The design of golf woods has come a long way over the past two to three decades. Persimmon woods have been replaced by advanced wood designs that feature intricate technological advances that promote maximum distance and accuracy. 

The majority of golfers have at least 2 or more woods in their bags. Woods are available in a variety of different shapes and sizes and they are made out of different materials. In this article we will take a look at everything about golf woods, we will examine different wood types, design features and we will also look at which golf wood types are best for whom. 

The 3 Most Popular Types of Golf Woods:

Golf woods come in different shapes and sizes, to better understand the design and functionality of each type let’s take a closer look at different golf woods. 

1. Drivers

PGX Offset Golf Driver
PGX Offset Golf Driver

Driver designs have transformed immensely over the last two decades. Many think that new drivers are too technologically advanced and that professionals are hitting the golf ball too far off the tee. Amateurs, however, have a different view, recreational golfers enjoy the big heads of new drivers that are designed to maximize distance. 

It is safe to assume that golfers and non-golfers know what a driver is but for those who don’t it is the club with the big head that one tees off with. The majority of driver heads feature 460cc heads, these big heads are packed with features which include adjustable weights, and loft options. Drivers range in loft options but the majority of golfers play with a driver that is anywhere between 8 and 10 degrees. 

2. Fairway Woods

Callaway Mavrik Fairway Wood
Callaway Mavrik Fairway Wood

Fairway woods feature slightly smaller clubheads than drivers. Fairway woods are available in a variety of different loft options and the head size of fairway woods gets progressively smaller with 3 woods having the biggest clubheads. Different fairway wood numbers and lofts are:

  • 3 wood – 15 degrees
  • 5 wood – 18 degrees
  • 7 wood – 21 degrees

3, 5 and 7 woods are standard fairway wood options, some manufacturers do have 4 and 9 woods available as well. Callaway’s latest Mavrik range of fairway woods is available in a wide variety of different options 

Henrik Stenson is famous for winning the Open Championship by opting for his trusty 3 wood off the tee instead of a driver. To see Henrik in action with his trusty 3 wood enjoy this compilation of his all-time best shots with it. 3 Woods are reliable alternatives to drivers and many golfers prefer the consistency of a 3 wood over the added distance of a driver. 

Fairway woods are very versatile golf clubs, some golfers prefer to use their fairway woods off of the tee and others replace their long irons with a repertoire of fairway woods. Players with slower swing speeds can benefit greatly by changing out their 3 and 4 irons with a 5 and 7 wood instead. 

3. Hybrids

TaylorMade M2 Hybrid Golf Club
TaylorMade M2 Hybrid Golf Club

Hybrids feature a similar design to that of a fairway wood, the main difference being that hybrid clubheads are smaller than fairway wood heads. With that being said hybrids are the perfect crossover between fairway woods and long irons. As is the case with any type of golf club, different manufacturers have different shapes and looks based on their technology, but here is an illustration of what a standard hybrid club looks like. 

The majority of hybrids that are available on the market right now are adjustable. Hybrid clubs can be adjusted in terms of loft, lie angle, ball flight bias, and weight. Adjustability can be both a blessing and a curse when you do decide to add a hybrid to your bag make sure that it is set up/adjusted to fit you and your golf swing. 

When we take a closer look at the design of a hybrid there aren’t any extreme components to analyze but it is very important to focus on the sole (bottom of the club) of hybrid clubheads. 

Hybrids are famous for being easy to hit, hybrids technically aren’t woods but they aren’t irons either. The sole design of hybrids is what makes these clubs unique in terms of how it interacts with the turf at impact. Hybrids feature sole designs that glide through the turf, the result is added height, consistent distance, and accuracy on shots. 

Fairway Woods vs Hybrids

Fairway woods and hybrids are similar but they do have key differences. Fairway woods feature slightly bigger clubheads and rounded clubhead profiles. Hybrid club heads with their smaller profiles are denser, this delivers a club head with a lower and deeper center of gravity than that of a fairway wood. As a result of this low center of gravity, hybrids are exceptionally forgiving on off-center strikes. Fairway woods feature broader sole designs, this does minimize your room for error which is why many golfers opt for hybrids instead of fairway woods. 

Adjustable Woods Explained

Drivers, fairway woods and hybrids all offer numerous options in terms of adjustability. Majority of woods feature systems that will allow a player to adjust the loft, lie and clubface angle of the club. This adjustment system is normally situated in the hosel of the club. 

Adjustability can be very useful, this allows players to adjust their wood or hybrid to fit their swing. By simply changing the settings of your club it could solve all your issues of missing it consistently in one direction.  

Adding/removing weight, or moving weight to different parts of the clubhead is another adjustability feature that can be found in most new fairway wood and hybrid designs. TaylorMade introduced the sliding weight to its M1 design, most other companies feature designs that have weights that can be replaced for either a lighter or a heavier option. Below is an illustration of the M1 sliding weight track, in this design the weight changes the draw/fade bias of the club, this is a unique feature offered by TaylorMade. Most other hybrid designs have replaceable weights in a fixed location on the clubhead. 

Having the ability to change the weight of the clubhead allows players to build a club that has a swing weight that is perfect for each individual player. Swing weight is a very important aspect that most amateurs aren’t aware of. Players with slower swing speeds require clubs with lower swing weights, this is especially important later on in a round when players are tired, attempting to swing a club that is too heavy for you on those last 3 holes after being out in the sun the whole day is not the best idea. 

Best Woods for Beginners

Beginners differ in terms of ability and skill but golfers that are new to the game tend to struggle with height and consistency. Drivers, fairway woods and hybrids can be adjusted in numerous ways to ensure optimal performance for beginners. 

A wide variety of woods and hybrids are also available in offset options. Woods and hybrids that feature offset designs feature clubheads where the clubface is positioned behind the hosel of the club. 

Offset woods and hybrids are ideal for beginners because the design of these clubs forces them to set up with their hands in front of the golf ball at address. A good setup gives the golfer a greater chance to square the clubface up at impact. That dreaded slice is a shot that all golfers dread, with the help of an offset wood you might be rid of that shot forever. 

Best Woods for Low Handicappers

One doesn’t get a single figure handicap overnight, it is safe to say that low handicappers can hit a golf ball better than most. Low handicappers do however differ in terms of style of play and ball-striking ability. Some got their handicap down by being able to hit the golf ball a long way with their woods, others rely on their short game to shoot consistent low scores. 

How many woods you carry in your golf bag and the importance of your wood play will differ depending on which golfer you are out of the two mentioned scenarios. If you are the long-hitting golfer you will probably carry a driver and one other wood or hybrid in your bag, on the contrary, short hitters will normally replace their long irons with fairway woods or hybrids. 

For low handicap golfers, it is important to play with woods that optimizes distance, accuracy, and consistency. To shoot rounds in the ’70s regularly consistency off the tee and distance control on approach shots are a must. Every golfer has different needs, make sure to opt for a wood setup that suits your golf game. 

Conclusion

The 3 most popular types of golf woods are drivers, fairway woods and hybrids. Each of these wood types features different design characteristics. Good ball strikers will normally carry a driver and 1 fairway wood or hybrid in their bag, on the contrary beginners and players with slower swing speeds will opt for a driver and a plethora of either fairway woods and hybrids to replace their hard to hit long irons. 

There is no right or wrong as to which woods you should have in your bag, at the end of the day it comes down to your golf game and what’s most suitable to your individual golf swing. 

Bertine Strauss
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Bertine Strauss
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