The Best Fairway Woods of 2018
Well, the changes in the way the USGA measures the legality of drivers, fairway woods and hybrids have given some clubs a tremendous amount of added distance. I did an article on this a few years ago and the major manufacturers have jumped on the change from COR to CT measurements. I also had it confirmed by the senior product director at one of the major manufacturers. The best new fairway woods will show increases of 1-4 mph in ball speed, reduced spin and higher launch angles. The result is that now you can hit a higher lofted fairway wood, a 4 wood for example instead of a 3 wood and get the same or added distance.
A Case Study
One of our good customers was looking for a fairway wood that could carry a little farther with a better descent angle. His current 3 wood carry distance was 251 yards at altitude. We tested the new Tour Edge CBX, TaylorMade M4, and Rogue all in 4 woods. The winner by two yards was the Callaway Rogue at 263 yards with a peak height of 98 feet and descent angle of 40 degrees! A distance improvement of 12 yards, AND better landing characteristics.
Our Hot List:
You can check out the Golf Digest 2018 Equipment Hot List, and our list will be very similar. This is what we have found in our fittings and player testing:
Pure Distance: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero
Distance and Accuracy: Callaway Rogue, PXG 0341, TaylorMade M4, Tour Edge CBX
Overall Performance: Cobra F8 (Black and Nardo gray), Tour Edge CBX, Callaway Rogue
Picking the Right Shaft
Of course, all of these fairway woods will perform much better with the right shaft fit to your swing. In general, fairway woods should have roughly a 1o gram heavier shaft than your driver. The flex should also be somewhat softer than your driver due to its length and heavier weight of the head. Our BGF Fitting system automatically recommends these weight differentials based upon your swing dynamics, shaft length and strength. Most fairway woods you pick off-the-rack have shaft weights and flexes that are very similar to the weight of the corresponding driver which can cause the following issues:
What Happens With the Wrong Shaft
Misses are fat shots or thin shots: Shaft is too light and/or too flexible in the butt section.
Misses both left and right: Shaft too flexible in butt section (A flex when should be an R, for example).
Misses mostly right(push or slice): Shaft may be too stiff in the butt section (S flex when should be an R) or shaft is too heavy.
Misses mostly left(pull or pull hook): Shaft is too flexible in the butt section and/or shaft is too light.
Misses off the Top of the ClubFace: Too steep of swing (negative attack angle) or way too soft of butt section or tip section causing toe droop at impact.
Misses mostly low: Too much positive attack angle (swinging up on the ball) or shaft butt section and tip section are too stiff.
So, don't let your fairway wood get in the way of your lowest scores in 2018.
Dan Sueltz and Eric Touchet