ClubTest 2020: These 5 fairway woods perform well off the tee
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Ask a tour player to name the toughest club to replace in the bag and you’re bound to get a lot of “fairway wood” responses. It’s important to have one that performs well off the turf — if you’re into going for par-5s in two — but with many models now boasting driver-esque technology, some have turned into mini drivers for some players off the tee as well.
If your driver is going sideways off the tee, a reliable fairway wood can act as a security blank and keep you from going completely off the rails. In the latest installment of GOLF’s 2020 ClubTest, we look specifically at five fairway woods that excelled off the tee.
Whether you prefer low launch and spin characteristics or something with a towering peak height, there’s a fairway-finder for everyone on the list.
Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero
Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero$299.99
Lofts: 13.5, 15, 16.5 and 18 degrees
Our take: The compactly shaped Mavrik Sub Zero comes with interchangeable weights in two sections of the sole for a finely tuned launch angle and custom spin rates — an ideal feature for players who prefer shaping the ball.
ClubTester’s take (5-hdcp): “Could see myself using this off the tee with the low launch and spin. It’s a fun combination for a better player.”
Robot’s take: Ranked near the top in carry distance.
Ping G410 LST
Ping G410 LST$259.99
Lofts: 14.5 degrees
Our take: Sporting the same DNA in terms of features and benefits found in the G410, the LST (Low Spin Technology) has a more compact shape and a CG that’s optimized closer to the clubface. This yields a piercing ballflight better players will appreciate.
ClubTester’s take (3-hdcp): “Delivers penetrating launch without the penal misses.”
Robot’s take: Good option for knocking off unwanted spin.
Lofts: 13.5, 15 and 18 degrees
Our take: Versatility is the name of the game when it comes to fairway woods. The club is meant to shine from the fairway and the tee, which is a big reason many golfers struggle to find a replacement once they hit on a certain product. Srixon’s nonadjustable F85 is designed to do both with aplomb. The traditional profile is complemented by a Crown Step design with a hint of carbon fiber visible at address. Reducing weight in the upper portion of the head lowers the center of gravity, making it more forgiving on off-center hits. A HT1770 Steel Cup Face is durable enough to withstand a pounding from even the most aggressive swingers on the block. For golfers who prefer to use a fairway wood almost exclusively off the tee, the F85 certainly deserves testing consideration. A combination of low spin and low peak height produced a carry number that was, on average, five yards longer than the competition. It’s a viable option if you grapple with a driver and need some extra oomph and accuracy.
ClubTester’s take (8-hdcp): “I love the classic profile, but it was the sheer speed that left a lasting impression.”
Robot’s take: One of the carry leaders among all woods. Low spin and peak height numbers to boot.
Lofts: 14, 15 and 19 degrees
Our take: The SIM Titanium is built for speed. An ultrahot titanium face brings the distance, while an 80-gram V Steel sole pushes weight down low for improved launch characteristics. Struggling with a miss? Twist Face straightens out shots off the heel and toe.
ClubTester’s take (12-hdcp): “Club felt crazy long as I watched shots fly downrange. One of the hottest I had the pleasure of testing.”
Robot’s take: Strong low spin and long carry characteristics.
Lofts: 13.5, 15, 16.5 and 18 degrees
Our take: The TS3 has a more traditional shape and comes with a SureFit CG for a customized sweet spot location. Additional features include an ultrathin crown, Active Recoil Channel 3.0 and a SureFit hosel that yields up to 16 loft face angle combos.
ClubTester’s take (5-hdcp): “Classic shape and performance. I’ll take it!”
Robot’s take: Top 3 in overall accuracy.
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