Choosing your fairway woods is an important task for any golfer and when it comes to thinking about which ones you should be adding to your bag it’s always interesting to look at what fairway woods the pros are using.
Watching the PGA Tour it never ceases to amaze me how well the pros hit the biggest clubs in their bag, outside the driver.
And while the driver will only be used very infrequently by even the best players in the world off the deck, fairway woods have to be able to be occasionally hit both from off the tee and from the fairway or rough.
Indeed fairway woods have also been known to be used by players in and around the green for specific types of pitch shots or when an unfortunate accident has befallen their putter!
So we decided to take a detailed look at the top 100 players on the PGA Tour and look at what fairway woods the best pros are using.
59% of the best 100 PGA Tour players use one fairway wood with 40% opting for two. Only one player – Wyndham Clark – does not play any fairway woods. 96% of this elite group play a 3-wood with 4-woods, 5-woods and 7-woods also being used in varying combinations by different players.
That breakdown does not however tell the full story when it comes to the fairway woods being used on the PGA Tour and after analyzing the players’ choices further it is interesting to note the amount of time the lofts of their woods are altered to different degrees from standard.
So while it can be easy to focus on what number of fairway wood the pros are using it is worth checking the loft as differing numbers of fairway wood across different players and manufacturers often do not match up.
[Note – If you are interested in a fairway wood upgrade you can check out the fairway woods used by the top 100 players on the PGA Tour mentioned in this article on Amazon through the links added together with the fairway woods throughout the article]
Fairway Wood Breakdown of the top 100 PGA Tour Golfers
Different golfers clearly have different preferences when it comes to fairway woods and when it comes to looking at the fairway woods used by the top 100 players on the PGA Tour the unique requirements of individual players are again in evidence.
While the choice of a 3-wood is clearly predominant amongst almost all of the top 100 a good number of players – 40 in total – carry an additional wood whether that be a 4-wood, 5-wood or 7-wood. The complete breakdown of which used are used by this group of top pros is as follows:
|NO. FAIRWAY WOODS||FAIRWAY WOOD COMBINATION||NO. OF TOP 100 PGA TOUR PLAYERS||SELECTED PLAYERS|
|1||3-wood only||56||Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Speith, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau|
|1||4-wood only||1||Maverick McNealy|
|1||5-wood only||1||Henrik Norlander|
|2||3-wood + 4-wood||1||Brian Harman|
|2||3-wood + 5-wood||28||Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm|
|2||3-wood + 7-wood||11||Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith, Max Homa, Stewart Cink|
|2||5-wood + 7-wood||1||Brendan Steele|
Wyndham Clark’s decision not to use any fairway woods and opt for PXG’s 0317 GEN1 hybrid instead is clearly an exception amongst his fellow pros.
However his choice of this standard 17 degree hybrid changed to a loft of 15.5 degrees not only shows it to be his ‘equivalent’ choice of a 3-wood (the standard loft of a 3-wood loft is 15 degrees) but also highlights the tendency for many of the pros to alter the lofts on the fairway woods they choose to use.
So while some pros on first glance at their golf bag will look to be playing a 3-wood and 5-wood a look at the lofts of these clubs can show them to be same loft as the 4-wood or 7-wood of another player’s set.
For example Maverick McNealy lists his Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero fairway wood as a 4-wood but this is a 4-wood altered to a loft of 15 degrees which corresponds to the standard loft of a normal 3-wood used by another 40 players in the top 100.
And that’s not to mention Bryson DeChambeau’s “3-wood” – Cobra’s King Prototype B – which he carries with a standard driver loft of 10.5 degrees and his “5-wood” – Cobra’s King Speedzone Tour – which with a loft of 13.5 degrees is the equivalent of a strong 3-wood used by other pros.
When looking at the fairway woods the pros are using it is therefore worth checking the loft on the club rather than just the number as this will frequently give you a better indication of the types of fairway woods they are using on tour.
Players changing the loft of their fairway woods to a specific number for them is a common thing and something to be paid attention to.
So to is the frequency with which the pros will use a different combination of fairway woods, hybrids and driving irons depending on the set up of the course they are playing that week.
Whilst they do not change the make-up of the longest clubs in their bag all the time the pros will frequently carry a full bag of 15-17 clubs and swap out their fairway woods for other clubs as and when the course set up warrants it.
TaylorMade, Titleist, PING and Callaway dominate the fairway woods being used by the top pros on the PGA Tour with TaylorMade models being the most popular choice with 40 of their fairway woods being used across the top 100 players with Titleist fairway woods not far behind with 38 of their clubs being used.
Now let’s take a look in a bit more detail into the exact models and lofts being used across the fairway woods used on the PGA Tour.
What 3-Woods do the Pros Use?
When it comes to the breakdown of the fairway woods used by the top 100 golfers on the PGA Tour it’s clear that the 3-wood is the mainstay of the group with 96% of these pros using a 3-wood.
