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MGS 2012 – ULTIMATE FAIRWAY WOOD TEST (DAY 1)

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Fairway Woods Relevant Again - So We Put Them To The Test

This time last season, if you looked in any golfer's bag, more often than not you'd find a new driver, new(ish) irons, fresh wedges, and a new putter to replace the one that just stopped working. But fairway woods...you'd still find guys who 3 woods were actually made of wood. Golfers carried 'em, but that didn't mean we actually cared about them. What was in our bags, most of us didn't love, but hey, at least it was familiar, and since it'd been years since anything gave us pause to consider replacing them, we kept them around. But let's be honest; nobody gave a damn about fairway woods.

And then IT happened.

The "it" was the TaylorMade's RocketBallz Fairway Wood.

Regardless of what you happen to think about TaylorMade, its products, or the marketing behind them, nobody on the smart side of Gump'd would argue that TaylorMade, with one astounding claim, did something nobody in the industry would have dreamt possible. They made the fairway wood relevant. I'd go so far as to suggest that TaylorMade turned 2012 into the Year of the Fairway Wood. All it took was a slot and the promise of 17 More Yards, and suddenly fairway woods mattered again.

The new found interest in golf's forgotten clubs provided the perfect opportunity for our staff to round up ten nine fairway woods from the biggest names in golf, hit them head to head against one another, look at the data, and sort out the longest, the most accurate, and the best overall fairway woods on the market today.

Is the RocketBallz really the longest? What's the most accurate fairway wood on the market today? What's the best option overall? And what about those clubs that while not ideal for everyone, might prove to be great options for the right kind of player?

We wanted to find out.

In today's (Part I) we examine overall distance. As you'll see, there a few real standouts in this bunch, and as is usually the case when MyGolfSpy puts golf clubs to the test, a few surprises as well. Be sure to check out the Distance Data section at the bottom of this review for detailed launch monitor data (individual and group averages) for all of the clubs in the test.

Let's get to it.

TaylorMade RocketBallz - 1st Place Total Distance

ERMAHGERD, I CAN HAZ 17 MORE YARDZ!

That's basically what TaylorMade wanted you to believe when they released the RocketBallz fairway wood. You probably heard something about it at the time (lord knows I did). The claim was bold. Clearly the suggestion is that the TaylorMade RocketBallz is the longest fairway wood in golf, and consumers bought in to such an insane degree that TaylorMade spent a good chunk of the season reporting record earnings (again).

Of course, as is sometimes the case when TaylorMade does its marketing-thang, some were dubious of the claims. "There's no way a marketing company's club could actually be the longest", said many. As it turns out...WAY.

Based on our test results, while it's not the longest for everyone, comparing the raw averages of our 5 testers, the RocketBallz is actually is the longest fairway wood in golf. #believeit (whoops, I crossed up my official golf hashtags there). #17MoreYards...#FreakishlyLonger...I don't know. It's so hard to keep track these days.

We didn't want to hand TaylorMade the crown before giving Adams's XTD a shot, but just because we want to do something, doesn't mean we can. No doubt conspiracy theorists will assume TaylorMade had something to do with Adams not being able to provide samples (I don't personally believe it). The bottom line is we weren't able to turn this battle into a referendum on slot technology, but from this bunch, the TaylorMade RocketBallz is the clear distance king.

With the TaylorMade RocketBallz our testers produced a combined average of 250.67 yards of total distance. That's just shy of 2.5 yards more than the 2nd place club. While 2.5 isn't exactly 17, in fairness, TaylorMade only promised that its club was 17 yards longer than its own previous model. And for guys looking to squeeze every inch out of their fairway woods, 2 and half yards is...well...2 and a half yards.

The RBZ has a reputation for launching the ball comparatively low, and perhaps picking up some additional yards due to roll. While some of the rep proved to be true, it should be pointed out that the RocketBallz also produced the longest carry distance (244.73 /249.77 adjusted) of any club in our test.

