2015 Fairway Woods Guide

15

Golf Discount’s 2015 Fairway Woods Guide

author-bob-gomavitz by Bob Gomavitz

Being an absolute equipment junkie, I was approached by GolfDiscount.com to write reviews and share my findings with you. Having been chosen to write a number of TaylorMade product reviews for GolfWRX.com I felt that this would be an excellent opportunity to put my knowledge to use.

The review of the Fairway Metals was mainly done with 15 degrees of loft. This is a loft that some players struggle with off the turf, but is great choice as an alternative to a driver off the tee when struggling or on a tight hole. This loft was not the best for play out of medium to heavy rough as I mentioned in some reviews. As a whole I found plenty of forgiveness from the entire group, with some better than others. I also found that the majority of the clubs tested to be very easy to elevate. This should help a large number of players that struggle getting their 3 wood airborne off the deck.

Testing was done at Newcastle Golf Course and Range, along with Maplewood Golf Course which is my home track using TaylorMade Range balls and Titleist Pro V1x.

Check out the NEW 2016 Fairway Woods Guide!



Big Bertha V Series

Big Bertha V Series

  • Fastest, Most Friendly Bertha
  • Speed Optimized Technology
  • Hyper Speed Face
  • Modern Warbird Soleplate
  • Bassara Lightweight


Read The Review


Cobra Fly-Z Review

Cobra Fly-Z

  • Dialed-In Weighting
  • Dialed-Up Distance
  • Designed For Forgiveness
  • Larger, Thinner Face
  • Matrix VLCT SP


Read The Review


Mizuno JPX-850 Review

Mizuno JPX-850

  • Shock Wave Sole
  • Quick Switch
  • Easy Launch
  • Increased Ball Speeds
  • Fujukura Motore


Read The Review


Nike Vapor Flex Review

Nike Vapor Flex

  • FlyBeam Structure
  • Compression Channel
  • NexCOR Face
  • FlexLoft 2 Technology
  • Diamana S+ Blue 70


Read The Review


Ping G30 Review

Ping G30

  • The Best, Made Even Better
  • Taller Face, Flattened Crown
  • Increased Ball Speeds
  • More Forgiving
  • PING FC 419F


Read The Review


TaylorMade AeroBurner Review

TaylorMade AeroBurner

  • New Speed Pocket
  • Made For Speed
  • Aero Hosel
  • Strong Face
  • Matrix Speed RUL-Z 60


Read The Review


TaylorMade R15 Review

TaylorMade R15

  • Made Of Greatness
  • Front Track System
  • Sliding Weights
  • Adjustable Loft Sleeve
  • Fujikura’s Speeder 67 Evolution


Read The Review


Titleist 915Fd Review

Titleist 915Fd

  • Active Recoil Channel
  • Ultra Thin Face
  • High MOI Design
  • SureFit Tour Hosel
  • 5+ Shaft Options


Read The Review

Big Bertha 815 Fairway Wood

Gom’s Pick:

One of the best looking fairway metals I tried. Clean, compact and super solid with an excellent ball flight. Not the longest that I tested but a tight dispersion always makes one forget about distance very quickly. My only small gripe was that I had to move the track weight to be able to access the shaft for any type of adjustments.

The Takeaway

The Big Bertha 815 is one clean compact head at address. This could be the most compart fairway metal of all the ones that I test. That being said, I found some good things that came in this compact package. I test one with a Fujikura Speeder 665 with the heavier weight towards the back which offer a higher launch angle than reversed which will lower the spin. Looking down at the Big Bertha 815 14 degree head I felt like I had a 5 wood or 18 degree head in my hands. The clean all black colorway is flat out appealed to my eye. The head sat super square in the neutral position and had a very solid feel to go with a nice thud sound. Miss hits were also very good from such a small head.

Who’s It For?

The Big Bertha 815 is more of a players club that offers a bunch of including decrease spin for those high spin players looking to lower their spin rate. Slower swing speeds will be better off with Callaway’s other offerings that will get the ball up quicker.

Final Take

One of the best looking fairway metals I tried. Clean, compact and super solid with an excellent ball flight. Not the longest that I tested but a tight dispersion always makes one forget about distance very quickly. small gripe was that I had to move the track weight to be able to access the shaft for any type of adjustments.

Read The Full Review Shop Big Bertha Alpha 815


Callaway Big Bertha V Series Fairway Wood

The Takeaway

Back in the day, Callaway owned the fairway business with a series of different models but mainly with the Big Bertha line up. This is the modern day version that will help a whole bunch of people who struggle with their fairway metals. The head is on the large side which instills confidence to those who feel the smaller heads look to hard to hit. The V Sole will help off the deck and out really help on tougher lies. The club is super light and produces a very high ball flight, but feels great and has plenty of forgiveness to it.

