Fairway Wood Fitting

One club head category that does not get their deserved attention has to be the fairway woods. For starters, fitting for fairway woods is an afterthought for many, however it an extremely important category. Secondly, hybrids have stolen the thunder or at least been given the spotlight in recent years, you are starting to see a renewed interest in fairways once again.

Beginning the Process of Fitting for Fairway Woods

Where and how will you be conducting the fitting?

One important consideration is where would you conduct your fairway wood fitting? Every shop is different. Some shops will operate in a retail environment where the customer is only able to hit the ball into a net with the aid of a launch monitor, swing analyzer or simulator. Conversely the fitting may be conducted outdoors at a range with or without the assistance of computerized equipment. Lastly, the fitting could be all done over the phone or internet as an on-line transaction or surprise gift for someone. In all these situations, how the fitting is performed will vary.

Personal Interview and Specification Check

The first order of business is to conduct the personal interview if you were fitting for the fairways separately and you had not already completed this step when fitting any of the other categories previously. For a review of the personal interview process and a list of possible questions, please refer to chapter 3. Except for golfers brand new to the game, I would strongly suggest the customer have their current fairway woods with them so you can inspect wear patterns on the clubs and gather information by measuring the specifications.

If the player comes to you with a right handed club that will obviously mean they will need a right handed models. But for a golfer brand new to the game, you may need to ask or test them for handiness by having them hit a few balls.  The main reason for asking handiness first is if they are left-handed, there will be far fewer options to choose from.

How Fitting Fairway Woods Often Differs from The Driver

If you look at many of the fitting carts what do you see? They mostly comprise of drivers and a selection of mid-irons although that is starting to change. Fitting for the fairways often is nothing more than selecting the matching fairway wood head, shaft, grip, and length (like standard, -0.5”, +0.5”, etc.). You do not find the variety of demo models that can interchange various shafts like you do with drivers.

This is not to say you cannot fit to the same level as you might with the driver, but it takes a different strategy. In some cases, demo #3 fairways might be made up with the same type shaft for players to hit. Or there may be models for sale in a display rack in which a retail associate may add a protective tape to the face and crown to keep it looking as new as possible while the player hits the ball into a net or out on the range.

The fitting that is often conducted may involve no hitting whatsoever. Rather the head is selected by picking them out of a box or display of sample clubheads so the customer can hold them in their hand and see and feel it. The alternative is looking through a catalog or surfing through the fairways listed on a particular manufacturer’s or clubmaker’s website to read the description and examine the specifications to see which type may benefit or interest the customer.

Choose the Set Make Up

The first question is how many fairway woods does the golfer carry in their bag? Will it be the typical 3 and 5 wood set up? Do they just carry one or none? Or do they need several all the way down to replacing all the numbered irons? This is something you will need to discuss with your customer. There are both pros and cons when choosing where a fairway wood or hybrid (as we will explain in the next chapter) might be best for your customer. Let us look at a conversion chart so we can see where the crossovers are on the more common fairways carried.

fairway wood distance conversion chart to hybrids and ironsfairway wood distance conversion chart to hybrids and irons

There is one obvious omission in the chart - an equivalent to the 3 wood. Simply put, there is no hybrid designed to replace a 3 wood. On one hand, the 3 wood is an essential club as much as the driver or putter. However, many golfers struggle with a 3 wood as the elongated assembly length and low loft make it difficult to get airborne and with any frequency to solidness of contact. Secondly, if the golfer was fitted or possesses a high lofted driver, this begs to ask whether the golfer really needs to carry a 3 wood to begin with. In this case, is the golfer better of starting with a 4 or a 5 wood? If it is a 4 wood, your customer will have few choices, especially if they happen to be left-handed.

One disadvantage of lower-lofted fairway woods is their longer assembly lengths, which are designed to be struck primarily off the ground. On the plus side, fairway woods have a large footprint meaning the fairways are more forgiving on miss-hits. 

diagram of a fairway wood and hybrid profile and illustrating why one has a higher MOIdiagram of a fairway wood and hybrid profile and illustrating why one has a higher MOI
diagram comparing the trajectory of a fairway wood versus a hybrid that are designed to hit the same distancediagram comparing the trajectory of a fairway wood versus a hybrid that are designed to hit the same distance

The other advantage is the trajectory. If we look back at our chart, a 21° 7 wood and a 19° 3 hybrid may vie for the same distance. The added loft of the modern fairway will make it easier to get airborne and a plus for golfers that routinely have a difficult time getting their longer clubs off the ground.

