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The elusive Fairway Wood Unicorn


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Go back to the Tour Edge CBX119 with a stiffer shaft. There is a reason so many Champions Tour players game the FWs and hybrids. I had the original CBX 15° with a HZRDUS Yellow 6.0. Miss was a hook when I stepped on it but other than that was perfect. Upgraded to the CBX T3 with a Paderson Ballistic TP x-flex. I can't imagine a club out there that is more reliable in all situations calling for a 3w.

Short game savant, driving disaster...

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The top end of my bag is still a work in progress.  As I mentioned in the original post I’ve been struggling to find the elusive Fairway wood unicorn.   

Here is where I’m at for now. The Tour Edge C721 25 degree hybrid with the KBS TGI 80g shaft is my new 200-205 yard club and has a medium trajectory with a draw.

The Tour Edge XCG7 28 degree hybrid is my 175 yard club and flies very high and does not draw.  

The Tour Edge XCG7 21 degree 7 wood is very good off the fairway from 215-220 yards and if I miss it tends to be right which is unusual for me.

The Tour Edge EXS Ti 21 degree 4 utility club is a very handy rescue club and is very easy to hit low running shots 200 yards.  Addictively easy.  A fun club.  I have found it to be difficult to hit short because the face is so hot.  Great unless I have a long carry.  For that reason I keep it in reserve for windy days and for playing specific courses.

The Taylormade SIM titanium 19 degree 5 wood with the Diamana limited 75g stiff shaft is in my bag.  Great off the tee. Ok off the fairway.  Have it set to 17.5 degrees and it performs well for the one or two shots a round that I use it.  Not crazy about the sound or feel though.

Tied my best round ever a couple of weeks ago playing with our Men’s group. Shot a 68 with 8 birdies.  A personal best.  Decided to move back a set of tees after getting a bunch of crap from everyone.  Will play the back tees until the end of the year as we are only allowed to switch tees twice a year.

As a result of the switch I will probably be using my mid irons and hybrids a lot more.  Will hopefully help my game and force me to develop my approach game a bit.  

Heading north to Wisconsin for a month and look forward to a change of scenery and some different courses to play.


Ping G410 LST 10.5

Tour Edge EX 10 - 16.5

Tour Edge XCG7 - 21

Titleist 818 H1 - 25

Titleist AP3 6-48

Corey Paul Functional Art 52, 56 & 60

Odyssey O Works Black #7 with Stability Shaft

Bridgestone Tour BRX

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Posted (edited)

3 wood off the deck, many had declared this is the most difficult stick in the bag to hit well.

I can't say that I had experienced all the options of 3 woods out there but I certainly had my share of the chasing after the elusive unicorn.  I have come to the conclusion ( works for me , but might not be for you ) that the issue is two folds.

One is the depth of the 3 wood face.  The deeper the face, the easier to get off the tee but needs more swing speed to get it airborne off the deck.  The second and most important reason behind why the 3 wood is the most difficult golf club to hit well is, the length of the 3 wood.

In search of longer distance, the 3 wood had been getting longer just like the driver and the irons.  We just forgot that the 3 wood is the longest golf club to hit off the turf, except those strong golfers who could deck a driver ( before they moved the sweet spot higher than the middle of the driver face with bulky shape ).

The reason why most golfers found the4 /5 woods more friendly to use off the turf is because the 4/5 woods are shorter.  The traditional 3 wood was 41 1/2 " to 42 1/2" not that long ago.  Today, the 43" is most popular length for the 3 woods, almost like a standard length for all the OEM.  The only reason it didn't go longer was somehow the OEM determined the 43" will be the limit for the average golfers to use more proficiently.

I have brought all my 3 woods down to 42"-42 1/2" over the years and didn't see any real lost in distance.  Also have gone back to a heavier weight of shafts 85-105 gm. depending on the head weight.  The older fairway woods have heavier head weight to match with a heavier shaft weight for better balance.

No, I don't have a "modern" 3 wood younger than 7-8 years from the current year.  Never thrust the super light weight construction heads to be played off the turf.  Don't feel like changing the fairway woods every few years from equipment failure.   Plus the solid contact will more than off-set the "spring like effect on the face ".

IMHO, the modern sticks are way too lengthy for the average golfers.  I would definitely try a shorter 3 wood in length, before giving up on it. 


Edited by release
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On 6/28/2021 at 9:33 AM, Kenny B said:

Just curious.  If you hit your 3W "pretty well off the ground" and have to hit your 3W as a tee shot, why use a tee when you have trouble hitting it off the tee?  You should have, or can create, a perfect lie on the tee box without a tee.

BTW, my wife has the same issue.  LPGA player Laura Davies never used a tee, even for her driver.  She created an indentation in the ground and placed the ball on the resulting slight upslope.

