2014 Buyer's Guide Woods
Hybrid technology is right up there with fairway woods
NikeKey Features: The huge High Speed Cavity in the back region of the sole helps increase heel/toe weighting for more control, and the CG is placed closer to the face for greater transfer of energy. The result? Big hits without the ballooning ballflight once associated with fairway woods. Also, the adjustable hosel allows for a fine-tuned fit.
VR_S Covert Tour
Wow Factor: We dig the red! Shots hit with the Covert Tour fly like you'd expect a Tour wood should: long and with a flat arc. The non-Tour, non-adjustable VR_S Covert is also available for golfers who want the bennies that come from the cavity back, but aren't obsessed with adjusting loft and face angles.
Specs: Two lofts (15,° 19°), with an MRC Kuro Kage Silver graphite shaft.
nikegolf.com | $249
PingKey Features: The racing stripe alignment aid on the crown helps make this Tour-inspired fairway wood easy to align, the hosel allows for simple trajectory modifications, and the tall face inspires would-be shotmakers to play a variety of shots off the tee and from the fairway. It's a better player's wood, but all players will love it.
Wow Factor: Shotmaking has never been easier with any PING fairway wood. Ever. And just because you can maneuver the ball, that doesn't mean this wood isn't long and forgiving. It's the perfect combination of power, control and shotmaking ability. Period.
Specs: Three lofts (14°, 15°, 18°), with a PING PWR graphite shaft.
ping.com | $249
PingKey Features: Designed to promote a long and high launch, the G25 is as close to a driver as any PING fairway wood ever made. From the springy face to the wide sole, it's a serious driver alternative for those who want a forgiving, slightly draw-biased fairway wood. We hit the ball a mile in our trial.
Wow Factor: Maybe it would be better with an adjustable hosel? Nah, it doesn't need it. It's a great, forgiving club that hits it high and far. Not a shotmaker's wood—that's the i25's territory. The G25 is all about forgiveness.
Specs: Four lofts (15°, 16.5°, 18°, 21°), with a PING TFC 189F graphite shaft.
ping.com | $229
TaylormadeKey Features: Could TMAG improve on the RocketBallz? Apparently so! The new JetSpeed woods have a redesigned Speed Pocket (that's actually filled with polymer this time) and a CG that's low and near the face for the ultimate in energy transfer into the golf ball with less spin. Long? Forgiving? Yes, times a million.
Wow Factor: As hard as it is to believe, we actually hit the JetSpeeds farther than last year's RBZ Stage 2 woods. Crazy, we know. The JetSpeeds are practically drivers. Maybe that's why we prefer higher-lofted ones. The 5-wood model goes as far as most 3-woods we've tried this year. A little draw-biased, but still crazy-long.
Specs: Five lofts (15°, 17°, 19°, 21°, 23°), with a Matrix Velox graphite shaft.
taylormadegolf.com | $229
TaylormadeKey Features: A smaller Speed Pocket (than other TaylorMade fairway woods), adjustable hosel tech, and a look and profile that enable all sorts of shotmaking from the tee and fairway. It has 12 adjustable lofts!
Wow Factor: The SLDR fairway wood is long as can be, but has a much more penetrating ballflight than does the JetSpeed woods, meaning some players may want to go with a higher-lofted setting to account for that boring ballflight. And, by boring, we mean that in the absolute best possible way. These are awesome to hit. A TP version is also available (same head, but with a souped-up Fujikura Motore Speeder shaft.)
Specs: Four lofts (14°, 15°, 17°, 19°), with a Fujikura Speeder graphite shaft.
taylormadegolf.com | $249
TitleistKey Features: A hosel that can adjust for loft and lie, and a removable weight in the sole make it easy to get this wood dialed in exactly as you want. As for performance? Expect a high, long launch from a traditionally shaped clubhead.
Wow Factor: Easily the most friendly fairway wood we've tried from Titleist. It's really easy to hit high bombs off the tee and from the fairway. The low-lofted models feel like drivers in our hands (that's a good thing). Better players will prefer the 913F.d, which is more compact and lends a lower, more controlled launch angle and less spin.
Specs: Five lofts (13.5°, 15°, 17°, 19°, 21°), the 913F.d in three lofts (13.5°, 15°, 18°), both in a variety of shaft options.
titleist.com | $249
Wilson StaffKey Features: Adjustable loft technology and an adjustable sole weight allow golfers to fine-tune both feel and ballflight for a custom-tuned launch.
FG Tour M3
Wow Factor: We can't say enough about the all-black finish. We really like the way these set up behind the ball, and quite frankly, more people here in the U.S. should be playing these woods. They're rock-solid.
Specs: Three base lofts (13.5°, 15°, 17°), with an Aldila RIP Phenom shaft.
wilsonstaff.com | $219
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