When I was a junior golfer, my 7-wood was by far my favorite club. This wasn’t just any 7-wood, though, it was the Ping i3, born at the turn of the century.
With 20 degrees of loft and the smallest clubhead you’ve ever seen, it wasn’t a looker by any means (far from it), but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t effective. Each and every time I pulled the club from the bag, I’d carve a trap cut underneath the West Texas winds and watch the ball scurry down the hard-pan fairways. The club might’ve been ugly, but it sure was productive – and I loved it dearly.
As I got older, though, my hubris got the best of me. I wanted to hit long irons like that real players, not a 7-wood like some scrub. So, I ditched the i3 in favor of the “sexy” option. If I wanted to whittle my handicap down to scratch, I needed a bag setup that looked the part. The 7-wood was a necessary casualty, I reasoned.
And while my handicap has trended in the correct direction in the decade-plus since, there’s been something missing. I might have learned how to hit a 4 iron like a stick, but was I happy doing it? I felt as though there was a 7-wood-sized hole in my heart.
Still, the stigma of the club kept me from ever seriously considering putting one in the bag. The club was something for high handicappers and senior golfers; few self-respecting mid-ams would be caught dead with a 7-wood. I was a victim of this peer pressure, and the 4 irons remained in the bag.
But then, the darndest thing happened – 7-woods came back in vogue.
Nelly Korda, then the No. 1-ranked player in the world, told me at a photo shoot that “7-woods are cool.” Adam Scott, owner of perhaps the prettiest swing in golf, put the club in his bag last year. Dustin Johnson won a freakin’ green jacket with a 7-wood in his setup.
Suddenly, the stigma disappeared. Just like Texas Football, the 7-wood was BACK.
About that time, I got the opportunity to test Honma’s newest line of woods – the TW 757. It didn’t take much thinking for me to choose the 7-wood as my weapon of choice. The club is a far cry from the Ping i3 (praise modern technology), but at long last, I feel whole.
It’s been a little over a month since I added the 7-wood to the bag, and it’s already paying dividends in my game. Here are the three biggest benefits I’ve seen – and why you should consider adding 7-wood, too.
I might be a low-single-digit handicap, but that doesn’t mean I can launch the ball like a Tour pro. Far from it, in fact. Perhaps as a result of my upbringing battling the unforgiving winds of the South Plains, my ball flight starts low and stays low. It’s great when there’s a breeze to contend with, but not so great when a deep bunker guards the front of the green.
That’s where the 7-wood comes in handy. It might have the same loft as my 4 iron, but I can launch it what feels like about twice as high. I’m no gear buff, so I can’t exactly explain the science behind why it’s easier to get a 7-wood in the air as opposed to a 4 iron, but I can tell you from experience that it does happen. No longer do I fear the deep bunkers guarding the front of greens on long shots. Instead, I grab my trusty 7-wood and send my ball soaring over them.
Hitting out of the rough is hard Hitting out of the rough with a long iron is almost impossible. But hitting out of the rough with a 7-wood? That’s easy.
The first time I found myself 200+ yards from the green in the thick stuff, I unsheathed my 7-wood with hopes that I could hack the ball down the fairway and give myself a nice wedge distance to the pin. However, when I made a lash at the ball, the result was far better than I could’ve imagined.
Instead of the long grass grabbing my iron head and sapping the shot of all its distance, my clubhead cut through the thick stuff with ease. My ball exploded off the face of my 7-wood and rocketed out of the rough – with a high launch – and took off towards the green. If you’d only seen the flight of the ball, you’d have sworn I hit it off a perfect place from the center of the fairway.
Two putts later and I turned what should’ve been a sure bogey into a stress-free par – and it was all thanks to my 7-wood.
Everyone needs a club that they can find the fairway with on a reliable basis. Some might think that would be a 3 wood, but as my colleague Ryan Barath pointed out, many recreational players shouldn’t even be carrying a 3 wood. The club is too hard to hit for most, and you’re sacrificing distance trying – and failing – to hit one.
So why not ditch your 3 wood for a 7-wood instead? In all likelihood, you’ll be able to hit it higher, straighter and with more consistency than your 3 wood. Plus, it serves as a hell of a fairway finder. No longer will you fear a tight fairway with trouble on both sides. Instead, you’ll pull out the 7-wood and hit a seed right down the middle.