PING’s G425 Max and Titleist’s TS2 and TS3 models are the most used 3-woods among the top 100 PGA Tour players with 9 players each using one of these fairway woods. The SIM 3-wood is TaylorMade’s most used model with 7 players choosing it while Callway’s most used 3-wood is the Mavrik Sub Zero.
When it comes to overall numbers of 3-woods used across their full range of models TaylorMade and Titleist dominate with 28 of the pros using one of these brands. A full list of the makes and models of 3-woods used by the best 100 players on Tour is listed below.
|MANUFACTURER||3-WOOD MODEL||NO. OF TOP 100 PGA TOUR PLAYERS|
|Callaway||Mavrik Sub Zero||5|
|Rogue Sub Zero||2|
|Epic Speed Sub Zero||1|
|Epic Flash Sub Zero||1|
|Cobra||King Prototype B||1|
When it comes to analysing the lofts of the 3-woods used by the top 100 players on Tour what is again noticeable is the variance in choices.
The ‘standard’ loft of a 3-wood is 15 degrees but less than 50% (40 out of 96) stick with this standard.
15 of the players opt for a strong 3-wood with a loft of between 13 and 13.7 degrees while 12 choose a much higher launch version of a 3-wood with a loft of 16.5 degrees.
And that’s not to mention the 10.5 degree ‘3-wood’ used by Bryson DeChambeau.
Excluding this clear outlier the best 100 pros on Tour use 13 different lofts of 3-wood varying from 13 degrees up to 16.5 degrees, with some even choosing lofts with a precision of up to .25 of a degree.
Such attention to detail clearly shows how much time the pros spend choosing a 3-wood that is absolutely tailor-made to their specific requirements and as such it’s important to bear in mind that the 3-wood we see in the shops may be a fair distance from what the pro you are watching on TV may actually be playing with.
What Other Fairway Woods to the Pros Use?
When it comes to fairway woods we have already seen that the 3-wood is a mainstay of the professionals bag. 96 of the top professionals carry a 3-wood in their bag albeit at a variety of different lofts from 10.5 degrees (technically a driver loft) all the way through to 16.5 degrees.
But what other fairway woods are used by the pros? Are there many of them using a 4-wood, 5-wood or even 7-wood in addition to the almost universal 3-wood?
Of the top 100 PGA Tour players only 2 use a 4-wood, 30 use a 5-wood and 12 use a 7-wood. The lofts of the different fairway woods used by the pros however do not always match the standard so a 4, 5 or 7-wood of one player may be the same loft of a different numbered fairway wood of another golfer.
The differentiation of the lofts between the fairway woods used by the pros use is a key point as what one player lists as a 7-wood may have the same loft of the 5-wood carried by another player.
For example the two players in the top 100 of the Tour who play 4-woods – Maverick McNealy and Brian Harman – use these clubs with lofts of 15 degrees and 15.75 degrees.
With the ‘standard’ loft of a traditional 3-wood being listed as 15 degrees and the ‘standard’ loft of a 4-wood considered to be 17 degrees it seems curious that both these clubs are listed as ‘4-woods’.
But what happens on many occasions with the pros is that they alter the lofts of higher numbered fairway woods.
In Maverick McNealy’s case for example the number on his fairway wood does say 4 but he has had his club makers reduce the loft by 1.5 degrees to make it 15 degrees from its normal 16.5 degree loft.
The ‘traditional’ loft of a 7-wood is around 21 degrees but less than half of the twelve 7-woods used amongst the top 100 players on Tour are set up with that loft. The majority have stronger lofts varying from as low as 18 degrees – the ‘traditional’ loft of a 5-wood – all the way up to 20.5 degrees.
The exception in all of this course is Byrson DeChambeau whose 5-wood at 13.5 degrees corresponds to a very strong lofted 3-wood but ignoring that exception it is noticeable how many of the top pros use fairway woods with lofts and numbers which don’t correspond to what we would expect to see based on standard lofts.
So although many of the pros do indeed use fairway woods as high as a 7-wood it’s always worth bearing in mind the lofts on these clubs may not correspond with what you are expecting and have been customised to such an extent for that individual player that it can be quite far from the ‘off the shelf’ loft of a standard 4, 5 or 7-wood.
When it comes to makes and models of the 4, 5 and 7-woods used by the top 100 players on the PGA Tour Titleist, TaylorMade, Ping and Callway once again dominate with over 90% of the players using one of the fairway woods of those numbers made by one of those manufacturers.
TaylorMade’s SIM2 is the most popular 5-wood in play while PING’s G410 is the most played 7-wood but across the three different fairway woods 24 different models of woods produced by 7 different manufacturers are being used showing no one model dominates across all the pros.
A complete list of the models of 4, 5 and 7-woods used by the top 100 on Tour is below:
|FAIRWAY WOOD||MANUFACTURER||MODEL||NO. OF TOP 100 PGA TOUR PLAYERS|
|Callaway||Mavrik Sub Zero||1|
|Epic Speed Sub Zero||1|
|Mavrik Sub Zero||2|
|Rogue Sub Zero||1|
|Cobra||King Speedzone Tour||1|
|0341 X GEN2||1|