Who’s It For?

Mid High to Higher Caps with mid to slower swing speeds and need help elevating the ball will love the Big Bertha V Series.

Final Take

Even though its not a club that will make it to my bag, it is a must try for those that need help getting the ball up off the deck or getting out of the rough.

Read The Full Review Shop Callaway Big Bertha V Series

Callaway XR Fairway Wood

Gom’s Pick:

One of my favorites tested to date. Easy to swing, great launch, feel, looks, control and distance. Should not be skipped when looking for a fairway metal.

The Takeaway

The Callaway XR with its fixed hosel design is a simple clean good looking fairway metal. No doubt a larger head than the BB 815 model but nothing too big nor too small I felt. Most fixed hosel designs sit a tad closed to my eye and this is what I felt again. As for the feel the XR was about as solid as gets and the ball felt like it was jumping off the face with a very muted sound. I have always been a fan of the Project X wood shafts and this one did not let me down one bit.

Who’s It For?

Pretty much anyone will love the XR version except those looking for more adjustability to really dial in their launch and spin numbers.

Final Take

One of my favorites tested to date. Easy to swing, great launch, feel, looks, control and distance. Should not be skipped when looking for a fairway metal.

Read The Full Review Shop Callaway XR


Cobra Fly-Z Fairway Wood

The Takeaway

For this review I tested the White version of the Fly Z fairway metal at 14.5degrees. The Fly Z comes in a stunning assortment of crown colorways including Masters Green. The footprint was slightly on the large and on flat side which tell me that this head shape will help elevate the ball rather easily which it did and especially when you add in the back center of gravity which is a key feature for this head. As for the looks, well I enjoy a white colorway against a all black face because I feel it frames the ball very well as this one sure did with maybe a touch of a closed face angle. The feel was solid and crisp and the sound was not harsh one bit with good forgiveness. Paired with the Matrix VLCT shaft as the stock offering I felt that the two made for a great combo.

Who’s It For?

I would suggest this for those that have issues getting their fairway metals airborne enough especially their 3 wood. Those with higher swing speeds that create spin will need to look at the Fly Z+ version that Cobra is offering.

Final Take

I loved different colorways that Cobra is offering for the Fly Z model and especially the Orange head. It comes with simple adjustments to change the loft/lie and with a quality shaft offering. Though I prefer a smaller footprint with a slightly deeper face, the club performed very well and should fit the needs for those that need help getting the ball airborne.

Read The Full Review Shop Cobra Fly-Z


Mizuno JPX-850 Driver

The Takeaway

After my eye opening experience with the JPX 850 driver I was excited to test the fairway version. Again I found the colorway just stunning and a bit mesmerizing because its just so different than the rest. A quick look at this head and you will notice a very shallow face which will produce a low CG that help some and hinder others. The head was more on the compact side and other than being slightly flat had a nice shape to it. Just like the Driver it was paired with a Fujikura Speeder 6.3 shaft and an adjustable sleeve which I tested at 15 degrees. Feel was not as solid to me as the Driver and my launch was quite high as I figured with the narrow face and low CG.

Who’s It For?

Those that have issues elevating the ball of the deck and in the rough will benefit from this head.

Final Take

After all my excitement over the Driver, the fairway version just did not cut it for my type of game, even though it should make for a nice fairway metal for those that need help in getting the ball up quickly. Though still stunning to look at and very forgiving, I was disappointed that I never saw a ball flight that suited my eye like I did with the driver.

Read The Full Review Shop Mizuno JPX-850


Nike Vapor Flex Fairway Wood

The Takeaway

The Vapor Flex is the Adjustable version of the Vapor series and is also the smaller head of the two and features an all black face to match up with the Black Crown. I tested this version in the 15 degrees of loft setting, but the FlexLoft 2 allows you a full 2 degrees of adjustments. The Vapor Flex comes stock with a Mitsubushi Diamana S+ Blueboard which is an excellent fairway shaft. I preferred the looks of the slightly smaller head as it sat very square to my eye. Feel was very solid, crisp and had a pleasant solid sound.

Who’s It For?

I would say that a very strong player with higher swing speeds and spin rates would enjoy this head. The Vapor Speed with fit most people better.

Final Take

The Vapor Flex is a stunning looking fairway metal that the very strong players should take a hard look at. Feel is excellent, the sound tells you that your hit it well and the flight screams better player looking to reduce spin and lower their flight. This is a big boys fairway metal.

Read The Full Review Shop Nike Vapor Flex


Nike Vapor Speed Fairway Wood

Gom’s Pick:

Even with the lighter weight shaft I found the Vapor Speed to be an excellent playing fairway metal. With its solid feel, great forgiveness, and stunning ball flight off the tee this will be a solid choice when looking at a new fairway metal.

