Coming up with a groundbreaking technology that could top Callaway's Jailbreak design on the GBB Epic driver was never going to be an easy task. So instead of going back to the drawing board, Callaway's engineers opted to retain the two titanium bars connecting the sole and crown and improve upon the technology with the new Rogue drivers.
"Jailbreak was really a breakthrough technology for us," said Evan Gibbs, Callaway Golf's senior R&D manager of woods. "It really defined those drivers, and we believe really redefined the driver category."
Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero and Rogue Draw drivers
From the outside, Jailbreak looks practically identical to the previous version. However, a closer look under the hood reveals some changes made to the design, starting with a new hour-glass shape that reduced the weight of the titanium bars by 25 percent, creating more discretionary mass that was repositioned within the head for added forgiveness.
Aside from the new shape, the genesis behind Jailbreak remains the same. The titanium bars connect the sole and crown just behind the face, creating a more rigid boundary around the entire structure to help resist unwanted deflection of the body during impact.
With a rigid structure already in place, Callaway went about improving the ball speed number on Rogue. Working in conjunction with Jailbreak is the company's variable-thickness X Face.
The new face design features raised ridges in the shape of a large X in the middle of the inner portion of the face that varies in thickness — 107 impact locations on the face were analyzed during the design process — in strategic areas, and alters how the face behaves at impact to deliver higher ball speeds.
The combination of Jailbreak and X Face allowed Callaway to increase the MOI of Rogue from 8,000 grams/centimeters squared (GBB Epic) to 8,600 grams/centimeters squared. That equates to a 16 percent increase in overall moment of inertia when compared to XR16, and a 7.5 percent increase compared to GBB Epic.
"With the added stiffness of Jailbreak, you can make the face significantly thinner," Gibbs said. "So we've gotten a lot more aggressive on which portions of the face are thinner.
Callaway once again partnered with aerodynamics experts at Boeing to take a look at the Rogue head design. Instead of concentrating on ways to improve the step feature on XR16, the two teams tackled the overall head geometry — specifically the leading edge geometry and the curvature of the face transitioning into the crown.
Utilizing analysis of the clubhead's path from the start of the downswing through impact, including how the head rotates, allowed for the inclusion of a "trigger" — also known as a speed step — on the crown, near the top edge of the face. The step design changes how the air flows over the front of the crown for the proper amount of turbulence, leading to an improvement of roughly 0.7 mph clubhead speed.
The company's 9.8-gram triaxial carbon material returns with Rogue and makes up more than 46 percent of the head's surface — the most ever in a Callaway driver. While the material has a thinner wall thickness and lighter weight than traditional composite crowns, it's able to retain the same strength and stiffness through a braided design that's visible in the back of the crown but fades to solid black near the face.
The 460cc standard Rogue (9, 10.5 and 13.5 degrees) is geared for forgiveness and boasts a larger address footprint than last year's Epic. The company's Opti-Fit adjustable hosel ranges from minus 1 degree loft to plus 2 degrees loft.
For the first time in the lineup, Rogue will include a draw-biased version (9, 10.5 and 13.5 degrees) with an additional 20 grams of weight packed into the heel. The extra mass allows for 17 yards of dispersion change further left.
The final model in the lineup is Rogue Sub Zero (9 and 10.5 degrees), which features front and back weight ports that accomodate 14- and 2-gram weight screws. Depending on the orientation of the screws, Sub Zero can produce plus or minus 200 rpms of spin.
Callaway Rogue is available Feb. 9 and retails for $500 with a wide range of models (Aldila Synergy, Quaranta, Project X EvenFlow and HZRDUS Yellow) and weights (40-80 grams). All three models will be a part of the Callaway Customs program beginning in March.
Rogue and Rogue Sub Zero fairway woods
When Callaway's Jailbreak design was introduced last year, it was a driver-only technology. That will change this year with the inclusion of Jailbreak on the standard Rogue and Rogue Sub Zero (low-spin) fairway woods. However, unlike the driver, the two rods are made from stainless steel, not titanium. But they still perform the same function, stiffening the body and working in conjunction with Callaway's Face Cup technology to place more load on the Carpenter 455 steel face to increase ball speeds.
“The challenge was to make these technologies work together,” said Dr. Alan Hocknell, Callaway's head of research and design. “That technological synergy is what makes Rogue fairways an engineering marvel, and an absolute powerhouse.”
Both fairway woods feature non-adjustable hosels and a speed step on the crown that improves airflow. Compared to last year's Epic, the Rogue fairway woods have a more forward center of gravity position; the CG position is even more forward in the lower-spinning Sub Zero model due to a 5-gram weight in the sole's front that decreases launch and spin.
Callaway's Rogue fairway wood (Feb. 9; $300) will be available in five shaft weights (40-80 grams) and eight lofts in the standard version (13.5, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23 and 25 degrees), and three shaft weights (60-80 grams) and loft options (13.5, 15 and 18 degrees) in the Sub Zero model.
Click here for more photos of Callaway's new Rogue driver and fairway woods.
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