If you're looking for a reasonable explanation for the added distance, the number suggest the combination of the fastest average ball speeds (145.19) and 2nd lowest average back spin numbers (31.69.53) are the significant contributing factors. Regardless, for overall distance, the TaylorMade RocketBallz came out on top.

Silver Lining: When you're #1 in overall distance, you don't need no stinkin' silver lining.

BUY NOW: $179

eBay: Click Here

Callaway RAZR Fit - 2nd Place Total Distance

It's only a slight simplification to suggest that until very recently Callaway's approach to marketing has been, "Hey, were' not TaylorMade...and also, check out Justin Timberlake...he's driving around in our forged composite Lamborghini". In many respects Callaway's RAZR Fit is the anti-RocketBallz. While TaylorMade was talking about 17 more yards, Callaway basically said nothing about their surprisingly good little fairway wood. If you didn't know any better, you might have believed Callaway's fairways only exist to fill the background in pictures of their RAZR Fit Driver. As it turns out, the fairway is actually a pretty sweet little club itself.

Our testers combined for an average 248.22 yards with carry yardage accounting for 242.88 of it. That's 2nd overall for carry distance Not bad...not bad at all.

Interestingly, the RAZR Fit was the 2nd lowest launching of the fairway woods we tested (13.58°), which like the results for the RocketBallz run counter to the assertion that lower launch always leads to more roll. Under certain launch conditions, low launch can also produce more carry.

While there is one exception, the fairway woods that performed the best for us were the ones where average spin numbers stayed below 3400 RPM. The RAZR Fit was on the higher end of low (3314.24 RPM average), but distance doesn't appear to have suffered much at all as a result.

Silver Lining: #2 , and right on the heels of the RocketBallz. This is not the same old Callaway.

BUY NOW: $149

eBay: Click Here

Mizuno MP-650 - 3rd Place Total Distance

"I didn't know Mizuno made anything but irons". Seriously...one of our testers said that. Not only is he now keenly aware of the fact that Mizuno makes woods, we've all learned that they make a pretty damn good ones. If you're looking for the single biggest surprise of the entire test, it's Mizuno's MP-650. The RocketBallz is supposed to be really good, but a Mizuno fairway wood? Pffft.

As it turns out, the Mizuno MP-650 was not only above average, it finished 3rd in overall distance. Our testers hit the MP-650 an average of 248.16 yards. For the mathematically challenged, that's all of 2.16 inches behind Callaway's RAZR Fit. Not bad for a club that nobody (well...nobody other than GolfSpy X) thought would be competitive.

Somewhat surprisingly (and in spite of its Titanium face), the MP-650 finished fourth in average ball speed (143.93), but still produced more total distance than the club that ranked 2nd for ball speed.

The MP-650 was average for launch angle (14.93°), while producing the least spin (3005.19) of any fairway wood in the test. Generally speaking, high launch and low spin is a solid recipe for distance, but mid launch and low spin will get you there as well.

Silver Lining: The MP-650 proves Mizuno woods can hunt with the big dogs.

BUY NOW: $199

eBay: Click Here

Cobra AMP

You could make a case that the results for Cobra's AMP Fairway are the single most intriguing in our entire test. The Cobra guys will admit that last year's AMP Driver was a bit spinnier than most of what they've produced in recent years. Not surprisingly, our results suggest the same is true of the AMP Fairway.

So what's interesting about a club that spins too much for our test pool?

Well...since you asked...despite being one of the 3 highest spinning woods, the Cobra AMP finished 4th in overall distance (248.19 yards), and 2nd overall for total carry distance (248.19 yards). It also produced the 2nd highest average ball speed (144.24) and the 3rd lowest launch (14.28°). The damn thing performs.

Unlike the majority of clubs in this test, our shaft choices were limited to the stock made for Aldila RIP, which at a minimum is likely a contributing factor to the 3555.10 RPM average spin rate. While we can't be certain we could have brought the number down with a broader selection of shafts (there were 3 clubs where we had a decent shaft selection and were still unable to improve spin rates much), given how good the rest of the numbers looked, it would have been interesting to find out.

It's easily the best of the rest...and probably better than that.