The Takeaway

The Vapor Speed is the fixed hosel version of the new Vapor line up. The 15 degree version that I tested came with a Fubuki 60 Z shaft which I tend to feel is a touch light for a fairway metal. Head size seemed slightly larger from front to back than normal and face depth looked about the norm. The sole has a slight rocker version to it or more of a rounded shape than some other models out there. Looking down the head sat very square to a tad open to my eye and very appealing to the eye appearance wise. Feel was very solid and forgiving. The ball flight was mid to mid low with low spin.

Who’s It For?

I can see this version being in the bag of all types of players with the only thing holding some back is the stock shaft weight and the lack of adjustability.

Final Take

Even with the lighter weight shaft I found the Vapor Speed to be an excellent playing fairway metal. With its solid feel, great forgiveness, and stunning ball flight off the tee this will be a solid choice when looking at a new fairway metal.

Read The Full Review Shop Nike Vapor Speed


Ping G30 Fairway Wood

The Takeaway

Ping has always made excellent fairway metal that tend to be on the low profile side which lowers the CG and helps with elevating the ball easier than some of the deeper faced fairway metals out on the market. The G30 has a slightly taller face this year when compared to past offering but still offers the low back CG. The Turbulators off the G30 driver are present to reduced drag on the crown of a simple flat black colorway. The head sat very square to my eye but still look slightly low profiled. I really enjoyed the feel and sound from the G30 driver, but I did not get the same sound and feel with the 14.5 degree head that I tried.

Who’s It For?

Its always fun to find a club that will fit a wide spectrum of players and the G30 is right there. Better players will love the slightly lower penetration flight, while higher handicap players will love how easy the club plays in all the conditions that a fairway metal is called upon.

The Final Take

I thought very highly of the G30 Driver so I had high expectations for their fairway metals. I just did not get the same feelings as I did with the driver though the club was solid, easy to hit and forgiving.

Read The Full Review Shop Ping G30


aeroburner-fairway

The Takeaway

The new Burner this year is called the AeroBurner and is built for speed. I tested the 15 degree version with the stock shaft offering. Looking down at the head I found the head a bit on the narrow side from front to back when compared to most other fairway metals. Face depth was about average and a semi flat sole. With its flat white colorway and raised crown, it was very easy to frame the ball and line it up to my target though to me it sat a touch closed. Feel wise I did not find this head as solid feeling as most for some reason unless it was hit dead flush and the sound was a bit harsh also when not hit perfect.

Who’s It For?

With it’s very light shaft, overall weight and slightly longer length, the AeroBurner is an excellent choice for those looking to gain some club head speed and or need help getting the ball airborne quickly.

Final Take

This club was easy to hit, very forgiving and was very long. Only thing missing was adjustability and a better feel.

Read The Full Review Shop TaylorMade AeroBurner


TaylorMade AeroBurner TP Fairway Wood

Gom’s Pick:

I was really looking forward to trying this club because of how the AeroBurner TP Driver tested for me. I was slightly disappointed in the feel, sound and for me the launch was quite high. Bottom line this is a solid Fairway metal that will be one of the longest for sure and has seen a bunch of support early out on the PGA Tour.

The Takeaway

The TP (Tour Preferred) version of the AeroBurner fairway metals features a heavier shaft, shorter length, a flatter lie angle, slightly open face angle and a slightly small head. These features are more Tour Inspired and tend to be liked by the better players. I found all these features to be more what the doctor ordered for my game but I still found the head to not have a real solid feel unless I dead nutted it. Launch was slightly lower than the standard AeroBurner as expected with the heavier less torque shaft.

Who’s It For?

The better player who likes a slightly open face head and needs a little loft to their game. Excellent for those strong players going for Par 5’s in to and needs the ball to land softly.

Final Take

I was really looking forward to trying this club because of how the AeroBurner TP Driver tested for me. I was slightly disappointed in the feel, sound and for me the launch was quite high. Bottom line this is a solid Fairway metal that will be one of the longest for sure and has seen a bunch of support early out on the PGA Tour.

Read The Full Review Shop TaylorMade AeroBurner TP


TaylorMade R15 Fairway Wood

The Takeaway

TaylorMade’s first fairway metal with a movable slot weight technology is now here. The R15 comes only in a White Colorway which gives it a slightly larger than it really is look. I personally enjoy the White crown framed against the Black face and found this head to site very square in the N position. The head is larger from front to back than the AeroBurner versions with a slightly shallower face it seemed. I felt that there was a huge improvement in feel and sound and loved that I could create a small bias by moving the weight (which is now closer to the face) left or right.

Who’s It For?

The R15 with its improved forgiveness and adjustability will fit a large spectrum of players looking for a fairway metal that produces a solid feel and excellent ball flight.

