50 Words or Less
The Callaway Epic Speed fairway wood has a great shape and loads of distance. Very good forgiveness. Strong off the tee and turf.
2021 has shown itself to be a banner year for fairway woods. From the big names to the up-and-comers, OEMs are releasing some of their best long game tools in years. I tested the new Epic Speed fairway wood to see if Callaway could retain its spot as an elite FW maker or if it’s getting passed by.
The Callaway Epic Speed fairway wood looks great at address. Its size is average, maybe a touch above, but it has a very slight pear shape that gives it more visual appeal. The face is taller than Epic Max fairway wood [review HERE], just a hint above average overall, but it’s not so tall that players will worry about hitting it off the turf.
In the bag, the Epic Speed is a mini version of the Epic Speed driver [review HERE]. A slash of silver with the “Speed” moniker bisects the sole. One difference that sharp viewers will pick up is that the driver has dots on the sole denoting the location of the Jailbreak Speed Frame. The fairway wood has two small ovals because it uses Jailbreak Velocity Blades instead.
Sound & Feel
As the players fairway wood in the 2021 Callaway line up, the Epic Speed has a predictably quieter impact sound than the Epic Max. The tone is slightly above average in pitch, and it has the metallic character that most expect from a fairway wood.
Feedback through the hands is excellent with the Epic Speed FW. I was never in doubt about where the ball met the face. The quieter impact sound dampens the audio feedback slightly, but you will hear a clear difference between a flushed shot and a poor strike.
It didn’t take many swings for the Callaway Epic Speed fairway wood to reveal itself as an absolute rocket launcher. From the outset, the ball speed was excellent, and the launch and spin were low, producing penetrating ball flights. As always, it’s important to note that I’m a low launch, low spin player, especially with fairway woods, so most players will not hit the Epic Speed quite as low as I do (which is a good thing).
As the fairway wood for the stronger player, the Epic Speed is being offered in more conventional lofts than the Epic Max. In addition to the 3, 5, and 7 woods, Callaway has a 3+ at 13.5 degrees and a 4 wood at 16.5. In looking at my numbers, I think I would likely see my best carry distances from the 4 or 5 wood Epic Speed.
Callaway states that the Epic Speed fairway wood has a “Slight Draw” bias (the Epic Max has a definitive “Draw” bias), but I found it to be fairly neutral in my testing. Good swings produced shots without much curve, and I was able to bend shots to the right without exaggerated effort.
Finally, the aforementioned Velocity Blades do a good job of keeping the Epic Speed from being a “players only” offering. While the forgiveness is not as high as the Epic Max, the Epic Speed does a good job of retaining ball speed on mishits. There’s a clear gradation as you move toward the edges of the face – small misses go almost as far as pure strikes, and truly ugly contacts still go farther than they deserve to.
If you need your fairway wood to go a long way, check out the appropriately named Callaway Epic Speed. This is a distance monster with a great look and surprisingly high forgiveness.