The 2011 fairway wood test was a little light - the new PING G20 and TaylorMade woods did not arrive in time. I managed to borrow a couple TaylorMade but the PING clubs were too new. In addition, Nicklaus and Bridgestone are building new clubs. But the clubs we tested proved interesting, there were some surprises, some good and some not so good.
The Ashdon BlackSilver placed well with both average and high handicap groups. Heard most often was how smooth it was how this this club felt, very smooth with less impact on your hands and arms. It's strongest results in both classes was for distance with feel not too far behind.
One of the most talked about clubs in our tests, the Callaway Diablo Octane placed well in all classes. It's strongest rankings came were for feel. The high handicap players also like the extra distance they got from this club.
The Callaway Razr was not place as well as it's sibling in all but the high handicap group. Distance, looks and feel made it place well with these golfers. The low handicappers liked the sound and feel of the club and it tied with the Octane in this class. The average handicap group had trouble with the feel and consistency.
Although it did not reflect it in the rankings, the Cleveland Launcher was easily the club that testers felt was the longest. Low handicap golfers could not believe how much distance they got with this club. Overall, the scores in each of the ratings were pretty even for all handicap classes.
The average and high handicap golfers liked the Cobra S3, it tied for first in both classes. They felt it's strongest attributes were distance and feel. The low handicap group struggled with consistency but liked the feel of the S3.
Higher handicap testers found the S3 Max more to their liking. They felt it was easier to get ball up and was more consistent.
Though primarily know for their irons, Mizuno hit on the right combination with the JPX-800 for testers in the scratch and low handicap classes who were continually impressed with this club. The results in all ratings were within a point of each other making the JPX-800 a very well rounded club. The average and high handicap classes like the looks but struggled with other aspects of the club.
The Nike SQ Machspeed did not fair too well with our testers. The low scores for looks were the strongest contributer to the overall low rating.
The Nike VR Pro finished strong in all classes with the exception of the high handicaps golfers. The scratch, low and average testers liked the feel and consistency of this club with only a slight dip in the other ratings.
The RC JP104 results were pretty even across all ratings for the low handicap group. The only dip was in the feel category. Average handicap golfers gave it lower marks for feel and consistency but liked the looks.
As would be expected, the RC JP104 Tour did not do as well the RC JP104 placing only in the low handicap group. Testers really liked the sound with looks and feel next in the ratings.
Interestingly, the Srixon Z-Star placed 4th in all handicap groups but scratch but for different reasons. The low handicap testers liked consistency and distance whereas average golfers liked the looks and sound.
As could be expected, the TaylorMade Burner SuperFast TP did well with the low handicap players. It received it's highest rankings for feel and distance.
The TaylorMade R11 landed on top of the scratch golfers but much lower for the rest of the handicap levels. It's highest marks came for consistency and distance. The fact that we only had a regular shaft played a factor in the results.
Perennially one of the favorites for the low handicap golfers, the Titleist 910F placed on top of the low and average handicap testers. Placing in 3rd for the high handicappers really emphasizes what we have found in this years tests - Titleist clubs are no longer just for the low handicap golfers.