Every golfer, from the beginner to the seasoned tour pro can tell you with great confidence that your game never stops evolving. Fortunately for me, I was blessed with PGA pro right out of the gate to hone my swing at a young age. That said, I wasn’t always the most accurate guy out of the tee box.
Technology has come a long way! Thinking back on clubs like the Wilson Killer Whale with the Firestick shaft a club like the Rogue from Callaway Golf would have come in handy for my game in those days. My lack of accuracy cost me more than a few strokes throughout the round, and that’s something that could have been remedied through Callaway’s proprietary X-Face VFT technology.
Callaway’s Variable Face Thickness technology, coupled with the other technological advancements found in the Rogue series is a blessing for many golfers, and it may be an ideal driver for you if you’re looking to improve your game and shave precious strokes off your score.
Before You Buy a Game Improvement Driver
Before you dive right in and buy a new driver, it can be helpful to evaluate your needs, so you can ensure you’re choosing the ideal club for you. Drivers tend to fall into three different categories:
- Better Player
- Game Improvement
- Max Game Improvement
Better Player drivers are designed for the advanced golfer who is willing to sacrifice forgiveness in the name of increased control. These drivers aren’t going to hide the flaws in your swing the way a game improvement or max game improvement driver would. Even some tour pros rely on game improvement drivers, so it’s unlikely you’ll need a better player driver.
Game improvement drivers are the easiest drivers to find on the market. They’re exceptionally popular across all skill levels, and they’re packed with technology to allow the player to optimize their game with their equipment, which is easier than rebuilding their swing to fix issues they may be experiencing.
These drivers are usually best for the mid to low handicapper who has a pretty solid swing to begin with and is hoping to work out a few kinks.
Max Game Improvement drivers are made for the player with more serious issues. These clubs feature advanced technology that’s designed to smooth over any glaring issues in your swing. For example, if you’re dealing with a nasty slice, a max game-improvement driver may be able to improve your swing with a simple equipment change dramatically. That way, you can spend more time golfing and less time searching for your ball.
Once you’ve decided which type of driver is the best fit for your game, you’ll want to consider a few other things before you make your choice.
- Budget: How much you’re willing to spend is a critical consideration you need to make up front. A good driver can run you anywhere from a few hundred to around a thousand depending on the specs you choose. Knowing your budget will help steer you in the right direction.
- Trade-In Value: Your current driver may fetch a few hundred bucks on a trade, and having a good idea of what your current driver is worth can play a major role in your budget considerations.
- Fit: Getting fitted is critical when it comes to choosing a new driver. Even the best drivers in the world could end up wreaking havoc on your game if they aren’t properly fit to your needs. Make sure you have a quality club fitter who you can trust as you decide on a new driver.
- Warranty: It’s important to know that the manufacturer of your new driver stands behind the clubs they make. If you’re investing several hundred dollars into a new club, you’ll want the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re protected if your equipment fails you.
The Rogue Series from Callaway
The Callaway Rogue is one of the newest and most advanced drivers from Callaway. There are three drivers in the Rogue series.
- Rogue Sub Zero – The Sub Zero is the better player driver of the set, and the weight is redistributed to the neutral axis to provide more advanced players with the control they need.
- Rogue – This is the game improvement driver of the Rogue series. It’s a forgiving driver that’s designed to increase ball speed and help players achieve their best scores.
- Rogue Draw – The Rogue Draw is the most forgiving driver of the Rogue line, and it’s designed to increase ball speed while greatly promoting draw spin to reduce slicing drives.
Is this the Best Game Improvement Driver of 2018? Our Callaway Rogue Driver Review
The Rogue series comes on the heels of another breakthrough product line from Callaway, the Epic series. Callaway’s Epic drivers feature some of the same tech that’s found in the Rogue series. But, the Rogue series goes above and beyond and strives to perfect many of the technological advances that were first seen in the Epic series.
Perhaps the biggest development with the Rogue series is Callaway’s new X-Face XFT technology, which promotes increased ball velocity practically anywhere the ball strikes the face of the club. This results in a forgiving driver that allows for greater MOI, which helps provide straight and true drives, even if you didn’t quite square the ball up.
The Callaway Rogue driver is ideal for anyone who is looking to shave strokes and make the best of their existing swing, without having to completely tear it down and reinvent their swing.
