Fairway woods are a deadly addition to your bag and this month, we help you decide on the best ones to look at.
When Callaway Golf began introducing “other” fairway woods than the traditional 3 and 5 woods, such as the original Heaven wood and then the “Divine nine” and eleven, or “Ely would”, golfers across the globe found no need to hit butter knife long irons any more and opted for the easy approach to hitting shots over 180-yards.
Soon, TaylorMade took it one step further by introducing their range of Rescue clubs which proved a big seller and was extensively used on the World Tours.
Now everyone has either a range of fairway woods to match their drivers, or a utility/hybrid club in their range.
It boils down to personal preference as to which one suits your game. But one thing is for sure…the days of hitting a 1-iron is now consigned to only the best ball strikers on the world tours.
Here are some of the best on the market today:
The Cobra Baffler is a Multi-Metal Iron and according to the manufacturer, are widely versatile clubs, designed to serve multiple game functions.
|Cobra’s new Baffler Multimetals|
The Baffler is an exciting new concept that is very similar to TaylorMade’s Rescue club. These clubs are now referred to as "hybrid clubs" as they combine the best of long iron design with the best of fairway metals.
The Baffler Multi-Metal Iron is characterised by its sleek, progressive design and its hollow, steel clubhead. Carefully positioned in the head are the hyper steel face, the copper-tungsten sole weights and the aluminium-bronze Backweight, to yield the ultimate blend of feel, spin, trajectory and dynamic loft. Partly designed to function as long and accurate fairway clubs, the lower, deeper centre of gravity in the clubhead is designed to promote a higher launch angle and to carry shots from 175-225 yards, flying with a high, soft ball flight.
The Baffler is great out of the rough too thanks to its low centre of gravity and unlike some fairway woods, it does not give the weak “pop-up” shot that you occasionally experience with shallow faced fairway woods.
Starting at £161, it does not come cheap, but as with everything from Cobra, it is good value and highly playable. The range starts from 18 degrees and goes up to 24 degrees and is available in steel shafts or the exclusive Cobra Ultralite graphite shaft.
GOLFmagic Rating 8.5/10
Taylor Made Rescue.
This is the father of the hybrid irons and it has still yet to be replaced from its number one spot in my opinion, although the Baffler comes very close.
The Rescue club perhaps saved Taylor Made when times were tough a few seasons ago and it is still a big seller nowadays. If you like the control of an iron and the distance and forgiveness of a fairway wood, then look no further than these two clubs.
|The Original “Rescue Club from TaylorMade|
The Rescue club, fitted with Taylor Made’s proprietary Bubble shaft is a superb all rounder and is very useful around the green too. The flight is powerful, as with all Taylor Made clubs, but it is easy to get airborne and a wonderful addition in any players bag…it does what it says it does, Rescue you from a range of poor lies and saves shots from bad lies where you can only dream of hitting an bladed iron from.
GOLFmagic Rating 9/10 RRP £199, Steel £159.
Callaway Fairway woods.
Callaway made a fashion icon out of their fairway woods and I bet if you look in the bag of every player in your club, around 70-80% of them have at least one Callaway club in their bag...go on, check that out. The reason is simple, they are easy to hit, very forgiving and sit lovely behind the ball.
|Callaway Steelhead Plus|
The Callaway fairway wood selection starts from their “Deuce” or 2-wood and goes right up to an 11-wood, which, in normal circumstances, replaces the 5-iron in most peoples bags. Have a look at some of the top Women golfers of the world and you might see that their irons start from 6-iron onwards, the rest of the lower end clubs are fairway woods.
All of the Callaway woods are easy to hit and go just as far even hit from the toe or heel thanks to their extremely forgiving nature. Pick of the bunch and perhaps the most popular is the “heaven” seven wood. This club is used by some of the top stars on the Men’s tour too such as Colin Montgomerie, who swaps between a five wood and a seven wood, depending on the course he is playing.
|The new Hawk Eye VFT 5-wood|
If it is good enough for the former European number one to play with, then it must be good.
Callaway fairway woods come in both the Steelhead and the Hawk Eye Titanium versions but both are equally as good as each other. With a selection of shafts from steel to graphite and custom fit available at the Callaway Performance Centre in Chessington, you can find the club you are best suited to.
