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The Shopping Guy: Trouble Woods to the Rescue

1. The MIZUNO FLI-HI

Source
$128 steel shaft, $158 graphite; polargolf.com

Ship / Return
Shipping: Arrived in two weeks, $7
Returns: Within thirty days, may be subject to 25 percent restocking fee; polargolf.com credit only

Product
Forged steel in face and neck for a feel, a T-Zoid Power Bar to keep the club's weight low to heighten launch angle. The hollow clubhead creates a larger sweet spot. Comes with graphite or steel shafts and lofts of 18, 21 and 24 degrees.

Performance
The Fli-Hi is well weighted and looks great at address, but it's hard to swing through thick rough. Balls sitting on top of the rough or only slightly covered come flying out; balls low in heavy rough don't.

Comments
Superior look, retaining the shape of an iron. A wonderful weapon... from the fairway

2. The COBRA BAFFLER MULTI-METAL

Source
$149.99 steel shaft, $169.99 graphite; iwantgolf.com

Ship / Return
Shipping: Arrived in five days, free
Returns: With authorization only, you pay shipping

Product
A multi-metal with copper-tungsten sole weights, a steel face and aluminum-bronze backweight designed to lower the Baffler's center of gravity. A small clubhead gives it the look of an iron. Available in lofts of 20, 22, 24, and 26 degrees.

Performance
Cobra Golf was founded on the ideas behind the Baffler, so you'd expect this one to be a winner, and it is. The clubhead moves well through thick rough and easily picks balls off fairway grass.

Comments
From the rough the Baffler's trajectory was lower than that of some other clubs i tested, but i liked its swing weight and compact clubhead.

3. The TOUR EDGE LIFT-OFF IRON-WOOD

Source
$149; wholesalegolfequipment.com

Ship / Return
Shipping: Arrived in six days, free
Returns: Fifteen days for returns, you pay shipping

Product
The clubhead is stainless steel with a 50-gram copper-tungsten sole insert, adding weight lower in the club. Comes in 16-, 18-, 21-, 24- and 27-degree models, with steel or graphite shafts.

Performance
The Iron-Wood looks clunky and is bigger than the other models tested, but it was the most consistent at picking balls from thick rough and producing high approach shots. The secret may be in its heavily tapered drag-reducing sole.

Comments
Best Overall: Here's a trouble wood with sole. It works wonders from the lettuce or the fairway. There are also more lofts available than in competitive models.

4. The ADAMS TIGHT LIES GT i-WOOD

Source
$124; egolfdirect.com

Ship / Return
Shipping: Arrived in five days, $7.30
Returns: With authorization only, you pay shipping

Product
A patented upside-down design puts weight below the centerline; heel-weighted sole plate reduces twisting on mis-hits. I-Woods come with True Temper GT shafts (the tips are graphite, the upper portion, steel) and in lofts of 18, 21, and 24 degrees.

Performance
The i-Wood is serviceable from almost any lie but performs best from the fairway. I had trouble getting the ball out of heavy rough, perhaps because Adams's clubs are slightly more offset than other trouble woods.

Comments
Adams made its name with innovative designs like this. The i-Wood offers solid feel, the ball flying high on a perfect trajectory, particularly from the short grass.

5. The TAYLORMADE RESCUE

Source
$139.97; sportchalet.com

Ship / Return
Shipping: Arrived in five days, $4.84
Returns: Within thirty days, you pay shipping

Product
TaylorMade no longer produces the venerable Rescue club, but I found one online. The head is titanium, with a tungsten plate on the sole to add heft. Comes in a 21-degree model featuring TaylorMade's graphite Bubble shaft.

Performance
Of all the clubs in the utility-wood class, this one looks the most like a wood. It even has a brownish coloring. It's a reliable performer with a small clubhead that really cuts through the thick stuff.

Comments
The name fits—the Rescue club performs in life-or-death situations. It makes it easy to get the ball up, and you'll have no problems cutting through all grades of grass.

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