But, if your swing needs more than a little work, you may be better off with the Rogue Draw, or a similar max game improvement driver.
- High forgiveness thanks to its XFT and Jailbreak technology
- XFT and Jailbreak technology work together to increase ball speed and drive distance
- Boeing Aero Package provides increased club speed
- Tons of shaft options – most at no upcharge
- Can’t adjust CG or MOI like you can with the Rogue Sub Zero
- Minimal slice correction
The Rogue is packed with technology, but purists are sure to appreciate the more traditional look of this club head. Callaway opted for a sleek and simple look with the crown of the Rogue.
While it may look simple, Callaway tapped their old friends at Boeing Aeronautics, who they’ve worked with in the past to increase airflow and create a more aerodynamic clubhead, which translates to greater club speed.
The Triaxial Carbon Crown of the Rogue is the lightest and thinnest crown available on any Callaway club. The weight saved in the crown allowed Callaway’s R&D department to reallocate that weight to the perimeter of the club, which increases MOI and in turn, forgiveness.
Callaway certainly didn’t skimp in the technology department when they developed the Rogue series of drivers. In fact, these drivers are among the most technologically advanced on the market.
Callaway employs their Jailbreak technology on the Rogue series. This technology was first introduced with the Epic series of drivers. Two hourglass shaped titanium bars are located behind the face of the club, joining the soul and crown together. This results in a stiffer body, which allows the face to take on more of the impact load, resulting in increased forgiveness and faster ball speed.
Next, there’s Callaway’s VFT technology. With VFT, the face of the club is thinner or thicker in strategic areas, which helps to promote greater ball speed on off-center hits. This technology works in concert with Jailbreak technology to create what Callaway calls “the Jailbreak effect.”
In other words, it helps your ball travel farther, faster, and it’s a feature you won’t find in other top golf clubs.
The triaxial carbon composite crown helps reduce weight without sacrificing strength. In turn, Callaway can redistribute those weight savings to the perimeter of the club, which increases MOI, leading to greater forgiveness.
Callaway tapped Boeing, one of the largest and most storied companies in aeronautics to help design the overall aerodynamics of the Rogue series. The resulting club geometry helps to improve airflow around the club, which translates to greater club speed.
Performance wise, the Callaway Rogue certainly lives up to its billing as one of the best drivers of 2018.
One of the first performance characteristics of the Rogue that you’ll notice is the distance you can achieve. Most players who use the Rogue achieve an additional 20 to 30 yards out of the tee box, which is a fairly major improvement. Many of those same players also noticed that their ball was flying much truer, thanks to how forgiving the Rogue is compared to their old driver.
The Rogue also offers great feedback, and most players are thrilled by the sound of the club and the feedback they receive when they really rip the ball. You should have no problem taking great swings thanks to the large 460cc clubhead, which has most of the real estate focused up front, which further adds to the beefy appearance of the club.
Many game-improvement drivers tend to fall flat when it comes to acoustics, and don’t provide the same satisfying sound or feel when compared to the Rogue. Players who review the Rogue are particularly impressed with the sound of the club.
In addition to the added distance and impressive feedback, the Rogue provides a higher launch point compared to most clubs and dramatically improved ball velocity, which results in the longer drives we discussed earlier.
Many of the Rogue’s early adopters switched to this club after owning Callaway’s last driver, the Epic. The Epic introduced Calloway’s Jailbreak technology, but many of the players who defected to the Rogue think that the Rogue has come closer to perfecting it. The Rogue seems to provide a better feel, more forgiveness, and more control compared to the Epic.
One area where the Rogue does fall short compared to the Epic and some other game improvement drivers is with adjustability. You’ll be able to adjust the loft, but outside of that, there aren’t many options. If you like to tinker with your clubs, this may not be the best fit for you.
Callaway offers several different shafts to choose from when designing your Rogue. The shafts below are all available at no upcharge. In addition to these options, you can choose from a myriad of other shaft options with your club fitter.
- Aldila Synergy 50g
- Aldila Synergy 60g
- Aldila Quaranta 40g
- Aldila Quaranta 50g
- Project X Evenflow Blue
- Project X HZRDUS Yellow
The Synergy is available in both 50-gram and 60-gram weights. The 50-gram shaft is available in three stiffnesses while the 60-gram model offers an additional stiffness level.
