“For Boccieri fairway woods the emphasis is on control…and looking at our raw averages (all shots), the Boccieri Heavy Fairway is the most accurate fairway club we’ve tested this season. But…accuracy is only one factor in our testing…you will want to read more to find out the full truth.”
Boccieri Golf Heavy Fairway
(Written By: GolfSpy T) As seemingly every manufacturer in the golf industry is experimenting with, and in some cases limiting their lineup to ultralight models, Stephen Boccieri stands as the voice of dissent. His “Heavy” brand, which started with putters, expanded to wedges, and has grown to include woods and irons, bucks the trend. Boccieri believes the more weight, when properly positioned adds control, which invariably increases accuracy. Indeed, this idea is not completely unique. Balance-Certified and others have built entire companies around the idea of adding additional mass to the grip end of the golf club. Boccieri is simply the first to build an entire lineup around the idea.
What most golfers fail to understand is that weight does not always equal swingweight, In fact, when we put the Heavy Fairway on a swingweight scale, like the Heavy Wedge we tested last year it measured significantly lighter than any other club we’ve had in for testing this season. While there’s noticeably more weight with the Heavy lineup, it’s mostly in the grip, which in theory gives the golfer a better sense, and more control of the club through the hitting zone.
It’s an interesting idea, right? But does it work? Let’s have a look.
Features and Benefits
What’s interesting about the Heavy Fairway is that, like the namesake wedge we tested last year, it’s heavy in terms of overall weight, but when measured on a swing weight scale it proves to be exceptionally light. Granted, the head does contain more mass than the average fairway wood, but with the help of a 50 gram back-weighting system, the balance point of the Heavy Fairway is much closer to the hands than that of a conventionally fairway wood. According to Boccieri golf, this design has several benefits:
- Better on Plane Takeaway
- Set Hands More Quickly
- Smoother Transition
- Holds Angle of Retention Longer
- Square Face at Impact
- Full Extension Through Impact
- Balanced Finish
We can’t find anything in the marketing literature to suggest that the Boccieri Heavy Fairway would be longer than anything else we’ve tested, but we were extremely interested to see how the accuracy would compare to the other fairway woods we’ve tested this season.
Stock Shaft: Aldila NVS 75 grams
Material Composition: 17-4 Stainless (body) & 455 Carpenter Steel (face)
Options for the Heavy Fairway are admittedly limited. They are available in only 2 lofts, in regular and stiff flex only, and are available exclusively for right-handed golfers.
How We Tested
The 6 golfers for whom we collected detailed performance data were asked to hit a series of shots on our 3Track Equipped simulators from aboutGolf. As usual, testing was done at Tark’s Indoor Golf, a state of the art indoor golf facility located in Saratoga Springs, NY. Detailed data for each and every shot for which we collected data is now viewable in the interactive portion of this review. This data serves as the foundation for our final performance score. As a supplement to our 6 performance testers, a subset of additional golfers were given the opportunity to test the Boccieri Heavy Fairway (3-Wood) and provide feedback in our subjective categories (looks, feel, sound, perceived distance, perceived accuracy, perceived forgiveness, and likelihood of purchase). This information, which we also collected from our performance testers, is used as the foundation for our total subjective score. Data was collected for testers using the 15° 3-wood in both regular and stiff flex.
As much as I’d like to tell you differently, there’s absolutely no way to for me to put a sweat gooey glaze on this; in our testing, the Heavy Fairway was considerably shorter than the previous fairway woods we’ve tested. Our testers posted an adjusted average distance of 227.02 yards, which is 13 yards shorter than the next shortest (240.3 yards) 3-wood we’ve tested.
It must be pointed out that the only two other fairway woods we’ve formally tested this year (PING K15, TourEdge CB4) are by reputation two of the longest on the market today, so we probably don’t know how the Boccieri compares to an average fairway wood. Another factor in the distance discrepancy may be the length of the shaft. For Boccieri the emphasis is on control (it says so right on the shaft), so they’ve elected to make a shaft that’s ¼” shorter than that of the other fairway woods we’ve tested. While probably not 10 yards worth, it most certainly is a factor.