Silver Lining: With some lower spinning shaft options, the AMP probably would have cracked the top 3, and might have made a serious run at the RocketBallz.

BUY NOW: $129

eBay: Click Here

Titleist 910

Historically speaking, Titleist clubs have gained a reputation for being about as forgiving as your wife might be should what happened in Vegas fail to stay there. Now I believe that, for their part, Titleist hadn't done anything to diminish their reputation for being for club better players. That rep has given Titliest an air of exclusivity, and as it turns out, there's probably some truth to the idea that Titliest may not be quite as forgiving as some others.

The handicaps of our testing pool for this test range from 4 to something in the ballpark of 18. Some of the guys are very solid ball strikers, and some of us, well...let's just say we use every inch of the face, and those off-center hits... the 910 appears to punish the golfer more than most.

The Titleist 910 finished 5th in total average distance (246.58 yards), and 5th in carry distance (240.31) and 6th overall in ball speed (142.93 MPH). As it usually is, it's that ball speed number that is key.

Launch angle (14.81°) and back spin (3197.12 RPM) were both in line, and perhaps, generally speaking, better than some of the clubs that finished ahead of it, but for whatever reason, our testers simply weren't able to generate the kind of velocity off the face that they did with many of the other clubs in this test.

Just guessing here, but for the pure ballstrikers among us...those guys who actually wear out the meaty part of the clubface, the 910 would likely perform much better. The rest of us will probably be better served with one of the clubs that finished ahead of it on this list.

Silver Lining: We love the low spin numbers, and would definitely recommend the Titleist 910 to better players who place a premium on being able to work the ball.

BUY NOW: $249

eBay: Click Here

Bridgestone J40

The results of our testing with the Bridgestone J40 fairway wood are polarized. Our two lowest handicap golfers put up excellent individual results with the club (longest overall for one, 2nd longest for the other), while our mid and higher handicap golfers struggled quite a bit. Much like the Titleist 910, the results suggest the J40 probably will appeal more to more consistent ball strikers, and that for that segment, it should prove to be among the very best on the market.

As a group our testers averaged 243.45 yards (238.43 carry). Telling is that our better players averaged significantly more distance (253 and 255) than the group as a whole. Overall ball speed numbers were below average for clubs we tested, however; our better ballstrikers produced ball speed significantly above the average for the club (the remaining testers significantly dropped the averages). All of this supports the contention that the J40 is an excellent choice for better golfers.

Our testers produced high-average launch angles (14.86°), and average spin (3407.26). Bridgestone did provide us a reasonable selection of shafts, which allowed us in some cases to decrease spin rates by a couple hundred RPM give or take.

Silver Lining: For the most consistent ballstrikers the J40 could be the longest. It's our #1 recommendation for better players.

BUY NOW: $199

eBay: Click Here

Nike VR_S

As you'll find out when we discuss the subjective qualities of the clubs, the VR_S is a club our testers like quite a bit. I go so far as to say that some love it. Unfortunately from a distance perspective, it simply didn't measure up to most of the others in our test.

Our testers averaged 242.60 yards (238.41) carry. Once again, we did have a single tester who achieved outstanding results (#2 overall for him), but generally speaking, our testers didn't hit it very far (comparatively). What we do like is that the VR_S produced higher average ball speeds than 4 of the clubs in this test, however; it clearly didn't translate directly to distance.

If you're looking to point the finger anywhere, the likely culprit is spin. Despite having a very good selection of aftermarket shafts to work with, almost to a man, our testers spun the ball more than we think is desirable (3588.58 RPM). Admittedly, those averages are boosted by 1 plus 4000 RPM tester, and 1 plus 5000 RPM tester, but even the two guys who hit it best produced more spin than they did with most of the other clubs in the test.

It's also true that the Nike VR_S produced among the highest average launch angle (15.14°) and the 2nd highest apex (50.53 yards) of all the clubs in our test. High spin + high launch + high apex = ballooning, and that's what happened here more often than not.

Unfortunately we don't have any true low spin players in our testing pool, but I suspect that if we did, the results would be substantially better.