So you will have to weigh the difference based on the personal interview answers the customer provided. Remember one of the fundamental rules of fitting do not place two clubs in the bag that are designed to go the same distance either.

High-Lofted Fairway Woods

Some golfers may struggle with not only the long irons, but mid and short irons alike. In these cases, choosing a high-lofted fairway wood may be a good substitution. Only a few models today go all the way to a 15-wood to replace even high lofted irons, but it might be an option when all the other alternatives have been exhausted. This series of high lofted woods substitutes for the following irons: 

sole view a a fairway wood set #3 through 15 woodsole view a a fairway wood set #3 through 15 wood
Club Loft Iron Substitute
7 Wood 22° 3 iron
9 Wood 25° 4 or 5-iron
11 Wood 29° 6 iron
13 Wood 33° 7 iron
15 Wood 37° 8 or 9 iron


Choosing A Fairway Wood Based on Performance or Need

While any driver on the market will tout performance, the same cannot be said of fairways. They usually fall into one of two camps. One is for need. What I mean by that is the fairway’s head will be made wholly out of stainless steel (or aluminum if in a boxed set) with a similar look to the matching driver. This is done because stainless steel is an excellent material to make a durable club at that size and weight as well as one that is cost effective for both the manufacturer and end consumer.

The other camp is the performance-driven fairway woods. These will be models that have specialty materials in the face if not the whole head like the families of maraging steel or titanium. If the face has a maraging steel insert, this is for two purposes.

One is the ability to achieve a much thinner face so when the ball impacts the face it comes off at a higher velocity than if it was a traditional stainless steel face. We are simply talking about a higher coefficient of restitution and yes, the USGA has rules in place that it does not exceed a certain level just like drivers. Since the area of the face is much smaller than a driver and they are more lofted creating a more oblique impact with the ball, it is much harder for manufacturers to reach the USGA C.O.R. limit (0.83). However you are finding increased models available as golfers crave more distance.

For example, the average stainless steel fairway wood has a coefficient of restitution close to 0.78.  With maraging steels as well as titanium it is much easier to reach 0.80 and above. To put that in perspective, a golfer swinging a 15° #3 fairway at 90 mph may carry the ball 195 yards with a standard stainless steel model. If the coefficient of restitution could be raised to 0.82 (to stay within the rules) the golfer may gain 6 yards with no increase of swing speed.

However, that is only part of the performance advantage. By utilizing a secondary material or using more exotic materials there could be a great weight savings that would allow that discretionary weight to be used elsewhere like in the sole plate where it would be easier to get the ball aloft as that is a major problem for most golfers. Maraging steel is used because it can be easily welded to stainless steel and titanium cannot.

Titanium is not used very often because of cost. Titanium is a great material for drivers primarily for weight savings as the volume and weight limit (200g) for stainless steel driver was 265 cc. A fairway wood is often a third of the size of a driver and we would not want an oversized or at least deep face fairway woods like those manufactured in the early 2000’s because the center of gravity rose too high relative to the ground. Using an all-titanium body, the shell of a typical 180cc fairway may only weigh a mere 130g requiring an additional of 80g added within the head to make weight. You can imagine all the added mass can be put to particularly good use.

For one, if all that weight was added to the sole, the center of gravity might go from 50-55% of the crown’s height to possibly as low as 30% of the crown’s height. This will create a much higher launch angle so often the manufacturers will strengthen the lofts 1-3° to normalize the initial trajectory. The lower loft will produce a more outward ball flight and with less spin for additional distance not to mention the added distance from the higher coefficient of restitution off the face.

diagram of the center of gravity location of where it would be on a stainless steel versus titanium fairway wooddiagram of the center of gravity location of where it would be on a stainless steel versus titanium fairway wood

Regardless, if maraging steel or titanium is used in the construction of a fairway you can now see why it can be considered performance-driven. The deterrent for many is the much higher cost, especially with titanium. Plus you will not have near the variety in styles or lofts for your customer to choose from.

