A great looking fairway wood built for better players. A compact head, designed with artificial intelligence, geared for penetrating ball flights and low spin rates. Performance dropped on mis-hits.
Classic looks suits purists
Stable penetrating ball flight
Less forgiving on off-centre strikes
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Callaway Epic Speed Fairway Review
Callaway first released the Epic Speed and Epic Max fairway woods in 2021, replacing the Mavrik line-up. Their popularity saw them roll-over into 2022, holding their own as some of the best Callaway fairway woods on the market and providing a wide range of choice alongside the newer Rogue ST models. The Epic Speed made it onto our Editor's Choice product list for 2021 and was a clear choice to include in this year’s best fairway woods group test.
Callaway has been a pioneer in using A.I. (artificial intelligence) to optimise the performance boundaries in metalwoods. Using a supercomputer to analyse two decades of data on driver and metalwood performance, Callaway wanted to optimise face construction to produce the hottest face possible within legal limits.
The brand’s ‘Flash Face’ technology features in the Epic Speed design alongside an upgrade on Jailbreak technology, two stiff rods that sit behind the face connecting the sole to the crown. The new Jailbreak AI velocity blades are noticeable on the sole of the club and are meant to provide a stiffer face for higher ball speeds no matter the strike location.
The Callaway Epic Speed is clearly designed for the better player, with a compact head and square face with none of the offset or draw bias that is built into more forgiving fairway woods. There’s a 7g weight positioned forward towards the face, promoting a lower launch profile.
To test out the Callaway Epic Speed fairway, we put it through its paces at the performance testing studio at Wynyard Club on Teesside using a Foresight Sports GC Quad launch monitor and Titleist ProV1x golf balls. We backed up indoor testing with a range session and play on Wynyard’s Wellington course.
First impressions count and this is an attractive fairway wood. Its appearance and design suggest it has been created for lower handicappers, competent strikers with traditionalist ideas. Simple, black compact head, minimal graphics and the Callaway chevron logo. White face grooves make it easy to align and the face frames the ball beautifully in the sweet spot.
At impact, the Flash Face SS21 is fast and lively but the sound is high pitched and tinny. With many competitors moving towards a duller, muted impact sound, this puts the Epic Speed alongside Ping G425 models as among the loudest on the market.
In testing, I experienced many of the benefits that Callaway associates with this fairway wood. It launched lowest of any fairway on test, at 12.4°, was the lowest spinning across the entire group test and delivered competitive carry (233 yards) and total distance. Where I struggled to get the best out of the Epic Speed was in consistency of strike and ball speed. It was either centred and extremely long, or mis-hit and short, with little in the middle ground.
The inconsistency in testing produced an average ball speed that was much lower than expected, 145.7 mph compared to the fastest on test at 152.6mph. A drop-off of 7mph that translated to a loss of 10 yards in distance over the longest club on test. There were two factors at play here. My ball striking with the Epic Speed wasn’t as good as with other models and the clubface wasn’t as forgiving on off-centre strikes, versus other leading fairways.
Secondly, the Hzrdus Smoke IM10 shaft was lighter at 60g than I’d usually play and with a mid-spin profile, less suited to my delivery which naturally fits a heavier, lower spinning shaft combination.
Epic Speed is not officially a Sub Zero model, but it plays like one, lowering the spin and promoting a penetrating flight. On the course, I enjoyed hitting a low driving flight that worked well in windy conditions and ran out on the fairways for extra yards.
This fairway wood is a solid fit for any better player who is looking for a backup option to driver and who has a high enough swing speed to make the low spin profile work. It’s a great alternative to a less forgiving driving or utility iron and has plenty of power and accuracy to be effective off the tee and useful going into par five holes.
To close, Epic Speed might not say LS on the clubhead but that’s what it is, a powerful low-spinning fairway that will suit anyone who spins their fairways too much and wants a more powerful option between driver and hybrid or utility iron.
Matthew Moore fell in love with golf hitting an old 3-iron around his school playing field imagining rugby posts were flags and long jump pits as bunkers.
He earned golf scholarships to the University of St Andrews and Emory University, Atlanta, U.S.A and dreamed of playing professionally before training as a journalist.
He has worked at Golf Monthly and CNN Sports as well as covering golf news, features, products and travel as a freelance writer and TV presenter for newspapers, magazines and corporate clients. Matthew has interviewed Ryder Cup Captains, Major Champions and legends of the game and rates sharing a glass of rioja and a bowl of nuts with Miguel Angel Jimenez as his favourite moment. Matthew plays off 1, has won five club championships and aced the first hole of Augusta National’s Par-3 course in 2002.
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