Getting the right combination of fairway woods into your golf bag is essential for playing your best golf and shooting your lowest scores. Fitting yourself into a matrix of 3, 5, 7, or 9 wood options can be difficult. To make thing easier, we have created a guide that outlines some of our favorite fairway wood models. We also take you step-by-step through the most important things in making a fairway wood your ideal golf club.
We golf course tested and fully reviewed all of the fairway woods in these guides, and wrote them just for you. Please take a look and let us know what you think!
Top 6 Best Fairway Woods for Beginners
- Get more ball speed and distance by Flash Face Technology
- Face design that promotes increased ball speed for longer distance.
- Face Cup technology to deliver fast ball speed across the face for distance on center- and off-center hits
- Twist Face curvature with a corrective face angle on off-center hits
- Deep face and larger carbon crown provides optimal distance
- mproved slot flexibility for a larger COR area and better off-center performance
- Speedback Bafflers improve launch and faster club head speed from any lie
- CNC milled, 455 stainless steel face insert delivers our thinnest, hottest fairway face
- Polymer crown and sole trips direct airflow around the club head to reduce drag for faster club head speeds
- Streamlined design optimizes airflow around the club head to increase distance and speed
- Bolder Turbulators reduce aerodynamic drag and create more efficient airflow for distance
- 8-Lobe Trajectory Tuning Hosel allows golfers to fine tune loft
- Twist Face is engineered to reduce side spin and deliver straighter shots
- New head design with a deep face and larger carbon crown provides optimal distance
- Improved slot flexibility for a larger COR area and better off-center performance
- Adjustable sole weights to be moved to two alternate FTS settings
- Thin and thick compartments strategically positioned to provide optimal forgiveness
- Center of gravity is positioned closer to the face for less spin
Prior Generation – Best Value Fairway Woods
- 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
- 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 are some of the most versatile golf clubs in players bags. Their curved soles help them to be forgiving off the tee and from the ground. Often, golfers will use their fairway woods when the driver is going to fly too far or if there is danger with an errant tee shot. Due to the increased loft, fairway woods can be easier to hit and easier to keep in play. Golfers also use their fairway woods to position themselves or reach the green on longer par-5 holes.
Finding the Best Fairway Wood for Your Golf Game
Several factors help make a fairway wood tailormade for your game. The loft, the length of the shaft, and the center of gravity designs can all influence how a fairway wood performs. Getting the right club for your swing type and style is a blend of each component.
As the price of fairway woods increase and the frequency of use during your rounds may not be as high, it can be difficult to justify paying full price for a brand new fairway metal. Luckily, prior generation models and second-hand options are especially appropriate in the fairway wood category. Because fairway woods are meant to fly a specific distance, getting the latest technology may not always mean getting your best fit. A variety of lofts and club heads are available to help your game for a fraction of the cost of the total retail price.
Top Fairway Wood Features
Fairway woods differ in their lofts, length of the shaft, center of gravity and head shapes and sizes. These difference make them perform differently in each golfers hands and what makes fitting this area of the golf bag so difficult. Understanding that depending on your swing delivery characteristics more loft in a fairway wood may mean more distance is an often overlooked tip.
Because distance is not your primary objective with fairway woods, the shaft of your fairway wood should be fit for control. That means taking length, weight, flex, and bend profile into consideration to pair with your club head of choice. Fairway wood shafts often come in weights between 50 and 90-grams. Flexes ranging from senior, amateur, and ladies to stiff, extra-stiff, and tour-extra-stiff exist to help you dial in your feel and performance preferences. Oftentimes, fairway wood shafts are built with shafts featuring a slightly softer tip section than driver shafts to help elevate the golf ball when hitting shots from the ground.
Other guidelines exist to help you narrow your list of shafts to test. As a player’s swing speeds increase they often prefer to increase the weight and stiffness of their golf shaft to improve feedback and feel. Most commonly, whatever weight shaft you play in your driver, your fairway wood shafts are between 10 and 20-grams heavier and a similar flex. While it is possible that whatever shaft you choose for your driver may be best in your fairway wood too, it is less common as these golf clubs are designed with different purposes in mind.
