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 »  Home  »  Equipment  »  Play Testing  »  New on the tee: 2014 Fairway Woods
New on the tee: 2014 Fairway Woods
By Tom Landers | Published  07/8/2014 | Play Testing | Unrated
New on the tee: 2014 Fairway Woods

Fairway Woods

Perhaps never in the history of modern golf equipment has so much attention been paid to fairway woods. You know, those clubs no one except for accomplished players seemed to be able to hit well only a few years ago.
Well, club makers have changed all that, incorporating all their high-tech bells and whistles into a dazzling, and quite futuristic, lineup of fairway woods that even the higher handicapper can hit with greater ease. These new designs don’t make hitting a green from over 200 yards out a piece of cake. But they will help get your golf ball into the air and headed to the intended target with more frequency.
While they the souped up horsepower of the big boys (drivers) of 2014, this year’s fairway woods offer up unprecedented versatility, forgiveness and adjustability. Add to that their ability to generate ball speeds that have been lacking in previous models, and we have some very exciting, kick butt clubs to consider throwing into our golf bags.
Designers have moved around the center of gravity, enhanced the moment of inertia (a fancy way of saying when clubhead meets ball), and weighted their clubs to provide a more stable head that slides quicker through fairway grass or short rough and gives the user extra juice, i.e., distance.
Okay, so let’s check out these hot new fairway woods that has the golf world talking about little brother rather than big bro’, the driver. Find a stick that suits your swing speed, needs and ability and try it out on the only place where it really matters, the golf course.

Fairway Woods

Low Handicap 5 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Adams Tight Lies Tour
www.AdamsGolf.com • $229

Unique Features: When it comes to playability from all types of lies, the Tight Lies Tour fairway wood rises above all other fairway woods with its low profile, upside down design and tri-level sole. You will notice the ball launches off the face due to the Cut-Thru Slot technology. Compared to the Tight Lies Fairway Wood, the Tour version is a smaller head size, a deeper face, features a sole weight, is lower launching and delivers lower spin. The Tight Lies Tour also is available in different loft options (14.5- and 18-degrees) and comes with the Aldila Tour Blue shaft.

Tester Comments: Spin rate was dropped with this, dispersion dropped under 10 yards and the calculated distance was 20 yards longer with the Tight Lies … this club is so easy to hit, great feel of the face. feels like an old favorite after one day at the range … The ball came out hot and long almost every time.


Low Handicap 4 star
Mid Handicap 5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 5 stars
Senior 5 star

Adams Tight Lies
www.AdamsGolf.com • $199

Unique Features: The new Adams Tight Lies Fairway Wood offers playability from every type of lie and helps players get the ball in the air. A revolutionary cut-through Velocity Slot Technology creates a hotter face, twice as hot as the original, and the low-profile, upside-down design produces a larger impact area below the ball for better contact and an easier launch out of a multitude of lies. The original tri-level sole design reduces the amount of turf interaction to increase performance from the fairway, the rough, or tight lies

Tester Comments: From the first time I hit this club is was music to my ears. I love the solid feel and sound it makes when struck in the sweet spot … can be hit from any lie or off the tee...It’s the easiest fairway wood to hit I have ever played hands down! … It feels like the whole club face is the sweet spot!


Low Handicap 4 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4.5 star

Adams XTD Ti
www.AdamsGolf.com • $299

Unique Features: The XTD Ti Fairway Wood is loaded with the finest materials available in golf club design. Using new standards of manufacturing that combine titanium brazing with the company’s patented Cut-Thru Slot technology, the XTD Ti fairway wood features progressive face thickness for up to 29 percent more face speed on off-center hits compared to the SUPER LS fairway wood. XTD flaunts an optimally-low center of gravity, making it extremely easy to get the ball airborne for more consistent and controllable performance.

Tester Comments: The XTD Ti is a Beast … The feel was crisp, the sound was non-offensive and the distance was outrageous … The slot was a little distracting but overcame this with the performance of the club.


