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In this review, I’ll take a close look at the Callaway Epic Speed driver.
The Epic Speed is the natural successor to Callaway’s Epic Flash driver from a couple seasons ago.
Like the Epic Flash, it’s built for speed, but it takes everything to the next level with a new A.I. Jailbreak Speed Frame, Flash Face SS21, Triaxial carbon weighting, and a speed-maximizing aerodynamic shape.
The Epic Speed certainly talks a big game, but how does it actually perform? How does it compare with previous Callaway offerings like the MAVRIK, and is it really the future of speed? Is it worth putting in the bag?
Here’s what I’m going to be covering in this review:
- Features & Technologies
- Look, Sound & Feel
- Where To Buy This Driver Online
Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, stock shafts and stock grips are used when evaluating this club. In most cases, the golf clubs reviewed on Golfstead are acquired temporarily for testing purposes and are not purchased. The review that follows is based on the personal experience and research of the author. Because everyone’s swing and body are different, results with a particular club may differ from person to person.
What are the reviews like?
The Epic Speed driver has very solid ratings that are typical for Callaway drivers these days; this includes a 4.8/5 (100% recommended) rating on the Callaway Golf Pre-Owned store.
Many professional critics even say that the Epic Speed is their driver of choice for 2021. Moreover, the Epic Speed driver is endorsed by PGA Tour pro golfer John Rahm, who says “it’s really long, the ball speeds are high, and I know that I can control it”.
It’s difficult to find weaknesses in the Epic Speed; it has just as much distance and speed potential as previous offerings like the Epic Flash, but with added stability and consistency to lift it into a class of its own.
What People Like
- seems to edge out the Epic Flash when it comes to distance
- plenty of forgiveness for mid and high handicaps
- the look is much more universally liked than the MAVRIK
- a stable feel with great sound
What People Don’t Like
- some people feel it’s not enough of a performance improvement to justify upgrading from the Epic Flash or MAVRIK
What are the features?
Jailbreak A.I. Speed Frame
Jailbreak was first seen in the Rogue driver. These are titanium bars that vertically connect the crown and sole, placing more impact load on the face and increasing ball speeds.
In the years since, Callaway has improved on this technology. The latest iteration of Jailbreak in the Epic Speed incorporates artificial intelligence to form a new structure that adds horizontal and torsional stability as well.
This further increases ball speeds across the face and adds a new element of forgiveness to the driver.
Flash Face SS21
SS21 is the latest iteration of the Flash Face, first seen in the Epic Flash driver.
This A.I. designed face, made of high-strength titanium, is the result of a supercomputer and machine learning that combined tens of thousands of prototypes into one “super face”.
In a nutshell, Flash Face SS21 produces faster ball speeds over a larger area of the face, leading to more distance on mis-hits. On the Epic Speed driver, it’s specially designed to work with the Jailbreak Speed Frame, further optimizing performance.
Triaxial Carbon Composite
Callaway’s latest proprietary Triaxial carbon design allows for weight savings of over 16 grams when compared to a titanium crown. This weight is redistributed in the head to raise the moment of inertia (MOI), resulting in more forgiveness.
With the Epic Speed driver, a larger portion of the toe and crown are covered by the Triaxial carbon material, leading to more weight savings and stability than previous Callaway drivers like the MAVRIK.
In addition, a Triaxial carbon patch in the toe adds a draw bias, which helps golfers who struggle with a fade or slice to hit more fairways.
Cyclone Aero Shape
Previously marketed for the MAVRIK line of drivers, the Epic Speed driver also has an advanced aerodynamic shape that promotes maximum club head speed.
In particular, the Epic Speed has a flatter crown and taller ribbon which are designed to further reduce drag.
The Epic Speed driver is available in 9°, 10.5°, and 12° standard lofts at 460 CC.
Also available is the Epic Speed driver for women, in 10.5° and 12° lofts. The women’s version has lofts, swingweights, shafts, lengths and grips that are designed for women to maximize their performance.
The Epic Speed comes with an Optifit hosel that allows you to adjust loft and lie. The loft settings are -1, +1, 0 and +2 (a range of 3°). The lie settings are N (neutral) and D (draw), giving a total of 8 possible configurations.
The stock graphite shafts are the Project X Cypher (40g) and the Project X HZRDUS Smoke IM10 (50g, 60g). The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet ALIGN. Custom shafts are available.
If you’re interested, full information on the driver, shafts, grips and their specs can be found on the CGPO website.
Below are the specs of the Epic Speed driver for men and women. Click or zoom to enlarge.
How does the driver perform?
