2010 Buyer’s Guide Woods

Today's fairway woods and hybrids are bigger, longer and easier to hit than ever.

Looking to finally reach that long par-5 in two? How about actually hitting the green from 200 yards away, in the rough? With this year's offering of new fairway woods and hybrids, we suspect you'll be hitting shots you never thought possible.

Golf Tips Legend Our picks for new technologies, hot trends and equipment standouts.

Choosing the right club–that too has gotten a lot easier. We think fairway woods, in general, have become much easier to hit. All you have to do is dial in the right loft and shaft and you'll be ready to scorch up the par-5s and hit more fairways on those tricky short par-4s. Check out our picks for the best new fairway woods and hybrids of 2010.

Acer XDS Insider Key Feature: A Square Optical Alignment System designed to help each club sit squarely behind the ball, regardless of loft. The crown has variable thickness for better energy transfer and a higher MOI. What We Like: They're a cinch to align and, dare we say, among the best value of any club we've seen in 2010. Who It's For: Players looking for straighter, more consistent shots with their fairway woods. Specs: Comes in three lofts (16_¡, 19_¡, 22_¡) with custom shaft options. hirekogolf.com | $19.95 (clubhead) Adams Speedline Fast 10 Key Feature: A new cambered sole for added versatility and a weight pad located in the heel for a higher MOI. What We Like: Is it a hybrid or a fairway wood? Could be both. It's easy to hit and slips through even the thickest turf with a lot more ease than a traditionally shaped fairway wood does. Who It's For: All players, especially those who prefer the looks of a more compact hybrid. Specs: Comes in three lofts (13_¡, 15_¡, 18_¡) with Aldila Wasabi or Matrix HD graphite shafts. adamsgolf.com | $199 Adams Speedline 9032Ti Key Feature: An ultralight crown, ultralow CG, a titanium body and a whopping 80 grams' worth of tungsten weights in the sole. What We Like: The weight port allows for slight weight adjustments, but what we really like is the shape. It too has hybrid looks, but with one crack, it proves itself as a distance leader in fairway woods. Who It's For: Players who want to launch it a mile off the turf (distance freaks). Specs: Comes in three lofts (13_¡, 14.5_¡, 18_¡) and uses Aldila VooDoo NV graphite shafts. adamsgolf.com | $329

bobby jones Player Series Key Feature: The unique shape uses a forged, maraging-steel face insert for a lower CG and a higher trajectory. What We Like: The old-meets-new geometry. Classic lines mask a newer, triangular shape. All players can't help but notice how sharp they look. The high-launch characteristics are ideal for players who want more carry and distance from their woods. Who It's For: Slow to moderate swingers who could use some extra lift. Specs: Comes in four lofts (13_¡, 15_¡, 17_¡, 19_¡) with Graphite Design JS shafts. bobbyjonesgolf.net | $200 bridgestone J38 Fairway Key Feature: A low-profile head and a CG optimized for higher- and longer-flying golf shots. What We Like: The Fuji Motore shaft is a great choice, and the shallow profile makes the face longer for added forgiveness on off-center strikes. Who It's For: Good to better players who want forgiveness from a fairway wood with a perfectly square (no draw bias) clubface angle and weighting setup. Specs: Comes in three different lofts (15_¡, 18_¡, 21_¡) with Fujikura Motore graphite shafts. bridgestonegolf.com | $199 callaway Diablo Edge Key Feature: The Diablo Edge features extreme perimeter weighting and the highest MOI of any Callaway wood. What We Like: The VFT (Variable Face Technology) helps make these woods extremely forgiving, not to mention exceptionally long off the tee. Who It's For: Golfers who want big distance and forgiveness. Better players will appreciate the Tour version that produces a more penetrating trajectory with a neutral weight bias. Specs: Five lofts (15_¡, 17_¡, 19_¡, 21_¡, 24_¡) with a Diablo Edge graphite shaft. callawaygolf.com | $199 Callaway FT-iZ Key Feature: A carbon- composite crown is combined with a stainless-steel body and clubface with aggressive weighting placed at the heel, toe and rear of the triangular clubhead for a sky-high MOI. What We Like: Square was so 2009. The new triangular shape makes more sense and is easier on the eyes. It's crazy long from the fairway. Who It's For: Those who want a fairway wood that delivers seriously straight shots from the tee or fairway. Specs: Five lofts (13_¡, 15_¡, 18_¡, 21_¡, 24_¡) with a Callaway FT-iZ graphite shaft. callawaygolf.com | $299 Cleveland HiBORE XLS Key Feature: Bigger than previous versions, the crown section has"stability foils" for enhanced alignment. In addition, the MOI is high, making these woods very stable at impact. What We Like: The looks take no getting used to. Hitting par-5s in two though–that's another story. Who It's For: Golfers looking for the ideal blend of distance, trajectory (high) and spin (moderately high) from a classy-looking fairway wood. Specs: Four lofts (13_¡, 15_¡, 19_¡, 22_¡) and Gold/Red Fujikura Fit-On shafts. clevelandgolf.com | $179 Cleveland Launcher DST Key Feature: The Launcher head was tweaked with a super thin crown, but it's the new lightweight shaft (64 grams) that's really turning heads. What We Lsike: It's really fast. The light shaft helps beef up clubhead speed, and it does so without making the club feel off balance or too light in our hands. Who It's For: Golfers who want a faster swing speed without having to do anything but switch clubs. Specs: Comes in five lofts (13_¡, 15_¡, 17_¡, 19_¡, 22_¡) with Mitsubishi Diamana Red graphite shafts. clevelandgolf.com | $179

