Fairway Woods Buyer's Guide 2006

Today's fairway woods have tons of technology and an array of features that make them a must from the tee, fairway and rough. Don't miss out.

Fairway Woods The driver is the star of the golf club world, and as such, gets seemingly all the attention, all the kudos and all the technological advancements. As a result, for a lot of golfers fairway woods have become nothing more than afterthoughts that are needed simply to fill out their collection of clubs. This approach is a definite mistake, and one that should be immediately exchanged for one that views fairway clubs as critical members of every golfer’s arsenal.

In fact, modern fairway woods now feature many of the same technologies found in drivers, including movable weights, ultra-thin clubfaces, low CG placement, premium-quality, high-tech shafts, innovative materials and a wide variety of loft choices. If you’re the type of player who prefers to use your 3-wood as a driver alternative off the tee, you’ll be happy to find that many of today’s fairway woods perform like mini drivers, providing significantly greater ball speed, distance and forgiveness than ever before. And for those who like to use fairway woods to reach long par-4s and attack par-5s, the array of modern sole designs and loft choices will make your life, and your golf game, a lot easier. So don’t take your fairway woods for granted. Explore the choices that are now available, and experiment with a few different models. You’ll be surprised how great these clubs really are.

Take a look at a sampling of premium-quality woods and you’ll notice a variety of sole rails, sizes, weights and geometries, all of which play a part in not only how the club performs when it’s in motion, but how it sits at address and, in the case of hybrids, how it might work on greenside chips. Of course, the best way to find out which of these design elements work best is to demo some different models and observe the results. Keep in mind that the type of courses you play should also be a consideration, as certain types of sole designs will work better in soft conditions and others on firm turf.

Got Sole?
When it comes to fairway wood design, the sole is a major point of focus, and for good reason. Obviously, a significant part of a fairway wood’s job is to be functional from the fairway and rough, and the design of the sole—and how it interacts with different lies and types of turf—is critical to its overall performance.

Face The Facts
When oversized titanium drivers began boasting high COR (trampoline effect) due largely to thin, strong, flexible titanium faces, most golfers eagerly anticipated the day when the same technology would be available in fairway woods. Unfortunately, due to the smaller size of fairway woods, that development didn’t come right away, and many players figured it never would. Well, the day is finally here, as club designers and engineers have found ways to raise the COR of fairway woods through the use of new steel alloys that can be made extremely thin and flexible. As a result, many strong-lofted 3-woods can now produce driver-like distance with ample forgiveness.


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