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 »  Home  »  Equipment  »  Player's Choice Awards  »  Our Readers Test the Hottest Fairway Woods for 2012
Our Readers Test the Hottest Fairway Woods for 2012
By Tom Landers | Published  06/11/2012 | Player's Choice Awards | Unrated
Our Readers Test the Hottest Fairway Woods for 2012

Today's Souped Up
Fairway Woods

They have names that sound like juiced up foreign- or American-made cars; MachSpeed, Razr, RocketBallz, Speedline and Amp.
  While they aren't bred to fire down the highway, today's fairway woods are built to provide the same thing as a Porsche, Laborghini or Corvette--speed--all to give you the power to smoke the competition.
  Club designers have incorporated such unique elements into their fairways as slots or channels, made clubheads sleek with low profiles and centers of gravity, and equipped them with high-octane engines (shafts) with the sole purpose of allowing the user to get the ball into the air easier and add pop to long shots from the fairway
  Where only a year ago fairway woods were looked upon by many golf equipment makers as necessary add-ons to their club lines, muscling them out to a large degree with supposedly easier-to-hit hybrids that combine the attributes of long irons and fairway woods, the good old three-wood is making a strong comeback, fueled by new design concepts that would make German and Detroit automakers envious.
  As with today's drivers, several companies have also equipped fairway woods with an adjustability factor that allows the player to tinker under the hood and modify the clubhead for optimum performance. Players can alter the clubhead to provide customized playability and greater ball flight variability.
  Other companies equip their fairway woods with a variety of metals to achieve a weight balance that will reduce the moment of inertia and avoid a twisting of the face on impact with the ball for straighter shots.
  Companies have dropped the center of gravity in the clubface of their fairway woods ever lower. This assists in getting the ball airborne and headed to the target on the proper trajectory from a variety of lies, both in the fairway and from light rough.
  Designers have also created features on today's fairway woods to help reduce turf drag through the use of sleek, aerodynamic soles that can cut through long grass and other tough lies with less difficulty.
Let's take a look at these souped up models.


Fairway Woods

Adams SPEEDLINE Fast 12 • $199

Unique Features: The Speedline Fast 12 features an improved slot design along with a larger sweet spot and better launch conditions for forgiveness across the entire face, along with more ball speed for increased distance. Second generation Velocity Slot Technology produces even more ball speed, additional forgiveness and better launch conditions. This club makes for easy playability from all lies.


Tester Comments: Hot in distance and easy to get in the air off the fairway or teed up …Forgiving on mis-hits … Effortless distance with forgiveness as well as accuracy

Adams SPEEDLINE XTD • $299

Unique Features: The Speedline Super XTD is a high performance fairway wood engineered using a new Multi-Material Construction, a titanium body with precision milled heel and toe tungsten weighting, and Velocity Slot Technology to provide golfers with a premium club that is as hot as a driver. A formed titanium crown and titanium body provides increased ball speed and overall performance.

Tester Comments: Workable, can hit it off the deck, the big shocker for me was how forgiving it is … The ball seems to just rocket off of the club face … I can hit it almost as far as my driver, but have much better control.

Boccieri Golf Heavy Wood • $199

Unique Features:
Constructed of 17-4 stainless steel with a special face insert made of 455 steel, the Heavy Wood is available in 15- and 19-degree options with a premium Aldila NVS shaft. Strategically engineered with a 50 gram back-weight in the butt-end of the shaft to improve tempo and stability, the club's design ensures the sweet spot is delivered consistently to the ball for optimal distance and accuracy.

Tester Comments: Very accurate, distance was shorter than most … It has a very different feel, but once I got used to the club, my shots were consistent … Fairway woods are about accuracy, and this gets the job done.

COBRA AMP • $199

Unique Features:
The AMP offers superior distance and accuracy. E9 Face Technology and AMP Speed Tuning deliver customized distance and accuracy through an elliptical face that features a new canted bulge with Dual Roll design. This provides more distance to shots hit above and below the centerline, as each loft optimizes the amount of Dual Roll, head weight, shaft weight, grip weight and length differently to deliver the best performance for a given clubhead speed.

Tester Comments: Orange is hot … light club that lets you feel just enough of the clubhead throughout your swing … Really impressed with the forgiveness, didn't notice extraordinary distance loss or twisting of the club on mis-hits.

