- Callaway will offer two fairway wood models – Epic Speed and Epic Max.
- Ball speed targets are in line with Epic Speed drivers.
- MSRP is $299.
The Callaway Epic Speed fairway wood is the latest iteration of Callaway’s Epic franchise. We’ll forgive you if you’re feeling like that might also be the name of the previous version. That was actually Epic Flash. And before that was Epic. Epic Star slid in there as well as a primarily Japanese release. Then, in between copious Epic releases, we had Rogue and, of course, the 2020 Mavrik line.
Citing chapter and verse of each Callaway Epic release over the past four years is an onerous task. And possibly worthy of a Jeopardy question or two.
That said, the Epic franchise is now in its fourth year. And as with every other Epic release, the primary design consideration is class-leading ball speed born, in part, from Callaway’s Jailbreak Technology.
Callaway Epic Speed Commonalities
Every piece of golf equipment is the result of a prioritized design. Because engineers have to work within certain constraints, there isn’t a single club that can optimize every facet of performance. For example, a super-forgiving driver likely won’t also produce the fastest ball speeds. In a nutshell, in design as in life, there are trade-offs.
So, the challenge becomes one where engineers work to accentuate performance in a certain area without introducing significant degradation to another. As the name implies, the Callaway Epic Speed fairway woods are designed to be fast. Frankly, the lack of references to ludicrous speed in Callaway’s marketing materials is marginally disappointing. Call it an opportunity missed. You have to think a quality Spaceballs reference goes a long way with the target audience, right?
All that aside, the point is that Callaway uses the same CT targets in the Epic Speed fairway woods as it does with drivers.
What this means to the consumer is that Callaway constructs the Epic Speed fairway woods to be as fast as those in its flagship drivers.
The hallmark technology of the original Epic line was Jailbreak Technology. Two internal bars connected the crown and sole which increased stiffness that, in turn, generated more ball speed. Reviewing Most Wanted testing results over the past several years reveals an undeniable fact. Callaway consistently churns out drivers that rank at, or very near, the top in terms of ball speed.
The grass is green. The sky is blue. Callaway metalwoods are fast.
The latest rendition of Jailbreak Technology is what Callaway terms AI Velocity Blades. Functionally, the Velocity Blades are similar to the Jailbreak bars but there are key differences. The blades are narrower and sit at an angle rather than upright. Additionally, there’s more space between the blades and they’re positioned closer to the heel and toe.
According to Callaway, the reasoning is twofold. First, the additional space between the blades allows the AI-generated Face Cup design to flex properly. The secondary purpose is to generate torsional stiffness. The original Jailbreak architecture produced vertical stiffness which positively impacted ball speed but often at the expense of forgiveness. Callaway asserts that torsional stiffness allows the face to flex more optimally, particularly on shots struck low on the face.
As with most any new and improved piece of equipment, the standard disclaimer applies. Any increase of 1 mph (or more) of ball speed is a super freakin’ big deal. Most often, we’re talking about fractions, not whole numbers. That said, Callaway quantifies the speed bump as 1.1 mph on center-face strikes and 1.4 mph on lower-face strikes.
Callaway Epic Speed Fairway
Of the two new Epic models, the Callaway Epic Speed is the more playerish, slightly less forgiving option. Compared to Callaway Mavrik, the Epic Speed offers a bit less spin and a dash more ball speed. And though Epic Speed might be less forgiving than Epic Max, it has a 36-percent larger sweet spot than last year’s Mavrik.
It’s also slightly smaller than the Callaway Epic Max and, coupled with a more forward CG location, it’s the model Callaway expects to better meet the needs of higher swing speed players.
We should also note that each face is differentiated by loft and model. What this means is that the face construction should more or less match the “use case” of the individual club. A 3-wood is different from a 7-wood. That is obvious. But static loft aside, how each golfer uses the club can also vary by loft and model.
Put simply, if every club has a specific job, Callaway believes tailoring the face to that task offers golfers more individualized performance. Callaway’s ability to accomplish this is rooted in AI (artificial intelligence).
More or less, AI involves using a supercomputer to create club designs based on specific objectives. The chief benefit of AI is that the computer can iterate much faster than humans. Also, the computer doesn’t have preconceived notions or opinions. So the answers it spits out are often quite different than what any engineer would have suggested.
Callaway Epic Max Fairway
The Callaway Epic Max is, by contrast, larger in terms of volume but with a shallower face. But like the Callaway Epic Speed, each club has a uniquely engineered face based on loft. The standard weighting is also more draw-biased than the Epic Speed. Unlike the Epic Speed, the Epic Max has two moveable weights (two grams and 14 grams).
The weights are located in the front-center and back-center of the sole. Everything being equal, moving the weight forward decreases forgiveness while increasing ball speed and spin but lowering launch angle. In the rear position, it’s the opposite. Forgiveness increases as does the launch angle. However, spin and ball speed decrease.
To be clear, moveable weights allow for subtle changes in performance to further dial in certain performance parameters based on the individual golfer.
Callaway anticipates that golfers with more moderate swing speeds will likely find a better fit with the Epic Max model. That said, by moving the heavier weight forward, better players might find a bit more forgiveness than with the Epic Speed while still generating plenty of ball speed. Again, we’ll have to wait for Most Wanted testing to see how these models perform in the hands of real golfers across multiple handicap and swing speed ranges.
Stock Shafts and Availability
The stock shaft offerings for the Callaway Epic fairway lineup:
Callaway Epic Speed Fairway: Project X Cypher (40g W, 50g L), HZRDUS Smoke IM 10 (60g – R,S, 70 -S), Mitsubishi MMT (70g – X)
Callaway Epic MAX Fairway: Project X Cypher (40g – W, 50g – L), HZRDUS Smoke IM 10 (60g – R,S. 70g – S)
For more information visit Callawaygolf.com.