Low Handicap 4.5 star
Mid Handicap 5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Bobby Jones Black Series
www.bobyjones.com • $219

Unique Features: The construction of the head incorporates a CH-1 maraging type steel cup-face design that brings the CT near the range of the drivers. The edges are much thinner than the middle of the face, creating more ball velocity. This super hot face has a crisper, more distinctive sound than previous models and it’s at least 12 yards longer. The cup-face has reduced the spin rate and each head has a weight screw of either aluminum or tungsten allowing the user to add length or shorten as needed. A light, adjustable hosel allows for face angle options of square, one degree closed and two degrees closed.

Tester Comments: This is about as good a looking fairway as I have ever seen … Great sound at impact and playable from any lie and off the tee … I felt like I was in control with this club … Deadly effective.



Low Handicap 4 star
Mid Handicap 5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 5 stars
Senior 4.5 star

Callaway X2 Hot
www.CallawayGolf.com • $229

Unique Features: The Callaway X2 Hot fairway metal is thinner, lighter, and more robust. That’s how the Hyper Speed Face Cup delivers faster ball speeds and more distance. With an improved internal standing wave, Callaway located precisely the center of gravity to give the player more consistent launch and backspin across the entire face, leading to longer shots with more frequency. Callaway’s best and most versatile sole design makes this club easier to hit from any lie. The club comes equipped with an Aldila Tour Blue Shaft.

Tester Comments: It felt good on the range so I played a round with it and was amazed at the extra carry I was getting … The ball had way less spin off the face and I immediately noticed the distance. This club was advertised right because I am easily 30 to 40 yards more and on occasion, farther than my driver … thoroughly impressed with the consistency of this club from the tee box or off the deck.


Low Handicap 4 star
Mid Handicap 4 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Cleveland 588 Altitude
www.ClevelandGolf.com • $199

Unique Features: Cleveland’s longest fairway wood ever, the 588 combines power and forgiveness in a versatile design. The Tour-proven profile of the club has optimal face, sole, and crown dimensions to promote a clean, confidence-inspiring look from the turf or off the tee. Cleveland’s latest enhanced Variable Face Thickness Technology creates hot flight on center strikes and even faster ball speed on off-center hits for maximum forgiveness. Combined with a rear sole plug, advanced wall construction allows more weight to be positioned low in the club head for a higher launch.

Tester Comments: High launch, great consistency, great length … Provided the most consistent shot dispersion of any fairway wood I tested … very happy with the improvement in consistency.


Low Handicap 4.5 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Nike VR_S Covert 2.0 Tour
www.NikeGolf.com • $249

Unique Features: The Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Tour fairway wood features an enhanced cavity back design with a lower center of gravity, delivering a higher launch angle and reduced spin rate. With all-new Fly-Brace technology, the rear portion of the club is reinforced, so more energy is transferred to the face at impact. And the weight of the club is redistributed from the center toward the heel and toe for increased stability. FlexLoft adjustability, a simple pull, turn, push-and-tighten system, allows you to customize your loft and face angle positions independently of each other to optimize launch and spin conditions for maximum distance and accuracy.

Tester Comments: Easy to set lofts very playable … Nice weighting to this club, you can really pound it … Nice simple shape and a great performer from fairway or tee.


Low Handicap 4.5 star
Mid Handicap 5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 5 star

Ping G25
www.Ping.com • $199

Unique Features: The G25’s extreme variable-thickness face creates an efficient energy transfer for generating faster ball speeds and greater distance. This is the thinnest face of any PING fairway wood. The low-profile, forgiving design positions the CG low and back for high launch with increased forgiveness, especially on shots struck low on the face, the most common “miss-hit.” The head is slightly larger but maintains a traditional profile that is easy to align with the target. The G25s feature a charcoal, non-glare matte finish that eliminates reflections.