Silver Lining: High launch and high spin suggest the VR_S is an ideal option for guys who otherwise have trouble getting the ball in the air with their fairway clubs.

BUY NOW: $109

eBay: Click Here

PING G20

We gave PING the choice of which fairway wood to send and they chose the G20. For the right guy, it's unquestionably a very good fairway wood, but I think the i20 (our request for product was sent pre-Anser) would have been a better fit for our testers, and I think, in hindsight anyway, PING would probably agree.

Somewhat surprisingly the PING G20 finished near the bottom for overall average distance (240.63) and some of our testers found they hit the matching 5 wood almost as far. The average ball speed numbers produced (140.98) were also near the bottom.

Spin rates (3457.69) were only slightly above average, while the average launch angle produced (15.30°) was the highest of any club in our test.

It's somewhat unfortunate that the Anser fairway wasn't available at the time we started this project. Given everything we know about our testers and PING woods, I think it's safe to assume the G20 head probably isn't the best fit for the majority of our testers.

Silver Lining: We still think it's an excellent choice for the game-improvement crowd, and we think our guys will love the i20 and Anser fairways.

BUY NOW: $169

eBay: Click Here

TourEdge XCG5

Let me put it out there right now; given its titanium face, the fact that the XCG5 was used to break the world record for ball speed, and how well the CB4 fairway performed for us; going into this we thought the XCG5 was the club most likely to steal the distance crown from the TaylorMade RocketBallz. To say that didn't happen would be a bit of an understatement.

There's no way to sugarcoat it, the XCG5 fairway finished last in overall distance (239.78 yards / 235.81 carry). To put the number in perspective; while it's less than a yard behind the PING G20, it's also nearly 11 yard behind the TaylorMade RocketBallz.

As with most of the clubs in this test; when distance suffered, above average spin rates would seem to be at the root of the problem. Our testers produced an average 3835.97 RPM, which is more than 500 RPM above the mean. Although we had multiple flexes, weights, and shaft models to choose from, all but one of our testers struggled to produce consistently positive results with the XCG5.

For our highest swing speed golfer, the difference between the club he hit the longest and the XCG5 was is astounding 26 yards. The distance gap between the XCG5 and the next shortest club for him is still over 5.5 yards. If we look at the numbers differently, and drop the lowest performing tester for each club in the test, thee XCG5 actually moves up to #6 on this list.

While we can't make a legitimate case that the XCG5's distance numbers suggest it deserves to be in the top 3, it does appear that average distance numbers were more heavily skewed by one or two individual results than any other club in our test.

Silver Lining: Much, much better than our averages suggest. While perhaps it's not among the elite, for the guy it fits, it almost certainly would be.

BUY NOW: $219

eBay: Click Here

By The Numbers - (For Easy Reading)

By The Numbers - (For The Data Heads)

In the chart below you'll find all of the relevant distance-related data for the 9 fairway woods in the test. By cycling through the various tabs you can view individual tester averages for Carry and Overall Distance, Ball Speed and Spin Rates, as well as Launch Angle and Apex. The final tab (Group Averages), shows how each club performed for our testers as a group. As we always do, we've provided you the ability to sort the data and to filter by club and golfer. The dotted gray line represents the average for each data point in the charts. When you filter (remove testers or clubs), the average is dynamically updated based on which clubs and golfers are left in the filter set.

Next Up

Distance is only one piece of the equation when considering a new fairway wood. In part 2 (tomorrow) we'll be looking at how accurate each of these clubs was for our testers, and you'll get our tester's takes on the companion 5 woods.

Also, be sure to check out the Official Ultimate Fairway Wood Test Discussion Thread in the MyGolfSpy Forum. We'll provide more detailed information about the challenges we faced during the test, and the test themselves. You can also use the thread as Q&A forum. The thread will be continuously updated as we publish each of the 3 parts in this test series.

 

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr Bryan Roberts November 26, 2012 at 8:32 am

Would love to see this test done on a golf robot like the iron byron – really find out which is longest without the influence of the human. Understand a human test is most realistic, but if Taylormade was the also best in the golf robot test then no-one can deny the results!