GOLFmagic rating...Still the daddies of fairways woods...9.5/10 Steelhead RRP £169 graphite, £139 Steel. RRP Hawk Eye VFT £249
Mizuno T-Zoid Fairway Woods
Mizuno, while being synonymous with making some fine irons over the past few years also make some great fairway woods. Back in the eighties, most professionals on tour either used the Mizuno metal woods with the graphite gold shafts. Thankfully, the quality of shaft and head has moved on with their new T-Zoid range.
|Mizuno woods feel as good as the irons|
What I find with the T-Zoid woods, including the driver, is that they are extremely powerful. The fairway woods are easy to hit, fairly low profile and powerful in flight.
I have used a 3+ Steel headed T-Zoid wood with a steel shaft and 13 degrees loft and found that it is a great ball flight for me and a useful alternative to a driver. But with other woods available, in both forged steel and forged Titanium, there is a good selection. The 7-wood is an excellent addition for those long par threes and second shots into par fours and with it being so easy to hit and good value for money, it’s a steal! Best of all with Mizuno woods is that they are forged of the same material as the irons and when struck properly, they feel wonderful. And you can pick up these with a Dynamic Gold Lite Steel shaft for less than £100 if you look around! Great value from a top company.
GOLFmagic rating 8/10
Progen Full Bore
While it may not be top of the range, that doesn’t mean that it is not good. In fact, the Progen series of clubs are tops when it comes to value for money and the Progen full-Bore fairway woods are no exception. At £69 each, they offer the best value in their range and for performance, they match that of the top of the range brands that cost three to four times as much money!
|Progen, top value for money|
Made from 17-4 stainless steel, the Shallow face design easily gets ball airborne with help from the Copper weighting in sole that helps lower centre of gravity and when you weight up the fact that this club, along with the others in the Progen range, is made from the high quality components that the more expensive clubs on the market are made for, you become to realise that the Full bore range clubs are top quality at bottom prices!
The fairway woods come fitted as standard with Aldila Ripcord Lite Graphite shafts and a Golf Pride Tour velvet grip. £69..it’s sale of the century!
GOLFmagic rating 8/10...Value for money...10/10!
Progen Multiplay Irons
Yet another bargain from Progen at only £49, the Multiplay iron is similar to the Cobra and Taylor Made “Hybrid” clubs, yet considerably cheaper. And in true Progen fashion, value for money and good performance should see this club sell well in the pro shops around the UK. Why, I hear you ask, are they so cheap? Simple really. Progen do not spend millions on research and development and advertising and marketing like some other brands. Nor do they pay the top tour players countless dollars in endorsement fees.
The bottom line? The punter gets a good club at a great price with the same effectiveness in playability. I have tested it extensively and all I can say that is wrong with it is…the kudos! That is it! So it’s not a fashion statement, but it works and won’t leave a gaping hole in the credit card!
Adams Tight Lies 2 fairway Woods.
The Tight Lies 2 fairway woods are a huge improvement on the original Adams Air Assault woods that first came to the UK Market. They look better, sit better and certainly play a little better than their predecessor and this club, with a range of loft and shaft options is a worthy addition to anyone’s bag.
|A better club from Adams|
The new technology developed exclusively by Adams golf includes shifting the centre of gravity towards the heel of the club and moving the bulge towards the toe, allowing for straighter shots from any kind of lie.
Having used the original Tight lies, I used to find that it ballooned the ball in the air quite a bit, especially into a headwind, losing quite a few yards. But with the new version, the clever men at Adams golf seem to have cured it.
The launch angle is more penetrating and it seems to fight the wind better and it still does goes the distance. Although it is not as long as the Mizuno or the Taylor Made Rescue club, it is still easy to hit and forgiving when you catch one anywhere but the centre of the clubface.
GOLFmagic Rating 7/10.
The TriMetal Plus fairway woods from Orlimar tend to find their way into many tour pro’s bags simply because it is effective from all kinds of lies. The Trimetal series were designed to help every golfer get the ball up in the air easily hit the ball solidly. Its classic good looks inspire confidence when you set it behind the ball and with lofts ranging from 12 to 30 degrees, you are sure to find one that suits you.
|Orlimar, easy to hit and powerful|
On the course, the club performs very well indeed out of most lies. From the fairway, the club is a delight to use and the flight on my own 15 degree fairway wood is strong, yet easy to get airborne. And it is as long as any other fairway wood thanks to Orlimar’s pioneering “maraging” technology that makes the face of the club very hard.
From the rough it is also easy to get out, but on some occasions, if I have a fluffy lie, it tends to pop the ball up in the air. Because the face is so shallow, you can get under it very easily, so beware when faced with that kind of shot. Overall, it is a pretty handy weapon to have in the bag of any player. Easy to hit, good value at around £159 and with lots of loft and shaft options available.
GOLFmagic rating 8/10