GOLF Magazine tests and review fairway woods from Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade and Nickent.

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How We Did It Our research partner, Hot Stix Golf, captured data using the Trackman launch monitor. ClubTesters evaluated clubs on the driving range and course. They played shots from the fairway, rough and off the tee. For a more detailed description of the methodology, visit Where We Did It The Hot Stix Performance Center at Legend Trail GC in Scottsdale, Ariz. Rating System — How it works: Testers vote on Look, Feel, Playability, Forgiveness and Distance using a 100-point scale. Our star system rewards the top picks. Five stars = Excellent Four stars = Very Good Three stars = Good Two stars = Average One star = Poor
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Callaway FT & FT Tour $249 to $269, graphite; WE TESTED FT: 3 (15° Draw), 5 (19° Neutral), 5 (19° Draw), 7 (21° Draw) in Fujikura Fit-On E160 graphite shaft; FT Tour: 3 (15° Neutral) in Fit-On E370 graphite shaft. COMPANY LINE "We meld a stainless steel face and body to a tungsten-infused steel soleplate. This allows us to position the CG for optimal ball flight and shot-shaping control. 'OptiFit' weighting offers Neutral or Draw CG bias to fit your swing tendencies." Our Test Panel Says... • Pros: A long hitter, even off the heel or toe; draws and fades are soft and controlled; penetrating low to mid-trajectory flight; ball jumps off the clubface; can be nuked from fluffy lies; no problem getting the ball up off the ground; compact design is no match for rough, produces good distance and consistency from poor lies. • Cons: Ball can get away from you in a hurry if you miss the sweet spot; slightly deeper face can make tight lies a little more of a challenge. "Center contact feels like you absolutely nail it." — Jeremy Ross (4) Rate and Review this club
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Nickent 4DX $199, graphite WE TESTED 3 (15°), 4 (17°), 5 (19°), 7 (21°) in UST SR3 graphite shaft COMPANY LINE "By using a light, super thin [0.4 mm] titanium crown, we can incorporate XW plugs [16 grams] in the rear to create a deeper face with a large sweet spot, produce a penetrating ball flight and control direction." Our Test Panel Says... • Pros: Plays like it has a slight left bias, useful for natural faders; line of flight stays pretty true, tightest side-to-side dispersion of those tested; light but well-balanced design; shots get airborne easily, nice high trajectory from good lies; best-suited from the tee; black head and lack of alignment aid give a traditional appearance. • Cons:Tendency to naturally fly left can be a turnoff; impact feel is less apparent than with others tested; surprisingly, the weakest performer off the ground; stock shaft doesn't seem to hold up to aggressive swings. "The 5-wood is a nice alternative if hybrids don't suit you." — Lee Neisler (3)
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TaylorMade Burner TP $249, graphite WE TESTED 3 (14.5°) and 5 (17.5°) in Fujikura REAX SF TP 75 graphite shaft COMPANY LINE "The mid-face height with a forward CG location helps promote a lower and more controllable ball flight. 'SuperFast Technology' allows us to incorporate an extremely light shaft and grip, which promotes faster swing speed for added power." Our Test Panel Says... • Pros: Most testers like the neutral clubface and non-hook tendencies; a very generous sweet spot helps keep distance dispersion to a minimum; the entire head is an alignment aid, so setup is a snap; there's a nice sense of the ball compressing and releasing off the clubface; the penetrating, medium flight is a hit; pure tee shots just keep going and going. • Cons: The head graphics can be distracting; some would prefer more workability from this TP, particularly from fairway lies. "I can really accelerate through the ball without swinging out of my shoes." — Mark Haberstroh (4) • We leaned at press time that Burner TP will be phased out during the summer. Rate and Review this Club
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Titleist 906F4 $179, steel; $199, graphite WE TESTED 13.5° and 15.5° in Aldila VS Proto 85 graphite shaft, 15.5° and 18.5° in Aldila VS Proto 80 graphite shaft COMPANY LINE "This pear-profile, stainless steel head features a longer, shallower face, 'multi-relief sole' and a lower, deeper CG for a higher, penetrating flight from tee or turf. The Carpenter steel face insert creates maximum ball speed and hot, lively feel." Our Test Panel Says... • Pros: Unassuming sole makes these easy to hit off the deck; feel in complete control of the club during swing; like the mid to high flight; 906F4 gets the ball out of thick stuff with ease; better-than expected shot correction; splendidly responsive impact feel; spot-on accuracy from the tee; easier to get up in the air than previous models; quite playable. • Cons: Marginally shorter than the longest clubs in the group; heeled shots tend to come off relatively weak; VS Proto 85 shaft may be too tip-stiff for slower swingers. "You don't have to be the club champ to hit these where you aim." — Hoai Hoang (9)
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Launch Monitor Data testing by Hot Stix Golf WHAT WE DID Our 12 testers hit hundreds of balls from fairway lies with the 3-wood of each model. While hooked up to a launch monitor, the testers hit clubs in varying order. Well-struck shots were recorded, and we averaged their totals. You can see the results in the graph on the right. The size and location of each bubble on the left is the average of the standard deviation for each player for a given club. WHAT WE LEARNED • Trajectory: Callaway FT Tour delivers the lowest, most piercing flight in the test. By contrast, the Nickent 4DX has the highest overall ball flight. • Distance: Callaway FT Tour and TaylorMade Burner TP travel five yards farther than the clubs from Nickent and Titleist. • Accuracy: TaylorMade Burner TP and Titleist 906F4 hit the ball, on average, closest to the target line. • Forgiveness: Nickent 4DX delivers the tightest side-to-side shot dispersion (six yards left or right of its mean shot). Hot Stix Golf collected data using the Trackman launch monitor. Look for more launch-monitor testing in future issues of GOLF Magazine. • GOLF Magazine ClubTest Home Page • Get the latest equipment news in The Shop Blog • Equipment Finder