Tester Comments: Fantastic Stick! Consistently got better results in dispersion, carry and roll out with this club … It is like the club is doing all the work, a rocket launcher that just goes straight! … One of the easiest to hit fairway woods I have ever played with. absolutely nothing negative to say here!


Low Handicap 4.5 star
Mid Handicap 5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 5 star

Ping I25
www.Ping.com • $249

Unique Features: The 17-4 stainless steel i25 fairway woods offer a sleeker frame to enhance shot making. A taller face with an extremely thin perimeter design helps increase ball velocity for, while improved internal weighting bolsters moment of inertia for accuracy. The same width as a golf ball, patented racing stripes on the crown offer a visual cue that can lead to multiple benefits. Using Trajectory Tuning technology, the standard lofts are adjustable, plus or minus 1/2 degree. The lightweight, adjustable hosel maintains the same outer diameter and mass of Ping’s traditional fixed hosels and provides the benefits of adjustability without sacrificing performance.

Tester Comments: . Great penetrating ball flight both off the the and from the fairway … Very easy to adjust the loft … Great solid sound at impact and very playable from all lies … Everything just went straight with the same predictable trajectory


Low Handicap 4 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 5 stars
Senior 5 star

Powerbilt Air Force One DFX
www.powerbilt.com • $179

Unique Features: Powerbilt’s patented “Nitrogen Charged” technology comes in a newly designed DFX. Nitrogen Charging is a newly patented method to reinforce the face of the club without adding any weight. Compressed nitrogen provides tremendous support to the club face so every golfer can benefit from maximum coefficient of restitution, maximum C.T., maximum trampoline effect, and maximum “Smash Factor” for increased distance from the fairway and off the tee.

Tester Comments: My swing speed is on the slower side however I hit the ball higher and farther with these fairways than anything else, I am sold … Much better performer than expected, this is as good as any major brand for distance and control … Ball flies off the face in a hurry and with a nice high trajectory.


Low Handicap 5 star
Mid Handicap 5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4.5 star

TaylorMade SLDR
www.TaylorMadeGolf.com • $249

SLDR fairways woods combine Speed Pocket technology and an exceptionally low-and-forward center of gravity location. The new Speed Pocket is smaller which makes it more efficient at increasing how fast the face flexes at impact, promoting faster initial ball speed across a wider portion of the face for consistently longer distance. A new Speed Pocket design moves the clubhead’s CG lower and farther forward, to a place that promotes faster ball speed and a lower spin-rate. Loft Sleeve technology allows the player to adjust the loft 1.5 degrees up or down to dial in optimal launch conditions. A TP Model is available with a Fujikura Motore Speeded TS 8.3 Shaft.

Tester Comments: The SLDR 3 Wood launches high and flies straight off the tee and off the deck. The club has a solid feel at impact and mishits still fly … With the CG being moved forward the ball really explodes off of the face … It’s compact head feels more traditional than most of the oversized fairway woods on the market, and made it much easier to hit off the deck and out of the rough.




Low Handicap 5 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Tour Edge Exotics CB PRO
www.touredge.com • $499

Unique Features: The new Exotics CB PRO fairway wood combines the smaller head size of the CB2 fairway with the new Slip Stream Sole. The patent-pending Slip Stream Sole glides through the turf, minimizing interaction and allowing the head to maintain maximum speed through impact. The CB PRO features Tour Edge’s premium beta titanium cup face and hyper-steel body to produce maximum distance in a fairway wood. Complementing the CB Pro’s superior head design, the Fujikura Speeder 661 and 757 Series shafts feature Tour-proven performance, control and distance.

