Best Fairway Woods for Mid Handicappers

 
As a mid-handicap golfer, your swing is showing some glimpses of greatness sprinkled in with inconsistencies. Some golfers can lose strokes with their short games, some need help in their tee shots and longer approaches into challenging greens. Fairway woods occupy a unique place in a golfer’s bag due to their use from the tee box and the ground. It is because of this dual-purpose that finding the right fairway wood for your game is so important.

The following fairway woods have been selected based on their abilities to help golfers hit a variety of shots from the tee box and the turf. These woods have unique strengths and weaknesses depending on the golfer’s swing characteristics. Before diving into the details of each wood, let’s first review the most important aspects to consider when looking for you next fairway metal.

 

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TaylorMade Fairway-M1 2017-MRC #3 R Golf Fairway, Right Hand
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TaylorMade M4 Fairway (3 Wood, Stiff Flex, Right Hand)
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2018 Cobra King F8 Fairway Black 3w4w (Men's, Right Hand, Graphite, Stiff Flex)
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TaylorMade Fairway-M1 2017-MRC #3 R Golf Fairway, Right Hand
TaylorMade M4 Fairway (3 Wood, Stiff Flex, Right Hand)
2018 Cobra King F8 Fairway Black 3w4w (Men's, Right Hand, Graphite, Stiff Flex)
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TaylorMade Fairway-M1 2017-MRC #3 R Golf Fairway, Right Hand
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TaylorMade Fairway-M1 2017-MRC #3 R Golf Fairway, Right Hand
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TaylorMade M4 Fairway (3 Wood, Stiff Flex, Right Hand)
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TaylorMade M4 Fairway (3 Wood, Stiff Flex, Right Hand)
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2018 Cobra King F8 Fairway Black 3w4w (Men's, Right Hand, Graphite, Stiff Flex)
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2018 Cobra King F8 Fairway Black 3w4w (Men's, Right Hand, Graphite, Stiff Flex)
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Best Fairway Woods for Mid Handicappers

 

Best Overall
TaylorMade M4 Fairway
  • Speed pocket creates more ball speed across the clubface for more distance & forgiveness
  • 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
Most Accurate
TaylorMade M3 Fairway
  • Speed pocket creates more ball speed across the clubface for more distance & forgiveness
  • 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
Best Feel
Ping G30 Fairway Wood
  • Turbulators crafted onto the crown create a captured appearance that assists with aim
  • Redesigned face including height for additional face bending and forgiveness
  • Offers up to two full degrees of loft adjustment to further optimize launch angle and spin rate
Most Distance
Callaway Golf Men's Rogue Fairway Wood
  • Jailbreak Technology
  • Easy to Launch on a Strong, Straight Flight
  • Triaxial Carbon Crown for Distance and Forgiveness
Great Value
Callaway Golf Great Big Bertha Men's Epic Fairway
  • 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

 

When Do You Use A Fairway Wood?

When To Use Fairway Wood
 
Player preferences have a large impact on when they decide to use their fairway woods. Many players opt to use their metals in place of their drivers on holes that put a premium on accuracy rather than distance. Other golfers use their fairway metals only on long par-4s or par-5s when their second shots demand distance. While neither is right or wrong, it is important to understand when you will be using your metal wood to most effectively chose which options are best for you.

 

Finding the Best Fairway Wood for Your Golf Game

If you are a player who tends to use their fairway only from the tee box, a stronger lofted, lower spinning option may be best for you. If you plan to only use your fairway from the fairways and rough, a higher lofted option with more forgiveness may be your ticket to lower scores. If you plan to use your fairway wood from both the tee and various ground lies, a combination of the two could be most useful.
 

Budget

Unlike drivers, fairway woods are fit to fly a specific distance. Unless you are planning on using a fairway wood in place of your driver every shot, maximizing distance should not be your only concern. Prior generation model woods are great for golfers looking for a club to fill a niche but not cost them a fortune. Wood models even two or three years old can provide golfers with a club that fills their needs and inspires confidence.

