Callaway has gone all Top Gun on us for 2020 with their new Mavrik driver range. Their hugely successful Epic Flash driver was the biggest selling of 2019 and I was keen to see if the best could improve upon the best.
What's It All About?
Callaway has once again opted to use Artificial Intelligence at the forefront of it's product design which, first things first, I like. It shows that Callaway believes wholeheartedly in the route it's going down. The use of A.I. was no flash in the pan marketing idea. Callaway have proven it works, and therefore it's here to stay. Now it's about investing further in it and really pushing the boundaries.
Based on the success of the first A.I. face design in the Epic Flash, Callaway has again looked to develop its super computer which has processed formula after formula to come up with the solution to faster ball speed, forgiveness and a better sound.
Callaway's new Flash Face SS20 architecture is now combined with an FS2S Titanium face, a stronger and 6 gram lighter material. This is there to maximise ball speed whilst also making it robust enough to stop the face from literally collapsing at high clubhead speeds within the R&A limits. This is something the company was famously found guilty of on different occasions last year due to random tour truck tests.
One of the main new features of this 'Mavrik philosophy' is that Callaway is now producing different Flash Faces for each of their drivers models and lofts.
The proven technology of Jailbreak, first seen in the Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic driver, and the T2C Triaxial Carbon Crown remain in the Mavrik heads to promote faster ball speed. A lighter head now also features, so weight can be distributed appropriately to raise MOI and forgiveness.
Like many manufacturers, Callaway has three different driver models in the Mavrik range to offer every golfer the opportunity to get the most from their game. Here's a rundown each and who are they aimed at:
This is the middle driver of the three within the range, and the 'standard' model. It will cater for the vast majority of golfers. It features mid-level spin and a moderate draw bias with Callaway's new cyclone aero shape (flatter crown and a sweeping sole from front to back), which is said to add more club head speed than ever before.
This is one of the big standout changes from the Epic Flash driver. The shape is much different to anything we have seen before in a Callaway head.
Mavrik Sub Zero
This is just like the Sub Zero models of recent years in its characteristics. Aimed for the better player and Callaway's lower spinning driver, it still produces high MOI. The head is the smallest in the range at 450cc (compared to the Mavrik and Mavrik Max which are 460cc), but the most versatile in settings and adjustability.
There are 14 gram and 2 gram interchangeable weights to alter ball flight and spin. The lie angle is slightly flatter than the others and the flight is more neutral. If you are a player who has a consistent strike pattern and wants a lower spinning, flatter ball flight, the chances are this is the model for you.
The word Max(imum) says it all. This is aimed at players wanting a long, easy to launch, easy to hit driver, which also helps those who tend to slice the ball thanks to a draw bias. It has the largest footprint, boasts the highest MOI and highest launch of all three of the models.
This head is Callaway's answer for golfers who struggle with a consistent strike pattern and need help in containing their driver to find more fairways.
"With Mavrik we invested in a new and more powerful super-computer which significantly advanced our understanding of A.I. and machine learning. We discovered how to apply A.I. to make smarter and wider ranging performance improvements in the face and throughout the club head."
I took the standard Mavrik and Mavrik Sub Zero models to Stockport Golf Club to trial them on the course, off the tee, directly against each other.
I then headed inside to The Range Manchester to compare the two clubs against each other alongside my own driver using Foresight Sports technology. I want to see if the Callaway claims of “distance that defies convention” are proven in the numbers and performance I produced.
Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero Driver Review
The Mavrik Sub Zero has a very traditional crown with a simple black, shiny design with some carbon-fibre showing towards the back of the head. I am used to a matte finish, so seeing my reflection in the crown when stood over the ball did take some getting used to, but this is only a small point.
The standout, burnt orange colouring makes me think of the old TaylorMade Burners rather than traditional Callaway. But apart from all of the marketing you will see around the Mavrik range, the colour is only significant on the sole and toe of the club. To get around the potential colourway issues, Callaway also now offer different customisation options so you can individually create your own design for £60 via the Callaway customs website.
The head is 450cc so smaller and slightly more curved that the other models, it also sits more neutral at address. This head gave me great confidence looking down at the ball and I love the fact that Callaway have a lot of technology inside the head but its exterior is so simple. Best of both worlds if you ask me.
This felt quick and strong off the face - it's one of the hottest drivers I have ever hit. One of the negative bits of feedback that the Epic Flash encountered was the noise. One of my clients described it like hitting a saucepan. This noise has improved but I still think there is work to be done to get it to ideal.
