When beginning golf for the first time, club buying can be an overwhelming experience. Getting every club perfect is not nearly as important as getting on a golf course and learning what you do well and what has room for improvement. We have created a list of fairway woods that help new golfers build their bags and enjoy the game.
Fairway woods, or fairway metals, are often considered the most difficult club in a golfer’s bag to get properly fit. Fairway woods differ greatly in their builds and functionality and can be valuable weapons when attacking long par-4s and par-5s. Despite their many advantages, the lower lofts of fairway metals often make them more difficult to hit consistently. Before trying to decide which club is best for you, it is best to gain an understanding of what makes these clubs unique.
Best Fairway Woods For Beginners
- Jailbreak Technology
- Easy to Launch on a Strong, Straight Flight
- Triaxial Carbon Crown for Distance and Forgiveness
- Speed pocket creates more ball speed across the club face for more distance
- Ultra-strong ni-co 300 steel face insert allows for optimized ball speed
- 5-Layer carbon crown creates a lower CG
- Weight saved by the ultra-light triaxle carbon crown
- Hyper speed face cup is more efficient at delivering fast ball speed across the face
- Direct Input from aerospace experts to improve aerodynamics for fast swing speed
- Baffler rail System utilizes Shallower or steeper rails to be more versatile
- 5-ply carbon fiber crown saves discretionary weight to move the CG lower
- Aero trips positioned around the perimeter of the club head improve drag reduction
- 6-layer carbon crown, 450 stainless steel body, and 455 stainless face
- Inverted cone technology for a larger sweet spot
- Advanced shaping with a two-tiered sole design provides added play ability from all lies
When Do You Use A Fairway Wood?
Fairway woods can range in loft from 13 degrees up to 20 degrees. Beginning golfers may find higher lofted woods easier to hit and these can be a great place to start. Higher lofted fairway woods can provide more stable ball flights and give golfers another option from the tee box as well as long approach shots from the ground. These clubs can also be an asset for beginning golfers when they are chipping around the greens or recovering from difficult lies.
Finding the Best Fairway Wood for Your Golf Game
When beginning to play golf for the first time, it is best to try and get your hands on as many different clubs as possible. Many big box retailers and local pro shops have demo clubs that can be hit for free. Beginners should find something they like the look of, and feels great. It should give them optimal performance for their developing swings. Knowing what to look for in a fairway can make all the difference and this is a great place to start.
While it may be tempting to go and buy the newest, most expensive clubs for your bag; that may not be the best use of your resources when beginning the game. While it is true that the newest clubs offer the latest in technology and user customization, growing your game can be done using affordable options as well. Fairway wood technology does not evolves as quickly as driver technology and great clubs can be found below the MSRP of newer woods.
Top Fairway Wood Features
Great fairway woods should include a few similar characteristics. They should have confidence inspiring head shapes, shafts that marry the head to the golfer’s hands and lofts that help the golfer hit great shots. In this section, we will take a look at each of these individually to help you make the right choice for your bag.
Among fairway woods, their size and head shapes can differ drastically. Some are larger and more confidence inducing, others are smaller and provide golfers with versatility in a variety of lies. Golfer’s new to choosing clubs should hit a variety of head colors, shapes, and sizes to see which they prefer. Keep in mind that larger club heads tend to launch higher, spin more, and can be easier to use when compared to smaller headed models.
Once you have made a decision on what head shape and size you are the most comfortable with, you should choose a shaft carefully. Depending on which model you have chosen, there will be shafts available at no additional charge. Length, weight, and shaft flex will all need to be considered before making your final decision.
Standard lengths for fairway woods range between 40 and 45 inches and weigh between 50 and 90 grams. Shaft flex is designated (L) for Ladies, (A) for Senior, (R) for Regular, (S) for Stiff, and (X) for Extra-Stiff. Shaft flex is loosely correlated with swing speed, slower swingers may opt for softer flex shafts and faster swinger may enjoy the feel of stiffer shafts. However, this is simply a guide and should be used as a recommendation, not as a definitive answer.
Fairway wood shafts are made from a range of multi-material compounds that range in complexity and price. Modern fairway woods are offered with a matrix of shafts at no additional upcharge, while others can be custom ordered for an additional fee. While it may be tempting to spring for a $300 brightly colored new shaft, the performance gains will pale in comparison to the ones you will make by practicing and enjoying the game.
