There are 3 main aspects to finding the right Driver/Fairway for yourself : Ability Level, Shaft and Loft
Determining your ability level
o The low-handicap golfer
o The mid-handicap golfer
o The high-handicap golfer
The low-handicap golfer
A low-handicap player has a single-digit handicap, meaning he or she generally scores less than 10 strokes over par, or an 82 or less on a par-72 course.
o The low handicap player should carry a driver and at least 1 fairway wood, most likely the 3-wood
o The low handicap player will benefit from lower irons in his bag, because the 3- or 4-iron is a difficult club to hit but can be very useful if it can be controlled
o A minimum of 3 wedges--pitching wedge, sand wedge, and either a lob wedge or approach wedge--in their bags, with a maximum 4-degree difference between each one
The mid-handicap golfer
The mid-handicap golfer plays "bogey golf," meaning his or her score averages out to 1 over par on each hole, or somewhere in the 11-20 handicap range.
o In addition to the driver and a 3-wood and a 5-wood, consider adding a 7-wood or even a 9-wood. These fairway woods give much better control and consistency than the harder to hit long irons.
o Usually only a 3 through 9 are recommended, since the 2- iron is very difficult to hit consistently
o Three different wedges are recommended - pitching wedge, sand wedge, and either a lob wedge or approach wedge
The high-handicap golfer
The high-handicap golfer is either a beginner or has not had the time to hone his game to reach the mid-handicap level. The high-handicapper usually shoots close to or over 100.
o You may not even want to have a driver in your bag. Instead, go with the 3-wood as your off-the-tee wood and add the easier-to-hit 7- and 9-woods.
o Up to 3 wedges-- pitching wedge, sand wedge, and either a lob wedge or approach wedge--should be carried
Choosing the Right Shaft
Golf club shafts now primarily come in 2 materials
# Stronger, more durable and generally less expensive
# Offer consistency from shaft to shaft because of a more advanced manufacturing process
# Steel offers more control on shots, but requires a faster swing speed to generate the same distance as graphite
# Recommended for stronger players who could use a little extra control in their game
# Generally lighter than steel and can be made in many more variations, making it easier to select a shaft best suited to your game
# Generally more expensive than steel and less durable
# Lighter weight allows for greater swing speed for more power, but it sacrifices control
# Absorbs shock in a swing
Flex is the amount of "bend" in a shaft
- Your shaft flex needs to match with the speed of your golf swing. A shaft with more flex helps the ball fly farther.
- There are five general levels of flex in shafts: L (or Ladies), A (or Senior), Regular, Stiff, Extra Stiff.
- Beginners and players with less powerful swings will benefit from a more flexible shaft
- An average player with a swing speed of 75-90 mph, and should look for a regular shaft
- Players with powerful swings - in the 90 -110 mph range - should purchase a stiff or firm shaft. This will provide a stiffer club for more control.
- Many shafts are also available in a uniflex that will fit most any golf swing
Loft is the measure of the angle of the club head
- The greater the loft, the greater the angle on the face of the head and the more control but less distance
- The less loft, the greater distance, but at the risk of less control
- Generally, a club head loft is between 8-12 degrees. The slower you swing the club, the higher loft you will need.
o Average swing - 9.5-10.5 degree loft
o Fast swing - 8-9.5 degree loft
The Fairway Wood Options
Fairway woods are increasingly popular as an alternative to both drivers off the tee and to hard-to-hit long irons such as the 2-, 3- or 4-iron. Three factors are involved that make fairway woods a preferred club for many golfers.
* The average player feels better standing over a long fairway shot with a longer, lower profile wood rather than the harder-to-hit long iron
* A lower center of gravity makes it easier to get the ball in the air out of the fairway, rough or sand
* The larger club head compared to a long iron provides more distance without overswinging, increasing control as well as length
Fairway woods vs. Irons
Here is a simple guide to replacing a long iron with a fairway wood.
* 5-wood = 2-iron
* 7-wood = 3- or 4-iron
* 9-wood = 5-iron