Clubhead Selection

Once we have decided on the set make up and whether the customer wants a model for performance or need, now we can narrow down the model that would make the most sense to use. Years ago it was a foregone conclusion that the customer would opt for the matching fairway woods, but today golfers are open-minded and more likely choose an entirely different model if that will help them excel better on the course.


One of the reasons why golfers struggle with fairway woods (especially 3 woods) is the inability to get the ball airborne. 3 woods generally range from 11.5 to 16 degrees. Often the 13° (or below) model will be labeled as a Strong 3 or 3+ and geared to offer a slightly lower initial launch angle and reduced spin in the same family of heads. We just saw how trajectory can be altered by incorporating different density or multi-materials to lower the center of gravity. The manufacturer might offer a particular model in a single low loft such as 14°. There is a very good chance that manufacturer factored in the lower CG to warrant the lower loft. On the other hand, a 16° 3 wood is most likely designed for ease of play for the average to golfers of lesser abilities.

Fortunately, most golfers who are buying fairway woods will be buying matching models. But if you are fitting the golfer with a single fairway wood to target a specific distance range you must pay more attention to the loft rather than the number engraved on the sole, which is especially true if they have an older fairway in their bag they cannot part with. For instance, the loft on their current 5 wood may be engraved 21°, but due to tolerances may very well measure 22°. In this improbable case, the golfer may need another 5 wood but with less or a more modern loft as you would like to see three or possibly more degrees of loft between fairways to make sure there is sufficient distance between them. . Not factored in are the fairway woods available with an adjustable shaft sleeve system like drivers, which can alter the effective loft.

  Strong Normal Weak
3+ Wood 11.5° 13° 13.5°
3 Wood 14° 15° 16°
4 Wood 16.5° 17° 18.5°
5 Wood 17° 18° 20°
7 Wood 19° 21° 23°
9 Wood 22° 24° 26°


Another giveaway as what kind of launch angle the club may have is to take a close look at the club head’s height. Many manufacturers may list face height as a specification to get a feel for how tall or shallow one model is compared to another. One word of caution regarding face height is the juncture where the crown and the face meet may have a large amount of radius. A head with more radius reduces the effective face height. I personally prefer to use crown height to make comparisons.

diagram of 3 fairway woods with a shallow, medium and deep crown height and relative CG locationdiagram of 3 fairway woods with a shallow, medium and deep crown height and relative CG location


Metal fairway woods in general are all forgiving as the heads are hollow shells pushing the weight to the outer perimeter. However, certain fairway woods are more forgiving than others on miss-hits. The key is to look at the breadth or the distance between the leading edge and the rear of the head. As shown in the diagram are three side views of a narrow, medium, and wide body design.

The wider body will typically shift the center of gravity with it. Whenever this occurs, we also see an increase in the trajectory as the shaft will bend further forward to align itself with the CG will all else being the same. A lateral shift in the CG will also create different spin rates.

One important thing to understand are the personal preferences that the golfer may have as you do not want to give a player something they will not like the looks of when they set the club in the address position. Better golfers may not want to see the monstrous size nor need all the forgiveness as a less experienced golfer would.

diagram of 3 fairway woods with a narrow, medium and wide breadth (front-to-back dimension) and relative CG locationdiagram of 3 fairway woods with a narrow, medium and wide breadth (front-to-back dimension) and relative CG location

Clubhead Bias

First, we had to settle upon the set make up, which may partially be based on the lofts of the clubs as strong or weak lofts can cause some overlap. Next we looked at the trajectory components such as loft and the high or low or forward and rear center of gravity, plus any additional discretionary weighting that may have been added by the manufacturer to lower the CG. Our next step is to take in account the flight bias for directional control.

We learned in the Driver Fitting chapter how face angle influences ball flight with a more closed face angle directing the ball more left (for a right-handed golfer) and an open face directing the ball more right as compared to a square face angle. Sadly, there are few fairway models made with anything but square face angles and not all models equipped with an adjustable adapter to change the face angle like drivers. While it might be possible to bend certain models if the hosel is adequately long enough and the insertion depth of the shaft is not too deep, few clubmakers have the proper equipment to adjust for face angle. So how do we ensure that a club will correct for a deficiency that a golfer might have like slicing or hooking the ball?

