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Choosing Fairway Woods
A typical set of golf clubs would include a 3 wood (15 degree loft) and a 5 wood (18 degree loft). We hardly do anything traditional anymore for a couple of reasons. If we fit you into a 12 or 13 degree driver, we would likely put you into a 16.5 or 17 degree 4 wood as your next club because you may have difficulty in getting a standard 3 wood in the air. This added loft would give you more distance as well. The next club in your bag would likely be a 7 wood (21 degree loft) or a 3 Hybrid (20 degree loft). A similar scenario could apply if you hit your driver a long ways and find yourself hitting your 3 wood too far on par 5’s and 5 wood not long enough. The perfect choice would be a 4 wood and drop the 3 and 5 wood. Because lofts are also a measure of how high you will hit the ball for a given swing speed, we really work hard to give you the proper distance gaps with your fairway woods by choosing the proper wood lofts.
Depending upon the types of courses you play and the tightness of the fairways, you may want to consider a strong 3 wood (13 degree, also called a 3+) so you have a longer club off the tee if fairways are tight. Most professional golfers use a driver, 3+ and 5 wood or go the other way with a driver, 4 wood (16 degree) and 7 wood (21 to 24 degree). This gives you more options off the tee and off the fairway.
Why YOU Need New Fairway Woods
OK, let’s be honest. You probably have at least one driver that you purchased in the last year or two. More than likely, it is white, right? But when was the last time you purchased a new fairway wood….and one that actually worked for you? Let’s talk about the two issues that need to be addressed before you can hit your fairway woods the way you should.
First, most fairway woods have shafts that are too light and too flexible. Each manufacturer decides which shaft weight they will use in their fairways woods and they are usually too light as compared to your driver. The standard weight differential from driver to fairway wood is 10 grams. So if you are playing a 65 gram driver, your fairway woods should be 75 grams. Shaft flex is also an issue. Most fairway wood shafts that are marked S (stiff) flex will actually play much softer flex due to the weight of the fairway wood head. The rare exception that we have seen is the TaylorMade RBZ fairway woods that actually play pretty true to flex. What this means is that your consistency of ball striking, accuracy and distance are being compromised. All is not lost, however. With a proper fitting you can actually change shafts and get much better performance out of your existing fairway woods.
The second reason you should look at new fairway woods is the new designs from TaylorMade and Adams. Research by TaylorMade has shown that the average male golfer has too low of launch angle and creates too much spin to optimize distance with his fairway woods. Most golfers hit their fairway woods with a descending blow (negative attack angle), and hit the ball below the center of gravity of the club face. These two factors alone create a tremendous amount of spin that reduces distance. The new designs have moved the center of gravity to create a higher launching trajectory. And, the slot designs have created more trampoline effect so these heads are actually hotter, and still within the COR guidelinies of the USGA. We have tested the Adams XTD Ti fairway woods on our TrackMan ball flight monitors and our average spin reduction was 700 rpm and distance gains of 12 to 21 yards.
Now, to have the absolute best performance, you should not only embrace the new head designs but get properly fit for the shaft that matches your swing. Then you will have the best of ALL worlds…Distance, Consistency and Accuracy.
Your call on the RBZ 3HL and the shaft was perfect! Almost as long as my driver. You are the BEST! -David W., Washington, DC (July, 2012)
A thinner and expanded carbon-composite crown gives this wood forgiveness and power. Nine grams of saved weight from the crown are relocated low and along the perimeter for a higher launch. A center section in the sole improves turf interaction. A wider sole slot provides more flex at impact, which equals more ball speed. Finally, the face shape twists open at the toe and closed at the heel to bring off-center shots back toward the target. –TaylorMade Golf
“Callaway has spent the past few years outfitting its fairway woods with driver features, including its “jailbreak” technology for more face flex. Now Callaway borrows the artificial intelligence that fueled its new driver face and modified it for a fairway wood: The variable-thickness face’s unique, thicker perimeter ring creates more flexing, even low on the face. Ten adjustable heads in two styles (one for low spin) with lofts into the mid-20s mean there’s a fit for everyone. ” –Callaway Golf
“Similar to the TS2/TS3 drivers, these fairway woods embrace speed-enhancing features. Among them are a very thin, center-of-gravity-lowering crown and a thinner, high-strength steel- alloy face. Completing the speed push is the sole slot, which cuts deeper into the head to create more flexing, especially on thin shots. The TS3 has a weight cylinder that dials in a draw or fade, and the more-forgiving TS2 is designed to launch the ball higher.”
“A lot of fairway woods position weight in the rear for forgiveness, but here the center of gravity is closer to the face for improved energy transfer and less spin. A raised structure also stiffens the crown for consistent speed across the face. Weight saved by a lightweight carbon-composite crown makes room for eight sole screws of varying weight for adjusting spin, launch and direction. Finally, the crown’s matte finish reduces glare at address.” – PX