Fairway wood club head shapes and sizes can differ greatly among models. These differences in size often lead to differences in playing performance and players affinity for clubs as they address the golf ball. In general, larger headed fairway woods will be more forgiving and higher launching. These models are typically best for players that use their fairway woods primarily from the fairways and rough. Smaller, deeper fairway woods make great driver replacements and can be valuable tools for players that often find themselves in trouble from the tee box. These fairway woods often launch and spin lower and can produce more distance when striking a golf ball from the tee.
The loft of your fairway wood will play a large role in how far the golf ball goes after impact. More loft can mean longer or shorter golf shots depending on your swing characteristics and skill level. Amateur golfers and slow swing speed players can regularly gain distance from the tee and the ground by moving up in loft in their fairway woods.
Frequently Asked Questions
Fairway woods are some of the hardest golf clubs to fit in the entire golf bag. Because of this, many questions arise when they are discussed. We have provided some of the most common for your quick reference.
Q: Driver vs Woods: What is the Difference?
A: The largest differences between drivers and fairway woods are their head shapes, sizes, and intended use. Drivers are built for distance and forgiveness when the golf ball is struck while resting on a tee. Fairway woods, on the other hand, are built to be hit from the tee and the ground. This versatility is what makes fairway woods unique and complex. Although these clubs may have similar names and lofts, the roles they play in the golf bag are not always overlapping.
Q: What is the Difference Between a 3 Wood and a 5 Wood (3 Wood vs 5 Wood)?
A: 3-woods and 5-woods typically differ in their lofts, head sizes, and lengths. Although both these golf clubs can be custom fit to any length and a variety of lofts, 3-woods are usually longer and lower in loft than higher numbered woods.
Q: What is the Difference Between a Fairway Wood and a Hybrid? (Fairway Wood vs Hybrid)?
A: Hybrids are designed to play more similarity to golf irons. The smaller cub head sizes and iron-like faces of hybrids help them to be more versatile coming from thick rough or hazard areas. Given the same swing conditions, hybrids tend to fly lower and spin less than fairway woods of the same loft. Fairway woods can offer more forgiveness depending on the situation around the golf course. These clubs may share the same loft and which is best for you is best figured out by testing different models. It is often the case that a golfers bag will have both fairway woods and hybrids.
Q: How Do I Hit a Fairway Wood?
A: Hitting a fairway wood from the ground is difficult. Because it is often the longest golf club you will try and hit from the non-teeing area, alterations in your setup are recommended. Many players find hitting a fairway wood is easier by moving it up in their stance and sweeping the golf club along the surface of the ground. Do not be discouraged if you struggle to hit your fairway wood and consider adding loft as this can make them easier to launch and produce more distance from a better contact.
Top 10 Best Fairway Woods for 2018
1. Callaway Epic Flash Fairway Wood
Bringing driver innovation directly to a fairway wood, the Callaway Epic Flash fairway wood features the same Flash Face technology as the driver. Using artificial intelligence, Callaway created the Flash Face for explosive distance and ultimate forgiveness. Face cup is paired with Jailbreak for industry-leading ball speeds and distance in the fairway wood category. Available in standard and Sub Zero models, the Epic Flash fairway wood is a must try for any golfer serious about their entire golf bag.
2. TaylorMade M6 Fairway Wood
The first TaylorMade fairway wood to feature Twist Face, the M6 fairway wood is more forgiving in the heel and toe for more accuracy and better dispersion. The M6 is a confidence inspiring profile that is easy to hit from the tee or the ground. An advanced speed pocket helps retain ball speeds when striking the golf ball lower in the club face. The largest headed fairway in TaylorMade’s lineup, M6 is designed for the amateur golfer.
3. Cobra F9 Speedback Fairway
Often overlooked in the fairway wood category, Cobra consistently makes clubs that are easy to hit and provide protection from some of the golfer’s worst swings. Players that hit their fairway woods heavy or strike the ground too frequently can benefit greatly from the Baffler rail system present on the F9 fairway wood from Cobra. Also included with the F9 is Cobra’s first ever CNC milled face. Machine milled for faster ball speeds across the face, the F9 fairway wood is one of the longest and most forgiving in this year’s lineup.
4. PING G410 Fairway Wood
Known for some of the most reliable fairway woods on the market, Ping has brought out the all-new G410 fairway metal. The G410 is designed using force line centers of gravity and a forged face. The results are higher ball speeds from an optimized alignment and lower spin for longer shots. Tungsten weight in the rear of the club’s sole gives it higher MOI for more forgiveness and higher launches. Now one of the only fairway woods with a flat hosel setting, the G410 is made to fit more golfers than ever.
