2013 Buyer’s Guide Woods

FLATTER & WIDER By Jeff Yurkiewicz, PGA

One trick I like to use to add extra oomph to my fairway wood shots is to hit a draw. It can be done, and the solution is pretty simple. First, set up with the ball a little farther away from your body. This will add a lot more width to your swing. Second, at the top of your swing, try to keep your hands lower. This will flatten your backswing, making it easier to swing from inside out. Give it a try the next time you need to make one from the fairway. Draws almost always go farther than fades.

WOODS ARE STILL A POPULAR CATEGORY, much like what we saw in 2012. But how long will the power-hitting fairway-wood trend last? Looks like 2013 shows no sign of slowing down, as we've seen more long-hitting woods than ever before. By the way, hybrids are the de facto clubs in between fairway woods and irons, as even the best players in the world have them in their bag. So what will your set look like this year? More woods? More hybrids? Let this guide help you decide.

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Key Feature: The nicely priced Acer XS fairway wood clubheads have a forged body that's coupled with a thin forged face for explosive distance. Who It's For: Average players who want the satisfaction that comes with building a club from scratch. Wow Factor: As usual, these woods are value-minded, but that doesn't mean they skimp on performance. They're both really long and forgiving. Specs: Three models (15_¡, 18_¡, 21_¡) in an endless selection of shafts and grips. (LH available) hirekogolf.com | $25/clubhead Acer XS Titanium Fairway

Key Feature: The all-titanium construction of the XS is hell-bent on helping golfers hit it farther from the grass. Weight is strategically positioned in the sole plate for added power and stability. Also, the lower lofts help this wood mimic a driver in terms of ballflight. Ka-pow! Who It's For: Golfers who want an all-titanium build in their fairway woods, and who appreciate a great value. Wow Factor: Again, a stellar price, especially considering the club is all titanium. Specs: Two lofts (14_¡, 17_¡) in stock or custom options. hirekogolf.com | $79 Adams Speedline SUPER S

Key Feature: A slot in the sole–just behind the clubface–revs up distance and ball speed. Another slot in the crown boosts trajectory and carry distance. The stainless-steel crown is matte white, face is dark–a nice contrast. Who It's For: Golfers needing significant distance from their fairway woods. This is a distance wood, for sure. Wow Factor: The clubhead is conservatively shaped and low profile, and looks like it can get some serious yardage. Specs: Three lofts (13.5_¡ 3+-wood, 15_¡ 3-wood, 18_¡ 5-wood), with a Matrix HD Radix 65 graphite shaft. (LH and L available) adamsgolf.com | $199 Adams Speedline SUPER LS

Key Feature: A new sole slot and refined crown slot get the ball up without increasing spin, so you'll get plenty of carry. Its spring-like effect is nearly at the USGA maximum, meaning overall distance should be huge. Face angle, length and swing weight are adjustable. Who It's For: Anyone wanting more distance from the fairway and rough. Who needs a driver anyway? Wow Factor: Holy moly, this club is loooooong! Specs: Three lofts (13_¡, 15_¡, 18_¡) as well as lefty models, Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage graphite shaft. adamsgolf.com | $299 Callaway RAZR X Fit Xtreme

Key Feature: "Speed Frame" clubface has an enlarged sweet spot that generates high ball speed across the clubface for distance. An adjustable hosel allows you to tune shot shape and trajectory for those long par-5s. Who It's For: All golfers, especially those who have liked Callaway's fairway woods for a while. (We have.) Wow Factor: It looks awesome and sounds powerful. We mean, it sounds awesome and looks powerful–both work. Specs: Four lofts (3-wood, 4-wood, 5-wood, 7-wood) with an Aldila Trinity graphite shaft. callawaygolf.com | $269 Callaway X Hot

Key Feature: A forged "Speed Frame" face, Warbird sole, and a new Internal Standing Wave (which lowers the CG) combine for, you guessed it, explosive distance. Who It's For: It's for all types of players, especially those who have trouble getting their wood shots off the ground. Wow Factor: Not long ago, this type of long-distance tech would have been more suited for drivers. But now it's in woods. Wow, hitting fairway woods never felt so...manly! Specs: Comes in six lofts (15_¡, 17_¡, 19_¡, 21_¡, 23_¡, 25_¡) with Project X Velocity graphite shafts. Also available in X Hot Pro version. callawaygolf.com | $229 Cleveland CG Black