Loft may be the most important factor when considering a fairway for beginning golfers. Most 3-woods come standard with 15 degrees of loft and 5-woods come standard at 18 degrees. Depending on swing speed and characteristics, golfers may find 3-woods to be difficult to launch and provide less distance than 5-woods with higher lofts. Trying a range of lofts can help you tease out you optimal launch condition and hit your ideal distances. The correct flight in a fairway can have a significant impact on scores and confidence in your new club.
Frequently Asked Questions
At this point in your golf journey, it is common to have more questions that you have answers. Below, we have outlined a few that golfers have most often when it comes to fairway woods.
Q: Driver vs Woods: What is the Difference?
A: The major differences between drivers and fairway woods boil down to their engineering and design. Head size and shapes, club length, and design of use separate these two clubs. Drivers are designed with deeper faces and an increased surface area for striking the golf ball from a tee. Fairway woods are designed to be hit from either the tee or the ground. Drivers are typically beyond 44 inches in length to help golfers generate the most swing speed possible. Fairway metals are shorter and provide golfers a better chance to hit well-struck golf shots. Differences in the construction of these two club types help fairways to be more versatile when coming from lies in the fairways, rough, and bunkers.
Q: What is the Difference Between a 3 Wood and a 5 Wood (3 Wood vs 5 Wood)?
A: The major differences between 3-woods and 5-woods are their lofts and lengths. Each club will be marked with a measured loft. 3-woods typically range from 13 to 16 degrees and 5-woods fall between 17 and 19 degrees. The most common lofts are 15 degrees and 18 degrees respectfully.
3-woods are longer in length to help promote increased swing speeds but custom shaft lengths are available to help golfer maximize their skills.
Q: What is the Difference Between a Fairway Wood and a Hybrid? (Fairway Wood vs Hybrid)?
A: Hybrids are designed more similarly to irons, this gives rise to the name “hybrid.” Hybrids have smaller head shapes and promote lower launching golf shots than woods. Hybrids are designed with smaller soles to help golfers get out of difficult lies either in the rough or in bunkers by reducing ground interaction when compared to woods. Beginning players may benefit from both hybrids and high lofted fairway woods in their bags.
Q: How Do I Hit a Fairway Wood?
A: Hitting a fairway wood is often billed as the “hardest golf club to hit well.” Adding loft to your fairway wood or purchasing a higher lofted wood can have a large impact on its’ ease of use. Modern fairway woods provide golfers with tons of help.
When trying to tackle these difficult clubs, play the golf ball in a position that encourages a more neutral angle of attack and visualize brushing the top of the turf with the sole of the club. Taking a divot with a fairway wood is neither good nor bad and is different between golfers. Don’t get discouraged with fairway shots that are difficult to hit. These are typically shots that even skilled golfers struggle to get right.
Top 10 Best Fairway Woods For Beginners
1. Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood
The Callaway Rogue Fairway Woodmay be the best fairway in the market for beginning golfers. When looking for a beginning fairway wood, many club fitters will put Callaway fairways in the hands of their customers. Callaway has a reputation of making easy-to-hit fairway woods that make learning the game fun. The Rogue fairway is the best fairway Callaway has ever made. Golf Digest gave Rogue a Gold Medal and golfers cite faster ball speeds from the introduction of Jailbreak technology.
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
2. TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood
The TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood is another option for golfers who are beginning the game. TaylorMade have a long history of making industry leading metal woods and M4 is the next generation of their products. TaylorMade’s M4 fairway has been deemed the best sounding fairway metal ever produced thanks to the Geocoustic technology inside the club head. TaylorMade’s patented SpeedPocket and Geocoustic technology were enough for Golf Digest to award the M4 with a Gold medal and we think this should be a club you are hitting before you buy your next wood.
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
3. Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood
The Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood is for the golfer who is just starting and wants to adjust their clubs as their games develop. The use of sliding weight technology allows the M3 fairway to be continuously configured as your needs change. Played on tour by players such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Dustin Johnson the M3 is an obvious choice for Golf Digest’s Gold medal. For players skeptical that their current abilities don’t warrant getting their clubs fit, the M3 is a perfect option to adapt a club as you grow your golfing skills.