COBRA Baffler T-Rail • $179

Unique Features: The Baffler T-Rail delivers maximum forgiveness with a new shallow face design. Tungsten rail soles improve turf interaction and move the center of gravity low and deep for a high, penetrating ball flight. A shallower face and new oversized profile also create a higher launch and allows for 10 percent of the weight to be strategically repositioned low and back to produce optimum ball flight.

Tester Comments: Very easy to hit as the head is larger than most 3 woods … It is easy to hit, looks and sounds great, and for some reason, much easier to finish my swing with.

Excel Zero Friction • $159

Unique Features: The ZFAdvantage gets the ball off the fairway with greater distance. A specially designed tungsten copper weight placed towards the rear of the sole creates a lower center of gravity that resists toe pull-down and gets the ball airborne faster. An ultra sleek design features PVD Technology (Positive Vapor Deposition) on the club face that allows for an extremely durable head with less friction at ball strike.

Tester Comments: Consumer friendly price and a very playable fairway … Performs well in all areas – distance, accuracy, forgiveness and consistency

Nike VRS • $199

Unique Features: he VR S allows the golfer to accelerate his or way to distance with Tour-proven performance. Advanced NexCOR face technology and an aerodynamic design delivers more speed off the face for more distance off the fairway. Nexcor face Technology and -L-Face Technology provide more power, while the M.D.T with Power "Ninja" Core make the club powerful yet light.

Tester Comments: The sound had an amazing ping sound when the ball connected to the face … Best Quality fairway from Nike yet, Easy to Hit … Good solid distance and easy to work right or left.

Ping i20 • $229

Unique Features:  The i20 has a low center of gravity and larger face, making this stainless steel wood a versatile performer that helps golfers launch the ball with ease from any lie. When the ball is sitting down, the i20s' compact shape ensures the head will glide through the grass and launch the ball high, long and straight. Setup is square and the rotation of the perimeter-weighted head is neutral. A low moment of inertia about the shaft axis gives the golfer command of the clubface for shaping shots.

Tester Comments: This club looks intimidating to hit...small and shallow, but was the best of the bunch I tested … Incredibly easy to work, very, very long … This stood out the most because of how good it felt when making contact with the ball.

Ping G20 • $199

Unique Features:
The G20 is for all ability levels. This club easily gets the ball airborne and adds yards with a low and deep center of gravity in a 17-4 stainless steel head by creating low spin with a much higher launch. Accuracy comes from perimeter weighting and a slightly larger face that raises the moment of inertia, ensuring a stable clubhead and faster ball velocity for maintaining distance, even on miss-hits.

Tester Comments: The gunmetal gray head looks great. And it is easy off the deck and of the tee. It also gets the ball up in the air easily … Not the longest but the feel and ball flight are near perfect.

Powerbilt Airforce One DF • $229

Unique Features: All the improvements to the AFO DF driver are incorporated into the Powerbilt fairway woods, which are available in 15- and 19-degree lofts. The ultra-thin face is only 1.6 mm and the clubhead is filled with 80 psi of nitrogen gas. The high moment of inertia head, which prevents a twisting of the club on contact with the ball from any lie, is made of 17-4 stainless steel and has a Fujikura stock shaft.

Tester Comments: I have a slower swing speed being a senior and this added 10-15 yards of distance without swinging harder … Skeptical at first but the nitrogen gas in the head really does give you extra distance, great for average swing speeds looking for extra distance.


TaylorMade RBZ
     • $229
Unique Features: The RocketBallz dramatically increases power, and better players can increase their distance by 17 yards. A "Speed Pocket" boosts ball speed by lowering the weight of the club and, together with the Thick-Thin Crown Design, a lower center of gravity is created, which promotes a higher launch for more distance. A low and forward center of gravity is accomplished by moving the weight of the club forward rather than placing it in the back like a traditional fairway. 


Tester Comments: Hot face but very easy to control … Ball has a penetrating flight and flies forever. Worth every penny. Very accurate … The club lives up to the hype that's come before it.


Taylormade R11 S • $249

            Unique Features:
The TaylorMade R11 S Fairway Wood allows you to dial in your distance. This is achieved by adjusting the loft up or down (±1°) with Flight Control Technology (FCT) and changing the face angle (±2°) and the spin rate (up to 500 RPM±) to the desired settings. The deeper face and lower center of gravity creates an easier launch and the white crown and black face makes alignment easy and eliminates glare on top.


