Pro irons have less offset, a thinner top line and a narrower sole.
This will reduce the forgiveness and lower the launch as the CG is fractionally forward as we have already seen in the stats.
The stock shaft in the Epic Pro is the slightly heavier Project X LZ 105 steel shaft that gives the club a slightly different feel, but the same D2 swing weight.
The sound was a little better in the Pro version as the cavity is smaller and the feel was fine if you caught it in the middle. If you are familiar with the Apex Pro irons then you will have a good idea where the Epic Pro irons sit.
Overall you have to be impressed with the performance that both the Epic irons deliver in such a compact head design. Whilst the sound may not be perfect, the feel and forgiveness of the standard Epic irons is very good and single figure players will appreciate the benefits of this approach.
The consistency of above average performance was certainly the standout feature of the Epic irons for me and probably the key selling point.
The setup of the club with an excellent shaft makes it a smooth experience when compared to the Steelhead XR Pro range, which is probably the nearest Callaway alternative by head size and handicap range.
The Epic Pro is probably more for very low single figure handicappers as you have to hit the centre of the face more often to get the same benefits as the standard Epic.
That said, their better looks and slightly higher spin means that blending a few of the Epic Pro short irons in with the mid to long irons of the Epic would be a good approach.
Of course we have to come to the cost of these irons as they are more than twice the price of the Steelhead XR Pro or the Apex. The super-premium, money no object, all in technology sector has always been around, but has been given a higher profile recently by PXG entering the market and you could view this as Callaway's response.
Others are in there too of course and the Epic irons are an impressive piece of engineering that refines tried and trusted techniques to get the most out of a compact head size. Whether that and the feel good factor of owning a premium product is worth the extra investment will determine if the Epic irons will be your love child too .