Each club in a golfer’s bag should have a unique purpose. Fairway woods are a perfect example of this. Set compositions can differ greatly among tour pros and weekend amateurs. Finding the right combination of fairway woods for your game can lead to lower scores.
The following 5-woods were selected due to their outstanding performance characteristics and their ability to blend in with a golfer’s set. A properly fitted 5-wood can be a weapon off the tee, from the fairway, or from difficult lies in the deep rough. The added loft and club mass make these clubs much easier to hit than their 3-wood counterparts. Before looking through each club, let’s take a look at what makes the 5-wood unique.
Top 5 Best 5-Woods of 2019
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- Jailbreak Technology
- Easy to Launch on a Strong, Straight Flight
- Triaxial Carbon Crown for Distance and Forgiveness
- Boeing Aero Package
- Industry-leading Selection of Shaft, Weight and Loft Options
TaylorMade M4 Fairway
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- Speed pocket creates more ball speed across the clubface for more distance & forgiveness. Split-weight mass pads provide increased MOI & perimeter weight distribution
- Ultra-strong ni-co 300 steel face insert allows for optimized ball speed
- 5-Layer carbon crown creates a lower CG by saving 8 grams vs a steel crown, driving higher launch while reducing spin
- Fluted hostel provides superior sound and feel without compromising CG location
- PLAYABILITY THROUGH GEOCOUSTIC TECHNOLOGY: A large footprint and low-profile shape makes it easy to launch and easy to play. The sole is shaped for optimal playability and improved sound & feel.
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- Weight saved by the ultra-light triaxle carbon crown (78% lighter than steel) is repositioned to increase MOI and lower the CG for easy launch and added power
- The latest generation of our hyper speed face cup is more efficient at delivering fast ball speed across the face, especially on mis-hits, for increased average distance
- Fast head speed from speed step technology - developed with Direct Input from aerospace experts to improve aerodynamics for fast swing speed and distance without extra effort
- Wide loft selection including 3+ and heaven wood - six models - 3+, 3, 5, 7, 9, heaven wood - gives golfers multiple opportunities to put epic performance in their bag
2018 Cobra King F8 Fairway Black 3w4w
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- Baffler rail System utilizes Shallower or steeper rails depending on loft and angle of attack for improved versatility and forgiveness from any lie
- Ultralight carbon fiber crown-a lighter 5-ply carbon fiber crown saves discretionary weight to move the CG lower and deeper, producing higher trajectories and increased forgiveness
- 360 aero-innovative polymer Aero trips positioned around the perimeter of the clubhead improve drag reduction face-on through the downswing to generate maximum clubhead speed
- Forged E9 475 stainless steel face INSERT-A forged, variable thickness E9 stainless steel face maximizes flex for increased ball speeds and distance across all points of the face
- My Fly8 with Smart rail-8 easily adjustable loft settings help you manage trajectory and fine tune launch conditions to maximize distance
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- New open-channel speed pocket generates distance and forgiveness - adds ball speed, lowers spin, and increases sweet spot size
- Redesigned sliding weight Track with single 25g tungsten weight; refined shape with more intuitive l-to-gear will adjustability
- Drop-step sole shaping; reduces drag through the turf to maintain clubhead speed
- Premium Stock components - Mitsubishi Kuro Kage TiNi FW shaft and Lamkin UTX cord grip
- Loft sleeve adjustability with new ultra-lightweight, aluminum, 4 degree loft sleeve with 12 settings
When Do You Use A Fairway Wood?
Because of the increased loft of a 5-wood, they are much easier to launch, and thus do not produce as much side spin as lower-lofted woods. Their forgiveness makes them ideal for shots from the tee box that require maximum accuracy. 5-woods also play an important role in navigating approach shots on to greens. 5-woods have soles uniquely designed to help players from a variety of situations. Long par-4s, par-5s, and escape shots are where players tend to opt for their 5-woods.
Finding the Best Fairway Wood for Your Golf Game
A properly fit fairway wood should sit between the distances of your largest iron or hybrid and your smaller wood such as a 3-wood or driver in certain cases. Depending on swing speeds and swing characteristics, many golfers can hit higher-lofted 5-woods farther than their lower-lofted 3-wood equivalents. Hitting 5-woods on a launch monitor such as Trackman® or Foresight’s GCQuad® can give excellent insight to figure out which metal wood is best for you.
