Our Callaway GBB Epic vs. TaylorMade M1 driver test took place on the range at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Florida, where conditions on the day were warm but very windy.
We would normally use our Anonymous Big Hitter for a test of this nature, but he is on the No Fly List so we were forced to draft in his American cousin, Randy. Our resident pro James Whitaker was on hand to help us monitor the data on Trackman 4.
Callaway GBB Epic vs. TaylorMade M1 – The methodology
These are arguably the two headline drivers for 2017 so it made perfect sense to put them head-to-head.
In our initial testing, both had performed really well and were both worthy of any early-season hype.
Lofts on both clubs were 9.5˚ and we were using the same shaft.
We asked Randy to hit about five shots with each driver and then looked at the data.
When testing drivers the key number we look at is ball speed. So far, the Epic had produced the best ball speeds we had seen from 2017 product.
Callaway GBB Epic vs. TaylorMade M1 – The technology
The Epic has what Callaway call Jailbreak technology where two titanium bars connect the crown and the sole. This stiffens up the club and allows the face to recoil more on impact.
The 2017 version of the M1 uses more carbon material than the first iteration which allows for increased adjustability.
The two sliding weights are also heavier than previously. We put one forwards and the other right in the middle as we felt this gave it the best chance of producing most distance.
The Epic also has a sliding weight which we left in the neutral position.
Callaway GBB Epic vs. TaylorMade M1 – The results
The TaylorMade was up first but we’d like to stress that Randy had a good warm up before the test started so he was nice and loose – there was no advantage by going first or second.
The ball speeds with the M1 varied between 165 and 169 with a nice low, piercing ball flight.
Spin was very low and we were getting about 35 yards of run. A fitter would probably look to get the spin a bit higher which would probably increase the carry.
But total distances of just over 300 yards and straight down the middle of the fairway aren’t going to do anyone any harm.
The ball flight with the Epic was very similar. If anything the dispersion with the M1 was a bit tighter.
Just as Randy worked his way through the shots, the ball speeds were creeping up – finishing with one at just under 173mph which carried just under 300 and ran out to 322.
Callaway GBB Epic vs. TaylorMade M1 – The conclusion
Both these drivers look and sound fantastic.
In a pure ball speed test the Epic just shaded it on this occasion.
The beauty of the M1 is the ability to fine-tune it and a fitter may have been able to improve the performance with a few tweaks.
But it is clear the Epic produces fantastic ball speeds. That number of 173mph is the fastest we’ve had with any driver in our early season testing so a benchmark has been set.
Neither are cheap but they are both packed with technology and you won’t be disappointed in the performance of either.