 

Top Fairway Wood Features

Your next fairway should have features built to your game. Confidence inspiring head shapes, lofts that help you achieve your ideal flights and a shaft that help you strike the ball consistently. Next, we examine these factors and give a guide to what you should look for.

Loft

Loft is the first thing to consider when selecting a new wood. Each manufacturer will offer their models in a variety of lofts that allow golfers to optimize their launch and spin conditions. It is most common for golfers to choose 3-woods with 15 degrees of loft or 5-woods with 18 degrees of loft. However, do not be afraid to adjust this loft to find your ideal ball flights and desired distances. Many clubs come with adjustable hosels giving golfers and club fitters the freedom to fit each golfer into their perfect loft.

Head Shape

Fairway Wood Head Shape
There many head sizes. Source 2ndswing.com

Paired with your loft of choice, head shapes can be just as important. Choosing the right clubhead for you swing goes beyond just what the club looks like. Ultimately, you want a club that looks great and offers launch, spin, and forgiveness characteristics that makes golf easier, not harder. Larger headed woods tend to promote higher launch shots that have more stable ball flights due to an increase in spin. Smaller, more squat head shapes promote a versatile sole and a more penetrating ball flight. While it may be seductive to simply choose the fairway that goes the furthest, remember these clubs are dual purpose and landing angles into greens can matter much more depending on your desired use.

Shaft

Fairway Wood Shaft
Types of Golf Shafts. Source callawaygolf

Creating a golf club combines a clubhead married to a shaft and a grip of the golfer and club fitters’ choosing. Once you have decided on which head you like the look of and what settings provide you with your optimal ball flight, it is time to find a shaft that works with your swing. Shafts vary greatly in their weights, lengths, and flexes. Selecting the right shaft is dissimilar among golfers and trying different option is the best way to find what is best for you.

The feel of a golf club can be largely influenced by which shaft is installed within the hosel. The weight of the shaft can range between 50 and 90 grams depending on golfer’s preference and ball flight numbers. Fairway club lengths range between 40 and 45 inches depending on the length of shaft installed in your club head. Length should be adjusted to better help golfers find a reproducible strike pattern most near the center of the clubface. Shaft flex is rated as a response to stress between shafts. Denoted, (L) for Ladies, (A) for Senior, (R) for Regular, (S) for Stiff, and (X) for Extra-Stiff golfers may feel comfortable with different shafts dependent on their swing speeds and transition tendencies.

Fairway wood shafts can vary between manufacturers and within price brackets. While a large numbers shafts come with no additional fee, some shafts can be custom ordered for upwards of $300 dollars. A shafts price is largely dependent on the materials used to make that shaft and how difficult that particular design is to produce. While there is no significant data that says these more expensive shafts are better for every golfer, every golfer has an ideal shaft for each club, and this should not be overlooked when making a purchase. Testing a spectrum of clubhead and shaft combinations is the best way for golfers to get what is best for them.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The topics of club buying and club fitting are hotly debated across the internet and golf shops alike. Below we outline a few of the most common questions associated with buying fairway woods.

 

Q: Driver vs Woods: What is the Difference?

A: While drivers and fairway metals can share similar names and lofts, they differ quite a lot. Head size, shapes, lengths, and sole construction are ways in which these clubs can drastically diverge. The larger and deeper faces of drivers are designed to strike the golf ball from a tee. The shallower, more versatile heads of fairway woods help golfers to hit the ball from either a tee or lies from the ground. Driver shafts are made to lengths that promote maximum clubhead speeds and sacrifice forgiveness in their fairway wood counterparts. The soles of these two clubs are made in way that promote the desired shot type of each. Driver soles are made for minimal ground interaction where fairway woods soles are designed to glide into and out of a variety of terrains to help golfers strike the ball from a multitude of lies.
 

Q: What is the Difference Between a 3 Wood and a 5 Wood (3 Wood vs 5 Wood)?

A: The distinction between 3-woods and 5-woods can be subtle. 3-woods tend to have longer shafts and lower lofts, typically around 15 degrees. 5-woods have lofts around 18 degrees. These differences in length and lofts help golfers to use these clubs in combination or in place of one another.
 