Slicers have the option of offset fairway woods. Technically they are not offset like an iron, but the gooseneck hosel typically creates 0.25” less face progression as compared to the non-offset version. With so many golfers who struggle with slicing the ball with their fairway woods it is surprising just how few manufacturers even offer a line of offset fairways. The few that do may also have slightly closed faces to further assist in squaring up the face.

We can also look for heads that have the word “draw biased” in their name or the description from the manufacturer. These may be models without any offset hosel feature but may contain internal weighting toward the heel to help close the club face and create draw spin on center impacts.

Golfers that tend to hook the ball fare much worse when it comes to flight biased options. If the fairway woods had screw weighting capabilities, then it might provide some relief if enough weight can be placed out in the toe. However, the limited volume of a fairway wood as opposed to a driver will show less of an effect on ball flight correction as the weight cannot be shifted as far away. Lastly, if the clubmaker stock multiples of the same club head and number, they could hand sort by measuring them in their specification gauge to find one that is more open and taking advantage of the manufacturing tolerances.

One other check that a club fitter can check is the gravity angle by temporally installing a shaft into a few different fairways wood and laying them on a workbench with the clubheads overhanging. If each model has a square face angle, the one that rotates with the greater gravity angle will be more prone to help someone that pushes, fades or slices than the model with the least gravity angle.

diagram of two 3 wood, one with a greater gravity angle to help those that push, fade, or slice the balldiagram of two 3 wood, one with a greater gravity angle to help those that push, fade, or slice the ball

Remember that a fairway wood that is longer from heel-to-toe may push the CG further away from the centerline axis of the shaft and reducing the CG angle. So not only breadth important to look at, but this dimension as well when debating which head may be best for you or your customer.

Sole Type

Most of the modern fairway woods possess a four-way sole radius so they can be played from a variety of lies or course conditions. However, there are a few which might have deep V-shaped or keel soles or ones with rails. These are often added to the sole to help minimize the sole’s contact with the ground and glide through the rough.

Fairway Shaft Selection

If you had not measured driver swing speed, this would be the time. In the case of a static fitting situation, you may have to estimate what it may be assuming the player is able to make solid contact and the distance is truly reflective of their swing speed. Even though we are fitting for a fairway wood, shafts designed for woods are always based on driver speed. If you were to measure the swing speed using a fairway wood, it will generally be a little lower as the swing arc is shorter and the overall weight is heavier than the matching driver.

At the same time you want to also examine the length of the player’s swing (3/4 or a full swing) and their tempo (fast, moderate, or slow) as these two items factor into the final flex the customer needs. Remember, the shorter the swing and/or the faster the tempo, the stiffer the shaft should be given the same swing speed. You can look at the conversation factors in the Shaft Fitting chapter for the length of the swing and the player’s tempo and apply it to the player’s swing speed to choose an appropriate swing speed range from which to select the shafts.

If you have various shafts installed into a selection of fairway models or have an interchangeable clubhead and shaft demo program, you can use that now to find a shaft which produces the best results.

Shaft Weight

One of the conundrums for a club fitter or the customer is what weight should the fairway shafts be? Should the weight be the same weight as the driver shaft for distance or heavier weight for more control? These might be partially answered from the personal interview as well as any specification check performed on the golfer’s existing fairway woods.

The rational for a heavier weight shaft is that a typical 3 wood is 2” (or more) shorter in length and that extra material cut from the butt end will make the shaft even lighter. If you look at shafts labeled as fairway-specific, usually they are 10g heavier than the matching driver shaft. But the same principles can be applied to various families of shafts that might be made in 50, 60 or 70g versions. If the driver shaft is 50g, then the fairway woods might use that same family of shaft but in the 60g option. Or if the 60g shaft is used in the driver, the 70g matching model is used for the fairway woods.

On the other hand, if the golfer has a relatively smooth swing and distance is more of a goal as many slower swinging golfers have, then it may be perfectly acceptable to use the exact shaft as in the driver. One other point, you do not see steel shafts sold in modern fairway woods, but they do exist. This might be a consideration for a golfer with very compact or quick swings help to pace out their swing or require shorter lengths to gain added control. There are few models available to choose from, but on the positive side they are by far the most economical.

Tip Stiffness and Torque

In the Driver Fitting chapter we spoke about how the shaft and clubhead parameters should work in unison. For instance, face angle and clubhead bias might help the ball go left or right, but at the same time, the shaft’s stiffness distribution and torque may contribute to the face attitude just prior to impact which ultimately will change ball direction as well.

