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.

Jeff RitterOur Pro’s Take On: Woods
You’ll find a good fairway wood to be very useful, especially in long-carry situations where extra loft or height is necessary. In general, the fairway wood has a lower CG than an iron, which helps it more easily produce higher loft. In addition, the basic fairway wood design allows the club to slide nicely through rough, making even the toughest lies a breeze. Remember that a fairway wood, when played from the ground, needs a slight descending blow—just like an iron. Play the ball a few inches inside the left heel. Your goal is to brush the grass firmly without allowing the club to dig or take a divot.
—Jeff Ritter, PGA ASU/Karsten Learning Center, Tempe, Ariz.

Tech Talk
Au Revoir, Fairway Wood?
By John B. Hoeflich
Senior Vice President
Nickent Golf

Without a doubt, the current status of fairway woods is quite vulnerable. This state of flux is due to the rise in popularity of hybrid clubs. Many people are taking the more-lofted fairway woods out of the bag and replacing them with the hybrid clubs. That’s because most golfers—PGA Tour pros included—find hybrids much easier to hit from various lies than traditional fairway woods. Two or three years from now, I really think that there will be fewer fairway woods on the market and more hybrids out there. That’s going to influence what you’ll see from manufacturers. Look for 12- to 16-degree 3-woods that are designed to perform more like drivers.

Understanding Our Charts
Features: The primary design elements that make the wood noteworthy.
Advantages: How the primary design elements are meant to elevate the wood’s performance.
Benefits: A general recommendation as to which skill level or player type would best be served by the wood model in question.
What We Like: We have our preferences, too. A quick description of what impressed us in our review and testing.
Lineup: The other wood models available from the manufacturer.
Clubhead: The primary material from which the club is either forged or cast, usually a form of steel. There are titanium models, but steel dominates the wood market, as the smaller head size mandates the use of heavier materials.
Clubface: Indicates the material used for the strike area. Check out the prevalent use of maraging steel for the face.
Loft(s): Lists all of the lofts available in the line as well as left-hand availability.
Shaft(s): Stock graphite offerings as well as steel options. Custom models often available.


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