Cobra S2 Key Feature: A rounded sole design helps add some versatility, and the heel weighting helps make it easier to square the clubface at impact. What We Like: The S2 doesn't have a lot of frills; rather it seems they were designed to make matters less complicated. The ball flies long and straight. What else do you want? The offset version is great for slicers, as well. Who It's For: All types of golfers. Specs: Comes in three lofts (17_¡, 19.5_¡, 22.5_¡) with Cobra Fit-On Max graphite shafts. S2 Offset also available. cobragolf.com | $169 Hippo XXL Key Feature: An easy-to-hit design that's a big confidence-booster behind the golf ball. The weighted screws in the head can be adjusted, resulting in added customization. What We Like: The adjustability is useful, but it's the playability we really like. They're just so easy to hit. We like it set for a fade-bias, actually. Folks in the U.K. love them! Who It's For: High- to mid-handicappers looking for a great value. Specs: Comes in three lofts (15_¡, 19_¡, 23_¡) with a Hippo graphite shaft. hippo-golf.com | $99 Mizuno MP Titanium Key Feature: A better player's titanium fairway wood, the CG is low on the face but not way back. This means a more piercing ballflight and greater shotmaking ability, both with a healthy dose of forgiveness. What We Like: All the above. It's long and the ballflight doesn't balloon up. It's among the best driver alternatives we've seen this year. Who It's For: Players who want distance and shotshaping ability in their woods. Specs: Comes in three lofts (13.5_¡, 15_¡, 18_¡) with a variety of shaft options. mizunousa.com | $249 Nike SQ MACHSPEED Key Feature: Its streamlined square shape adds more aerodynamics and pushes weight toward the corners for ample forgiveness and a high MOI. What We Like: Like the driver, it's square but not that square. It's super easy to set up with and looks great behind the golf ball. Oh, and it's long and quite accurate, as well. Who It's For: Mid- to high-handicappers who want a high-MOI fairway wood. Specs: Comes in four lofts (15_¡, 17_¡, 19_¡, 21_¡) with an SQ MACHSPEED graphite shaft. nikegolf.com | $199 Nike Victory Red Key Feature: The 455 steel face and the Split Compression Chamber work in unison to produce faster ball speeds and longer shots. What We Like: Looks that come straight from the Tour. A classic pear shape and a ballflight that's a cinch to manipulate. The STR8-FIT tech is a nice touch, too. Who It's For: Better players who want distance control, maneuverability and forgiveness on off-center hits. Specs: Comes in four lofts (13_¡, 15_¡, 17_¡, 19_¡) with a STR8-FIT Aldila VooDoo graphite shaft. nikegolf.com | $249 Ping G15 Key Feature: An external weight is low and deep in the sole, resulting in CG that's also low and deep. The low profile enables a longer length from heel to toe for more forgiveness. What We Like: Stainless steel has a great feel, and the ball launches high and far. The draw version is a slicer's dream. Who It's For: Anyone who wants higher and longer shots that fly straight. Specs: Comes in four different lofts (15.5_¡, 17_¡, 18.5_¡, 21.5_¡) and two shaft options, including five versions of PING's stock TFC 149F. pinggolf.com | $199

