In simple terms manufacturers have upped their game because players are putting a lot more of these types of clubs; perhaps the advent of the hybrid has spurred on the growth in this department, as well as technology improving the ability to hit this type of club.
Types of Fairway Woods
These woods, 2 to 4, are mostly employed as tee-shot alternatives to your driver as well as a 2nd shot to a par 5. They will have a smaller head and shorter shaft than your. Also used from fairways, the smaller head design makes them simpler to get off the ground. Added to the 2, 3 and 4 woods range, some manufacturers offer plus sizes ie 3+ meaning the less lofted club like a 2 wood but the same size as the three. A newer innovation recently is the ‘draw’ version of the club: giving you the option of little extra draw shape giving a bit more distance with a little run on the fairway. The ‘draw’ (a subtle right to left) shape is renowned for those characteristics.
These woods, 5 and lower, were generally designed to replace the longer irons for those that have difficulty, and offer a better alternative out of rough, replacing the 3 to 4 iron and perhaps even the 5 iron. The construction of these woods typically involves the weight of the head being positioned, a lower centre of gravity, thereby creating maximum forgiveness. This will help produce a higher ball flight that is more consistent than a long iron. The size of the head will increase as the loft increases.
Almost all fairway woods heads are constructed from steel as it is not required to be large, the metal can offer a more forgiving feel.
The basic lightweight nature of titanium makes it a useful face and is being used increasingly being used by companies in their fairway clubs. Due to its lightness the thin face means that the weight and centre of gravity can be moved lower, wider and further back to produce higher hitting more forgiving wood.
Made from a combination of carbon material and steel or titanium this allows manufacturers to reduce the weight of the head which aids perimeter weighting. Less expensive than titanium, they are a cost effective alternative.