Most 5-woods are typically priced alongside 3-woods and can cost almost $300 when purchasing the newest models. These models may offer the latest in tech and company branding but, it is not a distance competition with 5-woods. It is about finding one that helps you reach a specific distance more consistently. Older model woods offer a great option for golfers looking to improve their games without spending too much.
Top Fairway Wood Features
Most 5-woods come in lofts ranging from 17 degrees to 19 degrees and can usually be adjusted for loft and lie using their hosel settings. 5-wood heads are visually smaller than 3-wood and driver head sizes to promote easy launching and versatility. 5-wood shafts tend to be heavier to allow for proper swing weight characteristics. Continue reading to find out more about each of these components.
Most 5-wood head shapes are designed with usability in mind. Centers of gravity (“CG”), are positioned appropriately to give golfers more options when choosing fairway woods. Some golfers may find that a lower and farther back CG promotes higher launch, more forgiving golf shots. Other golfer will enjoy higher, and more forward CGs to encourage longer, lower spinning golf shots. Each sole of a 5-wood is built to glide through the turf or rough to help ensure centered contact with the golf ball. Depending on what type of swing you feel comfortable making, the sole of a fairway can have a major influence on your overall confidence.
The loft of your fairway woods should provide the distance that each player needs. Some golfers may benefit from higher-lofted fairways, around 18 or 19 degrees, and some players may employ lofts between 16 and 17 degrees. Depending on swing speeds and angles of attack, different lofts will produce different carry distances in each golfer’s hands. Testing different lofts can help you find what is ideal for your game.
The connection that runs from a golfer’s hand to the clubhead should not be overlooked. Marrying the perfect golf club to a complementary golf shaft can have massive performance gains. Shafts come in a matrix of flexes, weights, and bend profiles. It is best to test each shaft with your clubhead of choice when making a buying decision.
Shaft flex is a measure of the shaft’s inherent frequency response. Recorded in CPM or cycles per minute, shafts are labeled in a range of X, or extra stiff, at their stiffest to L, or ladies, in their softest flexes. Other shaft flexes include S-stiff, R-regular, and A-amateur. Players with higher swing speeds tend to enjoy the response of stiffer, heavier shafts while slower swingers enjoy the lighter, softer shafts.
Graphite shafts come in many materials and are engineered to provide golfers with different elements specific for their swing. Because no two swings are the same, it is best to test different shafts with each clubhead to find the one best for you. Shaft fitting can help improve launch conditions, strike point consistency, and clubhead speed confidence in your fairway wood.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most frequently searched questions golfers have when buying their next 5-wood.
Q: Driver vs Woods: What is the Difference?
A: Driver and fairway woods are most different in head shapes and sizes, lofts, and lengths. These differences allow each club to have specific strengths and weaknesses when compared to each other. Because fairways are used from both the tee and the turf, they have properties that enhance versatility. Drivers are larger in size and tend to promote distance and forgiveness when striking golf balls from a tee.
Q: What is the Difference Between a 3-Wood and a 5-Wood (3-Wood vs 5-Wood)?
A: 3-woods and 5-woods can be similar; however, when compared directly, 3-woods have larger shapes, longer shafts, and lower lofts. 5-woods tend to be more forgiving and promote higher launches through their higher lofts. Golfers with higher swing speeds may be able to hit the lower-lofted 3-woods farther than 5-woods, but slower speed players may find 5-woods hit the ball farther due to higher launches.
Q: What is the Difference Between a Fairway Wood and a Hybrid? (Fairway Wood vs Hybrid)?
A: Hybrid clubs, as the name implies, are a bridge between standard irons and metal woods. These clubs have thinner soles that are easier to use in tangled grass or fairway bunkers. Hybrids also have more forward CG placement and can launch lower and spin less than similar lofted fairway woods. Fairways can offer increased forgiveness and higher launching shots for many swing types.
Q: How Do I Hit a Fairway Wood?
A: Hitting a 5-wood is less punishing that hitting lower-lofted fairway woods. Higher-lofted clubs promote higher launches, more spin, and more stable ball flights. When hitting any fairway wood, golfers should focus on brushing the sole of the club along the top of the turf and striking the golf ball in the center of the face. As a general rule, a ball position slightly forward of center is recommended. Taking a divot is neither good nor bad when hitting a fairway metal and your swing characteristics will have the largest impact on your ideal ball position. It is because of these variables that it is so important for a fairway wood to be carefully selected to give the golfer the utmost confidence.
