Expert Review: 2021 Callaway Epic Speed Driver

Published on 03/14/2023 · 8 min readThis review is my own honest opinion of the driver, which I bought with my own money in October 2021.
Paul Gaita, Golf Expert
By Golf Expert Paul Gaita

Photo by Paul G

About this review This review is my own honest opinion of the driver, which I bought with my own money in October 2021.

My take

The Callaway Epic Speed Driver delivers high ball speeds and forgiveness while maintaining workability and a classic look. This driver is suited to perform for a wide range of golfers and is aimed at the mid-low handicap bracket.

Photo by Paul Gaita

About the club I own

About me

  • Average score: Mid 70s to low 80s, although there are some bigger numbers mixed in there
  • Handicap: 3.8
  • Experience: 8
  • Right/Left-Handed: Right-handed
  • Typical ball flight: Straight to slight draw
  • Golf ball used: Bridgestone Tour B X
  • Driver swing speed: 105 - 110mph

Test conditions

  • When I tested the club: September 2021
  • When I bought the club: October 2021
  • Days tested/owned: 40
  • Where I’ve used it: Driving Range; On course at Glenwood Country Club, Battleground Country Club, New Bern Golf and Country Club, Carolina Colours Golf Club; Indoor with a Trackman Simulator
  • Weather and wind conditions: All kinds of weather - from warm days on the course in North Carolina, to cold, wet, and windy days back up in the Northeast - anywhere from 30-80 degrees and up to 30mph winds. I’ll play in just about any conditions!

How it performed

Distance
5/5
Forgiveness
5/5
Launch
5/5
Sound
5/5
Workability
5/5
Feel
4/5

What I was looking for

I just felt like I was working way too hard to get good results out of my previous driver, the Cobra F9. My misses were getting bigger and it was getting more difficult to work the ball right to left. I was happy with my distance, as it was around a 260 carry on average, but wanted to see if I could squeeze a bit more out as well.

Why I chose this club

I had purchased the Callaway Epic Speed 3 Wood a few months before testing the driver. I was very impressed with the forgiveness and distance that I was getting from the 3 wood so I wanted to give the driver a chance. I tested the Epic Speed Driver for a few weeks before I made the purchase, but I knew right away after hitting it that I was going to buy one. I considered a new Cobra Radspeed Driver as well, but I saw instant results with the Epic Speed. And to be honest, I just love the simple, classic look of the Epic Speed.

What I love about it

  • Distance: I definitely gained distance when I made the switch to the Epic Speed Driver. I was carrying the Cobra around 260 for an average total of about 275-280 after roll. On average, the Epic Speed carried up to 275 with rollout and sometimes over 300 yards.
  • Forgiveness: I’m really impressed with the forgiveness on off-center strikes with the Epic Speed. For me, a pretty standard mis-hit is a high toe strike, and although I can still feel the mis-hit at impact, the club itself feels extremely stable and the results are impressive. I’m still seeing carry distances in the 260 range even on a high toe strike. Callaway has been working on their jailbreak tech for years now, trying to help keep ball speeds up all across the face - and I must say I think it's paid off!
  • Feel: This club feels super solid and stable, while still providing feedback on strike. I really like to be able to feel where I strike the ball on the face, and while the forgiveness and ball speeds remain high across the face, I can definitely feel when I hit the middle, heel, or toe.
  • Sound: Sound is a very subjective thing but I really love the sound of this driver. It has a muted, dull, crack that is just beautiful sounding. Though sound is a personal preference, I haven’t heard a better-sounding driver.
  • Workability: This club sits very neutral behind the ball, which inspires confidence for me to be able to shape it both ways. My standard shot shape is a slight draw, and when I just swing smooth, that shot comes out easily. I also have no problem hitting a fade or a larger draw when necessary.
  • Adjustability: Callaway has a cool opti-fit hosel that adjusts lie and loft without rotating the shaft, so for those who use align grips, they can make adjustments without having to regrip. I can adjust up 2 degrees and down 1 degree from standard loft, and adjust lie for neutral and draw. I have a 9 degree driver which I brought down to 8 degrees and keep the lie setting neutral.
  • Shaft Performance: This shaft performs very well for my swing - it feels easy to load and light enough to get some extra swing speed but strong enough to handle 105-110 mph swingers. The feel of the shaft combined with the way the head sits behind the ball gives me the confidence to shape the ball both ways.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: I absolutely love the look of this driver. The head has a really nice classic pear-type shape with a beautiful carbon crown and nice dark grey titanium face. The crown has the Callaway Chevron lineup logo which is simple and practical, and there is a really cool green sparkle/glitter finish on the crown that really shows when the sun hits it.
  • Grip Feel: I had this club fit with the Golf-Pride MMC midsize plus 4 grip which is my normal grip size and it feels great. There are a ton of different grip options for this club so it can be customized to each person’s preferences.
  • Launch Angle: When I tested this club indoors with a trackman I was seeing an average of around 13-15 degrees of launch, which is just about perfect for me for maximizing my distance. Out on the course, I feel like I can launch it up over some trees to cut a corner if necessary, but I can also keep the flight down if I need to.
  • Spin: When I tested indoors with a trackman I was getting spin rates in the low to mid-2000s when struck out of the middle, which is ideal for me. Out on the course I’m getting distance that would be consistent with those spin rates.

Photo by Paul Gaita

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Shaft Feel: I expected the shaft to feel a bit less flexy than it does. Considering it is a 6.5 or “x-stiff” flex, it feels on the softer side of that, if not closer to a standard stiff flex. The Evenflow Riptide is designed for a smooth tempo, and even though my swing speed is relatively high, my tempo is very moderate so this shaft works for me. I would say for golfers who get up near and above 110 mph swing speed or have a more aggressive transition, maybe look into one of the HZRDUS X-stiff options.

Photo by Paul Gaita

Best shot with this club

At my home course, the 12th hole is a 510-yard par 5 that sweeps hard to the right the entire way. The tee shot is either a long iron or a large fade with a driver to a narrow landing area between two fairway bunkers on the right, and woods on the left. My first time on this tee with the Epic Speed, I teed up on the right side of the box and aimed up the left side to play a big fade. I made a good swing and the shot was executed perfectly. A beautiful low fade that traced the contour of the hole, fading about 20 yards along the way, and bounded down the middle of the fairway leaving me about 210 in on this par 5. So that’s a 300-yard drive (with rollout) with a fade shape - incredible!

Value for the money vs. other options

The Epic Speed from Callaway sits right in the same price bracket as most of the other major brands - Titleist and Ping come in at around $550, the Epic series is $530 - same as the Taylormade SIM2 lineup. I put this up against the Cobra Radspeed which is in the lower price bracket at $450. Cobra always prices their drivers a bit cheaper and while the Radspeed is an amazing club for the price, the Callaway Epic Speed outperformed it during my testing. In my testing, the Callaway Epic Speed was the best performing club among all the brands I just mentioned, and well worth the price tag. I can see myself gaming this club for a few more years at least.

Final verdict

Anyone in the market for a new driver should definitely consider the Callaway Epic Speed. It’s a very high-performing, stable driver that can unlock some extra distance and forgiveness for a wide range of skill levels.

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