Tester Comments: The versatility is great as you can play all kinds of shots – low, high, fade or draw … Good solid distance however more impressed with the forgiveness than anything else… This really is a Fantastic 3-wood


Titleist 910 F
     • $249
Unique Features: The 910F delivers total performance with improvements in flight, fit, looks, feel and sound. The 910F provides versatile, all-around performance from either the tee or turf. Its thin crown and high performance weighting create a low and deep center of gravity for easier launch off the turf and better shot trajectory for truer shots.


Tester Comments: Great distance, extremely accurate and great feel coming off the club face … This club is great, you can shape the ball both ways, control trajectory and distance … Changing the settings have allows for maximum playability.


Tour Edge XCG5
     • $299
Unique Features: The Exotics XCG5 is ultra long in the company's Exotics tradition. It features a titanium cup face and crown, a special beta titanium face insert for added distance, and a heavier tungsten sole plate that weighs 151 grams, or 68 percent of the clubhead's total weight. This delivers entirely new levels of forgiveness and distance. A six-point perimeter weighting system, with four external and two internal weight cavities, lowers the center of gravity and moves it deep in the head for enhanced distance.


Tester Comments: It looks great at address … If you want a long club, great feel, and, to play from the short grass, this is the club … As long as my driver but more accurate … Boring trajectory that seems to carry forever.


Tour Edge  Exotics cb4
     • $299

                Unique Features:
The Exotics CB4 Tour features design and performance characteristics inspired by the world's best players. The CB4 delivers unprecedented power and control. Designed for maximum workability, the CB4 features a slightly smaller, 170cc Tour-preferred head size. The head's classic pear shape produces a higher center of gravity that produces a lower spin rate and a powerful launch. The CB4's trampoline face design combines multiple levels of face thickness which maximize the spring-effect at launch.


Tester Comments: Very solid, consistent fairway, distance is not the longest but very forgiving … Dollar for Dollar, this is a great value and good club, easy to hit.


Tour Edge  Bazooka HT Max-D • $119

            Unique Features:
The latest woods from Tour Edge Golf are the Bazooka HT Max-D fairways. The "max-d" stands for "maximum distance," which Tour Edge designers tried to address through weight and shape and thereby helping the golfer increase swing speed. Two internal weight cavities in the heel and toe lower the center of gravity and move it deeper in the head for a higher MOI. 


Tester Comments: The feel is fantastic … It is easy to work the ball left, right or straight. It does not balloon .. Best Player Fairway wood on the market in my opinion


Wilson DXI
     • $199
Unique Features: The Staff DXI has a heavy mass concentrated in the sole. In combination with a sloped crown, this keeps the center of gravity low for easy access to the ball from any lie and a higher ball launch from the turf. 3-Zone variable face thickness expands the club's sweet spot towards heel and toe to aid golfers on miss-hits.


Tester Comments: Reliable, looks good and I can swing this with confidence … Nice trajectory and distance, but just easy to hit it well … Solid feel that you would expect from Wilson


Wilson  Fybrid RS • $129
Unique Features:  The FYbrid RS line fuses fairways and hybrids into a single family, allowing golfers to build proper distance-gapping into their games. The face has a rounded sole profile that helps create even symmetry at address to help identify the ideal impact area. By removing material near the toe and hosel, FYbrid allows for maximum flexibility in a variety of lies and minimal turf interaction on uneven surfaces. A dual rail sole promotes cleaner turf interaction.


Tester Comments: Really easy to hit off of tight lies … Shorter shaft makes the club easy to control … Nicely balanced club with simple head design that just works.


Unique Features: The eZone SD comes equipped with a Yonex Nanospeed 200 shaft. Composite graphite head construction shifts the center of gravity lower within the clubhead, moving the sweet spot closer to the center of the face. An Inner Weight System then optimizes center of gravity for increased forgiveness, maximum distance and ideal launch conditions. Muscle Power Face Technology increases repulsion power for increased ball speed.


Tester Comments: The ball flies straight and that is the best thing about these new woods … The carry distance is above average and the feel is as good as any fairway … Not the most workable fairway, if you want straight then these are perfect.


Player’s Choice Awards

Low Handicap
        Titleist 910F
        Taylormade RBZ Tour
        Tour Edge CB4

          Mid Handicap
          Adams Speedline Super XTD
Tour Edge Exotics XCG5

High Handicap / Beginner
        Ping G20
        Taylormade RBZ


          Ping G20
          Powerbilt Airforce One DF
Taylormade RBZ