Has there ever been a better descriptive name for a range of golf clubs than EPIC? We first saw the name introduced in 2017 with the Big Bertha Epic Driver, and the brand has been continued here. Well played Callaway.
So when Golfalot told me about the new Callaway Epic Forged irons, I thought "sign me up".
It appears Callaway has told its designers to go all out in producing a precision forged iron, jammed with all the performance-aiding technology a golfer could ever wish for, without worrying about the cost - very Callaway-like.
Basically the shackles are off, and the R&D boffins have gone for it here.
What's It All About?
Where do I start? There is so much technology in this club it’s incredible.
Firstly, they are forged from 1025 carbon steel just like the the Callaway Apex CF 19 used by Tom Watson and Michelle Wie. For the first time ever, Callaway has introduced a Suspended Tungsten Core into the iron which allows the centre of gravity to be precisely positioned. This increases a player's ability to hit the ball higher with a controlled launch.
The next new addition is the 360 Face Cup technology design with Variable Face Thickness (VFT) pattern, which aims to keep the spin rate and ball speeds consistent. This tech combats the cranked-up lofts so golfers still have control over their longer irons.
Excuse the lingo, basically the forged metal helps feel, the tungsten weight gets the ball in the air and the VFT promotes drop and stop.
Last but not least, Callaway has gone premium in the shaft and grip. The Epic Forged Irons feature a Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align grip which is an updated version of the grip I used my entire tour life, and I can assure you, it's good. This is coupled with a luxury Aerotech Steelfiber FC shaft that comes as standard. The steel and graphite mix aids precision and power.
The Epic Forged Irons offer golfers a sublimely satisfying feel at impact with incredible distance capability. They will be a market-leader in terms of ball speed. We have created an unbelievable performance combination here, and a remarkable achievement in golf club design and engineering.
Dr Alan Hocknell, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Callaway Golf.
I took the irons out for a spin at Houldsworth GC, recreating tee, rough and fairway shots. I was keen to see how the irons flew and stopped on the greens. I then ventured back inside to The Range Manchester to hit 10 shots with the 7 iron to view why these clubs go so far.
Given the outrageous distance claims and rumours surrounding these irons, I wanted to see just how far I could smash the 7 iron - channelling my inner Charley Hull and Lexi Thompson. These players are at the top of distance on the LPGA and my ego needed some boosting.
Callaway Epic Forged Irons Review
After reading just how much technology was in these heads I was expecting to look down at a shovel. However the top line is medium in thickness with only a slight bulge at the back of the head in the longer irons. They are chunky but not scarily big so I think they will still suit the eyes of some better players looking for a confidence boost.
The face has a premium and classic looking shiny heel and toe with a matte finish highlighting the hitting area. This helps focus your eyes on the important part of the face - the grooves.
These irons do sound a little “clicky” and not quite what you would expect from a normal forged head. They felt effortless with the longer irons, however the size of the head and technology made for a hot strike off the club face for shorter shots, especially when it came to pitching and chipping.
That is one thing to be careful of here with the Epic Forged Irons, because of the size of the head and how hot they are off the face, players who love to use their 7 and 8 irons for little bump and runs around the greens may struggle a little.
Dispersion and consistency was very good inside at the Range. Out of the 10 shots I didn’t once hit the knuckleball/hot strike which carries 10 yards further. Not to say this won’t happen but it didn’t when I tested.
I did hit a few left but that was more me than the clubs, however the few pulls I hit were not disastrous anyway so they were forgiving in this instance. But I have to highlight the low spin rate of 3618 rpm, it would produce interesting results on hard, links greens (rolling forever, and in this case away from the flag and green to the left).
I had to try and hit a hard, all-out 7 iron to see if I could get the max out of the Epic Forged. The ball speed jumped to 111.6 mph and the carry reached 158 with a total of 168 yards which I have to admit was fun to do.
The launch angle numbers were the same as my 10 previous shots and the spin was 5400 rpm which is much more like a 6 iron. Comparing this maximum shot to my usual shots, I feel I would have to hit these irons hard in order to generate enough spin for them to stop on the greens.
On The Course
The course was very wet due to two weeks of Manchester rain, but these clubs performed well through the rough and fairway.
I tried ¾ 9 irons from the fairway to see if these iron could be soft. They can, but I’d have to get used to the extra length I was producing by taking something off a full shot.
From the rough they were very good. Again though, the low spin upon hitting the green could be a huge problem on dry greens.
I got my best results from the tee shots (bearing in mind the turf was very wet). I was hitting the 5 iron, 165/170 yards in the air and it did stop within 8-15 feet consistently, which is my 4 iron number in colder/wetter conditions. Does this prove the VFT really works, or was it just the wet conditions? Honestly, it's very hard to say...
Callaway Epic Forged Irons Verdict
I loved feeling like a longer hitter for the day, my distances were above LPGA player averages and I wasn’t trying to swing the club any harder or faster to achieve this.
My ball speed was 103 mph which is Tour average for a 7 iron, however due to the high launch and low spin the ball travelled 3-6 yards further in the air than my usual clubs.
I was hitting these irons a club longer than my own, but it’s hard for me to say it was the technology rather than the loft. My 6 iron loft is 27 degrees and the Callaway 7 iron loft is 27 degrees, so really it should go further.
I actually hit the ball too high so stronger lofts aren’t a problem for me, these irons increased my peak height even more so they do exactly what Callaway says. I did find the downwind shots to be easier than into the wind, as my normal shot with these was so high. Keeping the ball flight down in windy conditions might be hard so bear that in mind if you're somebody who hits it high.
These irons are for players who hate admitting they have to hit longer clubs than their peers and for those who care that they hit 6 iron when others hit 7. They will definitely help your ego on the course and when talking about which clubs you hit in the bar afterwards.
I can’t hide that the price of £280 an iron is steep. But if you want to buy your game instead of working on shaft angles and club speed then why not go for the quick fix? Why not buy 10 more yards if you can afford it!
Would I Use It?
I am always taken in by the numbers of performance enhancing clubs, however when I try and game them they never last more than a couple of rounds.
My golf mates love me as they get passed down new irons as I revert back to my usual style. I am a big fan of the shafts and grips as I have started using ACCRA shafts in my irons this year and love a Tour Velvet grip.
The main reason I wouldn’t play these irons is I enjoy playing chip and runs with 9 and PW but I wouldn’t feel comfortable with the loft and the sole shape when attempting these short shots. That’s worth bearing in mind, you don’t always hit full shots out on the golf course where it really matters, but that’s all golfers tend to do when trialling a club.
I also would have an 11 degree difference between my PW and GW which would equate to 20 or so yards. I simply can’t play with that gap in my scoring area.
Plenty of forgiveness
Feeds your ego
You will have to take time to get used to the distance
Price tag is premium
There will be a gap in your bag between PW 41 degree and a regular 52 degree
Getting creative around the greens may be an issue with these clubs