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
4. Cobra KING F8 Fairway Wood
The Cobra KING F8 Fairway Wood takes Cobra’s greatest fairway invention and packs it with outstanding looks. The Baffler technology on the sole of Cobra’s KING F8 makes getting out of difficult lies easy. If you are a player who needs help with topped fairway wood shots or continue to hit your fairway woods fat, the Baffler rails can provide instant relief. This forgiveness earned F8 a Gold Medal from Golf Digest. If you are someone looking for help in this area of their game, F8 should be at the top of your list.
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
5. Callaway Epic Fairway Wood
The Callaway Epic Fairway Wood is a great option for people looking to pick up a great club at a reasonable price. The overall forgiveness and performance of the Epic fairway gained a Gold Medal from Golf Digest and golfers can attest to their preference for Callaway fairway woods. Without the added weight of Jailbreak, Epic is high launching, and great for golfers looking for a forgiving option 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
6. Ping G400 Fairway Wood
The Ping G400 Fairway Wood is one of the best woods Ping has ever produced. G400 utilizes Turbulators that act to help golfers increase swing speeds, great for players just beginning and learning to swing the golf club effectively. Golf Digest gave the G400 a Gold Medal for its ability to help golfers properly align the club behind the ball and deliver maximum club head speed.
Ping G400 Fairway Wood
- The club has a very powerful look, especially with the Turbulators on the crown
- The light weight of the club offers excellent distance
- The forgiveness of the club is a massive benefit for players
- The club is fairly limited in adjustability which may be a turn off to some player
- There is only one stock shaft option unlike its competitors
- The black clubface and sole tend to wear away quickly
7. TaylorMade M1 3 Wood
The TaylorMade M1 3 Wood is a great option for golfers looking to save money and have a product that can change with them overtime. Much like the M3, M1 is uses sliding weights to help golfers adjust their club as their swing changes. As a member of Golf Digest’s Gold medal list, M1 is the perfect option for golfers looking to save some money and get a club that gives them maximum customization.
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
8. TaylorMade M2 Golf Fairway Wood
The TaylorMade M2 Golf Fairway Wood may be the longest fairway wood in the list. If you are looking for a fairway that can help you gain distance off the tee or from the fairway, M2 is a great place to start. At a reduced price since M4 has been released, M2 offers golfers exceptional distance at an exceptional price. Golf Digest gave M2 a Gold medal for sound, feel, and ease of use. M2 simply just works, it is a pleasure to hit and provides enough forgiveness to help beginning golfers get better.
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
9. Ping G Fairway Wood
The Ping G Fairway Wood is a quality option that helps golfers improve their games by simplicity of use. The G fairway is simple and can offer golfer a relief from the stress of having to worry if there club is going to work. A member of Golf Digest’s Gold medal awards, G provides a simple yet technologically packed club for golfers new to the game or on a budget.
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
10. Ping G30 Fairway Wood
Good design never goes out of style, and since its release in 2015, the Ping G30 Fairway Wood is similar to the G fairway in its delivery. Golfers who enjoy the performance of G but like the look of G30 can find an even better priced fairway with similar performance. A Gold medal winner in 2015, G30 provides a great starting club for new golfers.
Ping G30 Fairway Wood
- The Flatter crown design helps to instill confidence for players at address
- A taller face leads to a more forgiving surface, even on off-center hits
- Neutral setup makes working the golf ball both ways easier than ever
- Adjustability may be tedious for players who are used to a fixed setup
- Turbulators may make alignment difficult if you’re used to a center-line
- No adjustability in the weights, which limits the overall versatility of the club
What Fairway Wood Should You Buy?
Purchasing your first fairway wood can be a challenge. With tons of models, shafts, and configurations it can be difficult knowing where to start. If you are new to the game, begin with a club head that you love looking at. Golf clubs that look good start to build confidence. Next, test different lofts to see which one is best for your game and your swing. If you think that your swing will change greatly while you are using this club, going with a more adjustable option can lead to long term success.
After selecting your club head, make sure to marry it with a shaft that is comfortable and provides you with confidence to play and practice golf. Do not bourdon yourself with heavy or stiff shafts that make playing a chore. With any club buying, it is best to test each model to see what fits your swing style and preferences. Testing outside or indoors with a launch monitor can provide real-time feedback that can help you make a great decision. Welcome, and thanks for sharing in this game we all love!