2014 Buyer's Guide Woods
Hybrid technology is right up there with fairway woods
Cobra GolfKey Features: The new BiO Cell is chock-full of new tech, including a high-strength steel face insert and SmartPad tech, which uses a simple window in the hosel that allows for an 8-way, custom, on-the-fly fit without the unnecessary confusion.
Wow Factor: Great colors to choose from (blue, red, orange, black, silver), and the SmartPad took the headache out of adjusting the loft. Do you really need to know that more loft equals a more closed face, and less loft means a more square-to-open face? Nah… There's a D model for added slice reduction, as well.
Specs: Five colors, ten lofts (13°, 13.5°, 14.5°, 15.5°, 16°, 17°, 17.5°, 18.5°, 19.5°, 20°), with a Grafalloy Project X graphite shaft.
cobragolf.com | $219
Cobra GolfKey Features: The oversized rails guide the club through just about any type of surface, and the low and deep CG fires the ball up into the air in a hurry.
Wow Factor: The rails on the sole really, really work. It's as though they straighten and square the face through impact with the golf ball. With hybrids, we prefer accuracy over distance anyway, and the Baffler XL ranks high in the easy-to-hit category. We don't like to say it's almost like cheating, but too late! We just said it. Oh, well.
Specs: Four lofts (13°, 16°, 18°, 20°), with a Baffler XL graphite shaft.
cobragolf.com | $179
ExoticsKey Features: It's gotta be the Slip Stream sole design that looks like a series of wavy lines/rails, which makes it more stable as the club glides through the turf. Add on the beta-titanium face and hyper-steel body, and you have a Tour-caliber fairway wood sure to please golfers who want titanium power in a shotmaker's fairway wood. It's expensive, but such great technology doesn't come cheap.
Wow Factor: The Slip Stream sole is stunning. You won't want to get it dirty. As for performance, this is our favorite Tour Edge Exotics wood, to date. It's easy to hit and crazy-long. All that, and you can shape shots with relative ease. The low-lofted models? Yeah, they're longer than some drivers we tried. (Don't tell.)
Specs: Five lofts (13.5°, 14.5°, 15.5°, 16.5°, 17.5°), with a Fujikura Speeder graphite shaft.
touredge.com | $499
ExoticsKey Features: The XCG7 is designed to get the ball airborne in a hurry and fly the ball as far as possible. Easy, right? It actually is, thanks to the maraging-steel face and the low-profile crown design.
Wow Factor: If you want a no-nonsense, long-hitting, super-forgiving fairway wood, the XCG7 is sure to please. If you want a little more workability, there's also the XCG7 Beta, with a deeper face and a CG positioned for a lower launch. Either way, you really can't go wrong here.
Specs: Five lofts (13°, 15°, 16.5°, 18°, 21°), with a Fujikura Exotics Fuel shaft.
touredge.com | $249
Fourteen GolfKey Features: Fourteen makes beautiful products, no doubt. But usually they cater to better players. The SF-612 is designed for them, too, but the shallow-face design is certainly going to attract a wider range of players. The versatile "Boat Shape" sole actually is shaped like the bottom of a boat, and the CG is deep and high for a penetrating launch.
Wow Factor: Each lofted model is designed independently, meaning each wood is finely tuned for loft, face progression, length, weight and so on.
The D0 swingweight is light, making it a good choice for moderate to slower swing speeds. It's really long.
Specs: Four lofts (16°, 19°, 22°, 25°), with a MD-335f graphite shaft.
fourteengolf.com | $349
MizunoKey Features: A hot-maraging steel face married with a steel frame that, when combined, creates a very powerful wood. We're happy to see the JPX-EZ has a deepface design, which in our mind makes it easier to swap in and get used to when driver isn't the right play off the tee.
Wow Factor: Awesome aesthetics, and we really appreciate how, despite the deepface design, the ball still rockets up into the air. And, by the way, Mizuno knows how to make a club that just feels good. This one felt good before we even swung it. And when we hit it, it only got better. We only wish it had a few more loft options, though. Give it a try, and you'll be surprised at how easy it is.
Specs: Two lofts (15°, 18°), with a Fujikura Orochi graphite shaft.
mizunogolf.com | $199
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