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Latest in Fairway Woods

TaylorMade Burner Steel With its 181 cc stainless steel head (large for a fairway wood), shallow face, featherlight grip and fifty-gram Fujikura shaft, TaylorMade's Burner is about as aggressive a design as you can get. There's plenty of forgiveness as well: The company claims this model has the highest MOI of any fairway wood on the market, meaning it offers higher handicaps extra margin for error by guiding mis-hits back toward the short grass. A low and back center of gravity (CG) also helps along these lines. We found that shots flew slightly lower than we expected (contrary to Hot Stix's robot testing; see page 68), but the ball traveled a country mile, especially off the tee. $235/graphite, $210/steel. Call 800-456-8633 or visit www.taylormadegolf.com.

Cobra Speed LD You can easily spot Cobra woods these days—that deep-dimpled fastback crown and the elongated profile are dead giveaways. These features, along with a low and back CG that creates a high trajectory, were borrowed from the matching Speed LD driver, as was the concept of tuning the woods to the player. Through Cobra's web site, simply pick a model based on your ball speed—F for fast (pictured), M for moderate; the clubhead and shaft are customized for each. Also available are offset versions for women and seniors. $225/graphite, $200/steel. Call 800-223-3537 or visit cobragolf.com.

Sonartec GS Tour Proving that good things really do come in small packages, this 147 cc model is one of the more compact clubheads around. Yet it incorporates a lot of features, including the largest sweet spot of any of Sonartec fairway wood, thanks to its Driving Cavity technology—depicted by the channel carved out of the sole. It moves clubhead weight to the heel and toe and raises the CG to help generate a more penetrating low-spin ball flight that cuts through the wind without ballooning. Although high handicaps may find the trajectory a little low for their taste, better players will like the neutral face angle as well as a new leading-edge design and sole plate, both of which help reduce turf drag from the tightest of lies. $239. Call 760-930-2454 or visit sonartec.com.

Nicklaus Dual Point Veteran club designer Clay Long expanded the sweet spot of the Dual Point fairway woods by making the face thinner around the perimeter and thicker in the center. The thickest point—which the company calls the "optimal face flex point"—helps produce maximum trampoline effect for higher ball speeds because it's aligned with the clubhead's center of gravity. This works in concert with thirty-five grams of sole weight to increase trajectory. The compact, shallow-faced head sits nice and low behind the ball, a clean look that inspires confidence. $170/graphite, $130/steel. Call 800-322-1872 or visit nicklausgolf.com.

Nickent 4DX Nickent's new fairway woods feature a thin titanium crown brazed to a stainless steel body without the use of epoxy, yielding a higher MOI and a livelier feel than most glued clubs generate. At address, the three- and three-plus-woods' 190 cc clubheads appear large but not oversize—the size is ideal on the tee box of a long par three but can take some getting used to in the fairway. Pairs of fixed weights at the back provide sixteen grams of neutral-bias mass, but golfers with hook or slice tendencies can custom-order a flight-correcting weight configuration. $199-$219. Call 888-642-5368 or visit nickentgolf.com.


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