Technical advances in golf equipment have made a significant mark on the fairway woods market to the extent that plenty of pro’s and most amateurs are more confident with a fairway wood than a long iron. And let’s face it, when you’re faced with a 200 yard approach to a tight green surrounded by thick rough and deep bunkers most people won’t want to rely on the precision striking needed to do the business with a three iron.

Unfortunately, these game-improving technological benefits don’t come cheap and if you’re going to fork out huge wads of cash you need to be sure that what you’re getting will help your game. So we’ve taken the liberty of putting together an in-depth Total Golf guide to this complicated business to get you hitting more fairways and greens. Sorted.

Steel


When Titanium drivers hit the market, steel alternatives were left in the shadows not offering the same forgiving, distance maximsing properties so when it came to fairway woods the same progression was inevitable. Except this time steel fought back. Most golfers can stretch to big headed drivers but they like their fairway woods to look more compact and manageable. And this is where steel holds a powerful trump card. They’re small, easy to manouvre and top manufacturers are still focusing their efforts on developing them further. Oh and yes, they’re also more affordable.

Titanium


So where does all this leave the new kid on the block? Bigger heads in theory should offer larger sweetspots and for a lot of golfers the sight of a massive face with a huge, forgiving sweetspot will instill confidence. Our advice would be to take one out for a spin because there are performance benefits to be had. If it doesn’t float your boat simply move on and save yourself a few quid.

Composite


The idea behind steel fairway woods with graphite crowns is to reduce the weight of the head to push the centre of gravity lower to help you get the ball up and away without to much fuss. Your choice in this department is still fairly limited but expect more and more brands to enter the race for your signature. They should offer a long, high arching flight that will stop quickly on the greens.

3-9 Woods


Once you’ve chosen the type of fairway woods you want it’s time to select a starting line up. Firstly think about where you play most of your golf. If the course is long chances are you’ll need the distance of a 3-wood. If the course is tight the added accuracy and recovery properties of a 5 or 7 wood might come in handy. Then its time to think about what you’re confident using. If a 3,4 or even 5 is a bit scary to look down on, go for something more lofted – you’ll see more of the face, get it up and away without much effort and should still get respectable distance.

Click here to give us your thoughts on fairway woods