Key Feature: The CG Black woods are a lot like the driver bearing the same name, replete with a lightweight Speed Crown Design. The low CG launches the ball up in a hurry, resulting in longer and straighter shots both off the fairway and from a tee. And who wouldn't love a Limited Edition Miyazaki C. Kua graphite shaft? We sure do! Who It's For: Fans of the CG Black driver. Wow Factor: It's light, but doesn't feel too light. We like that. Specs: Comes in three lofts (16_¡, 19_¡, 22_¡), with a Miyazaki C. Kua graphite shaft. (LH available) clevelandgolf.com | $199 Cleveland Classic XL

Key Feature: Variable face thickness makes for a huge sweet spot that increases your odds of hitting it on the screws. In fact, the entire clubface is large. The CG is deep, promoting a mid-high launch and low-spin ballflight. Who It's For: Golfers who want a big clubface in their woods. Wow Factor: The sleek black clubhead looks lethal and performs even better. We bombed driver-like hits with it. Specs: Three lofts (16_¡ 3-wood, 19_¡ 5-wood, 22_¡ 7-wood) as well as lefty and women's models, Miyazaki C. Kua 39 Limited Edition shaft. (LH available) clevelandgolf.com | $179 Cobra AMP Cell

Key Feature:

Adjustable loft on the steel clubhead means you can change your trajectory for any weather or course conditions, and customize your distance gaps. The "SmartPad" sole protrusion squares the clubface. Who It's For: All golfers who want some flare in their woods. Wow Factor: Great color choices. We especially love getting essentially six fairway woods in one club. Specs: Two models (13_¡/14_¡/14_¡ Draw, 15_¡/15_¡ Draw, 16_¡ 3/4-wood, 17_¡/18_¡/18_¡ Draw, 19_¡/19_¡ Draw, 20_¡ 5/7-wood), as well as lefty models, Fujikura Fuel graphite shaft. cobragolf.com | $275

Cobra Baffler T-Rail+

Key Feature: A shallow, high-strength steel clubface and low CG act together to boost trajectory, right off of impact. Tungsten sole weights generate high and long ballflight. Who It's For: Golfers wanting higher, more penetrating ballflight from their fairway woods. Which speaking of, have a very low profile to help inspire confidence. Wow Factor: Any Baffler club is great. This is the best yet. Specs: Four lofts (13_¡ 3+-wood, 16_¡ 3-wood, 18_¡ 5-wood, 20_¡ 7-wood), as well as lefty and women's models, Graphite Design G-series shaft. hirekogolf.com | $179 Fourteen Golf SF-511

Key Feature: Designed for better players who tend to prefer lower-lofted fairway woods, the SF-511 has a compact shape and U-shape sole that handles shots fired off uneven lies just as well as from the fairway. The thin cupface design ensures solid contact across a greater area of the face, and even though it's made for better players, it still retains a high level of forgiveness. Who It's For: Better players who want lower lofts. Wow Factor: The "highlight film" makes the head look sharp! Specs: Comes in two lofts (14_¡, 17_¡) with MD-350gf shafts. fourteengolf.com | $329 Mizuno JPX-825

Key Feature: The multi-thickness, steel clubface, thin crown and thick sole combine to deliver an easy launch, high ball speed and consistent distance. A square clubface angle and internal weighting translates to mis-hit stability, while a beveled sole eases turf interaction. Who It's For: Anyone needing help producing meaningful long shots from the fairway. Wow Factor: A much, much higher launch than we expected. Specs: Two lofts (15_¡ 3-wood, 18_¡ 5-wood) in right-handed only, Fujikura Orochi Blue Eye 65 graphite shaft. mizunogolf.com | $199 Nike VR_S Covert Tour

Key Feature: The adjustable club's "High Speed Cavity Back"–covered by the crown yet visible from the sole–moves weight to the corners, which boosts forgiveness and mis-hit distance. Dual Axis adjustment allows you to choose loft and face angle independently of each other. Who It's For: Better players wanting several loft options in one clubhead. (There's also a nonadjustable version.) Wow Factor: Love the adjustable loft and red color. Specs: Two Lofts (13_¡/17_¡ 3-wood, 17_¡/21_¡ 5-wood), as well as lefty models, Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Silver 70 shaft. nikegolf.com | $199 Orlimar TriMetal ZX

