I’m an open-minded guy. If you offer me an import beer flown in from the Himalayas, I’ll give it a shot. If you think James Michener writes better than Hemingway, I’ll entertain the possibility. But if you think the Firesole Fairway woods outperform other fairway metals, well. . .
I have to admit up-front that I’m a fan of TaylorMade products, and so I am always expecting great results from anything they place on the market. I’ve been playing the TaylorMade Burner driver for a couple of years now, and I have yet to be convinced that I need to make a change. So, perhaps needless to say, I was a little more than excited to try out the Firesole fairway woods; I had visions of matching headcovers and fellow golfers tripping over themselves to get a look at my nice “set” of woods.
Stuffing my golf bag with two extra fairway woods, I headed out to the course with the sole intention of making a side-by-side comparison with my current fairway woods of choice (14 and 18 degree Orlimar Trimetal Plus woods). Having already seen my Taylor Made Burner outperform Orlimar’s Trimetal Plus driver, at least when I’m swinging well, I half-expected the same to be true of the fairway woods.
Both TaylorMade and Orlimar rely, more or less, on the same technology. Both feature low-profile, shallow heads and an extremely low center of gravity, which make getting the ball airborne faster that much easier. And as far as the clubfaces are concerned, the steel on Taylor Made’s Burner driver is a much harder surface than on the Orlimar, so it only seemed reasonable that the same would be true of the Firesole fairway woods. Of course, things didn’t turn out quite as planned.
I hit shot after shot with both woods from various positions in the fairway and from various distances to the green (or further up the fairway, as the case may be). Some shots required me to hit a draw, some a fade, and some which I simply needed to hit straight. In all cases, I saw consistenly better results from the Orlimar, both in terms of accuracy and distance. Where the light shaft and low gravity of the Orlimar allowed me to easily draw around a patch of trees, the somewhat clunky shaft on the Firesole woods made it difficult to turn the club over. Granted, the shafts on the Firesole woods are lighter than in previous models, but they seem to function much better with a larger clubface, such as a driver. And despite the fact that the face of the Firesole woods seemed stronger and more solid than the Orlimar, I easily yielded 10 more yards with the Orlimar clubs.
So unless you have a penchant for uniformity, I can see little reason to replace your current fairway metals, especially if they’re made by Orlimar, with the Firesoles.
Quick Club Review
Spin: Drawing and fading a little tough
Control: Not bad, on the whole
From Tee: If you have to, tee it low
From Rough: Shallow face. Do not attempt!
Feel: Shaft is a bit heavy for the club head size
Look: Think “fire”
Intangibles: Decent clubs but nothing new