The Callaway Mavrik Driver, featuring new technologies and diligent craftsmanship, is shipped with a promise of an extra 5 yards compared to previous Callaway models – a bold statement, to say the least.
In this review, we’ll see if that claim was justified, and we’ll explore what else this driver can do to bolster your performance off the tee.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Driver
As easy as it is to be lured in by flashy technologies and promises of extraordinary distances, it’s important to first take a step back and consider all the things that we require of a driver.
Superior distance is likely the priority for most of us when picking out a new driver – after all, we pull out the driver to go big, and hitting huge drives is one of the most enjoyable parts of golf.
Beginners, intermediates, and pros alike all benefit from having forgiving golf clubs. No-one hits the sweet spot every time, so it’s important to have a driver that can still perform when it strikes off-center.
Loft and Launch
The moment of impact between ball and club is the critical moment of every drive, so you want to be confident that your club face is capable of launching the ball in the correct manner. Power is one thing, but the amount of loft the club head generates is equally important.
Feel and Sound
The feel of a driver is always going to be a personal thing; only you can really know if it feels right to hold and swing. A bad feeling club almost always translates to bad shots. You should also listen closely to the sound the club makes on impact – it’s a great indicator of quality.
Club manufacturers understand that a one-size-fits-all approach to drivers isn’t really possible, since every player has a slightly different swing. Thus, most drivers nowadays come with adjustable hosels, and some drivers take it a step further by adding sliding weights to the club head, allowing the player to adjust the CG and directional settings at their leisure.
The first thing anyone notices about a driver is its looks, and first impressions count for a lot. Though, as the saying goes, we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, it seems apparent that liking the way your driver looks can have a positive effect on your performance.
Building on the success of their 2019 Epic Flash driver, Callaway have doubled-down on the use of advanced Artificial Intelligence to create a highly optimized face for their 2020 offerings. The Mavrik range has three variations: the standard, the Sub Zero, and the Max. For this review, we’ll be focusing on the standard.
The good folks at Callaway sure are smart, but they’re not quite as smart as the computers they’ve been using to build their clubs. The AI is able to learn quickly and efficiently, which has ultimately allowed Callaway to adopt some unconventional, ‘Mavrik’ thinking.
The result is a club face that has been fully optimized for speed. Coupled with the improved aerodynamics of the Mavrik, this is a driver that’s capable of some serious distances.
Better yet, Callaway has made no sacrifices in the forgiveness department of the Mavrik. In fact, it’s been proven to be significantly more accurate than the Epic Flash across the entire face, despite the club having a lower MOI. This is because, again, the AI allowed designers to take unconventional approaches to determine spin rates and weight distribution.
Something else that the AI was tasked with improving was the club acoustics. Somehow, engineers instructed it to dial the club down to ‘pleasing’ sound frequencies. The mind boggles, but one thing’s for sure: this is a great sounding driver.
Comparatively, the looks of the Mavrik are quite unassuming. The simple black and orange aesthetic has been a familiar sight for years, so it might not immediately stand out on the shelves. This is not to say we disliked the look of it; we were just surprised that such a technologically optimized driver could look so simple.
Based on our own testing, and the testing of others, there is very little evidence to suggest that this driver is capable of 5 more yards than its predecessors, as Callaway claimed. Regardless, this is a superb driver that advanced players and beginners alike can have a blast with.
Features and Benefits
Flash Face SS20
The Flash Face technology was introduced with the Callaway Epic Flash and has been developed further for the Mavrik. The process involved Callaway’s supercomputers cycling through thousands of face iterations, while the AI intuitively learned which exact design would work best.
The first iteration of the Flash Face produced some pretty astounding results; it was always going to be difficult to significantly exceed the ball speeds of the Callaway Epic Flash. There’s no doubt that the Mavrik’s club face is highly advanced, capable of great speeds and generous forgiveness – however, the vast majority of swing data suggests that there has been no increase in performance from the Epic Flash to the Mavrik.
Jailbreak & T2C Triaxial Carbon
Supercomputers aside, there are other elements of this club face that add to its power. The Jailbreak system, consisting of two internal bars connecting the sole to the crown, has been in use since the Great Big Bertha Epic River, and has proven itself to be a valued addition to every Callaway driver thereafter. By placing more impact load on the face, Jailbreak helps to give the face a very satisfying feel as it strikes.
T2C Triaxial Carbon is a very lightweight material that allows for huge weight savings. Callaway can then redistribute that weight to various parts of the head, increasing MOI, thus generating more forgiveness.
Cyclone Aero Head Shape
In line with the main trend of 2020, Callaway have diverted much of their attention to producing a faster club head speed. The Cyclone Aero Shape is quite shallow from front to back, with a flat crown. The sole sweeps dramatically upward, so that the back edge is high up off the ground when the club is in the rested position. This is an uncommon head shape in drivers these days.
According to Callaway, this increases aerodynamics by reducing drag. It was certainly a joy to swing, and we agreed that it had a noticeably smooth feel.
If this doesn’t sound like it’s quite the right driver for you, fear not. Here some alternatives which you might consider checking out.
1. Mizuno ST200
Following on from their PGA Tour winning ST190 family of 2019, Mizuno have returned with more power, flexibility, and forgiveness than ever before. The ST200 drivers utilize beta-titanium alloy from racing-bike gears, producing a face of variable thickness to support off-center strikes.
The standard ST200 has the widest body of this line and is thus the most forgiving. The ST200G features two sliding weights in the sole, offering superior adjustability to the Callaway Mavrik. The ST200X is ultralight and is built with anti-slice weighting. All three models benefit from a lightweight carbon-composite crown and are a shining example of driver design.
2. PXG 0811 X Gen2
PXG released the first 0811 drivers back in 2016, and they weren’t received particularly well. After returning to the drawing board, they have returned with a vengeance in 2020: the 0811 Gen 2 drivers, with a unique aesthetic inspired by American muscle cars, pack some serious firepower.
They’re also contenders for being the most forgiving drivers on the market. They launch high with low spin and have recorded some truly impressive carry distances. Both versions of this driver come with multiple weighting options, far exceeding the adjustability of the Callaway Mavrik.
The PGX Gen 2 drivers are a bit more expensive than the Mavrik, but the extra investment might just be worth it.
3. TaylorMade SIM
Like the Callaway Mavrik, the TaylorMade SIM drivers have been built with considerable attention paid to club head speed. Thanks to clever manipulation of the unique weighted sole, TaylorMade has been able to achieve superior aerodynamics without sacrificing impact. The SIM drivers are packed full of technology, including the Speed Injected Twist Face, and are capable of hitting some great sounding, great feeling, and long-reaching drives.
The SIM comes with a sliding weight, and the Max D is specially designed to combat slice.
If you’re on the search for a driver that consistently performs well, that feels and sounds great, that grants you the potential to play some outrageously good shots, look no further than the Callaway Mavrik. It’s been built with extreme attention to detail, and the performance really reflects that.
However, if you’re expecting it to outclass its predecessors, you might be a bit disappointed. There just isn’t much evidence to suggest that club head speed and ball speed have increased in any significant way; the claim of an extra 5 yards seems sadly unjustified.
Other than that, there is really nothing to complain about. If you’re a high handicapper, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pick up this driver, make the most out of its excellent forgiveness, and have some fun. And of course, if you’re at the higher levels of the game, this driver has a lot to offer.
If you’re looking to play some flashy, supercomputer enhanced drives off the tee, check out the Callaway Mavrik Driver here.
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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.