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Judd November 26, 2012 at 9:15 am

Would also really love to see some component clubs tested. The Wishon 949MC would be a great competition.

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GolfSpy T November 26, 2012 at 9:16 am

We had originally planned to include component companies. For better or worse, the response from the bigger golf companies exceeded expectations and basically filled all of our slots.

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Seth November 26, 2012 at 9:23 am

No Adams?!?

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GolfSpy T November 26, 2012 at 9:25 am

We tried…several times. Adams was extremely back-ordered on the XTD.

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Seth November 26, 2012 at 10:22 am

bummer

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BJB November 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I hit the XTD head to head vs the Rocketballz on a launch monitor about a month ago. Easily 10 yards more carry with the XTD, and I hit that one first when I wasnt completely warmed up. The club is a BEAST. I think you’re doing this review a real disservice by not including the XTD. Maybe go on Ebay or Craigslist and grab a used one for cheap. I was extremely disappointed to see that it wasnt included, and I’m not an Adams fan normally.

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Joe Duffer November 26, 2012 at 9:28 am

Why wasn’t the Speedline Super XTD Fairway included?

You know… the clubs with same technology TaylorMade stole to design the RocketBallz line.

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Fozcycle November 26, 2012 at 9:30 am

Nice comp job…..However, you should compare it against Fairways that we are currently using, which are not the current market items.

For instance, I am using a Cally FTiz 3 wood or a Powerbilt AFO 3 wood.

Neither of these are current models, so if I am going to compare the RBZ, I would like to know what the numbers are for what’s in my bags.

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Sparnar November 26, 2012 at 9:39 am

Excellent work, MGS! This was a huge undertaking, and I, amongst many others have been waiting for this with high expectations. Seems like you’ve outdone yourself, again.

Just a small thing: The MP-650 proves Mizuno woods can’t hunt with the big dogs.

I think it should read ‘can hunt with the big dogs’.

Great job as always! Can’t wait for the accuracy stats.

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GolfSpy T November 26, 2012 at 9:43 am

Freudian slip coupled with too many hands in the cookie jar. I guess my mind still can’t wrap itself around how well the Mizuno woods did for us.

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sparnar November 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm

:-)

I’m also surprised they did so well.

And I saw your tweet a while back where one could see some of the Mizuno’s marks out of 10.

Really happy that their woods are doing well.

Can’t wait to see what they score in the accuracy department.

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RAT November 26, 2012 at 9:42 am

I would like to see more testing with shaft changes to get the most from each.The shafts shoulf be broken down by price

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Drew November 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Ha…I can tell that what they did was a ton of work. Now you want them to interchange shafts?

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martini November 26, 2012 at 10:07 am

The rbz definitely tested long in the majority of fittings i did over the last year…..at least overall distance. However many consumers had a difficult time getting maximum carry out of it. The Adams XTD would have rated as the “hottest” fairway metal last year in terms of fittings that I carried out. Ball speed, carry and overall distance between the xtd, razr fit and rbz would have been very close…..really would have liked to see how the xtd performed in your testing thiough.

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jayhawkgolfer November 26, 2012 at 10:31 am

Great review. Love having so many tested to compare. Looking forward to tomorrow.

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Jeff November 26, 2012 at 10:36 am

Great job, Very nice review.

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Biggi November 26, 2012 at 10:46 am

Were these woods even measured for loft!? Or shaft length? Or swingweight?
What is being tested? If they’re for example all different loft and length and swingweight(not to mention the shaft and other specs), then it’s just a test of which of those suits golfers on average from a hand selected group best.
“If you’re looking for a reasonable explanation for the added distance, the number suggest the combination of the fastest average ball speeds (145.19) and 2nd lowest average back spin numbers (31.69.53) are the significant contributing factors.”
Lower backspin and more ballspeed sounds like less loft to me. Which would be typical of TM to do, and typical of consumers to buy hook, line and sinker.
The ONLY manufacturer that has confirmed .83COR fairway woods that I know of is Wishon Golf with it’s 949MC.
The higher the COR the longer you can hit it without changing the loft. The higher the MOI and the better designed the COR face is, the straight it is on mishits. Don’t need a robot for that and since a robot isn’t swinging the club, the most important thing is getting a 3-wood proberly fit, not selecting it how it performs for someone else in some test.