Aside from the occasional offset, draw biased and closed faced models you may encounter, most fairway woods are going to be neutral biased and have a square face angle. Therefore shaft selection becomes important from a directional concern. There are two shaft parameters to look at once you have a general range of shaft flex and weight which you feel the golfer needs.

diagram of the center of gravity difference between a 460cc driver and a normal sized 3 wooddiagram of the center of gravity difference between a 460cc driver and a normal sized 3 wood

Those two parameters are tip stiffness and torque. We saw the cause and effect relationship as we increased or decreased both in the Driver Fitting chapter when the butt frequency and weight were the same. The lower torque inhibited the clubhead from rotating closed and the stiffer tip created less forward bend. That is why golfer’s with a later release or tend to pull, draw, or hook the ball are encouraged to look at shafts with reduce torque and a stiffer tip section when all else is the same.

Since most golfers slice the ball, it is not surprising that manufacturer’s stock shafts are both higher torque and possess a softer tip section when you compare them to upgrade shafts that were developed for tour players.

Some of the fairway-specific shafts may have a lower torque and stiffer tip section as the center of gravity of the fairway wood is closer than that of the driver in relationship to the centerline axis of the shaft. From a performance standpoint, certain shaft parameters may work more in harmony and why you find that name brand manufacturers will often select a slightly different shaft for the fairway woods as they would for the matching driver in the set. Only by pairing the head and shaft combination and letting the player hit the ball will you know for sure if it will match the player. As we said before, club fitters are less likely to have an interchangeable fairway wood and shaft system as they would with the driver.

Determine the Shaft in a Static Fitting Situation

One way to fit for shafts when a player is not capable of hitting various shafts and evaluating the results such as an internet fitting or surprise gift is to use the fitting charts by the shaft manufacturers or Hireko’s “Shaft Fitting Addendum” to “The Modern Guide to Shaft Fitting,” a companion books that contains thousands of shaft specifications that you will find of invaluable use in your custom club fitting and shaft selection work.

We recommend starting any shaft fitting session by recording the golfer’s average swing speed, tempo and length of swing and then refer to the procedural outline Charter 10: Shaft Fitting. After finding the player’s recommended swing speed range, one can narrow down the list of shaft choices based on ball flight, brand, cost, color, etc.


Most clubs fitters are not going to fit for length using various length test clubs in conjunction with impact spray or decals on the face to see which length provided the most solid impacts. Rather they may rely solely on the mid-iron or driver length (if they previously did this during the fitting session) or use their current irons as reference.

Rule number 2 in fitting is “Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to”. Let us say you had fit the player for the irons, and they needed ½” longer than standard, then I would also base the fairways woods off the same ½” over standard. I am hesitant to use the driver as the basis for suggesting fairway length since the driver is more of a specialty club that might have been made extra-long to create more distance for the player and has the assistance of a tee where the fairways usually do not.

Fitting for fairway wood length is also somewhat the classic chicken and egg scenario. To a certain degree you need to know what fairway wood you are selecting because they can vary in weight from one manufacturer or model to another. You are also selecting what shaft weight to use which might influence the balance or swing weight with a heavier shaft (for control) possibly suggesting a slightly shorter length.

So we need a starting point. For name brand manufacturers the starting point is a target swing weight. If we know what the head weight and shaft weight are, it is easy to factor what length it needs to be. As stated not all fairway woods with the same number engraved on the sole weigh the same, but their recommended lengths are tied directly to their weight. That is why this chart does not have a column for club head number. For example, a clubhead weighing 213g could very well be the manufacturer’s #3, 4 or 5 fairway woods. If we want to achieve a men’s standard swing weight (D0-D2) and using a 65g shaft (typical) then the recommended length should be 42.5”.

However, if we wanted to maintain the same swing weight but use a 75g shaft instead, we could make the length ¼” under standard or at 42.25”. As we mentioned before, if the irons were fit to the player at +1/2”, then you would add this amount to the total or 42.75” (213g head and 75g shaft).

Club fitters may elect not to change length using different weight shafts. Instead, they may want to adjust the head weight. Remember it is impossible to remove weight from a metal fairway wood unless it is equipped with screws and lighter weight screws are available. There are limitations in adding weight with tip pins and not exceed the top of the hosel to prevent breakage. Or the clubmaker will have to add hot melt down through the hosel and into the hollow cavity to increase the weight.

