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Woods or metal woods are mainly used for longer shots in golf. Drivers are most often used off the tee,
although more advanced players may choose to use a driver off the fairway when extra distance is required.
A fairway or metal wood can also be used off the tee if the hole is narrow and requires a little more of a
precision shot, or if the hole is shorter and you don't need all the distance that a driver may provide.
Fairway and metal woods also are used for a wide variety of "utility" shots, including tight lies in the
rough, or in fairway bunkers where you need more distance to get to the green, but need enough loft to get
the ball in the air quickly.
Players can be divided into 3 basic ability levels:
low-handicaps, mid-handicaps and high-handicaps. A handicap is the golfer's way of measuring
their performance against the par on a course, usually in relation to a par
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
The low handicap player should carry a driver and at least 1 fairway
wood, most likely the 3-wood
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
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.
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.
Usually only a 3 through 9 are recommended, since the 2- iron is very
difficult to hit consistently
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.
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
Up to 3 wedges-- pitching wedge, sand wedge, and either a lob wedge or
approach wedge--should be carried
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
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. long irons
Here is a simple guide to replacing a long iron with a fairway wood.