The launch angle and spin rate of this shaft are on the lower-to-middle side of the spectrum. This shaft uses NexGen Micro Laminate Technology, which is designed to improve the feel and responsiveness of the shaft by blending two different carbon fibers.
The Synergy may be a good fit for golfers looking for their shaft to provide a slightly lower launch and a low-to-mid spin.
The Quaranta from Aldila is available in 40 and 50-gram weights and three different flex options. It provides a launch angle and spin rate that’s fairly middle of the road. This graphite shaft also uses Aldila’s NexGen Micro Laminate Technology.
The Quaranta is a good option for players looking for a very light shaft that still offers good stability.
Project X EvenFlow
The EvenFlow gets its name from Project X’s proprietary bend profile, which allows energy to be transferred evenly through the shaft, allowing for maximum energy release at the MOI. This increased energy transfer may help you achieve maximum distance on your drives.
This shaft has a mid-spin and mid-launch profile, which may be a good fit for you, depending on your swing.
Project X HZRDUS Yellow
The HZRDUS Yellow from Project X is one of the most aggressively styled shafts you’ll find, and it’s built for today’s strong and aggressive golfers. The HZRDUS Yellow is back weighted, with a straight tapered midsection, which helps players who want to reduce their launch and spin rates.
This shaft is available in 65 and 75-gram weights and three different flex options.
The Rogue carries a retail price tag of $500, and they seem to hold their value remarkably well. The market for a used Rogue is in the low to mid $300 range. The Rogue line is priced comparably to other mid-high-end clubs from other premium manufacturers.
The top of the line Epic Star driver that Calloway released in 2017 is priced at $700, which is considerably more expensive than the Rogue, which many regard as a superior club.
What Other Golfers Are Saying About the Callaway Rogue
I scoured the internet to get a better idea of how other players review the Callaway Rogue. As I expected, most people who’ve used the Rogue regard it as one of 2018’s best drivers.
Alternatives to the Callaway Rogue
While the Callaway Rogue seems to be a perfect fit for many different golfers across various skill levels, there may still be some other clubs worth taking a closer look at. Here are some of the most popular alternatives to the Callaway Rogue.
Better Player: Ping G400 LST
The Ping G400 line of clubs is one of the direct competitors to the Rogue, and the LST model employs Ping’s Low Spin Technology to create a driver that’s favored by many low to mid handicappers. At an MSRP of $400, it comes in $100 cheaper than the Rogue drivers.
The LST is more forgiving than most Players drivers, but it still offers the ability to shape shots across the course. The weighting on this club is towards the face, which helps to reduce the spin rate further. This club is ideal for those looking for the feel of a pro club, but could still use a bit of added forgiveness from time to time. Learn more about this popular club on Ping’s website.
Game Improvement: Srixon Z 565
The Z 565 is Srixon’s answer to the Rogue, and like the Rogue, it boasts an impressive suite of different technology designed to improve the quality and distance of your drives. At around $450, this driver is slightly cheaper than the Rogue series.
This model features the Stretch Flex Cup Face, which provides one of the largest sweet spots of any driver I’ve seen. This driver is high launching with a slight draw bias, which is sure to be helpful for players working a slice out of their swing.
The Z 565 can stand toe to toe with the Rogue by virtually every measure, so it’s worth checking this club out if you’re impressed by the Rogue so far to see which you like better. Get better acquainted with the Z565 here.
Max Game Improvement: Cleveland Launcher HB
The Cleveland Launcher is an affordable alternative that should make a good fit for the golfer who is looking to increase the launch angle and distance of their drives dramatically. At around $300, this driver is considerably cheaper than any of the drivers we’ve discussed to this point.
This Cleveland club has a low center of gravity and is weighted towards the back and bottom of the club. These features coupled with the Launcher Cup Face making this one of the hottest drivers on the market. Low to mid handicappers may want to steer clear of this club, as it’s intended for max game improvement. It sure is fun to take out for a spin at the driving range, though. Check the Launcher HB out here.
The Rogue driver from Callaway provides two things that most golfers can never get enough of – distance and accuracy. The Callaway Rogue is arguably the best driver of 2018. If you’re asking yourself how to hit a golf ball with more accuracy and distance, the Rogue may have the answers for you.
The Rogue makes use of several cutting-edge technologies to create an advanced club that’s tailored to low to mid handicappers who are looking to maximize distance without sacrificing control.
If you would like to purchase the Callaway Rogue driver click here