Best New Fairway Woods 2018
Golf Digest editors E. Michael Johnson and Ashley Mayo discuss how the trickle down of driver technology has transformed fairway woods.
Released on 1/30/2018
So how have we seen driver technology
trickle down to fairway woods?
Easy answer is all the good things
that you're trying to do with a driver,
make the face more flexible, save weight
and redistribute around the perimeter for forgiveness,
those things are happening in fairway woods.
Obviously it's a smaller package,
you have less of a trampoline,
so you've gotta do things with special heat treatments
and special steels that are gonna be more flexible.
I think what's exciting is you're getting fairway woods
in terms of their faces flexing, they're flexing
at the same rate that is at the legal limit.
As far as USGA goes.
So, in a sense, fairway woods are the same
as drivers in terms of ball speed.
But the big difference obviously
is that driver you hit off a tee
and a wood you hit off the ground.
So what are the adjustments that
have to be made in terms of design?
The sole is a crucial element
in all of this in fairway wood design.
The one thing that soles do is contribute
to the way the lower part of the face flexes.
So you see channels and soles and slots
all things like that to help the face flex
on those low-face impacts because
we're hitting it off the ground.
But you've also gotta make the sole
smoothly go through the ground so we're seeing
the return of rails on the sole,
and reduced contact area on the sole,
and you think 'well okay that makes sense,
but what difference does that make?'
Well we're talking about really increasing
club head speed because the club's not slowed down
by going through the ground and all the sudden
more club head speed automatically leads to more distance.
They're thinking not just we're gonna hit it
in the center of the face all the time
and that spring-like effect is gonna
be the source of distance, we're thinking
how can we make the club move faster
to get more distance too?
[Ashley] And so I have just one wood, a four wood.
Do I need more?
How many woods do golfers really need?
Again I think it's one of those things
that's tied to personal preference
but also tied to club head speed.
Michelle Wie has four fairway woods in her bag,
Dustin Johnson has one.
I'd say the universe needs to be leaning
a little bit more towards Michelle Wie
than Dustin Johnson in a lot of respects.
So yeah you have to think about your club head speed
in terms of how you're approaching these longer shots.
Are you trying to advance the ball
or are you trying to attack the green?
And that's gonna sort of determine
how many more higher-lofted fairway woods
you put in the bag.
So those are two great, basic questions
to kinda figure out how many woods you need.
Personally though, I wanted be a little more like Michelle,
so I'm gonna go out now and buy
maybe one or maybe two woods.
I think I wanna be more like Michelle too.
(instrumental music )