Morphing from alternate driving club to reliable second-shot weapon, the fairway wood shows new levels of versatility
CLUBS LISTED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
CALLAWAY DIABLO EDGE/DIABLO EDGE TOUR
LOFTS: 15, 17, 19, 21, 24; Tour: 13, 15, 18
TECH TALK: The large, geometric head on the Diablo Edge has a high moment of inertia (MOI) and a deep center of gravity (CG) to help launch the ball high. The Diablo Edge Tour features a traditional shape with a slightly open face and a CG that is closer to the face for a low ball flight with less spin. Both models have a thin, heat-treated variable-thickness face for increased ball speed from heel to toe.
(L) "The Tour model is considerably longer than anything else, and it's visually pleasing. The face sits comfortably underneath the ball. It sounds like persimmon on balata but goes much farther."
(M) "Forgiving: This club's tough to hit an awful shot with." ... "The Tour model is a little smaller than most 3-woods, which I like. It's a great club to look at."
HOT: There's something for everyone in the Diablo Edge family -- including a 9-wood.
NOT: The standard model is very loud at impact.
LOFTS: 15.5, 17, 18.5, 21.5; Draw: 15.5, 17, 18.5
TECH TALK: The wide, low-profile head is cast from 17-4 stainless steel and features a machined face. By placing an external weight pad at the rear of the sole, Ping engineers were able to move the CG low and back to help golfers get the ball airborne. The draw version has an off-set hosel and extra weight in the heel to help the face close at impact. The flex profile and torque values of the stock TFC 149F shaft are progressive to match each flex.
(L) "The alignment aid really helps you put the ball in the center of the face, and it doesn't look too busy."
(M) "I have a sense at address that this club stays flatter to the ground than others. Jumps off the face."
(H) "It looks very functional without being overwhelming. The weight of it in my hands seemed to help me straighten out my swing."
HOT: A high-handicap-friendly design with the solid feel and trajectory control of a players wood. The 17-degree 4-wood should be the new 3-wood for nearly all golfers.
NOT: We wish it came in a 9-wood.
TAYLORMADE R9/R9 TP
LOFTS: 13, 15, 17, 19
TECH TALK: This compact yet high-MOI steel head has a pull-face construction that reduces weld lines. Additional weight has been moved to the rear sole thanks to the 0.6-millimeter cast walls. An adjustable hosel allows players to change the lie and loft/face angle to eight settings for a custom trajectory. Both models come with a Fujikura Motore shaft.
(L) "It sits flush on the ground. The muted triangle shape is perfect."
(M) "Just awesome that you can tweak the lie angle."
(H) "It's like a snazzy European sports car: good in looks and performance, but don't let a part break or you're going to pay." ... "They're able to hide the technology in a traditional shape."
HOT: TaylorMade is known for having perfected the sound and feel of a metal wood. Making an adjustable hosel nearly invisible on a fairway wood is a neat trick.
NOT: The adjustable feature is a great custom-fitting tool, but let a pro help you.