I’ll be making a lot of comparisons to the Epic Flash driver, the natural predecessor to the Epic Speed, in the performance sections that follow.
When the Epic Flash driver was released, it set new standards for distance. It really was as long as it was hyped up to be, but I figured that this power would be difficult to top for at least a few years of future releases.
I think that Callaway has just about broken that barrier with the Epic Speed. It’s certainly just as long as the Epic Flash, but I’ve noticed that in many cases, it can squeeze out 5-10 extra yards and beyond, depending on the situation.
In particular, I have found during my tests that there is a slight improvement in ball speeds on shots struck away from the sweet spot. This, in fact, it expected because of the improved Jailbreak technology that adds more horizontal face stability.
With that said, there isn’t as much adjustability as the Epic Flash, which had a moveable weight on the sole. This means that there’s less room to dial in the optimal ball flight for your individual swing.
The forgiveness of the Epic Speed driver is tied directly to the factors that affect distance; namely, the A.I. Jailbreak Speed Frame.
In short, there is more torsional stability, which increases the MOI and hence improves the performance of shots struck off-center.
Basically, the Epic Speed has nearly all of the perks of the Epic Flash, with noticeably more forgiveness due to the more stable internal frame. This is a great achievement because the Epic Flash driver was known for having rather poor forgiveness.
All things considered, the forgiveness of the Epic Speed is similar to that of the MAVRIK. During my testing, most of my mild and moderate mis-hits managed to stay in the fairway.
Pro golfer Jon Rahm himself said that he can control the Epic Speed driver with confidence — this should tell you a lot about its playability.
Similar to the Epic Flash, I found the ball flight to be fairly high, but with a slight draw bias owing to the Triaxial carbon patch in the toe.
I also found the weighting with the stock shaft to be very comfortable, and this gave me the confidence to really go at it.
The Epic Speed may just be the most workable driver in the 2021 Epic line, even though it has the least adjustability. But because the adjustability is minimal, it’s important to get a shaft that matches your swing type in order to realize the full potential of the driver.
What about look, sound & feel?
The Epic Speed driver shares a lot of similarities to the Epic Flash in terms of appearance, but it also differs in many ways.
The crown of the Epic Speed is less elongated, but the alignment aid and sweet spot again appear to set up a bit closer to the heel.
The Epic Speed has that green colour you would associate with Callaway’s Epic line, but there are no yellow accents this time. It definitely looks to me like the Epic Speed takes aesthetic qualities from the MAVRIK, Epic Flash, and even the Big Bertha B21.
The mesh pattern of the carbon crown is less noticeable than on previous Callaway drivers, while the face itself sports a new “X” pattern that indicates the added stability of the Jailbreak frame.
I think the sole design of the Epic Speed is excellent overall; the sole itself is very descriptive in terms of what technologies are packed into the driver and where they are located — for example, the Jailbreak medallions near the face.
The Sound & Feel
The sound at impact is very similar to the Epic Flash: not too hollow or too muted, but just right.
The mis-hit feedback is a little different because of the added stability of Jailbreak. You can still isolate the location of impact, but this is mostly done through feel towards the back of the head and up through the shaft.
The feel is, predictably, a little firmer in and around the sweet spot, with the same solidness, satisfaction and explosiveness that made the Epic Flash shine.
All things considered, the Epic Speed is one of the best, most effortless-feeling drivers from address to follow-through that I’ve ever played.
Where should you buy this driver online?
The Epic Speed driver is now at least a season old, and you can no longer order it custom-made directly from the official Callaway website.
The best you can do now is look for it on Callaway Golf Pre-Owned and eBay. CGPO has a bunch of these drivers on offer with a 90-day buy-back policy, 12-month warranty, and free headcover included. The women’s variant can be found here.
Is Callaway’s Epic Speed driver the future of speed? I wouldn’t go quite that far, but it does certainly set a new bar.
What really makes the Epic Speed shine beyond the raw distance potential is the greatly improved stability compared to the Epic Flash. This is thanks to the new A.I. Speed Frame, which brings the forgiveness into a tier that you would find in the best game-improvement Cobra and PING drivers.
Moreover, the Epic Speed driver will appeal to a very wide range of golfers, particularly mid-handicappers who appreciate some draw bias.
With that said, if you’re looking to upgrade from the Epic Flash, it probably wouldn’t be worth it unless you want the added stability that the Epic Speed provides. On the other hand, upgrading from the MAVRIK may be wise if you want added distance off the tee.
Are you interested in the Epic Speed driver? Have you tried it yet? What’s your experience? Let us know in the comments below.