Q: What is the Difference Between a Fairway Wood and a Hybrid? (Fairway Wood vs Hybrid)?

A: Hybrids are for ultimate forgiveness irons. They are designed to replace lower lofted irons that golfers struggle to strike well. Hybrids can have similar lofts to fairway metals but have smaller clubhead to promote a more iron-like ball flight. Hybrids are have specialized soles to improve shots out of lies in the rough and out of bunkers. By reducing ground interaction, hybrids are more forgiving when sweeping through the long grass and weeds compared to fairway woods.
 

Q: How Do I Hit a Fairway Wood?

A: Because fairway woods tend to be the longest and lowest lofted club golfers attempt to hit without tees, they can be some of the most difficult to hit. When approaching your next fairway wood shot, try moving your ball position just slightly forward of the center of your feet and visualize brushing the sole of the club against the turf and striking the golf ball in the center of the clubface. This more neutral angle of attack will help your woods launch the ball high and create distance with stopping power.

 

Our Favorites

Preview
Best Value
TaylorMade Fairway-M1 2017-MRC #3 R Golf Fairway, Right Hand
EDITOR'S CHOICE
TaylorMade M4 Fairway (3 Wood, Stiff Flex, Right Hand)
Most Popular
2018 Cobra King F8 Fairway Black 3w4w (Men's, Right Hand, Graphite, Stiff Flex)
Title
TaylorMade Fairway-M1 2017-MRC #3 R Golf Fairway, Right Hand
TaylorMade M4 Fairway (3 Wood, Stiff Flex, Right Hand)
2018 Cobra King F8 Fairway Black 3w4w (Men's, Right Hand, Graphite, Stiff Flex)
Rating
Best Value
Preview
TaylorMade Fairway-M1 2017-MRC #3 R Golf Fairway, Right Hand
Title
TaylorMade Fairway-M1 2017-MRC #3 R Golf Fairway, Right Hand
Rating
EDITOR'S CHOICE
Preview
TaylorMade M4 Fairway (3 Wood, Stiff Flex, Right Hand)
Title
TaylorMade M4 Fairway (3 Wood, Stiff Flex, Right Hand)
Rating
Most Popular
Preview
2018 Cobra King F8 Fairway Black 3w4w (Men's, Right Hand, Graphite, Stiff Flex)
Title
2018 Cobra King F8 Fairway Black 3w4w (Men's, Right Hand, Graphite, Stiff Flex)
Rating

 

Top 10 Best Fairway Woods for Mid Handicappers

 

1. TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood

 


The TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood is great option for mid-handicap golfers. The M4 is the next iteration in TaylorMade’s storied history as one of the best metal wood makers in golf. TaylorMade’s M4 fairway has been declared the best sounding fairway metal ever produced thanks to TaylorMade’s Geocoustic technology. TaylorMade’s SpeedPocket and Geocoustic technology were enough to earn a Gold medal from Golf Digest and we agree that it tops the list for mid-handicap players.
 

TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood

9.3 Ga_logo_white_artboard-2

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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
Build Quality
Control and Performance
Design and Appearance

 
 

2. Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood

 


The Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood may be perceived as TayorMade’s offering for the better player. However, this club is not to be overlooked by golfers trying to improve their games. The option to use the sliding weight to truly customize the club to your swing makes it a top contender for any handicap player. Golf Digest gave it a Gold medal and PGA Tour professionals such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Dustin Johnson make M3 a household name. Don’t leave M3 off your list because you think you may not be good enough to play a club the tour pros use. Built for you, the M3 fairway is a great addition to any golfers bag.
 

Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood

9.2 Ga_logo_white_artboard-2-1

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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
Build Quality
Control and Performance
Design and Appearance

 
 

3. Cobra KING F8 Fairway Wood

 


The Cobra KING F8 Fairway Wood really shines when it comes to improving the games of amateur golfers. Baffler rail technology on the sole of Cobra’s KING F8, make it one of the easiest to hit woods on the market. For mid-handicap players who are struggling with fat or topped fairway wood shots, F8 can help improve your strike. Baffler rails add extra forgiveness through the turf and can make any golfers mishits friendlier. Golf Digest gave F8 a Gold medal for its outstanding performance and forgiveness.
 

