Fairway Wood Buying Guide
The fairway wood is a club all golfers should utilize, along with analyzing their game to see exactly how they can use the wood to benefit their game. A great alternative to get better accuracy while still getting distance off of the tee, as well as the number one tool in order to reach more par 5 holes in two. This guide will help you know what to look for when trying to find the right fairway wood.
Types of Fairway Woods
The fairway wood is a versatile club and can be used in a multitude of ways for a golfer to get the most out each facet of the game it is utilized in. Traditionally there are 4 to 5 different types of fairway woods, ranging from 13 to 26 degrees in loft, but the most common type of woods that are found is the 3 and 5 woods.
The 3 wood is the most common club in the golf bag in regards to fairway woods. It has between 15 and 17 degrees of loft and is the club that will go the furthest of any of the woods. The 3 wood provides the best alternative to the driver off of the tee, and will be the furthest hitting club in the bag with the exception of drivers. The 3 wood is going to almost always be a necessary club for any golfer.
The next most common wood you will find on the golf course is the 5 wood. It is very similar to a 3 wood but due to the higher loft it will be slightly easier to hit but will go shorter in distance. A 5 wood gives a golfer all of the same tools as other fairway woods but is a cozy distance between long irons and 3 wood. The loft of this club is usually between 18 and 21 degrees.
Unconventional Wood Styles
There are a few types of woods that do exist, but are very rare to truly see on the golf course or in the store. A 4 wood would be considered the front runner of this group. The 4 woods loft is 18 degree wood (which can be considered a strong 5 wood), but it is very specialty given the in between nature of its loft.
The next set of unconventional woods is the 7 wood and 9 wood. These woods are only really seen on the course as a replacement to longer irons, like a 4 iron, in some instances. The 7 wood has a loft range of 21 to 23 degrees and the 9 wood will be in the 24 to 26 degree range. Both of these high lofted clubs will have smaller heads on them, making them more versatile.
Adjustable Fairway Woods
A newer technology that has changed the game for many different clubs, but most importantly the fairway wood, is the ability to adjust the loft on these clubs. An adjustable head allows the golfer the ability to play around and find what works when choosing the right loft for them.
Fairway Wood Shafts
As many different golf clubs, fairway woods traditionally have been constructed with steel shafts. This was until the turn of the century as the transition was made to go away from the steel shaft and replace it with a graphite shaft.
Graphite shafts allow for the increase in a golfers swing speed due to it being lighter in weight, which allows for more power even in an average swing. Swing speeds are important to a golfers swing, making the switch to graphite a wise choice.
Fairway Wood Head Material
The fairway wood is made out of three specific materials, all having slightly unique characteristics. The three materials being steel, titanium, and composite material.
Steel: The traditional material in fairway woods, this material is still used to this day. Steel provides more weight in the head, leading to more stability throughout the golf club.
Titanium: Titanium has a similar feel to steel, but there are many different characteristics. Titanium faces produce more distance off the clubface. With less weight in the clubface, there is more room for the weight to be placed elsewhere allowing for more forgiveness on a miss hit.
Composite: While the clubface will not have composite material in it, the rest of the head will be made of the material. Being the lightest material out there, this club will provide better swing speed resulting in more distance with good forgiveness.
Fairway Wood FAQ's
Q) What fairway woods should I carry?
A) The answer to this question is going to be very different for every person, because it boils down to feel and how comfortable one is with a long iron. A rule of thumb says every golfer should have one or two fairway woods in their bag, but comfortability with your longer iron dictates whether you feel the need to replace a 3, 4, or 5 iron with a wood.
Q) What shots can I use a fairway wood for?
A) When the right fairway wood is found it can be one of the most versatile clubs in the bag and can be used for a multitude of shots. The obvious shot is hitting off of the fairway, especially on par 5 approach shots, but can also be utilized out of the rough due to the makeup of the head having a low center of gravity. Another key usage would be off of the tee in place of drivers on tee shots. Another use a wood has is the ability to used in tight areas around the green, almost as a hybrid chipper and putter.
Q) Fairway wood or hybrid?
A) A very common question when talking about iron replacements is whether a fairway wood or hybrid would be more suitable. Fairway woods are designed to help a golfer hit more consistent shots in any lie angle. The low center of gravity and face angle will help get the ball off of the ground and more consistent ball flight whether its center hits or off center hits.
Q) Would a high handicapper benefit from using a fairway wood?
A) Yes, and it may be even better for a high handicapper to get the ball off of the tee verses a driver with virtually the same distance. Graphite shafts will help with speed throughout the swing promoting good distance and more positive spin, possibly making it easier to hit the ball on the tee rather than using a driver.