Suggested Fairway Wood Length Based on Head and Shaft Weight

Head Weight Men's Ladies
203 g 43.5" 42.5"
208 g 43" 42"
213 g 42.5" 41.5"
218 g 42" 41"
223 g 41.5" 40.5"
228 g 41" 40"
233 g 40.5" 39.5"
238 g 40" 39"
243 g 39.5" 38.5"
248 g 39" 38"


Shaft Weight Suggested Club Length
45 g 1/2" over standard
55 g 1/4" over standard
65 g Standard Length
75 g 1/4" under standard
85 g 1/2" under standard
95 g 3/4" under standard
105 g 1" under standard
115 g 1 1/4" under standard

Using a 42.5” fairway wood as an example, whenever we change 10g of shaft weight, it requires a change of 2.25g in head weight to maintain the same swing weight assuming there is no shift in the balance point of the shaft as shown on the left hand side of this table.

Fairway Wood Swing Weight Matrix (42.5" Length)

Head Weight Shaft Weight Swing Weight
217.5 g 45 g D1
215.3 g 55 g D1
213.0 g 65 g D1
210.8 g 75 g D1
208.5 g 85 g D1
206.3 g 95 g D1
204.0 g 105 g D1
201.8 g 115 g D1


Head Weight Shaft Weight Swing Weight
213.0 g 45 g C8.4
213.0 g 55 g C9.7
213.0 g 65 g D1.0
213.0 g 75 g D1.3
213.0 g 85 g D2.6
213.0 g 95 g D3.9
213.0 g 105 g D5.2
213.0 g 115 g D6.5


If not, look at the chart on the right to see the change of swing weight when the head remains the same weight and we are just adjusting shaft weight. For reference, a 115g shaft (cut weight) would be a standard weight steel shaft and 45g would represent one the lightest weight shafts on the market. A lighter swing weight will result into a stiffer clubs and a higher-than-normal swing weight will reduce the stiffness.

This is the reason length is so important to the balance of the club. For club fitters make sure to weigh the head or find out the weight by examining the specifications in a catalog or manufacturer’s website.

Determine Length in a Static Fitting Situation

This is where you will have to make a judgment call based on the player’s height, wrist-to-floor, and any information they provided during the personal interview process. This may require a quick trip to the internet to find what length the manufacturer originally built their fairway to. The reason for this is most end consumers do not know the proper technique to measure the length of their own clubs.

Fairway Wood Length by Height Chart

 Height Height (inches) Height (centimeters) Length Relative to Men's Standard
4' 7" 55" 140 cm 2 1/2" under standard
4' 10" 58" 147 cm 2" under standard
5' 1" 61" 155 cm 1 1/2" under standard
5' 4" 64" 163 cm 1" under standard
5' 7" 67" 170 cm 1/2" under standard
5' 10" 70" 178 cm Standard
6' 1" 73" 185 cm 1/2" over standard
6' 4" 76" 193 cm 1" over standard
6' 7" 79" 201 cm 1 1/2" over standard
6' 10" 82" 208 cm 2" over standard
7' 1" 85" 216 cm 2 1/2" over standard


If you are working with a heavier or lighter head than normal, then you want to base the assembled length relative to the length the manufacturer designed it for. For instance, we have a 3 wood that weighs 218g and designed for men’s standard length of 42” (rather than 43”). If you have a 5’ 8” golfer and the chart suggests ½” under standard men’s length you might consider a 41.5” length.

Lie Angle

We mentioned this much earlier in the text that altering the face angle of a modern fairway wood is extremely limited and the same holds true for the lie angle. This could be due to the fact the hosel is too short or the insertion depth is too deep to effectively alter the lie. Or the clubmaker does not have access to a lie/loft machine that is capable to clamping the club head safely and securely.

There are fairway wood models where lie can be altered, but those are the ones that use an off angle adapter system. At the same time they may also altering the face angle and effective loft depending upon the position. While face angle will have a more profound effect on direction, the added loft of a fairway can add to the dispersion angle if the lie angle is off. If the ball flight is straight or toward the golfer’s desired path (like a fade or a draw), I would leave the lie angle alone. However, if the direction is off, adjustments can be made.

