DO YOU NEED AN 11-WOOD?
More and more players are using lofted woods.
Michelle Wie sparked interest by putting an 11-wood in play during the PGA Championship, claiming it’s easier to hit than a 5-iron. With large shallow heads and lightweight graphite shafts, lofted woods come with a number of benefits over long irons and hybrids. PGA clubfitter John Macklen explains.
The low and deep centre of gravity (CG) help launch the ball higher over obstacles but drop it steeper and stop it quicker. Trackman data averages from the LPGA show that while a 7-wood flies around five yards further than a 4-iron, its angle of decent is three-degrees steeper. This is key when the greens are firm and pins are tucked behind bunkers, rough and water.
The low, deep CG make lofted woods more versatile than long irons and hybrids from poor lies. They slide beautifully through rough and get the ball airborne more easily when struck low on the club face.
The higher moment of inertia makes lofted woods more forgiving on off-centre strikes than long irons and some hybrids. Another benefit is the lack of hosel, which means that the dreaded shank could be a thing of the past – something that is likely to appeal more to the club player than touring pro.
John Macklen is the Senior PGA Club Fitter at Sundridge Park GC. Thanks to Steve Macdonald from Callaway Golf for the tour usage stats.