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GolfSpy T November 26, 2012 at 10:55 am

Biggi – I would suggest you check out the discussion thread in the forum (here: http://forum.mygolfspy.com/topic/7567-ultimate-fairway-review). It specifically address some (not all) of your questions.

Numbers are numbers, and they mean different things depending on the golfer who produces them, but it sure sounds to me like your one of those who subscribes to the pervasive myth that lower loft always equals more distance. I can assure you it’s false. Loft is just another fitting variable (even for a “3-wood”), and different golfer do in fact achieve their ideal results with different lofts.

Shame on TaylorMade (and others) for providing multiple loft options (and therefore additional fitting options) for what is commonly called a 3 wood.The nerve of those guys…right?

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Brian November 26, 2012 at 11:15 am

I was one of those naysayers who couldn’t look at a white head, who didn’t believe distance claims. Nay this, nay that.

Then I bought a RBZ tour 3 wood and traded in my Titleist 910f after 30 minutes on the launch monitor comparing stats side by side at Golfsmith. It’s a bigger head cc’s wise and certainly hotter. It will remain in the bag. Gave me 10-15 yards on average.

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BK in Wisconsin November 26, 2012 at 11:30 am

Great test. Looking forward to the accuracy portion….accuracy trumps distance for me.

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D.Ronsky November 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Not sure if i am the only one, but why not the CB4? That TI face is stupid long, and the Adams super XTD? Just wondering….

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GolfSpy Matt November 26, 2012 at 12:19 pm

T: If I’m wrong, correct me, but I’m trying to give your fingers a break here.

MGS contacted all the major OEMs. Regardless of what was preferred/requested, the manufacturers sent what they wanted to send. Perhaps Tour Edge felt the XCG5 would test better.

As for Adams, that was already covered above.

Best,

Matt

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D.Ronsky November 26, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Bummer on the Adams, interesting to see TEE sent the XCG5 but the again i have not hit it (i play the CB3 so maybe i am biased :) ) Overall great review, side note would MyGolfSpy do a company comparison of 6 irons, or 5, i really want to see how the different brands affect there loft, lie, length etc. Not to point fingers but i would love to see how the loft on a Taylormade affects the launch, carry, spin rates in comparison to other manufactures. It is just something that has been eating at me for years.

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aotearoabrad November 26, 2012 at 1:40 pm

This is awesome guys! It’s what it’s all about, confirming some thoughts, and unearthing new (or not so new) contenders. Loving that there are a few early surprises as well. Bring on tomorrow.

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BR November 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Nice test. A lot of us have been waiting on a head to head FW tests. For OEM side, only missing was Adams (you obviously explained enough in above posts). I was surprised Ping and Nike were not more competitive regarding distance (I know I20/Anser were not tested). Regarding Mizuno, they seem to have the face forging/grain flow down to a science. I am not surprised that ballspeed/launch angles/etc produced the results your test team experienced. I think they (Mizuno) are on to something like TaylorMade/Adams are with newer designs.
If I may ask/offer suggestions which spark some conversation? Would it buy us anything if you request current model offerings but request specific shafts based on testers handicap/swing-speed, launch/spin characteristics? My thinking was each OEM could provide sample clubs with A, R, S, X flex shafts from say 2-3 OEM shaft companies (IE, Aldila, Graffaloy, etc). Basically whatever is the hot shaft of the day. In addition, specify all clubs must be xx” in length. I know most companies are different but can we really expect to say product one is longer in distance versus product two if one has a different configuration from the rest? Anyway, great article and look forward to learning from/reading comments.

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frank November 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Good stuff drooling over the final results with accruacy and such added.

