TaylorMade Stealth 2 fairway woods, hybrids: What you need to know
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Stealth 2 family of fairway woods and hybrids benefit from a new lightweight carbon composite crown section that extends around the edges of the perimeter to save more weight and lower the center of gravity for better launch and increased energy transfer. The line includes high-forgiveness, draw-enhancing fairway woods and hybrids (the HD models), the easier launching, faster-faced standard models and better player options with the more iron-like flight of the Stealth Plus hybrid and multiple adjustability and driver-like face of the titanium Stealth Plus fairway wood.
PRICE: Fairway woods: Stealth 2 Plus ($450; 15, 18 degrees); Stealth 2 ($350; 15, 16.5, 18, 21, 24 degrees); Stealth 2 HD ($350; 16, 19, 22 degrees). Hybrids: Stealth 2 ($280; 19, 22, 25, 28, 31 degrees); Stealth 2 HD ($280; 19, 22, 25, 28 degrees); Stealth 2 Plus ($300; 17, 19.5, 22 degrees, adjustable).
3 COOL THINGS
1. A carbon crown that goes beyond the crown. With fairway woods and hybrids making up the longest clubs hit off the fairway, figuring out ways to lower the center of gravity (to help shots launch higher) and fixing mis-hits (because the vast majority of impacts occur below the center of the face) seem crucial. For the new Stealth 2 fairway woods and hybrids, that meant the weight-saving benefits of a traditional carbon composite crown weren’t enough. These clubs extend the carbon composite around the edges of crown so that it overlaps into the rear and side skirt portions of each head. That allows the saved weight to be used differently in each model.
Stealth 2 fairway wood
On the Stealth 2 Plus fairway wood and hybrid, that weight is pushed low and forward to decrease spin, while also providing for multiple adjustability features for better players to more specifically tweak their ball flight and distance gapping needs. On the Stealth 2 versions, it’s a mix of low and to the perimeter for improved launch with forgiveness. For the Stealth 2 HD models, the majority of that weight is pushed to the perimeter so off-center hits lose less ball speed.
Stealth 2 hybrid
2. Distinct shapes for different players and their flight needs.The solutions to make fairway woods and hybrids more effective for different types of players is not just about how different materials might be used or how weight might be redistributed. Sometimes it’s also a case of different shapes. For instance the Stealth 2 HD fairway woods and hybrids are larger to create more forgiveness on off-center hits (the fairway wood is a whopping 200 cubic centimeters), but they’re still designed with flatter soles to help keep the CG’s plenty low. Meanwhile, the standard Stealth 2 models lower the crown height from past models to create lower CG and a more confidence-inspiring shallow face. Finally, the Stealth 2 Plus hybrid is more compact to give better players the workability they prefer in an iron with just the right amount of added forgiveness.
3. How the technology in a $450 fairway wood makes you forget its price. While all the Stealth 2 fairway woods and hybrids benefit from new variable face thickness patterns that extend the area of the face that produces the highest ball speeds and all also feature a slot in the sole to help shots lower on the face fly faster, only the Stealth 2 Plus fairway wood has the added power of driver-like titanium. TaylorMade is on its fourth generation of compact, better-player titanium fairway woods, but this one easily is the most playable for average golfers, too. Past versions have used a massive steel weight pad to push the center of gravity extremely low and well forward. That’s perfect for low-spin but not so great for off-center hit forgiveness. The solution with Stealth 2 Plus fairway is to take that massive weight pad (50 grams on this year’s model) and have it slide from front to back. There are eight possible positions that allow the user to up the forgiveness by nearly 20 percent and increase the spin, another way to help less than elite players get the ball in the air. Even better, the sliding weight moves in and out from a compartment within the sole, keeping the surface smooth for clean turf interaction.
“We wanted to see if there was something we could do to make that more inclusive and more appealing to a wider audience,” said Tomo Bystedt, TaylorMade’s senior director of product creation for woods. “So this new system completely changes the club without you having to change the whole club or put a different head on there.”