5. TaylorMade M5 Fairway Wood
The most exciting thing about this year’s class of fairway woods, in our opinion, is the TaylorMade M5. The M5 features a 65-gram movable weight on the sole of the fairway wood. This 65-grams account for more than 30% of the total head mass of this club and allows for the ultimate configuration of draw and fade bias. Built with Twist Face, the M5 fairway can be the ultimate tool in finding more fairways or finally reaching those par-5’s in two shots. The most expensive fairway metal ever sold, the M5 fairway is a radial step in custom fitting and bringing tour-level experiences to the average golfer.
6. Tour Edge Exotics EXS Fairway Wood
A lesser known company famous for creating world-class fairway woods is Tour Edge. Their EXS fairway metal is designed to be easy to use and more forgiving from every lie. Loaded with technology like the flight tuning system, variable face thickness, and a slipstream sole, the EXS fairway wood produces distance for the average golfer. Tour Edge Exotics delivers premium clubs for less than the price of traditional brands that outperform and save golfers money. If you have never tested or demoed a Tour Edge fairway wood, you may be leaving performance on the table.
7. Callaway Epic Fairway Wood
A long-standing favorite of better players and handicap golfers, the original Epic fairway wood is still an outstanding performer. Fourth generation face cup technology gives the Epic fairway more ball speed and longer distances than competitors. The ultra-light crown and speed step help make the Epic fairway more forgiving and easier to launch. Available now for much less than standard MSRP, the Epic fairway is the perfect option for budget-conscious players looking to fill the gap in their golf bags.
8. TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood
Popularized by the RBZ fairway, the TaylorMade Speed Pocket revolutionizes fairway wood performance. Present in the M4 fairway wood, the Speed Pocket gives players more distance and more forgiveness in a variety of lies. The M4 also features split internal weighting and Geocoustic technology for longer distances and improved sound and feel. The largest sweet spot produced by TaylorMade during its launch, the M4 fairway is an excellent budget option for players that want to take a simple approaching to building their fairway wood fit.
9. Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood
The TaylorMade M3 fairway wood brings golfers a more personalized fit for more performance. The sliding weight on the sole of the M3 fairway helps players align the center of gravity with their strike location and get more distance. A 5-layer carbon crown and a sole crafted with Speed Pocket technology help players get more club head speed and more distance from a properly positioned center of gravity. Golfers looking to dial in their new club to their swing but who want to save money can do both thanks to the rapid adjustment system and newly reduced price of the TaylorMade M3 fairway wood.
10. Titleist 917 F2 Fairway Wood
The 917 F2 fairway wood from Titleist was designed to give players more confidence and more forgiveness. Although an older model fairway wood, the 917 F2 persists in some of the golf bags of amateur golfers and touring professionals. The larger footprint and rearward center of gravity help to make the F2 higher launching and more forgiving than smaller headed models. The 917 F2 fairway wood can be an ideal choice for players that use their fairway woods more from the fairways and rough than from the teeing area. Active recoil channel and variable face thickness help to make the 917 F2 fast and forgiving. Players looking for ultimate control can look to Titleist to fill the gap in their fairway wood arsenal.
What Fairway Wood Should You Buy?
Choosing from all the different fairway woods can be a difficult task. The most effective way to decide which fairway wood to buy is based on what you value most and your unique skills and areas you can improve your game. Fairway woods can fit several different roles between golfers. Players may use them primarily from the tee or only from the ground. Some players will use their fairway woods from both lies. The nature of how you plan to use your fairway wood(s) can influence what setup you ultimately decide to go with.
If budget is your primary factor in choosing a fairway wood that is okay. Fairway wood technology progresses less rapidly than drivers and great products can be found in prior generation or used models. Getting the best fitting club for you does not have to cost you a fortune and the fairway wood is most frequently the longest standing golf club in players bags.
With any club buying, it is best that you try different models before deciding which one to purchase. Getting a professional fitting is the best way to better golf and lower scores. Understanding what you need from a fairway woods and building something for your swing can help you play better golf instantly. Thanks so much for reading and be sure to check out our other guides for filling out the rest of your golf bag this season. Happy testing!