Final Take

I found the R15 to produce a much better feel and sound over the AeroBurner but was not as long as the AeroBurner. TaylorMade has done an excellent job to include their low forward slot weight technology to their fairway lineup and my results confirm this.

Read The Full Review Shop TaylorMade R15


Titleist 915Fd Fairway Wood

The Takeaway

The Titleist 915Fd is about as classy of a head shape out there. Clean, simple and eye appealing the 915Fd is a treat to hold in your hands. With the Active Recoil Channel Titleist was able to increase ball speeds and lower spin that produced a classic mid launch angle that penetrated the air very well. The feel was very solid and the sound was a nice improvement after hitting their high pitched drivers. With their Precision Fit System one can really dial in their launch and spin numbers even with a fairway metal.

Who’s It For?

The 915FD with all its custom options and adjustability will fit a large range of players looking to improve their fairway play. Slower swing speeds will need higher lofted heads to get the max out of the 915Fd.

Final Take

Simply a classic fairway metal. It has the looks, the feel, the options and playability to be high on most peoples list. I found longer fairway metals out there distance wise, but they were not the total package that the 915Fd is. The version I tested was shafted with the Aldila Rogue Black 80 which felt on the heavy side for me.

Read The Full Review Shop Titleist 915Fd


The following two tabs change content below.

Bob Gomavitz

Bob Gomavitz Age: 59 Handicap: 4.6 Introduced to Golf: Age 10 Years Playing: 47 Hole In Ones: 2 Double Eagles: 1 Years in the Golf Industry: 14 Rounds Per Year: Over 100 Favorite PGA Tour Course Played: TPC Sawgrass Favorite Local Course Played: Royal Colwood Victoria, B.C. Most Famous Golfer that I played with: Fred Couples Most Famous Person that I played with: Kenny G (High School Teammate) Current WITB Driver: Taylormade 2016 M2 9.5 45" D-3 Graphite Design Tour Ad 60 Stiff 3 Wood: Taylormade RBZ 13 Degree TS Oban Revenge 7 Stiff 43.25” D-3 Hybrid: Taylormade R1118 Degree Matrix Altus Stiff Hybrid: Taylormade R11 Rescue 21 Degree Matrix Altus Stiff Irons: Taylormade Burner 2.0 4-PW KBS Tour Stiff Std Lie, Lofts and Lengths Wedges: Taylormade Rac Black 54 Degree TT DG Wedge Flex Wedges: Callaway X Tour 58 Degree MD TT DG Wedge Flex Putter: Odyssey Versa 90 degree #7 Super Stroke 3.0 34” Ball: Titleist Pro V1x, Srixon Z Star XV Yellow Trackman Driver Swing Info Club Head Speed: 98-101 Ball Speed: 148-151 Angle of Attack: +1.7 to +2.6 Launch Angle: 12.7 to 14.1 Spin: 2400-2750 Angle of Descent: 39.8 to 37.3 Carry: 234-242 yards Distance: 258-272 yards Path: 0.7 to 2.4

Latest posts by Bob Gomavitz (see all)

Share.

15 Comments

  1. Great reviews again Bob! Just have a few questions. I’ve got a high handicap and have a swing speed of about 95-100 which can usually poke my drives out there about 280+. I’ve been preferring my hybrids to get me out there further on the follow up shot since I don’t like my current Callaway Fairway wood. Would the Big Bertha V Series be the right choice for me? Thanks!

    • Bob Gomavitz on

      Layne,

      Some questions for you before I can really make a really good recommendation.

      What issues do you have with your fairway metal? Topping? Skying? Lack of height? Control or all of the above?

      Thanks again for the kind thoughts and questions?

  2. Calloway Xr…… Great club! These clubs just keep getting better and better, but Calloway has hit the mark this time I’ve hit most of them and keep coming back to the Xr.

  3. Great reviews, especially the “Who’s It For?” section! Really helps you zero-in on what is right for you.

  4. Spot on with the 915F. It’s been one of the easiest 3 woods I’ve ever hit and such an easy launcher off the fairway.

  5. A solid set of reviews, well done! For me, adjustability in fairway metals has become almost a non negotiable feature – not so much due to loft, but because different hosel settings tend to change the left right bias. And since every club’s stock bias is different, I like to have that adjustability so I can find the right face angle.

    Also, interesting that you reviewed the Titleist 915Fd and not the regular 915F – I found that to be a great head, very easy to elevate and accurate. The 915F and the V Series are my favorite of this year’s crop.

    • Bob Gomavitz on

      Ryan,

      I will be adding the 915fd soon…..I personally found the 915f and V Series to be quite different so I would be interested to hear how they made it to the top of your list?

  6. I read all your comments, and enjoy the true facts about each. Has helped with several questions I’ve had. Thanks

Leave A Reply