ClubTest: Fairway Woods

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ClubTest August 2007: Fairway Woods WHERE WE DID IT Ginn Reunion Resort in Reunion, Fla. HOW WE DID IT ClubTesters evaluated models on the driving range and course. They hacked shots out of thick rough, clipped them from fairway lies and drove balls off a tee. Our research partner, Hot Stix Golf, captured club data using a launch monitor. For a more detailed description of the methodology, visit HOW IT WORKS Testers vote on Look, Feel, Playability, Forgiveness and Distance. The winning model (the one receiving the most points) is awarded Golf Magazine/ClubTest 5-star status.
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Adams Insight BTY CLUB SPECS $229, graphite; WE TESTED 14.5° with Grafalloy ProLaunch Red graphite shaft • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other readers said about this club. COMPANY LINE "We power-braze the titanium face and crown to a stainless steel body (an industry first), which produces one of the hottest fairway woods on the market. The adjustable weight port allows us to customize swing weight." OUR TEST PANEL SAYS... Smallish head with inverted shape knifes through thick rough; consistent when trying to work the ball; good distance on pure shots; dart-like flight; more than a slight mis-hit punishes; can feel where the head is at every instant during the swing; squeezes yards out of mis-hits due to extra roll with lower flight; acoustics and feel are like a missile that's launched off the clubface; off-center hits all over the map. "Cuts through the rough better than most." — Bob O'Brien (5)
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Callaway X Hot BEST FOR DISTANCE CLUB SPECS $229, graphite; WE TESTED 15° with Fujikura Bonzai graphite shaft • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other readers said about this club. COMPANY LINE "This oversize 3-wood has a low leading edge, lower-profile steel face, a high moment of inertia for forgiveness, Carpenter 455 face insert for increased ball speed, and 44-inch Fujikura shaft for increased clubhead speed." OUR TEST PANEL SAYS... Excellent replacement club for those who struggle to hit the driver; longest hitter in the test; easy to tell where the club is at all times; forgiving on tee shots; easier to hit off the tee, less rewarding off the fairway; hits soaring shots; difficult to hit from less-than-ideal lies; shots feel like they jump off the clubface; the beast you want to reach par 5s in two and off the tee on tight par 4s. "Love it off the tee. More difficult to use from fairway or rough." — Joe Nagel (3)
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Nickent 3DX Pro BEST FOR FORGIVENESS CLUB SPECS $249, graphite; WE TESTED 14°, 18° with Aldila VS Proto graphite shaft • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other readers said about this club. COMPANY LINE "More weight built into the crown raises the club's center of gravity (CG) for lower launch so high-swing-speed players can maximize distance off the tee. Two XW inserts in rear make the head more stable at impact." OUR TEST PANEL SAYS... Best correction of the bunch on mis-hits; head is nimble in rough; fairly high, driving flight; not as hot as others tested; workable and useful from all lies; gets the ball up easily from the fairway; a go-to club when you have to hit the fairway; shortest carry on tee shots; less head feel during the swing than others; not flashy — a consummate all-around club. "Directionally, very forgiving from the fairway. The ball wants to fly straight." — Jim Hurley (9)
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Titleist PT 906F2 BEST FOR FEEL BEST FOR PLAYABILITY CLUB SPECS $179, steel; $219, graphite; WE TESTED 13°, 15°, 18° with Aldila NV-75, Titleist 4375 graphite shaft • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other readers said about this club. COMPANY LINE "A traditional profile with multi-relief sole that provides greater ground clearance at the trailing edge of the sole to minimize turf resistance. Has a forward center-of-gravity location and neutral weighting." OUR TEST PANEL SAYS... Classic styling and stylish performance; great balance and sense of where the head is; head obliterates light rough and pops ball out of heavier stuff; subtle "connected" one-piece feel through swing; the prettiest girl at the dance; easy to maneuver; penetrating flight bores through wind; you can call your shots; the 18 degree is like throwing darts — high, low, right, left; stable on all but the worst shots; what a fairway wood should be. "You name it, these will do it." — Zach Fasman (9)
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And the winner is... Titleist PT 906F2 CLUB SPECS $179, steel; $219, graphite; The four test clubs all hit their target market. Each one would serve you well. Our testers' prefer the Titleist PT 906F2 due to its top-shelf look, feel and playability. "Rough is a nonissue. Balls come flying out." — Jeff Bones (10) "Working the ball is easy." — Jon Tate (4) "Piercing low flight off the tee creates a lot of run." — Jeremy Ross (4) "Dense like a chocolate cake and just as sweet, with a satisfying deep thump." — John Moore(11)
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LAUNCH-MONITOR TESTING BY HOT STIX GOLF Swing away Four weapons that match better players to a tee What we did Six testers — handicaps: 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11 — hit dozens of balls with the test models. Hooked up to a launch monitor, the testers hit clubs in varying order. Well-struck shots were recorded, and we averaged the testers' totals. Here's how the clubs fared: What we learned • Trajectory: The Callaway X Hot launches highest, which leads to the highest overall ball flight and, very likely, the softest-landing shots. The Titleist PT 906F2 and Adams Insight BTY travel on the lowest flight path. • Distance: The Callaway X Hot is, indeed, hot. One can assume that the extra-long (44-inch) shaft contributes to increased clubhead speed, faster ball speed and, ultimately, longer carry. The difference between the longest and shortest models is 12 1/2 yards. Hot Stix Golf collected data using the AccuSport Vector launch monitor. Look for more launch-monitor testing in future issues of Golf Magazine.