Fairway wood fitting for consistency, accuracy and distance is one of the more common fittings we perform. When you buy a fairway wood off the rack, there are at least two main issues. First, most fairway woods for the mass market have a very light shaft, usually 60+ grams. For lady golfers, it is even lighter, usually 45 to 50 grams. Out fitting philosophy is to make the fairway wood slightly heavier than your driver shaft. This compensates for the shorter length of shaft in the fairway woods versus the driver so the feel of the club will be consistent. The exception to buying off the rack fairway woods is buying a “tour” or “pro” model. These usually are 80+ grams and are Stiff or Xtra-stiff flex. If shafts are too light for you, your shots can be off line and also cause inconsistent contact.
Second, most fairway wood shafts play much softer than marked on the shaft. It is not uncommon for a Stiff flex shaft to measure out to a Senior flex or lower. This can cause shots to either hook or slice, depending upon your swing profile.
Your swing dynamics can actually make these issues worse. Golfers with a fast tempo, transition and late release will have far more erratic shots with improperly fit fairway wood shafts than golfers with smoother swings. In fact, some golfers can actually play these lighter, softer fairway wood shafts because their loading characteristics allow the shaft to load and release easily with little shot variation.
So, if your fairway woods are in time out, maybe it is time to see how a properly fit shaft can increase consistency, accuracy and distance. You may even drop a stroke or two off your score!