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In this review, I’ll be taking a look at the Callaway Epic Speed fairway wood.
The Epic Speed fairway wood is said to be the “future of speed”, with a low-spin CG position and outstanding speed and spin consistency across the face thanks to Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades, the A.I. Flash Face SS21, and forged C300 maraging steel Face Cup.
The Epic Speed fairway wood is built for maximum distance, but how does it actually perform in practice? How does it compare with previous Callaway fairway woods like the MAVRIK? 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 Fairway Wood Online
Read on to find out everything you need to know to make an informed purchase decision.
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 Callaway Epic Speed fairway wood has been received very well by both critics and consumers.
What People Like
- extremely long with nice penetrating flight
- forgiveness is surprisingly good
- very workable
- plenty of launch
- amazing feel on solid strikes
What People Don’t Like
- expensive for a fairway wood
- feel on mis-hits is a bit harsh
What are the features?
Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades
The Epic Speed’s velocity blades are similar in concept to the Jailbreak A.I. Speed Frame featured on the Epic 21 drivers, but the design is quite different.
In this case, the two Jailbreak blades are angled and farther apart. This not only stiffens the body, but also allows the forged face cup (discussed below) to flex more, resulting in higher ball speeds all across the face. Artificial intelligence is incorporated just as it is with the drivers.
Flash Face SS21
SS21 is the latest iteration of the Flash Face, first seen in the Epic Flash family of clubs. This A.I. designed face 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 optimizes COR at every point on the face through a unique internal mapping. This produces faster ball speeds over a larger area of the face and leads to more distance on mis-hits.
Forged C300 Maraging Steel Face Cup
The Epic Speed fairway wood consists of a wraparound cup face made of forged C300 maraging steel.
This steel material is extremely strong and flexible, and combined with the cup design of the face, the result is more speed off the face as well as improved spin consistency.
Forward Center Of Gravity
The center of gravity (CG) of the Epic Speed is positioned forward in the head. This helps deliver explosive, penetrating ball flights and a healthy launch angle.
This is enhanced by a new leading edge design that allows for a high degree of workability and consistency.
The Epic Speed fairway wood is available in 3+W, 3W, 4W, 5W and 7W at lofts 13.5°, 15°, 16.5°, 18°, and 21° respectively. The hosel is fixed.
Also available is the women’s Epic Speed fairway wood in 15°, 16.5°, 18° and 21° lofts. It’s basically the same as the men’s Epic Speed, but the stock shaft, grip, swing weights, length, etc. are meant for women to maximize their performance.
The stock graphite shafts are the Project X CYPHER 50, Mitsubishi MMT 70, and Project X HZRDUS Smoke iM10 (60/70). The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet ALIGN Black. Custom shafts are available.
If you’re interested, full information on the fairway wood, shafts, grips and their specs can be found on the CGPO website.
Below are the specs of the Epic Speed fairway wood. Click or zoom to enlarge.
How does the fairway wood perform?
What’s great about the Epic Speed fairway wood is that it mixes low spin with a mid-high launch angle. As you know, this is a recipe for huge distance.
When you catch it solid, distance is some of the longest you’ll see with any fairway wood. The apex height tends to be very good, and at the same time, the descent angle is shallow enough to where the ball can release a great deal.
So, distance potential with the Epic Speed is huge. But perhaps even more impressive is how small the distance variation is — if you can make good enough contact with the ball, your dispersion should be no more than 5-8 yards or so.
In order for the distance and spin performance of the Epic Speed fairway wood to be achieved, some forgiveness naturally needs to be sacrificed.
Indeed, if you make poor contact, your ball will go off line, and the Epic Speed will not save you from the occasional hook or slice.
However, during my tests, forgiveness actually turned out better than I expected it would when it came to distance on off-center hits. There was much less loss there (maybe 3-18 yards depending on the severity of the mis-hit) than you would expect for a fairway wood that puts such a strong emphasis on “speed”.
One thing that stood out to me is just how easy it is to work the ball with the Epic Speed.
You can send it high, keep it low, carve a power cut or power fade around a dogleg, or practically anything else you want. This is really a natural consequence of the forward CG which can produce a lot of sidespin.
Relatively speaking, trajectories with the Epic Speed fairway woods tend to be mid-high and mostly straight, but if anything, there may be just a touch of inherent draw bias. Ball flights tend to be very penetrating and stand up to windy conditions nicely.
What about look, sound & feel?
The Epic Speed has a look that you would expect from a fairway wood meant for mid to low handicappers, with a modest pear shape and average-sized footprint.
The 3-wood is 173 CC, which is almost the same as the original MAVRIK fairway wood; in fact, the Epic Speed looks very similar to the MAVRIK in most respects. The ball appears to set up just a touch towards the heel of the club at address.
I really like the sharp aesthetic of the sole. The cool green accents, which are characteristic of Callaway’s Epic clubs, mesh well with the black and various shades of grey and silver. It’s probably my favourite look out of Callaway’s last few fairway wood releases.
The Sound & Feel
The Epic Speed fairway wood has a nice sharp “metal wood” sound at impact. The feel is very solid and even explosive.
Beyond this, I feel like the Epic Speed has similarities in sound and feel to previous model Callaway fairway woods such as the MAVRIK and even the Big Bertha B21. This is why, if you’re a Callaway player, making the transition from your previous gamer to the Epic Speed should be pretty easy.
Having said that, while the sound is fairly similar across the face, there is a noticeable worsening of feel as you move away from the sweet spot. It’s not extreme, but you will know when you mis-hit a shot — it will feel a little harsher and less explosive.
Where should you buy this fairway wood online?
The Epic Speed fairway wood 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 fairway woods on offer with a 90-day buy-back policy, 12-month warranty, and free headcover included. The women’s variant can be found here.
The Epic Speed is quite expensive. If you want to save money, you can find discounts on eBay.
Just like with the Epic Speed driver, Callaway has done an excellent job in developing a fairway wood with powerful distance potential that also has respectable forgiveness. Much of this is thanks to the new, innovative Jailbreak Velocity Blades.
In addition, the Epic Speed fairway wood is very workable, has a low-spin penetrating trajectory, and feels incredible off the sweet spot.
The Epic Speed can appeal to a wide range of golfers, but it’s best suited for mid to low handicappers who are skilled enough to be able to make consistently solid ball contact. Even though it has decent forgiveness, higher handicaps who mis-hit often will likely have issues and should look to the Epic MAX.
I definitely think it’s worth upgrading to the Epic Speed from the MAVRIK because, at a minimum, it matches its distance and performs better in just about every other category.
Have any thoughts or opinions about the Epic Speed fairway wood? Go ahead and leave a comment below.