Five new fairway woods built to crush it off the tee and pick it clean off the deck
Callaway FT Optiforce
Callaway didn't change much under the hood to create its new FT Optiforce fairway woods. Instead, it stuffed the X Hot engine -- a cup-face design that features a forged, 455 Carpenter steel clubface with variable thicknesses -- into a lighter, more aerodynamic package. The result, according to the company, is a wood that's higher-launching and higher-spinning than the X Hot, which should help "speed-challenged" players produce more carry distance. The nonadjustable head attaches to a 53-gram Project X Velocity shaft. Comes in 3-, 4-, 5-, 7- and 9- wood lofts.
Make no bones about it: Mizuno's JPX-EZ is gunning for your driver's job. The company says as much about its oversize fairway woods, which feature a deeper face for help on tee shots, plus a heavier sole, which promotes a higher launch angle despite the taller profile. Each head welds a thin, 1770 maraging steel face onto a 17-4 stainless steel body for improved ball speed.
Adams Tight Lies
It's been nearly 20 years since the original Tight Lies fairway woods debuted in 1995. The latest stainless steel incarnation has a similar shape and low profile, but "velocity slots" in the crown and sole enable the clubface to flex significantly more than the rigid faces of the mid-'90s. In fact, the new Tight Lies has twice the "characteristic time" [a measurement for the relative springiness of a clubface] of the original one. The updated "velocity slot" design leads to 10 percent more face flexibility than existing Adams woods, which translates to 1 to 2 mph more ball speed and 6 to 10 additional yards. Besides a lively face, the compact Tight Lies -- 25 percent smaller than a typical fairway wood -- packs a lot of weight low and back to increase forgiveness and produce high-launching shots. The 16° debuted in August, and the 14°, 19° and 22° will ship on November 1, when the company also plans to roll out Tight Lies Tour fairway woods [$229] for better players and faster swingers.
Yonex EZONE XP
Counterbalancing -- adding weight to a club's grip to change its balance point -- has dominated greenside gossip this year. Now Yonex is betting that a variation on this idea will benefit shots into the green. The EZONE XP [stands for Extra Power] features eight more grams of weight in the head than the Yonex i-EZONE woods. The added heft is designed to get the ball moving faster off the clubface. At the same time, Yonex loads the butt end of the grip with 20 grams of tungsten powder. The extra mass is supposed to give the club a lightweight feel, despite its heft. Each wood is adjustable within ±1.5° of its marked loft.
Wilson Staff FT Tour M3
Wilson Staff's first adjustable fairway wood comes in 13.5°, 15° and 17° lofts. Each head can flip between six loft settings [from -1° to +2°]. The 15°, for instance, can be adjusted to 14°, 14.5°, 16°, 16.5°, or 17°. The club's total weight is adjustable, too, with 3-, 7-, and 11-gram sole plugs available to tweak the club between "SuperLight," "Right Light" [recommended for fast swingers] and "Traditional" configurations. Any way you weight it, this better-player offering features a 24 percent lighter crown and a 4.5 percent thinner face than recent Wilson Staff woods, and it launches with a lower trajectory and less spin than last year's flyweight D100.