Overall, the distance numbers while not exceptional are still pretty good.
MGS Distance Score: 89.03
For Boccieri accuracy is where the rubber meets the road, or at least where the steel meets the Urethane Eslatomer™ . That 50 grams of back-weighting, and additional mass in the club head is there to help the golfer better control the club. So I bet you’re wondering…does it really work?
Looking at raw averages (all shots), with an average distance 16.31 yards off the centerline, the Boccieri Heavy Fairway is the most accurate fairway club we’ve tested this season (by about 1 foot). When we look at the adjusted averages (outliers removed), it’s slightly less accurate than the others (we’re talking inches here). What this tells me is that while our testers hit their very best fairway shots with other clubs, when it comes to reducing the type of mistakes that cost you strokes on the golf course, the numbers suggest the Boccieri Heavy Fairway will be better at helping you keep the ball in play.
MGS Accuracy Score: 88.60
The reality is we don’t have an entire season, or even a few weeks to get a feel for a club, or basically learn how to hit it. It’s a little bit of a shame because I believe that with the additional weight, this is a club that a golfer really does need to spend sometime with. It has a very different feel, and I think it will take time to learn how to hit it and maximize your results. Of course, many golfers base their buying decision on one or two demo sessions, so if a club doesn’t shine out of the gate, most aren’t going to put it in their bag and trust that it’s going to get better.
To say our testers struggled to get a feel for the club is an understatement. When it comes to the things we look at to determine consistency (ball speed, distance, accuracy, launch angle, and spin rates), almost across the board our testers failed to achieve repeatable and consistent results from swing to swing. While a single tester proved to be incredibly consistent, the remaining 5 testers were anything but.
MGS Consistency Score: 81.05
Even I’ll admit to being slightly surprised by the final number here. To be sure, the Boccieri Heavy Fairway is not going to win any distance competitions, but I also firmly believe that distance it achieves is probably only slightly worse than average (again, the two fairways we tested previously are most likely the exception rather than the rule where distance is concerned). For fairway woods we place a slight premium on accuracy, and in that respect, it more than gets the job done.
Consistency numbers are admittedly rough, but I’m inclined to suggest that time with the club would dramatically improve results, but unfortunately, as golfers, we tend to look for quick fixes, instead of taking the time to get a feel for a club that has the potential to improve our games.
MGS OVERALL PERFORMANCE SCORE: 88.02
At MyGolfSpy we believe that performance should matter above all else, which is why our performance testing accounts for 90% of the overall score. Still, it’s impossible to totally discount the importance of the subjective qualities of a golf club. We know that when presented with two golf clubs, if the other isn’t an absolutely beast, most golfers are always going to buy the prettier one.
We’ve seen smaller golf companies struggle to tune the look and feel of their clubs to a measure that appeals to the everyday golfer. As I often say, more often than not, the only things that separates the little guy from the big are paint and polish. Boccieri probably isn’t what most golfers would consider an industry giant, so as I often am, I was curious to see what our testers would think of a club from slightly outside the mainstream.
At address there’s almost nothing not to like about the Boccieri Heavy Fairway. The head is compact, and relatively shallow which should give most golfers the confidence to sweep the ball off the turf. We got plenty of feedback on the triangular green alignment aid, however, and not much of it was positive. This is a club with a relatively traditional design, and clean lines and while green has always been the Boccieri thing, it looks out of place on the crown of a fairway wood.
The sole design is relatively simple, and while some may appreciate that, it’s not as eye-catching as others we’ve tested. Granted, looks don’t count for anything where performance is concerned, but it’s a crowded marketplace, and if you’re hoping to get golfers to just take a few swings, you need to look the part.
MGS Looks Score: 80.62
When talking about the feel of the Heavy Fairway, there are 2 elements we have to consider. We have to consider the feel at impact, but we also wanted to find out what our testers thought about the additional weight of the club. Not surprisingly, most told us that the club felt “Heavy” (go figure). One tester described the feel as “like a brick was hitting the ball”, and a couple of guys said that the extra weight made them feel like they couldn’t really let loose with it (which is sort of the point). The more I experiment with it, the more I like the feel of a little bit of extra weight at the grip end, but it’s definitely not for everyone.