Tester Comments: Generally I am not overly impressed by claims of performance, I really liked the looks of the Tour Edge CB Pro. However, they perform better than they look … a flight path that bores through the wind, and lands softly … I hit with it out of the rough and off deadpan, this club is phenomenal, it is not for the faint of heart


Low Handicap 4 star
Mid Handicap 5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4.5 star

Tour Edge Exotics XCG7
www.WilsonStaff.com • $249

Unique Features: The XCG7 fairway wood is designed to produce an easy-launching, high trajectory with added forgiveness. The XCG7’s custom 465 forged maraging steel cup face produces faster launch speed. A new inner cup face enhances spring and distance as a result of a new
construction method that eliminates excess material around the bonding
area of the face. The XCG7 fairway reaches a very high CT level with this improved brazing technique and a new more dense custom 465 forged maraging cup face. A Power Grid positioned directly behind the
hitting area creates an accordion effect and increased spring-effect by
flexing at impact.

Tester Comments: Great club! I am able to make more consist hits with it … Long like a Tour Edge club is supposed to be … Major Distance … Nice penetrating, slightly lower ball flight.


Low Handicap 5 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Tour Edge Exotics XCG7 Beta
www.WilsonStaff.com • $299

Unique Features: The XCG7 Beta fairway wood model features a slightly smaller head, deeper face, and produces a slightly lower, more penetrating trajectory. The Beta’s forged Beta Titanium cup face produces enhanced launch speed. The face is combo-brazed to the Beta’s hyper-steel body to produce the Exotics’ dependable performance. As a result, the CT reaches the USGA-allowed maximum. A Power Grid positioned directly behind the sweet spot alternates in thickness from 0.5 mm to 1.0 mm,
allowing the thinner dimple-slots to flex, producing a hotter launch.. Further enhancing stability, weight is removed from the rear center of the sole courtesy of a dual-step cavity.

Tester Comments: Every shot just felt like it had power to it … Very nice sound at impact, very solid … Like the XCG7, distance is phenomenal..


Low Handicap 4.5 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Wilson Staff FG Tour M3
www.WilsonStaff.com • $219

Unique Features: The new adjustable FG Tour M3 fairway woods feature Multi Fit System technology that allows golfers to adjust both the loft and the sole weight for optimized trajectory and increased club head speeds. Six separate loft settings and three performance-enhancing sole weight options in the Multi Fit System make the fairway wood customizable for optimized trajectory and increased club head speeds. The Super Light (silver) 3-gram sole weight, The Right Light (gold) 7-gram sole weight and the Traditional (black) 11-gram sole weight all come included in a pouch with an adjustability wrench and manual.

Tester Comments: Very easy to adjust the loft and sole weight … The head is compact but not too small and sits behind the ball nicely … Stays square at address no matter the loft you choose.


Low Handicap 4 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 5 star

Wilson Staff D100
www.WilsonStaff.com • $250

Unique Features: The Right Light Technology delivers faster club head speeds through no additional effort from the player. The low profile flatter head shape enhances the moment of inertia for greater forgiveness, while the shallow face launches the ball easily in thick rough or tight-cut fairways. The D100 fairway woods are tailored to the Distance (D) player seeking power and a straighter ball flight on long shots. Right Light technology achieves the lightest possible weight for a given club, while still allowing it to feel solid and balanced. The Right Light technology optimizes grip, shaft and head to allow the user to swing faster with the same effort for faster club head speeds and hotter distances.

Tester Comments: Even though supposed to be lighter, it just feels right … So easy to make an effortless swing and get great distance … My distance was very consistent and shots were very straight, not a lot of sidespin..


Player’s Choice Awards

Low Handicap
Adams Tight Lies Tour
Ping i25
TaylorMade SLDR
Tour Edge Exotics CB Pro
Tour Edge XCG7 Beta

Mid Handicap
Adams Tight Lies
Callaway X2 Hot
Ping G25
TaylorMade SLDR
Tour Edge XCG7

High Handicap
/ Beginner
Adams Tight Lies
Callaway X2 Hot
Powerbilt AFO DFX

Senior
Adams Tight Lies
Ping G25
Powerbilt AFO DFX
Wilson D100