Callaway Mavrik Driver Review
Cosmetically, the standard Mavrik head is the same colour and design as the Sub Zero with some slight detail changes on the sole. It’s is 460cc and stretches longer towards the back of the head.
The draw bias is almost insignificant at address, I wouldn't even call it a draw bias to be honest with you, and most golfers won't even notice it. It’s just a very simple, modern, good looking head to look down at.
The Mavrik driver felt safe, I just didn’t feel that I could hit it off line. It wasn't quite as hot-feeling as the Sub Zero model but who cares when you are in such safe hands with a forgiving face. Standing over the ball with this driver, I really did feel as if I couldn't miss. Can you give a driver a higher compliment?
Callaway have produced two drivers for 2020 which do as they say, in terms of Mavrik Sub Zero compared to Mavrik. The flight was lower with lower spin numbers when hitting the Sub Zero.
When comparing the Mavrik drivers to my own driver, the club head speed was marginally up but the ball speed was virtually the same. What’s not on there is how accurate the Mavrik driver was in distance, never hitting it longer than 227 yards or shorter that 221 yards in 10 shots. Although this make not make the headlines in terms of huge carry numbers, that kind of distance dispersion is impressive.
The deviation again was excellent, nearly as good as my own driver which I am custom fitted for. Again, I felt that I couldn’t stop hitting it straight which is a great place to be.
With the Sub Zero however, I really felt as if I could squeeze a bit more out of it if I required. Although it's hard to prove that this is down to the A.I. technology, the hotness of the Flash Face was plain to see if I hit a good one out of the screws with the Sub Zero. At 244 yards, I had real confidence knowing there was a very long drive in my bag if required.
On average, I saw a 5 yard gain when using the Sub Zero model over both the other clubs (standard Mavrik and my personal driver) during indoor testing on GC2. This may not seem like too much yardage but half a club is actually quite considerable and should be taken note of. Considering I didn't test the driver using the shaft I would normally use, these numbers were impressive. I would love to find out what I could get out of the driver if I went for a full Callaway custom fitting session with the Mavrik.
Performance On The Course
Taking into account the very British, January conditions I tested the Mavrik drivers in - cold temperatures, wet fairways and strong cold winds at Stockport Golf Club - I was expecting the Sub Zero to perform better into the wind with it's lower and hopefully more penetrating ball flight - and it did just that. JUST.... going 2 feet further. See my full video test to see the evidence on course here.
The flight of the Mavrik standard was higher but it didn’t seem to affect its distance, which is a plus point for the Mavrik - unless of course you're a golfer who struggles with a ballooning ball flight at times.
I also managed to shape both clubs very easily with a draw and fade. It did seem weird seeing a higher ball flight to what I’m used to, but hey it was working! Maybe high flight, low spin and more distance can be a thing in my game after all...?
Callaway Mavrik Drivers Verdict
Callaway have once again come out with an exceptional driver, it's as simple as that. Considering the last driver they brought to market was the extremely successful Epic Flash, this only makes the Mavrik that bit more impressive as they've managed to improve on what a lot of golfers thought was perfection.
They have proved everything that they have claimed but I would say only marginally. Still, a win is a win. Both standard and Sub Zero models boast traditional heads with an insane amount of technology through A.I. hidden away inside - doing all the hard work for us golfers.
The consistency and dispersion of the Mavrik was staggering, so good that it matched my own custom fitted driver. Whereas the Sub Zero was not easy to control, but was a sneaky five yards longer on average. Put it this way - 5 yards extra on every drive you hit over a season is going to make a big difference.
Would I Use It?
I would certainly put the Sub Zero into my bag. It suits all my needs in terms of a consistent spin rate in the mid 2500s and it flies higher and longer than my current driver.
During my indoor testing the Sub Zero wasn’t quite as accurate as the Mavrik but nevertheless, accuracy is something I could work on to tighten, whereas distance is not.
Mavrik Sub Zero Pros
- Looked brilliant at address
- Low spin
- More distance
Mavrik Sub Zero Cons
- Dispersion left and right is higher than others in the range
- Price tag may put people off
- The colours may put people off
- The head size maybe too small for some people
- Dispersion is excellent both distance and left and right
- I genuinely felt as if I couldn't miss with this driver
- Very forgiving
- Price may be too high and put some golfers off