I learned to play FWs this way and have never changed. I simply bump the turf up about 1/8" on the teeing area and place the ball on that. I've never hit a FW off a tee my whole life. I also have never had a problem hitting any FW I tried. Some of the things I've found that make playing a FW easier are:

Heavier shafts - I like a FW shaft to be at least 10-20g heavier than my driver shaft. I play most of my clubs at around D6 and like 80-90g shafts for my FWs.

Open (measured) Face angle - I like to play my FWs with the same swing as my mid and long irons. However, FWs have a MUCH wider sole than irons. A FW with an open FA gives you a much smaller part of the sole contacting the ground when the club is squared up to the ball. This makes it much easier to swing down through the ball and let the loft do the work. I always have a shallow divot after a FW shot.

Proper loft - I find it best to forget the whole 3w, 4w, etc naming and just find the lofts that work best for you. If 16.5 is the lowest you can get good trajectory with, then don't try going any lower. Your swing should designate the loft you use on your FWs.

Practice - Someone mentioned several posts back about practicing your FWs. DO IT and don't use a tee. Hit them off the deck like they are designed to be hit. The more you practice, the more confidence you will have with them.


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I finally received my fitted TSi2 16.5° and 21° fairway metals with GD Tour AD DI 7 and Fairways Hit improved immediately.  The 21° FW launches higher than the TSi2 21° or 24° Hybrids and straighter than my old 915F or 915H clubs.  I think more players should consider getting a higher lofted FW club.986739203_TSi2(2).jpg.e18c214da26f20401d1973feb0f8b5da.jpg

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In my  :cameron-small: Explorer cart bag or MacKenzie golf baggolf bag:

:titelist-small: TSi2 11° Graphite Design Tour AD DI-6 stiff Tour Velvet grip A4 setting

:titelist-small:   TSi2 16.5°and 21° Graphite Design Tour AD DI-7 stiff Tour Velvet grip A4, A1 setting

:titelist-small:  T300 5-W (48°) Nippon Modus 3 Tour 105 stiff Tour Velvet grip 1.5° flat

:vokey-small:  SM8 52.12F and 58.10S Slate Blue Dynamic Gold stiff New Decade Multi Compound with BV Wings 1° flat

Scotty Cameron   2020 Special Select Newport 34"

:titelist-small:  ProV1x


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  • 2 months later...

Well I sold the Tour Edge Exotics CBX 119 with the Evenflow blue 5.5 shaft to a friend and golfing buddy who had lost confidence in his Cobra 3 wood and he is really getting good results with the 4 wood.  Much more height, easier to launch and better carry distance.  He has a lot more confidence with the new club.  How do I know?  I play with him a lot and I see him using it frequently now every round whereas the older Cobra he would only reluctantly use.

A couple weeks ago I put a new set of irons in the bag to replace the Titleist AP3s after about 700 rounds played with them.  The new ones are forged cavity back Corey Paul irons with KBS $-Taper 120g stiff Black finish shafts, BB&F ferrules and Superstroke Traxion wrap Black midsize grips.  Vey classy looking.  Great feel and fairly forgiving.  Just using the 6-PW for now.

So far so good, the stiffer and heavier shafts have really toned down my draw.  The swingweight is also higher so I have a better awareness of where the club head is.  The irons have weaker lofts though so my 9 iron now has similar loft to my old pitching wedge.  Have had to strengthen the lofts on my wedges by a couple degrees to fill the gaps.  Playing 50, 54 & 58 degree Corey Paul wedges now instead of 52, 56, 60.

The Taylormade SIM 5 wood, Tour Edge XCG7 7 wood, Tour Edge C721 5 hybrid and XCG7 6 hybrid round out the bag. 

Have booked a lesson with an elite instructor about an hour way from my house to discuss my game and what steps to take to get down to scratch.


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Ping G410 LST 10.5

Tour Edge EX 10 - 16.5

Tour Edge XCG7 - 21

Titleist 818 H1 - 25

Titleist AP3 6-48

Corey Paul Functional Art 52, 56 & 60

Odyssey O Works Black #7 with Stability Shaft

Bridgestone Tour BRX

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The technical superiority of modern fairway woods is pretty near undeniable, but other things also remain true.

They're long. 

They're upright. 

They're too light if you shorten them and thus require contrived weighting.

They're not gapped to be used as matching sets.

[You pick one, at most two of them; if you use them all together as a set, they're not gapped wide enough.]

Thus, if you prefer bagging a few lofted woods over hybrids and long irons, you'll probably have to mix and match models to get the gaps that you want.  Not a major problem, usually, but somebody might prefer a matched set.

These considerations are rarely, almost never, in fact, a problem for most players.  

