Woods & Hybrids
In the past, the issue with fairway woods was very simple. They were meant to be the gap between the driver and the irons and there were only woods. Today there are also hybrids and irons that are much more forgiving. The transitions are flowing in all directions. So there are fairway woods that are optimized for the use off the tee and are a real alternative to the driver. And then there are hybrids that are very close to irons and can replace them more or less 1:1.
In our opinion you can also make the subject more complicated than necessary. At the end of the day, of course, you decide which clubs make it into your bag and what you bet on.
At ExactGolf we offer classic fairway woods and hybrids in the most common loft variations. Some of the woods and hybrids come from a series such as the Honma Beres or Honma XP1 and therefore fit perfectly with the rest of the set. Others can be viewed independently and some can be custom made in the desired configurations.
Why Japanese woods?
Admittedly, Japanese manufacturers are best known for their high-quality irons and wedges because they benefit most from the special forging process and the soft steel used. Woods and drivers are not forged. Nevertheless, certain club heads are special in their own right. You only have to look at the Honma Beres. There is no other manufacturer who knows how to combine such light and soft shafts with especially light club heads like Honma. The Beres woods and hybrids are therefore the best choice for players with below average club head speeds. These players need as much support as possible and get this mainly through a maximum launch and swing weights that allow the club to accelerate. Similarly, the Honma XP1 woods and hybrids also play in this category. It can be said that the Honma woods and hybrids are unique for this type of player.
Woods and hybrids from other Japanese manufacturers such as Vega are clubs that we put together from the components ourselves. You only get original shafts from the leading manufacturers and we can build the clubs in exactly the desired configurations. Vega, for example, uses high quality materials like titanium. The special varnishing also makes it impossible to produce so-called "skymarks". Vega does not use special technologies that are usually only invented by the big manufacturers to keep the marketing machine running. The woods and hybrids are classic and individual.
Fairway Woods vs. Hybrids
When it comes to choosing between a wood and a hybrid it is often not easy. Some players strictly reject hybrids which is mainly because they did not get along with a certain model and therefore conclude on all other hybrids. Every player has grown up with fairway woods. However, hybrids definitely have their justification as they are comparable to irons in terms of playing characteristics. The easiest way to tell whether a hybrid is more like an iron or wood is from the size of the club head. Hybrids that are more narrow can be compared to irons and are therefore usually referred to as "utilities".
The background for such utilities is the following: Especially long irons are not easy to play for most golfers. The centre of gravity is relatively far forward and the launch is therefore made more difficult. However, if the sole is widened and the centre of gravity can be shifted far behind the clubface, the launch becomes easier. For example, if you can no longer launch a 4 iron properly, you should have no more problems with the corresponding hybrid. The disadvantage then is usually the forgiveness of errors in the horizontal direction. Like woods, hybrids have a curved clubface so that balls fly differently at the toe or heel than with irons. This is also the reason for the strong slices or hooks with hybrids. If you want to read more about this topic, just click here on our test: Driving Iron vs Hybrid.
The wood goes even more towards the maximum launch because the center of gravity is even further behind the ball. As said before, the transitions are smooth and much depends on the size of the club head. A wood is usually much harder to play from the turf and straight out of the rough because the large sole provides more surface for the clubhead to interact. A hybrid or utility, on the other hand, is much easier to play from many lies.
Adjustability of woods and hybrids
First the adjustment systems were introduced in drivers and shortly after in wood and hybrids. The advantages are obvious: You can easily change loft and clubface orientation. Partially by 2° up or down. This gives you a lot of possibilities if the course conditions change or you change the composition of your set. But there is a clear disadvantage, especially with woods and hybrids: Due to the system, weight is in a place where you definitely don't want to have weight. It does not matter how good the system is - every system has its own weight. Some systems are catastrophic in this respect. They are much too heavy and have the weight high up in the hosel. This is exactly where you don't want to have any weight in woods because it has a negative effect on the playing characteristics, especially the launch and MOI.
If you have the choice between adjustment system or without system, you should rather go without the system. Provided, of course, that you rarely change the settings. It is much better to choose the wood or hybrid properly or to get fit and not change anything afterwards.