Ping i15 Key Feature: A weighting scheme that actually has a fade bias. This is so better players can more easily manipulate the trajectory and hit a variety of shots. What We Like: It's forgiving, but also really responsive. We aren't pros, but hitting high, low, fade or draw shots was easy to do with this shotmaker. Who It's For: Better players who like to shape shots, but also want forgiveness from an all-stainless-steel design. Specs: Comes in three lofts (14_¡, 15.5_¡, 18.5_¡) with PING TFC 700 or UST Mamiya AXIVCore graphite shafts. pinggolf.com | $229 Powerbilt Air Force One Key Feature: Like the driver, these woods have pressurized nitrogen (up to 150 psi) for added strength without any extra weight behind the face. What We Like: Besides the nitrogen, these are actually remarkably easy to hit and launch the ball high in a hurry. Could Powerbilt be making a comeback? We sure think so. Who It's For: Anyone who wants some woods that are easy to hit and sneaky long from the fairway or tee. Specs: Comes in three lofts (15_¡, 19_¡, 21_¡) with Powerized graphite shafts. powerbilt.com | $199 Srixon Z-TX Key Feature: Weight is placed in the perimeter of the clubhead for major forgiveness and a high MOI. The maraging-steel face has variable face-thickness tech that's hot practically everywhere you can hit it. What We Like: We weren't expecting it to be so incredibly long and easy to it. Who It's For: They may have been designed for better players, but just about everyone will fall in love with these woods. Specs: Comes in two lofts (15_¡, 17_¡) with an MR Diamana graphite shaft. srixon.com | $249 Taylormade Burner HL Key Feature: Its dual crown helps save weight in the clubhead and lower the CG 35 percent more than the previous Burner fairway model. What We Like: Its very deep CG means it's forgiving and easy to launch. Its SuperFast technology promotes a faster swing speed. Who It's For: Average Joes who need to get the ball airborne. A Tour model gives "sticks" a lower launch option. Specs: Comes in three lofts (15_¡, 18_¡, 21_¡). Shaft options include the RE*AX 70 FW and RE*AX SF 49 FW. taylormadegolf.com | $199 Taylormade R9 Key Feature: Adjust the hosel to adjust your shot shape with Flight Control Technology that results in up to 36 yards of differing trajectories. What We Like: We like the FCT, but how __ðbout that head shape? It looks great and feels sweet behind the ball. Who It's For: People who want adjustability from a fairway wood. Also, those who like the benefits of pull-face construction for a hotter clubface. Better players will dig the R9 TP version. Specs: Comes in four lofts (13, 15_¡, 19_¡, 21_¡) with Fujikura Motore shafts. taylormadegolf.com | $229 Titleist 909F2 Key Feature: A round profile and large face yield high-launch/mid-spin shots. What We Like: Its modern shape creates a deep CG. Its larger, longer face gives a confidence boost. The Carpenter steel insert increases ball speed. Who It's For: Golfers who need help getting the ball airborne. Specs: Comes in three different lofts (13.5_¡, 15.5_¡, 18.5_¡) and two stock shafts (Diamana Blue 75 and Aldila VooDoo). Body constructed from 17-4 stainless steel; features a 275 Carpenter steel face insert. titleist.com | $199

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