Obsessed with Spin…
Golfers are always obsessed with spin. We want low spin with the driver off the tee and as much spin as we can get around the greens with our wedges. I always get emails asking me for the lowest spinning driver heads and the wedges with most spin but nobody has ever asked me about spin when it comes to fairway woods. The fact is spin is a big part of every golf club not just the driver and wedges. Even a putter has spin, yes we don’t want that back spin on a putter as we want it to roll foward instantly at impact.
Fairway woods spin too…
When it comes to fairway woods, different models will create different types of launches and produce varying amounts of backspin. In the case of a fairway wood, not everyone wants low spin or high launch, it depends on the player and what kind of ball flight each golfer is ultimately looking for. I’ve put together a table with data from Albatross and some of today’s popular model fairway woods. The table is only to give an example of what one might expect based on combinations of spin and launch and which swing speeds they might be good for as well as the type of shots different fariway wood models produce.
Fairway wood test results…
Launches were rated as follows: High 12* or more. Mid 10-12*. Low 10* or less. Spin was rated as follows: High 4300rpm or more. Mid 4000-4300rpm. Low 4000rpm or less. (This data is based on retail model 3 woods with stock shafts tested outdoors on grass using a vector launch monitor with a scratch golfer with 102mph swing. Each club was hit 5 times and then averaged. )
High Launching Fairway Woods…
Trends these days have a lot of woods going to shallower faces and deeper center of gravities. This kind of design targets the average golfer with average swing speeds under 100mph as you see in the table below. We average golfers can benefit from a higher launch to firstly get the ball up in the air and secondly to produce max carry with low spin to mid spin as you see in line 1 and 2 above. Line 1 with its high launch and mid spin are good examples of what you might get from a JPX E-Metal or Nike SQ Dymo. Line 2 with high launch and low spin is an example of Yonex’s Nextage Type Ti and PRGR’s GN502. These two FW are focused on carry and max distance.
Mizuno JPX E-Metal: Launch 12.1* Spin 4202rpm
Nike SQ Dymo: Launch 12.8* Spin 4294rpm
Yonex Nextage Ti: Launch 13.1 Spin 3516rpm
PRGR GN502: Launch 15.2 Spin 3626rpm
Mid Launching Fairway Woods…
Line 3 4 5 are all mid launch style shots with high mid and low spin examples. This is a very popular trajectory for the mid to lower handcapper who still wants distance but a lower more piercing trajectory. With the lower trajectory comes control and fairway woods that fit in this category are the Tsuruya Onesider DS, MacGregor NV-R, Yamaha Inpres X D, Honma’s Athport e+. The Yamaha Inpres numbers look very tasty which could explain why it sells so well as it combines distance and control.
Tsuruya Onesider DS: Launch 11* Spin 4633rpm
MacGregor NV-R: Launch 10.1* Spin 4258rpm
Yamaha Inpres D: Launch 10.4* Spin 3472rpm
Honma Athport e+: Launch 10.6* Spin 3889rpm
Low Launching Fairway Woods…
Lines 6 and 7 in the table are low launching mid to higher spinning fairway woods as preferred by low handcappers and pros. The low launch provides great control and accuracy and with higher spin a soft landing as players can target the green on long par 4’s and par 5’s. There are a large number of low launch models as listed below:
Callaway Legacy Aero: Launch 8.2* Spin 4618rpm
Maruman Shuttle i4000x: Launch 9.5* Spin 4374rpm
S-Yard GT: Launch 9.0* Spin 4453rpm
Srixon Z-TX: Launch 9.8* Spin 4137rpm
Taylormade R9: Launch 9.9* Spin 4033rpm
Tourstage GR: Launch 9.8* Spin 4029rpm
Titleist 909F2: Launch 9.8* Spin 4287rpm
So what does all this mean? It means that there is more than meets the eye when choosing a fairway wood. There are many players who tell me they have problems getting their 3 wood in the air with a good launch. And then those who need more distance with their second shot. Those players should definitely be going for a high launch lower spin wood and not choosing a 909F2 or Legacy Aero. Then there are those players who balloon their shots and want a lower more controlled trajectory. Choosing a JPX E Metal or GN502 for them would not be the right choice.
All clubs peform differently and there is no such thing as the BEST one out there. It’s the best one that suits your swing and game. For help or advice on finding the right FW for you, feel free to contact us anytime!