Using a fairway wood with an off angle adapter system, you may find two positions that offers the same face angle but one lie flatter than the other.

In this diagram you can see simulated impact marking on the face. The one on the left shows a lie that might be perhaps too flat. By moving the adapter to the more upright setting, the player may align the fairway wood closer to them and that might be enough to move the impacts with the ball closer to the center of the face and toward more solid and longer shots.

diagram of two fairway woods with simulated impact marks on the face with one club too upright and the other too flatdiagram of two fairway woods with simulated impact marks on the face with one club too upright and the other too flat

The opposite would occur on the image on the left. By flattening the lie the club may be pushed further away from the golfer and now allow impact to be made closer to the center of the face. That is the beauty of these adapters is to immediately find out if this is the case. If so, the adjustment can be made quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively.

You can usually observe ball flight rather than having the player hit off a lie board to indicate whether the lie is correct or not. If the ball is more of a pull, that might also indicate the lie is too upright whereas a fade might indicate a lie that is too flat. Of course the lie would only pertain to the club head at the exact length and with the shaft the player is testing it with. If either the shaft or length will be altered because of your final fitting, the correct lie angle could vary.

Grip and Grip Size

Take the time to fit your customer not only for grip style and brand that may be their favorite or chosen from your grip display, but also check they have the proper size. For a complete discussion of grips and grip sizing, please refer to the Grip chapter.

Remember the cause and effect of grip weight as some jumbo grips can be considerably heavier than others, plus you have lighter weight models available that can reduce the overall weight of the club and increase the heft of the club at the same time. Demo clubs are really the only way to evaluate for this.

Determine the Grip in a Static Fitting Situation

In cases when a player is not in your shop to demonstrate the different type of grips and sizing or capable of hitting various clubs and evaluating the results such as an internet fitting or surprise gift, use the grip sizing charts in the Grip Fitting chapter. Make sure to ask if the player has a favorite grip (or size) too. If the player’s hands sweat a lot or play in hot and humid conditions on a regular basis, know what types of grips you stock that would be the most beneficial.

Weight Distribution and Final Adjustments

If you are using an interchangeable club head and shaft system to fit your customer, you can add smaller amounts of weight to the fairway to fine tune swing weight. If your demo clubs have holes in the butt ends of grip, you use any counterweighting system to see if alternative weighting may stimulate a difference in the comfort level and performance at the given length and shaft weight you fit for. It should only take a few swings by the golfer to see if counterweighting has any positive response. If not you can rule it out and at least your customer had experimented with something few golfer ever do.

If you are not using an interchangeable club head and shaft system, you most likely will be fitting based on a myriad of demo clubs where you are isolating one parameter at a time (or none like in a static fitting situation). If that were the case, few of the specifications would be all on one club where you can fine tune or optimize swing weight or any alternative weighting for best results. By using the principles discussed in the length segment will often take care of producing a club that is too heavy or light.

Fairway Wood Fitting Summary

Once you have completed your fairway wood fitting, it may off to the next club category to fit your customer or to begin to order and build the club(s) to those specifications. The total time to fit your customer will vary depending on how involved you want to get or just how badly they were fit before. It may be as simple as a new style grip and size or an alteration of length to one or all their existing fairway woods. On the other hand you might have a customer with a unique set of challenges that you have to go through every aspect of the fitting until you settle on what will help them perform their best off the fairway or from the rough.

  • Choose amongst fairways for need or performance.
  • Make sure to choose lofts that will not only allow the player to get the ball aloft, but also spread out so there are sufficient gaps between consecutive clubs.
  • Other than the #3 wood, fairways may hit the ball the same distance as certain hybrids or irons, so it is imperative not to have two clubs in the bag that go the same distance.
  • Look at offset, clubhead bias or other features such as an off-bore adapter or screw weighting system to control direction. You can also use manufacturing tolerances to your advantage if you have several heads to select from.
  • Understand the relationships between the length, head weight and swing weight as manufacturers do not always use the same head weights.
  • Consider a shaft weight that may be perhaps different from the driver for control purposes as well as seek out shaft parameters that match up to the size and shape of the head which again are considerably different from the driver.
  • Make sure to select a grip and grip size that will match the driver or irons so there is uniformity within the set.

Modern Guide to Golf Clubmaking

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