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Drew November 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Thanks for the great effort and write-up, MGS. I was suprised to see the G20 getting pimp slapped.

I’m more of a hybrid fan so let me just get my request in now, when you do the hybrids test please include a mashie :) .

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Troy November 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I also demo’d the RBZ and the Razr Fit fairway woods. I hit the RBZ a bit farther, but was more accurate with the Razr’s, so I purchased the Razr’s. Both are good clubs.

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Dave November 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Congratulations on getting to the end of an ‘epic’ test. I have a strong suspicion that there is a great big BUT coming at the end of this series of articles. I only hope that readers have the patience to wait to the end of the series and not dive in and buy an RBZ before you get to the bit which explains why it is not actually the best on test!

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Biggi November 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm

“numbers are numbers, and they mean different things depending on the golfer who produces them, but it sure sounds to me like your one of those who subscribes to the pervasive myth that lower loft always equals more distance. I can assure you it’s false. Loft is just another fitting variable (even for a “3-wood”), and different golfer do in fact achieve their ideal results with different lofts.”
I said lower spin and more ballspeed sounds like lower loft. I did not mention distance. For every degree you lower loft you usually see 300rpm reduced in spin. this will depend on SS, but that’s a rule of thumb. Lower loft will result in more ball speed and higher smash factor.

“Shame on TaylorMade (and others) for providing multiple loft options (and therefore additional fitting options) for what is commonly called a 3 wood.The nerve of those guys…right?”
I don’t even understand what that has to do with my post. I asked if you MEASURED loft. Tolerance on OEM’s is around about -1+3 degrees in my experience.

I found it confusing what is really being tested in the test. If your testing what face is the “hottest”/highest CT/COR. Then at the very least loft and length should be the exact same.

I´m a professional clubfitter and I know from experience that if you don’t test for different lengths, loft, total weight, swingweight, shaft stiffnes/profile, your not gonna perform at your best.

I dare you to take any of the subjects from the test and go see a Wishon clubfitter and compare the results.

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Andy G November 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I love my RBZ 13 degree 3 wood and definitely feel the gain in distance over like lofted 3 woods. this club gave me more chances to hit Par 5′s and also was solid on tee shots. I was curious how well the Cobra long tom 2 wood would do.

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Kygolfer1980 November 27, 2012 at 3:32 am

Thanks for the comparisons. Although it’s not showing with my driver I can attest that my RBZ 14.5 3 wood is at least 20 yards farther than my Titleist 910F 13 degree was. It is also more forgiving.

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Yumanike November 27, 2012 at 5:28 am

I love what you’re doing here, but I would love to see a more standardized test. I wanted something to kick my 3 wood (CB1 13* with a Speeder 869 stiff) out of the bag so I went looking to the RBZ and the XTD. Alas, what ended up kicking the CB1 out of the bag was another CB1. It is 15* with a Blueboard 83x (the holy grail of 3 wood shafts!). This is a great “off the rack test”, but I would like to see all of these tested at 43″ with a Blueboard (or similar shaft) in every club. The CB1 beat both the RBZ and XTD by a few yards and it is so versatile off the tee and the fairway. Was this test off of the tee or the fairway. I may have missed it. Anyway, keep doing what you’re doing!

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Harry @ Sweetwoods Golf Course Sussex November 27, 2012 at 7:13 am

Excellent in depth comparison, really good read. Looking forward to giving a few of them a whack next time I hit the range. The Rocketballs sub title cracked me up as well, wasn’t expecting that!

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David W November 27, 2012 at 9:03 am

I completely agree with the G20 being a shorter club. I LOVE my G20 driver but the 3W just doesn’t have the pop that the driver has. I hit my old Adams Speedline Fast 10 3W quite a bit farther than I do my G20 3W. I really hate that Adams wouldn’t submit a Fast 12. May say something about the newest model!

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Blanco December 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm

That’s cause the Fast 12 is an extremely poor design off the rack– likely due to the lightweight head/shaft combo. I hit the original tight lies fairway further and with more consistency than the F12. Compared to F11, F10 and the Speedline, no contest, even with their stock offerings. There’s a reason they gave you a freebie when you bought a Fast 12 Driver (which is quite good).

