Best New Fairway Woods
Golf Digest equipment editors E. Michael Johnson and Ashley Mayo discuss the new line of fairway woods on this year's Hot List and how these clubs are more versatile than ever.
Released on 1/30/2017
So Mike, Fairway Woods today really serve two purposes.
One, as an actual Fairway Wood,
that you hit off the short grass.
And then another as a second driver.
How do manufacturers deliver that?
Yeah I mean that's a great point.
Fairway Woods really depend how you use them.
Some people will use them as a second driver,
use it four, five, six times around the tee off.
They're looking for distance,
they're looking for ball flight.
And then those who use it off the fairway a lot,
it's one of the hardest shots in golf
for the every day player.
You know, hitting a big headed club
off of a relatively tight line,
So they may be looking at things more like sole design,
shallow faces, things of that nature,
which are gonna help them get the ball up, out of the grass,
up in the air and a pretty fair distance to boot.
So I'm always kind of perplexed by my friends who use
Fairway Woods as a second driver,
because these woods have a smaller sweet spot, right?
Than the driver.
Why is it that for some people they're easier to hit
and how have manufacturers achieved that?
Well I think the big thing is
there's a comfort level, right?
The longer the shaft,
kinda the more intimidating the club is.
But you're absolutely right,
the driver's far more forgiving
on missed hits.
The Fairway Wood has a smaller head
and it's not as springy so
you're sacrificing distance,
you're sacrificing forgiveness for a comfort factor.
However for those who use them off the fairway,
there have been some pretty neat improvements
and I think one of the areas is a lot of these companies
have focused on the face,
primarily the low part of the face,
'cause studies show that's where every day players
tend to hit their fairway, was when
hitting them off the grass.
[Ashley] Like right here.
So they design the face areas to
A, provide a little bit of a hinge,
a little bit of a spring to get the ball up in the air
but also provide some additional distance on those shots.
So for me, hitting my three wood is basically impossible.
Since you've mentioned it a couple of years ago,
I've put a four wood in my bag,
and it's so much easier to hit.
Yeah I mean I think that's something I would
caution every day players to take a look at.
Just because the three wood's 15 degree standard,
you don't have to go with that.
A little more loft is probably good,
somewhere in that 17 degree range,
and you can do that either by buying something
that's equivalent to a four wood.
Or some manufacturers call a three high launch.
Or most Fairway Woods now are adjustable as well,
you can adjust the loft on your three wood,
bump it up a degree, maybe two,
you're gonna get a higher launch,
and you're probably gonna get a little more confidence
by seeing a little bit more of that
face of the club it addressed.
And that even translates into more distance,
You're probably gonna get more carry distance,
and that's gonna give you more overall distance,
and the freedom in your swing, right?
If you've got a club that you're unsure of,
you're not gonna swing as freely.
If you're confident, you're gonna let it rip.