The Deep Red II fairway woods are modified versions of the original Deep Red woods. The original Deep Reds came in just one style – the Fat Shaft. The new ones come in two versions. One version is the conventionally shafted Tour model and the other is the Fat Shafted Distance model. This review will focus primarily on the new and the original Fat Shaft models. The Tour version has a substantially thinner .350 tip Grafalloy ProLite+ shaft. All models have stainless steel heads and faces.
The new Deep Red II Distance Fat Shafts have a slightly lower profile, thinner shafts and a new sole design when compared to their predecessors. Aside from the difference in tip thickness, old and new models look virtually identical when in address position. Both share the same, deep red, iridescent paint job, and the same gently rounded appearance. Both are handsome, comfortable looking woods. Due to new shaft sizes and graphics, the II versions have a slightly more graceful appearance, however.
The Fat Shaft on the new Deep Red II is still fat, but noticeably less so than its predecessor. The first version had a Grafalloy ProLite Fairway HyperCarbon Fat Shaft with a .480 tip. Version II has a Grafalloy ProLite + with .428 tip. Both shafts have a soft, somewhat muted feel when compared to the bright, responsive feel of certain contemporary shafts. At impact, the hitting sensation is quite solid, but not what most would consider crisp. The new version of the Fat Shaft is a shade more lively feeling than the first, however. By switching to a thinner version of the Fat Shaft Wilson may have sacrificed a little structural stability through impact, but they added a touch of snap and vibrancy. To counter the decrease in stability from a thinner shaft, Wilson and Grafalloy reduced the amount of torque from 3.0 to 2.7 in the Fat Shaft (stiff). The Tour version shaft has the highest amount of torque at 3.5. The .350 tipped Grafalloy provides a more conventional feel. It has the ProLite qualities of being sweet and responsive, but again, it is not crisp in the manner of some other premium shafts. All of the Deep Reds have been more mellow feeling (less tingly) than any other woods we have tested in the recent past. This aspect will appeal to many players, but not to others.
For most testers, consistency with the Deep Red woods has been decidedly good. As safe substitutes for drivers off of the tee, both versions of these woods are stable, predictable choices. With the reduced twisting of fat-ended shaft, hooks and slices have been comparatively rare for our crew. During lengthy ball-testing sessions, the Deep Red II Distance produced uniformly fine dispersion patterns. It is not the kind of wood that inspire a sense of precision. Instead, it is the kind of wood that likes to keep the ball safely in play – in the short grass. In spite of swing irregularities, the stable Deep Red tends to hit straight. This can be a minor negative for those who like to work the ball into a pin with pronounced curvature. Both Deep Reds Fat Shafts models can be knocked down low and floated high, but neither is readily inclined towards fading or drawing the ball. Those players with a preference for working their woods should consider the Deep Red II Tour model. Its .350 shaft allows the head to open or close more readily. Photo above right: Deep Red Original
On a number of occasions, we have tested both the Deep Red original and Deep Red Distance versions side by side in the 15-degree, 3-wood models. With 15 degrees in loft and a shaft length of just 42 ½’, each hits more like a 4-wood than a 3-wood, but given the added loft, distances are quite respectable. (Note: a 13-degree, strong 3-wood is available) Both woods can hit with authority and handle a wide range of swing styles from aggressive to mellow. Trajectories are relatively flat and penetration is good. The ball seems to leave the face of the newer version a bit hotter and fly a bit lower before climbing to altitude – it seems to, but whatever differences are there are subtle ones, and not all testers can see them. Whatever the case, the II version does seem a bit punchier and sharper at impact. Photo left: Deep Red II Distance Face
From the fairway and from the light rough, the Deep Reds are easy to hit well. Both sole designs ride through the turf effortlessly, but the newer version has a flatter sole with more aft weighting added. From thick rough, both Deep Reds can get the ball out, but not with the absolute efficiency of some heavily sole-weighted woods. Balls launch a little too flat to fly in a truly effective manner from heavy grasses.
Both Deep Red Fat Shaft woods are similar in looks, feel and performance. Our testers were split as to which they preferred, but the edge did go to the newer model. Part of this advantage was due to the thinner Fat Shaft. Some of our testers have always found the original Fat Shafts to be too thick to be pleasant looking at address. Since the release of the newer versions, the original Deep Red woods (still carried by Wilson ) may be found at half price at some outlets. This makes for a good deal on a solid, stable performer. Those looking for crisp, vibrant feel and dynamic snappiness in a wood will want to look elsewhere, however. These Fat Shaft woods are particularly well-suited to erratic wood players who deviate in left-right consistency and in their aggressiveness in unloading the club through impact. The Deep Reds have a good habit of keeping the ball in play.