Top 10 Best 5 Woods of 2019
1. Cobra KING F8 Fairway Wood
The Cobra KING F8 Fairway Wooduses baffler rail technology to help golfers get in and out of the turf quickly, turning those duffed or topped fairway shots into high launching, soft-landing approaches. This can be invaluable when choosing the best 5-wood for your game. Another member of Golf Digest’s Gold award, F8 is quickly gaining popularity. Its affordable package and great looks make it a popular option for weekend golfers and professionals. If you are someone who needs help with your fairway wood golf shots, Cobra F8’s sole versatility is unrivaled.
Cobra King F8 Fairway Wood
- The MyFly loft technology brings 8 different loft settings to optimize launch for each individual player
- Perfect for players with high clubhead speeds seeking maximum distance and forgiveness
- Offers an excellent fairway wood for a pretty reasonable price point
- The 360 Aero Crown may be off-putting to some players looking for a more traditional looking design
- The back center of gravity may produce a ball flight that is a little too high for some players
- The lack of a set loft due to MyFly may be uninviting for some players
2. Callaway Epic Fairway Wood
The Callaway Epic Fairway Woodis great option from Callaway. Also, gaining the honor of a Gold medal from Golf Digest, this club is a great option for golfers looking for a slightly higher launching fairway. Without the added weight of Jailbreak, the Epic fairway launches high, giving golfers added distance through a lower and back center of gravity. Epic is as good as it gets in a simple package.
Callaway Epic Fairway Wood
- Very forgiving with the light weight, low CG, high MOI and new distribution of weight
- Easy to play with, providing maximum distance from any lie, regardless of skill level
- The look is clean and stylish, but also practical with the increased size of the club face
- Some beginners are overwhelmed by the price, even if the club is super high-quality
- The hollow sound when you hit the ball can be hard to get used to for some players
- Certain features, like the Jailbreak rod on other drivers and woods, are not included
3. Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood
The Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood is the next great club from Callaway. Callaway has a reputation of making fairway woods that inspire excitement from pros and handicap golfers. The Rogue fairway is no different. Awarded a GOLD medal by Golf Digest, the Rogue fairway is a great addition the top of the bag. Rogue is Callaway’s first attempt to add its groundbreaking Jailbreak technology to a fairway metal. After massive success in the Epic driver, it was no surprise to see a rise in ball speeds and forgiveness with the introduction of Jailbreak technology. If you are looking for a new fairway wood, the Callaway Rogue with Jailbreak technology should be at the top of your list.
Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood
- Jailbreak Technology makes the clubhead incredibly stable, resulting in one of the longest fairway woods on the market
- Triaxial Carbon Crown and fixed hosel provides for more forgiveness and higher launch
- Sleek design inspired confidence at address and just simply a beautifully designed club
- One of the priciest golf clubs on the market, which is not ideal for the casual golfer looking to upgrade their fairway wood
- Lighter swing weight can alter the feel during the swing which may be a turn off for some players
- Lack of customization features makes it less appealing to some players who like to tinker
4. Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood
The Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood is one of the best fairway woods of 2018. TaylorMade has a long-standing history of dominating the metal wood category. PGA tour professionals often opt for their woods in place of clubs of brands that they are under contract with. The M3 model is the next generation to Taylormade’s storied history. Golf Digest took notice and gave M3 a Gold medal. Players like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Dustin Johnson have made M3 a part of their bag, and you should too. M3 gives golfers an unrivaled ability to fine tune their club to their game.
Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood
- Many options for adjustability allow you to fine-tune the club to your liking
- The light weight of the club allows you to maximize your overall clubhead speed
- The smaller clubhead gives a very clean profile
- The adjustability may be overwhelming if you’re looking for a simple club
- The cost of the club may be out of reach for some players with limited budgets
- The carbon crown may not suit everyone’s eye
5. TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood
The TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood is one of the longest and most forgiving fairway woods on the market. For golfers who love the look of TaylorMade but want to see a more confidence inspiring profile, the M4 fairway is a great option. With the introduction of Geocoustic technology and the use of a speedpocket, the TaylorMade M4 is the best sounding fairway in this year’s lineup. Another staple on Golf Digest’s Gold medal list, M4 is great for anyone who wants a club that just works.
TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood
- Lightweight crown increases center of gravity for optimal launch with minimal spin
- Thin clubface increases initial ball speed, even on off-center strikes
- Unmatched sound quality and incredible feel and versatility
- One of the more expensive fairway woods, making it unappealing for the value-seeking golfer
- Lack of adjustability options make it less optimal for some players
- Clubhead can feel a little light at the top of the backswing
6. Ping G400 Fairway Wood
The Ping G400 Fairway Wood7. Ping G Fairway Wood
The Ping G Fairway Wood is an example of a previous generation fairway wood that gives golfers maximum performance at a cheaper price. Ping’s G fairway is a great option for golfers looking for value in older products. Another Gold medal recipient, the G fairway is everything new golfers are looking for in simplicity.
Ping G Fairway Wood
- The design makes launching the ball higher with less spin easier than ever
- Mis-hits will still have plenty of distance and accuracy
- Adjustability allows you plenty of versatility based on your needs
- Lower profile clubs makes very thick lies from the rough more challenging
- One of the more expensive fairway woods on the market
- Adjustability doesn’t include fade/draw options like other clubs
8. Titleist 917 F2 Fairway Wood
The Titleist 917 F2 Fairway Wood is everything players have come to expect from Titleist. Using both the 3- and 5-wood models, Justin Thomas went on to capture 2017’s PGA Tour Player of the Year, the FedEx Cup and a major Championship. If you are a good player looking for the best in performance and traditional looks, the F2 fairway is your best choice.
Titleist 917 F2 Fairway Wood
- The extensive adjustability allows you to optimize the club to your individual swing
- The technology in the club produces tremendous forgiveness and ball speeds
- The larger profile induces confidence for players
- The adjustability may bring too many options to players looking for a simple golf club
- The higher ball flight may not be what every player is looking for in a fairway wood
- Some golfers may want a lower spinning model
9. TaylorMade M1 3-Wood
The TaylorMade M1 3-Wood is a dream for a golfer who enjoys dialing in his or her golf shots. TaylorMade’s prior generation fairway metal is an outstanding option for golfers who enjoy customization and provides highly skilled golfers an option to save money and get a product tailored to their golf swing. Golf Digest gave the M1 a Gold medal for its performance and adjustability. With a dramatic visual contrast of white and black, M1 is easy to line up and easy to hit a long way. M1 is not the most forgiving option, but if you are a highly skilled player looking to go low by reaching par-5s from new places, M1 is the best budget option for you.
TaylorMade M1 3 Wood
- Great for shots off the tee, as well as the fairway, rough, and fairway bunkers
- Ideal for all course conditions with its superior adjustability
- Has a sleek design, which inspires confidence at address
- Smaller club head may be a difficult adjustment for mid- to high-handicappers
- Loft and weight adjustability can be confusing to some
- Retails at the highest end of the market, which may limit its appeal
10. TaylorMade M2 Golf Fairway Wood
The TaylorMade M2 Golf Fairway Wood is one of the best sounding and most forgiving fairway woods you will ever hit. If M1 is for the ultimate in golf customization, M2 is for the golf enthusiast who loves to hear crisp, beautifully struck golf shots. Geocoustic sound enhancement ensures that this club sounds amazing and Golf Digest thought so too and gave M2 a Gold medal for its sound, feel, and ease of use. On a budget, M2 simply just works. It is a pleasure to hit and provides enough forgiveness to help any golfer shoot lower scores.
TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood
- Sleek two-tone paint looks great and makes alignment a breeze
- Golf ball really pops off the club face, even on off-center hits
- One of the most forgiving golf clubs manufactured to date
- Lack of adjustability requires a custom fitting before purchase
- White paint near face can be off-putting in bright sunshine
- Not ideal for players with lower swing speeds
What Fairway Wood Should You Buy?
Choosing the right fairway metal for your bag can be difficult; however, understanding when to use these clubs and what each golfer’s strengths and weaknesses are can help any golfer. A new club should always help your bad shots while never making your good shots worse. With all the great options in fairway woods today, there is no excuse for not having something that is truly right for you.
As driver technology rapidly progresses, manufacturers are slower to apply these changes to their fairway woods. Getting a previous generation fairway wood can be a great way to improve your bag without spending too much money. Options like the Callaway GBB Epic, Taylormade’s M1 and M2 fairways make great options.
We always advise testing each club before making a buying decision. Indoor launch monitors are a great to use for club testing when it is too cold to be outside. Remember, your fairway woods should serve a purpose in your bag. They should be selected based on your confidence with them, not matched to your driver of choice. Thank you for sharing in this game we all love, happy testing!