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Bob Weeks

TSN Senior Reporter


Callaway has brought the world of artificial intelligence (A.I.) to the world of golf and it sounds pretty remarkable.

On Friday, the company unveiled its new Epic Flash driver which has a new technology called Flash Face. Essentially, this is an internal mapping of the face that has dozens of tiny ripples flowing from heel to toe that combine to raise the COR in the middle portion of the clubface.

That means a boost in speed and longer shots when you make solid contact.

But back to that A.I. stuff which sounds eerie, as if the clubs are going to build themselves. According to a release from the company the AI was joined with something called “Machine Learning,” which is a field of computer science that “uses statistical techniques to give computer systems the ability to ‘learn’ with data without being explicitly programmed.”

Callaway officials said that when they design a new face for a driver it can take anywhere from eight to 10 tries before getting the final product. With this Machine Learning technology there were 15,000 iterations considered before coming to the Flash Face.

“We couldn’t have come up with Flash Face using conventional engineering principles,” said Dr. Alan Hocknell, senior vice president of R&D, in a press release. “We wouldn’t have gone in this direction without A.I. because it’s non-intuitive compared to previous face technologies, including our own VFT and X-Face. The wave configuration isn’t symmetrical, nor does the pattern seem logical. Yet the ripples work together in a complex manner to maximize ball speed. There’s never been anything like Flash Face before in golf equipment, and the effect on performance is intense.

“Flash Face isn’t something a human would have arrived at any time soon,” said Hocknell. “Without the help of A.I. and machine learning we couldn’t have come up with this design.”

The new club continues with Callaway’s Jailbreak technology, which has face-wide speed thanks to the connection of the crown and sole by the two Jailbreak bars.

The club also has the Adjustable Perimeter Weighting with a sliding 16-gram weight that can be moved on a track to allow a golfer to aid in shot shape.

The Epic Flash will be available starting February 1.