Whether real or imagined, feel (and sound) are where a good bit of the perception of distance originates. Clubs that feel like they have a hot face generally rank higher for perceived distance than those that actually do. In my estimation, there’s a definite lack of pop at impact. The face doesn’t feel hot, and where perceptions are concerned, that’s the same as not being hot.
MGS Feel Score: 73.46
Muted, tinny, dead; these are all words are testers used to describe the sound of the Heavy Fairway. Whether our testers were comparing it to other clubs they’ve tested for MyGolfSpy, or comparing it to what’s in their bag now, the general lack of pop was noted by nearly all.
The best sound in golf (to me anyway) is a crisply struck fairway wood. And while the best of the best don’t sound bad with the Heavy Fairway wood, in comparison…well…there isn’t a comparison to the others we’ve tested.
MGS Sound Score: 75.25
No real surprises here. None of our testers believe the Heavy Fairway is as long as the others we’ve tested or the clubs that are in their bags now. We need to test more fairway woods to determine where it fits in the big picture, but I don’t think anyone would argue that if distance is your primary concern; look elsewhere.
Tester Perceived Distance Score: 77.04
The numbers suggest the Heavy Fairway is more accurate than most, but the unfortunate reality is that most golfers put a premium on distance, and when a club isn’t long, they often forget to notice how straight it’s going. That seems to have happened a bit here, and while I’m not surprised that the ratings were low, I must also tell you that our testers got this part wrong.
Tester Perceived Accuracy Score: 82.42
It’s hard to get a handle on the actual forgiveness of this club. We rely so much on feel to separate good contact from bad. In my estimation, the lack of feel is the single biggest shortcoming of the Heavy Fairway, and is very likely the reason why it was rated relatively low for forgiveness. My gut tells me the club is much more forgiving than our testers seem to think, but I certainly can’t prove it.
Tester Perceived Forgiveness Score: 77.04
Likelihood of Purchase
Once again LOP proves to be an excellent indicator of how a given club is received by our testers. If you’ve read this far you won’t be surprised to learn that demand wasn’t particularly high. That’s not to say everyone hated it. We did have one tester who absolutely loves the club, and while his numbers weren’t stellar, like I do, he believes that with more time the results would be much, much better.
Tester Likelihood of Purchase: 68.08
The golf equipment marketplace is dominated by just a small handful of names. For a small company – any company to carve their niche they need to come to the table with more than performance. When we’re asked to consult on new products, time and time again we find ourselves emphasizing how important these aesthetic things are. It’s not enough to be good, to compete you have to be pretty, because as we’ve seen time and time again, there’s very little from a performance perspective that separates the majority of clubs on the market today. The unfortunate reality is that many buying decisions are partially, if not significantly, based on little more than paint and polish. Performance is almost an afterthought.
TOTAL SUBJECTIVE SCORE: 77.76
Look – I’m a big fan of Stephen Boccieri. As you might imagine, here at MyGolfSpy we’re fans of just about anyone who tries to buck conventional wisdom and carve their own unique path through the golf industry. Boccieri’s Heavy Putters have changed the game for a lot of people, and the Heavy Wedge we tested last year was easily one of the best of the season (#1 for overall performance). Basically, I really like what Boccieri is trying to do as a company…but… this review isn’t about a putter or a wedge.
As much as I wish, I wanted the results to be better, the numbers suggest that the Boccieri Heavy Fairway simply doesn’t perform as well as the other fairway woods we’ve tested this season – and our testers would say the same. Almost nobody gets it right the first time, so I can’t say I’m discouraged by Boccieri Golf’s first attempt at a fairway wood. Hopefully the guys over there will keep plugging away, because if they can polish the design a little bit, improve the feel, and make the face just a bit hotter; the potential exists for the product to evolve from the mediocre to the truly exceptional.
MGS TOTAL SCORE: 86.16
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