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Shaun Cumming November 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Good to see my enthusiasm for the MP 650 range might be more than just blind love for Mizuno! Played Driver, fairway and hybrid all year and love everything about them.

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Joe Doctor November 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Big factor is missing in these tests. Tee versus fairway lie. Up swinging tee shots have big difference from sweeping or descending fairway shots. I have heard RBZ is good off the tee but not the deck. Do another round with, and without tees.

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Paul November 29, 2012 at 10:56 am

Interesting article, I almost feel like going back to the 3 and 5 combo. About 5 years ago I was playing with a teaching pro in a pro-am and we got to talking about 3 woods. He felt that the 3 and 5 wood combo is a way for major manufacturer’s to add revenue to their bottom line. Of course I had to ask why. He felt that for the average player (HCDP 10 and up) the 3 wood is consistantly the hardest club to hit of the deck. His second point was how many of the same people do you actually see pull a fairway wood out of the bag of the tee, #1 is used whenever the opportunity presents. So, the follow-up was what do you reccomend? The 4 wood is a good choice because of the added loft making it easier to get airborne, but the kicker is what little you give up in distance will equal or exceed the inconsistancy achieved by trying to hit a 3 wood. I to a 4 wood and I am a believer. Although I have an index of 4.9, I feel it is a better fit and get a more consistant resulst. As for the 5 wood, I have added a 3 hybrid to the bag or depending on the situation choke down on the 4 to the decrease the distance.

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Thelamster November 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I bought the RBZ late into the season after having tried the ones that players in my group had. I don’t know about the 17 yds longer claim. All I know is that the ball seems to jump off the clubface and it is definitely longer than my old 3 wood. And for the most part, it goes dead straight where I aim it. I haven’t had much success in moving the ball l-r or r-l, but I’ve only used it for a few rounds. I’m looking forward to having it in my bag next season. I think it’s the club I’ve been looking for to complete my set.

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Gregh November 29, 2012 at 12:22 pm

several of the clubs tested are already out of date. I recently tested the CB5 and the distance was off the chart especially with the Fubuki shaft. Also the XCG6 is now out and it also seemed very long.

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Dave November 29, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I think it would have been interesting to know what the handicap of each tester was, that way we could see which
of the clubs would be suitable for your readers ?.

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Dave November 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I think it would have been interesting to know what the handicap of each tester was, that way we could see which
of the clubs would be suitable for your readers ?.I think that the test was a good one.

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Dude November 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Are all these clubs the same length? Also, to keep things fair you might want to measure the loft of each club face to make sure you aren’t hitting a 13 degree club against a 15 degree one. If a manufacturer knows they are sending a club to you for distance tests is it possible they might tweak the club for improved performance?

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Bob November 29, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I would like to see the Cobra Long Tom 2 Fairway Wood Tested . Other independant Tests rate it really long .

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Keith November 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Why no Adams fairways tested. They are by far the longest and not even close!

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lee November 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm

RBZ FW a great club. Have been playing TM 200 steel FW clubs since they were introduced. Still play the #5, & #7. Just changed #3 this past year. Had local club fitter change shaft to fit my swing (Mitsubishi Rayon), better fall flight. Senior golfer (71) 6.8 index. COSTCO has 2012 RBZ FW for $169 and RBZ Hybrid for $139..

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lee November 29, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Forgot to mention – stock shaft from TM (Matrix Xcon) is 43.5″. Kept it at that when shaft changed.

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neil November 30, 2012 at 12:45 am

Would like to know handicaps of testers so take out higher handicappers from results to make it more relevent to me.

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Michael December 3, 2012 at 9:04 am

This is funny to me that the CB4 from Touredge wasn’t in the mix. I personally tested a 16.5 degree 4 wood vs the 3 wood of Taylormade and I averaged 7yds longer with the CB4 4 Wood. Touredge gets left out because of their small marketing schemes.

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Michael December 3, 2012 at 9:05 am

GHIN 1.7

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