A Fairway Wood Worthy of the Tour!
The Alpha V5 Hi-COR was the first all-titanium fairway wood to be played on the Champions Tour. Today it is still the most popular titanium fairway wood in the bags of Tour players. The number of professional and amateur golfers that choose a titanium fairway wood is still very small. But more discerning golfers are realizing the benefits of titanium woods, and Alpha will continue to lead the way with it's high end clubs.
Why a Titanium Fairway Wood?
Fairway woods traditionally have steel heads. All drivers used to be steel as well. But when golf designers realized the superior characteristics of Titanium, they switched to create longer and more accurate clubs off the tee. A similar trend is starting to happen with fairway woods.
Titanium is lightweight yet very strong. It has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal. It is as strong as steel, but 40% lighter. This allows golf drivers to reach the enormous volumes of 460cc - a size that cannot be attained with the much heavier steel. But fairway woods do not need to be "oversized" which is why the cheaper steel still makes sense for the average golfer. Yet titanium's weight advantage allows designers to build optimizations into fairway woods that are physically impossible with a heavy metal like steel.
The lighter titanium lets designers add in extraneous weight, and place it in strategic areas of the head. Most of the extra mass pads the back and the sole of the club head to strategically place the center of gravity.
The strength-to-weight ratio of titanium lets designers make the face extremely thin - a design feat that is physically impossible to reproduce with steel. High performance club designers try to create as thin of a face as possible since it induces a "trampoline effect" that is not attainable with a thicker face.
Optimal Center of Gravity
The Center of Gravity (COG) of a golf club head is the specific point at which the club behaves as if all its mass were concentrated. The COG has 3 dimensions to it - X, Y, and Z. The X-axis is the horizontal COG location (how far, left or right, it is from the center of the club face). The Y-axis is the vertical COG (how high it is from the sole of the head). And the Z-axis is the COG depth (how far back it is from the face).
Golf clubs obviously aim to keep the horizontal COG axis right at the center of the club face. Aligning the horizontal COG with the sweet spot of the club face maximizes the Moment of Inertia, or the amount of resistance to club twisting. The vertical COG is kept low to induce backspin and promote a higher trajectory ball flight. Too much backspin is dangerous, however. It can cause shots to balloon up and fall straight down. So an optimal placement of the vertical center of gravity is closer to the sole than the crown, but not at the very bottom of the sole! The Z-axis COG is kept towards the back of the club head. The further it is from the face, the more forgiving the club is since vertical and horizontal twisting on off-center shots gets dampened.
Positioning the center of gravity vertically low, horizontally center, and back away from the face is done by careful positioning of the weight. Titanium is less than half the weight of steel. Yet the titanium fairway wood head weighs the same as its steel counterpart. Thus a significant portion of the weight of a titanium fairway wood head is dedicated to optimally position the center of gravity. Steel fairway wood heads lack this luxury - and the center of gravity location is non-intentional and non-optimal.
The Only High-COR Fairway Wood
The Coefficient of Restitution (COR) is the measurement of how "bouncy" an object is during impact. It is measured as the ratio of velocities before and after an impact. When thinking in these terms, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy to see that a higher COR club sends the ball a greater distance. The USGA limits COR to 0.83. Some drivers have reached this limit. But steel fairway woods do not come close to a COR of 0.83.
The only commercially available fairway wood to reach this magical number is the Alpha V5 Hi-COR.
Hi-COR comes from super-thin faces. A super-thin face induces a "spring-like effect" or a "trampoline effect" where the face momentarily depresses at initial contact and then "springs" back into shape at launch. A thick face lacks this effect. And only the high strength-to-weight ratio of titanium lets designers make the face of a fairway wood extremely thin.
Big and Tall Face
Fairway woods possess "variable face thickness" - meaning the face is thinner at the center and thickest towards the heel and toe. The manufacturing process requires this - the welding that sticks the face to the crown, sole, and shell necessitates thicker material at the connection points. This is especially true for steel since its lower strength-to-weight ratio requires more steel to form the same strong connection to the rest of the club head.
But golf club designers want the center of the face to be thin to maximize the COR.
The V5 Hi-COR already achieves a 0.83 COR at the center of the club. But it also has a 0.83 COR within a large radius around the center of gravity point, effectively enlarging the sweet spot of the fairway wood's face. This is made possible due to a big and tall face. Increasing the overall height and width of the face allows a larger portion of the face to be as thin as the center.
As Long as Your Driver
With an optimal center of gravity, a maximum coefficient of restitution, and a large thin face, the Alpha V5 Hi-COR fairway wood is the longest fairway wood. The 3 fairway wood even rivals most name brand drivers in distance. More golfers are hitting the V5 Hi-COR off the tee, and achieving the same (if not more) yardage as their driver.
"I can control my 3 wood a lot better than my driver. With the Alpha Hi-COR, I get the same distance as my Titleist 907. So I don't even tee off with a driver anymore." - Timothy Barr, Atherton, CA
15-3-3-3 Titanium forged Active Beta face insert provides elastic yet high yield strength impacts, resulting in maximum momentum transfer
Larger head size produces high moment of inertia for stability on off center impacts
Optimum center of gravity location for higher launch and optimum spin condition resulting in incredibly controllable soft landing shots
Carefully crafted wide body construction allows for easier airborne launches, low backspin, and straighter and longer shots
Uniformly thin outer face for consistent flexibility across the face
Wide effective hitting area provides a generous sweet spot zone