Key Feature: Designed to fight the fade, this stainless-steel clubhead features a precisely located tungsten weight, 2_¡ closed face, offset hosel and strong maraging clubface. A low CG helps lift the ball. Who It's For: Golfers on a budget who want a bona-fide slice-killer from the fairway. Wow Factor: It has good DNA; the brand has a great history of producing outstanding fairway woods. Nice price, too. Specs: Comes in two lofts (3-wood, 5-wood) with an Aldila graphite shaft. orlimar.com | $199 Ping Anser

Key Feature: Loft is adjustable by +/-1/2_¡, which essentially gives you three fairway woods in one clubhead. That allows you to tune distance and accuracy. The compact steel clubhead has rear sole weighting, which helps generate low-spin ballflights for awesome distance. Who It's For: All golfers, from hacker to Tour pro wanting some loft flexibility in a great wood. Wow Factor: Cool looking, the performance is outstanding. Specs: Three base lofts (14.5_¡ 3-wood, 16.5_¡ 4-wood, 18.5_¡ 5-wood), Anser TFC 800F graphite shaft. ping.com | $249 Ping G25

Key Feature: Designed to be not only long, but also versatile from different lies, these woods have the thinnest face ever in a PING wood. The external sole weight lowers the CG for high, long-flying launch. Who It's For: All player types. It's also specially designed to help players who miss low on the clubface. Wow Factor: We love the all-black look; and listen up: These are spectacular woods. They're PING's best to date. Specs: Four lofts (15_¡, 16_¡, 18_¡, 21_¡) with PING TFC 189F graphite shafts. (LH available) ping.com | $229 Taylormade R11S

Key Feature: The classically shaped fairway woods feature an adjustable sole plate and boast improved sound, an optimized CG and a 1.5_¡ FCT sleeve that allows golfers to make an adjustment range of 3_¡ of lie and 3_¡ loft/6_¡ face angle. It's not a new club, but check out that discounted price! Who It's For: Tinkerers and golfers who want the kind of adjustability normally reserved for Tour players. Wow Factor: 24 different settings here, so have at it! Specs: Five lofts, Aldila RIP Phenom 70 shaft. Comes in a TP version, too. (LH available) taylormadegolf.com | $149 Taylormade RocketBallz Stage 2

Key Feature: The clubhead is made of thin, high-strength "Rocket Steel" that helps boost clubhead speed and thus distance by up to 10 yards over last year's RocketBallz fairway woods. A speed pocket slot on the sole flexes at impact to promote faster ball speed. Who It's For: Everyone. There's also a Tour version that has an adjustable hosel for a finely tuned launch. Wow Factor: The shallow face design is, in a word, awesome. Specs: Four lofts (15_¡ 3-wood, 17_¡ 3HL-wood, 19_¡ 5-wood, 23_¡ 7-wood), Matrix RocketFuel 60 shaft. taylormadegolf.com | $249 Titleist 913F

Key Feature: A classic pear-shaped clubhead that delivers distance with stability. The flat sole weight and tapered hosel help position CG lower than in its predecessor 910F, for less spin and more stability, forgiveness and distance. Loft and lie can be independently adjusted. Who It's For: Golfers wanting distance and forgiveness. Wow Factor: These flat-out crush the ball. Specs: Five lofts (13.5_¡, 15_¡, 17_¡, 19_¡, 21_¡), Aldila RIP Phenom 80, Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 82, Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Blue 72 and Titleist Bassara W 55/45 shafts. titleist.com | $279 Titleist 913F.d Low Spin

Key Feature: A full pear-shaped clubhead that delivers distance with lower spin than 913F, from low and forward weighting for a more penetrating flight. The flat sole weight and tapered hosel help position CG low. Loft and lie can be independently adjusted. Who It's For: Serious golfers wanting spin reduction. Wow Factor: Remind us, why do we need a driver? Wow! Specs: Two lofts (13.5_¡, 15_¡), Aldila RIP Phenom 80, Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 82, and Mitsubishi S+ Blue 72 shafts. titleist.com | $279 Tour Edge Exotics XCG6

Key Feature: A beta-titanium cupface, high-density steel body and tungsten sole plate are combo-brazed together, resulting in more efficient energy at impact. The deep-faced wood has most of its total clubhead weight in the heel and toe, for stability and forgiveness. Variable face thickness helps mis-hit distance. Who It's For: All golfers. Wow Factor: We love deep-faced fairway woods. A lot. Specs: Six lofts (11.5_¡, 13_¡, 15_¡, 16.5_¡, 18_¡, 21_¡) with an Exotics Matrix Ozik HD or Graphite Design Tour AD graphite shafts..

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