The Search for the Perfect 3-Wood
My golf buddies are well aware of my struggle. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my three wood for a long time. For whatever reason – and there have been many – I have had a terrible time trying to find the right combination of loft, club head and shaft to make a three wood that is good enough for me to count on. For me, a three wood has to be versatile. I need to hit it well off the tee and off the fairway. It has to be forgiving but workable, and the ball flight cannot be too high or too low. Because of my very specific needs for this club, (bordering on obsessive compulsive) it has taken me the better part of a decade to find the perfect three wood, but I think the search is finally over.
My first three wood was a Spalding Executive with a ladies flex steel shaft. I actually hit it further than my driver, as many beginners often do. Soon after titanium drivers took the market by storm, my old Taylor Made Original One 12 degree driver became my (strong) three wood. For the last decade I have relied on an Adams Golf RPM LP Tour Prototype three wood with 13 degrees of loft and a Fujikura Rombax shaft. I got the club from a player that was on the Senior PGA Tour back in 2005 (Now called PGA Tour Champions) and it has stayed in the bag for over 10 years. When the rest of my golf game went to crap, I could always count on my three wood to produce good shots for me.
I’ve tested and played with countless fairway woods in the ten years since I got my Adams RPM, and until this summer I wasn’t able to find a three wood that performed well enough to replace the “gamer” Adams. A few came very close, but ultimately were rejected. The first was the Ping Rapture. With 13 degrees of loft, a larger club head and 43.5 inch shaft, the Rapture is more of a “2-wood” or “fairway driver,” and while I hit it a mile, it wasn’t versatile enough. The next candidate was the new Tour Edge Exotics CB Pro F2. After testing various Exotics clubs in the past like the CB3 & CB4 Tour, XCG7, EX9 and E8, I was excited to try the flagship model CB Pro F2. This club has an amazing blend of technology packed into a compact but classic looking club head, but the stock Mitsubishi Rayon KURO KAGE Silver Tini Series shaft wasn’t quite right for me. Keeping that in mind, a search for the right shaft to pair with the CB Pro F2 was underway.
When I arrived at the 2016 PGA Demo Day in Orlando, I wandered by the Aerotech Golf booth and stopped in to see owner Chris Hilleary and catch up. I have been playing the amazing Aerotech Steelfiber graphite shafts in my irons for over 5 years and discovered that he had now developed a new Steelfiber fairway wood shaft. After hitting his demo club fitted with the new Steelfiber SS85 shaft, I knew I had found the perfect match for the Exotics CB Pro.
I immediately ordered an Aerotech Steelfiber SS85 shaft and when the CB Pro F2 three wood arrived. I dropped everything off with my club maker. When I got the finished club back, I went out to test it. The results were as expected, and very exciting. The face of the CB Pro F2 is very hot and the Steelfiber SS85 shaft produces a mid launch without ballooning. The shaft is amazingly consistent as usual for the Steelfiber line, and it never feels boardy or unplayable. Going from a three wood with 13 degrees of loft to one with 14.5 degrees will obviously affect the ball flight. One would expect that increasing loft would result in a corresponding drop-off in distance, but so far in early testing with Game Golf the CB Pro F2 is actually averaging 4 yards more from all lies (255 yards vs. 251 yards) than my old Adams RPM. This very likely has to do with the advance in technology and materials since 2005 when the Adams was released to market. The Adams is made of steel, while the Exotics has a steel body and a beta titanium cup face with a much higher “spring” effect, or coefficient of restitution.
It is still early as I’ve only had it in the bag for a month or so, but so far the Exotics CB Pro F2 (14.5 loft) fitted with an Aerotech Steelfiber SS85 shaft is a big winner. This three wood can hit all the shots and has just the right amount of forgiveness, power and control. It looks awesome, sounds solid and produces consistent shots from the tee or the fairway. I’ve finally found a fairway wood worthy of replacing my old gamer for good. The CB Pro F2 is so good in fact, that I’ll be looking into getting the 17.5 degree five wood to match it!
While the Exotics CB Pro F2 may not be for everyone, Tour Edge’s Exotics line has something for everyone and I consider them some of the best performing fairways on the market. Even if you prefer another company’s fairway woods, if you are looking for the consistency of steel and the power of graphite in moderately weighted fairway wood shafts, I highly suggest looking at Aerotech’s Steelfiber SS offerings in 65, 75, and 85 gram weights. They are an amazing compliment to their game-changing iron and hybrid shafts.
Thanks to Tour Edge and Aerotech, after almost a decade of searching for and trying hundreds of fairway woods, I think I have finally found the closest thing possible to the perfect three wood.
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