Almost everybody benefits from the new tech.

But while I tend to stay reasonably current with numbered irons and wedges, I have  a hard time giving up old fairway woods that I hit well.  I don't need more length, even as a senior.  I'm playing the forward tees on a course built in 1906.

If the fit metrics--loft, lie, face angle, etc.--are good, I'm reluctant to give them up for admittedly more advanced tech.  If the fairway woods set up ok and are gapped right, I don't really need new ones.

[ I recently bought four, not new, to collect, not play, but I've had second thoughts about that extravagance and they may be back in the pro shop on consignment again. ]

So vintage metals that I can play well work for me.

Titleist PT 17º.    Top Flite Intimidator 400    21, 25º.    Yes, of course there's better stuff available.  

But these fairway woods, sometimes with a Titleist Howitzer driver to keep them company, can get the job done at least as well as I can. 

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TaylorMade 307cc___13.5°  / Mitsubishi MiDi Proto

Titleist PT___17, 20, 23º  /  Titleist proprietary MG207

Mizuno Fli Hi II__18° driving iron  / Mizuno proprietary Exsar Blue

Titleist T100___5-9  / Mitsubishi Kuro Cage TiNi 85

Titleist Spin Milled___50-08, 56-08, 62-07  /  Aldila NV105

Tad Moore Chicopee___putter

Titleist Pro V1x___ball

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I find I smoke my 3 wood at the range, but on the course can be 50/50. Not entirely sure why. 

Driver: Titleist TSi2 10 / Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue Raw 65 S

3 Wood: Titleist TSi3 15 / Project X RDX Smoke Black 70 6.0

Hybrid: Titleist TSi3 18 / Fujikura Atmos HB Tour Spec Red 7 S

4 Iron: Titleist U500 / Graphite Design Tour AD DI 85 S

5 - 9 Irons: Mizuno 921 Tour / Nippon Modus 3 120 S

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46F, 50F, 54S & 58M / Nippon Modus Wedge 115

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport Select (2016) / BGT Stability Tour

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV

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8 hours ago, Murray06 said:

I find I smoke my 3 wood at the range, but on the course can be 50/50. Not entirely sure why. 

Mats are very forgiving on fairway woods



  • Driver- ping-logo.jpg.c39cc6d1c061e68fb2522832f294fa88.jpg Ping G410 Plus 9*
  • Fairway- tour-edge.gif.a6f294e0926c30f03c36126cc7c0ec50.gifTour Edge Exotics EXS 220 3 Wood 16.5*
  • Hybrid- tour-edge.gif.a6f294e0926c30f03c36126cc7c0ec50.gifTour Edge Hot Launch C521 19* & 22* 
  • Irons- Taylor-Made-Logo.jpg.a922638edae25f1c036539a36e9a0f6e.jpgTaylormade RSi2, 5-PW
  • Wedges- Acer.jpg.51238d11edef77900a56a58a1ce09fc4.jpgAcer XB, 50*, 54* and 58*
  • Putter- ping-logo.jpg.c39cc6d1c061e68fb2522832f294fa88.jpgPing Sigma G Tyne (Superstroke grip)
  • Ball- GHzATeLo.jpg.69ffdb028e4ddbcd7846eb57a52b47ee.jpgSnell MTB-X
  • Bag- ping-logo.jpg.c39cc6d1c061e68fb2522832f294fa88.jpg2021 Ping Hoofer USA Edition 


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I struggled with this also, until the Ping G425’s came along. My friends call this the Ping Demo bag because the shear number of them. I have some credit and am considering upgrading my 3 & 5 woods from 410’s to 425’s.  

My 3 wood is mostly for off the tee on 2 holes. My 5 wood goes only 6 yards less than the 3 off the deck and way easier to hit, so the 3 wood is for hitting off the tee or punching out of the woods. 

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Driver:      :ping-small:  G425MAX 10.5° -1° Flat on Fujikura VENTUS Blue 5S

Fairway:   :ping-small:  G410 3 wood LST & 5  Wood Flat on :ping-small: Alta CB 65R

                     :ping-small:  G425MAX  7 & 9  Flat on :ping-small: Alta CB 65R

Hybrid:     :ping-small:  G425MAX  6 H Flat on :ping-small: Alta CB 65R

Irons:     :ping-small:  i 500 7-P on True Temper Dynamic Gold

Wedges: :vokey-small: SM8 50°, 54° & 60° on True Temper Dynamic Gold Wedge

Putter:    :cameron-small: Studio Style Newport 1.5

Balls:      :titelist-small: Pro V1X :taylormade-small: TP5 

Shoes:     :footjoy-small:  

Range Finder: :918457628_PrecisionPro: Precision Pro  NX7 Pro

All grips are BestGrips Micro-Perforated


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