Callaway looks to do more than just keep up with the Bobby Joneses when it comes to golf clubs. By introducing the new Epic Max Driver and Odyssey White Hot OG #7S Putter, they’re pushing the competition in 2021.
The Callaway club designers made a lot of noise last year with the introduction of its 2020 Maverick driver, a top contender in our Best Drivers ranking. Its new line of Epic Drivers (including the Max, the Speed and the Max LS) put computers to work to improve on already strong designs to amp up club speed, forgiveness and overall distance.
Odyssey putters became a major player on the greens on their own before Callaway acquired the brand in the 1990s. Since then, Callaway’s influence has only improved the Odyssey reputation. The new White Hot OG #7S Putter assembles top shelf materials into a fresh, face-balanced, mallet-style putter with the tour-proven, White Hot urethane insert.
We’ll tackle both new golf implements below, offering the inside story if you’re considering upgrading your sticks for a 2021 season that’s just starting.
What We Liked about the Callaway Golf 2021 Epic Max Driver:
Like the Maverick from last year, the Epic Max is a striking piece of kit right out of the box. At first grasp, the balance is perfect, especially with the stiff shaft option I selected. It settles into the swing slot smoothly, and contact feels rock solid. Credit that to cutting edge material such as the new Triaxial Carbon material.
Most Unique Feature: Jailbreak Rocks
Callaway puts its golf computers to hard work, employing in-house artificial intelligence to engineer what they call the “Jailbreak Speed Frame” — a new structure engineered to add stability throughout the overall swing and into impact. You may not be able to see that frame from the outside, but it’s in there and it seems to keep the club on the rails.
What We Didn’t Like about the Callaway Golf 2021 Epic Max Driver:
This scribe admits he has an issue with sliding weights on golf drivers. They always seem gimmicky and strike me as something club manufacturers build into a club to give hack golfers something to fiddle with rather than come to grips with a swing in need of improvement. Callaway says the 17-gram sliding weight works with the driver’s OptiFit adjustable hosel to provide up to 20 yards of shot correction. I ask if such an advanced golf club needs the addition.
The Verdict: A Maverick of its Own
Flashy, forgiving, solid and balanced, the Callaway Golf 2021 Epic Max Driver is a worthy successor to the 2020 Maverick and an exciting addition to the overall Callaway driver family. It’s an option for a player looking to play the most modern club design.
The “White Hot” element within the Odyssey putter line refers to a putter insert — the centered surface in the middle of putter face that comes into direct contact with the ball. Callaway lists their White Hot face as the “most iconic, most played and most decorated putter insert of all time.” That’s tricky to quantify, but it certainly has a strong presence on tour.
What We Liked About the Odyssey White Hot OG #7S Putter:
Standing over a putt with the Odyssey White Hot OG #7S Putter, it takes only a moment to get a feel for the club’s reassuring balance. That settled feel encourages a smooth stroke and discourages “wristiness” in your putting stroke.
Most Unique Feature: The Universe of Urethane
It’s the soft, tacky urethane insert that makes the Odyssey White Hot special. It’s no coincidence that the insert employs the same material you’ll find wrapping your favorite golf ball. When urethane meets urethane, the result is reassuring contact and feel.
What We Didn’t Like About the Odyssey White Hot OG #7S Putter:
The standard stainless steel shaft feels a little flimsy. If you can afford it, go up a step with the optional Stroke Lab upgrade shaft for added stability.
The Verdict: A Reassuring Kiss
The White Hot insert on the face of these Odyssey putters interacts with a golf ball unlike many of its rivals. It’s worth trying the White Hot OG #7S Putter just to experience the interaction of everything urethane.