TaylorMade Qi10 fairway woods: What you need to know
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The TaylorMade Qi10 lineup of fairway woods includes three models of different sizes, different levels of forgiveness and even different metals, but the overriding mission is the same: A larger carbon composite crown that reaches all the way to the top of the face saves mass that’s repositioned selectively by each model to build more off-center hit forgiveness, increase launch angle and/or optimize spin.
The workhorse of the TaylorMade fairway-wood family, this model makes increasing playability for average golfers a directive. Making the club more playable involved taking everything from the hottest part of the face to the center of gravity and shifting them lower. Overall, these heads have a taller face and more volume, and they are stretched a little longer front to back to improve the way the face flexes and how stable the head is on off-center hits.
PRICE: Qi10 ($350): 15, 16.5, 18, 21, 24 degrees, with fixed hosel; Qi10 Max ($350): 16, 19, 22 degrees, with fixed hosel; Qi10 Tour ($450): 15, 18 degrees, with 12-way adjustable hosel. Available for preorder, Qi10, Qi10 Max at retail Feb. 2; Qi10 Tour at retail Feb. 16.
3 COOL THINGS
1. More carbon, more better. Everybody gets excited about saving weight in the construction of a driver, but when it comes to the concept of “discretionary mass,” don’t sleep on fairway woods. The reason? Since steel is twice as heavy as titanium, every bit of steel in the head of a fairway wood that’s replaced by carbon composite saves more weight that can be redistributed to serve different needs for different fairway wood models designed for different types of players.
That’s exactly what’s happening with the Qi10 and Qi10 Max stainless steel fairway woods, which use saved weight to increase each head’s stability on off-center hits, or moment of inertia. The result is less loss of ball speed on a mishit.
TaylorMade’s Qi10 family of fairway woods benefit from the largest carbon composite crowns in company history with nearly 100 percent surface coverage across the top of these heads. Just like in the drivers, the new structure across all models features a carbon composite crown section that stretches from back to the very front edge, abutting against the top of the face.
The use of carbon composite saves 15 grams that is pushed low and toward the rear on the stainless steel Qi10 and Qi10 Max models. That repositioned saved weight is especially valuable in these new models because they’ve been stretched longer front to back, including the Qi10 Max which now measures five millimeters longer and is 2.5 percent bigger in address area than last year’s oversized Stealth 2 HD 3-wood.
But the discretionary mass is distributed differently in Qi10 vs. Qi10 Max. The former features slighty more mass toward the front, while the larger Qi10 Max features more extra mass in the rear perimeter and slightly toward the heel.
“Obviously, with the Max and that back weight we’re trying to get the moment of inertia up as high as possible,” said Tomo Bystedt, TaylorMade’s director of product creation for woods. “It’s really a lot like what we’re doing with the Qi10 Max driver in that we’re really pushing up the MOI to where it’s our highest MOI that we’ve made in a fairway wood.”
2. Another plan for your savings. Meanwhile, the titanium Qi10 Tour, which generally targets better players, saves even more mass, with a lighter carbon composite in the crown (vs. five times as dense steel) and lighter titanium in the face (vs. twice as dense steel). But that double savings doesn’t simply yield a super low-spinning fairway wood, Bystedt said.
Because rather than pushing all that discretionary mass forward and low, it’s once again used to service a sliding weight in the sole, which debuted with last year’s Stealth 2 Plus. Like before, this year’s massive 50-gram sliding weight on the Qi10 Tour moves forward and backward along a track that is half hidden inside a “garage” that now is even lower profile to improve turf interaction and keep the track lower within the head for a lower CG in any position.
“Really, this is a variable spin product,” he said. “It’s like you have three fairway woods in one, or really an infinite number depending on how you slide the weight. This feature has been really great for dialing players in to get the right launch angle, but it’s also helpful for distance gapping. The middle setting gives you plenty of spin to get the ball in the air but still a hot ball flight. If you move it all the way forward, you’ve got kind of a rocket 3-wood setting, and if you move it back you have something more like our 3HL fairway wood. What’s interesting is that this won’t change your launch angle but the spin change will change your distance.”
Distance gapping with the Qi10 Tour is further helped by the company’s 12-way adjustable hosel that allows players to tweak loft by plus/minus two degrees. So even though there are only two stock lofts (15, 18 degrees), it accommodates every loft in multiple settings from 15-20 degrees.
3. Right-sizing. The three models feature different sizes with the Qi10 Max being the largest and the Qi10 Tour being the most compact, but they also feature face heights designed to appeal to the target player for each model. That means the Qi10 Max extends its more forgiving approach to include a more shallow face height to provide more confidence to average players who struggle to get fairway wood shots launched sufficiently.
The design of each face is based on computer simulations of the target player with thicknesses matching typical impact patterns through what the company calls an “optimization algorithm.”
The biggest change in the thickness patterns for this year’s Qi10 family of fairway woods isn’t so much in the overall shape of that pattern, but rather in shifting it slightly lower on the face. Based on player data, that matches up better with where impacts are occurring. As a result, the face deflects more effectively on lower impacts below center, working in conjunction with a cut-through slot in the front part of the sole.