Cobra King F8 Fairway Wood

9.2 Ga_logo_white_artboard-2-1

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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
Build Quality
Control and Performance
Design and Appearance

 
 

4. Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood

 


The Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood builds on the tremendous success of Callaway’s Epic line of metal woods. By bringing Jailbreak technology to a fairway wood, Callaway has managed to give golfers increased ball speeds from strikes low in the clubhead. An obvious choice for a Gold medal, Golf Digest added Rogue to their honor’s list. When searching for your next fairway wood, Rogue has to be on your list as well.

 

Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood

9.5 Ga_logo_white_artboard-2-1

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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
Build Quality
Control and Performance
Design and Appearance

 
 

5. Callaway Epic Fairway Wood

 


The Callaway Epic Fairway Wood > is a great fairway option for golfers looking to get all the performance benefits of a Callaway fairway wood and a lower cost. Alongside Rogue, Epic has weight pushed further back and can help golfers hit high launching, forgiving fairway wood shots that will help bring their handicaps down. If you are in the market for a new fairway but have price in mind, Epic is well worth a test.
 

Callaway Epic Fairway Wood

8.8 Ga_logo_white_artboard-2

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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
Build Quality
Control and Performance
Design and Appearance

 
 

6. Ping G400 Fairway Wood

 


The Ping G400 Fairway Wood helps golfers increase swing speed and sure-up alignment with the use of Turbulator technology. Ensuring the club is aligned properly at address gives golfers a better chance of delivering consistent, well-struck golf shots. Golf Digest gave the G400 a Gold Medal for its ability improve club speed through advanced aerodynamics and forgiveness.
 

Ping G400 Fairway Wood

9.2 Ga_logo_white_artboard-2-1

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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
Build Quality
Control and Performance
Design and Appearance

 
 

7. TaylorMade M1 3 Wood

 


The TaylorMade M1 3 Wood who know exactly what they want in their game. The M1 fairway is a budget option for players fond of the M3 but don’t want to pay premium prices. Like the newer model M3, M1 uses sliding weights to help golfers fit their club for their swing. As a recent member of Golf Digest’s Gold medal award list, M1 is a great option for mid-handicap golfers looking to save money and get a club with maximum customization and performance.
 

TaylorMade M1 3 Wood

9.2 Ga_logo_white_artboard-2-1

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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
Build Quality
Control and Performance
Design and Appearance

 
 

8. TaylorMade M2 Golf Fairway Wood

 


The TaylorMade M2 Golf Fairway Wood is more price friendly M4. If M3 and M1 are for the gearheads, M4/M2 is for golfers looking for sleekness and simplicity. Awarded the longest fairway of its class, M2 is also a recipient of Gold Digest’s Gold medal. Its sound, feel, and ease of use make it perfect for the player looking for a point-and-shoot fairway.
 

TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood

9.2 Ga_logo_white_artboard-2-1

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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
Build Quality
Control and Performance
Design and Appearance

 
 

9. Ping G Fairway Wood

 


The Ping G Fairway Wood gives golfers everything Ping has to offer in a smaller price. The G fairway is great to look at and forgiving to use. Some golfers have to go down in loft with this club to see their greatest performance but, when fit correctly, the G fairway is simply outstanding. With classic sounds and feel, golfers who have been playing their whole live opt for Ping fairways because they know they are getting the most premium in club building and design at budget prices.
 

Ping G Fairway Wood

8.8 Ga_logo_white_artboard-2-1

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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
Build Quality
Control and Performance
Design and Appearance

 
 

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 G400 and G fairways in its presentation and performance. While the G30 is more than one year old, its price makes it hard to overlook. Golfers who enjoy the performance of G400 but want to cut costs, the G30 can be a great option. A Gold medal winner in 2015, G30 provides a great replacement club for mid-handicap golfers looking to upgrade the top end of their bags.
 

Ping G30 Fairway Wood

8.8 Ga_logo_white_artboard-2-1

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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
Build Quality
Control and Performance
Design and Appearance

 
 

What Fairway Wood Should You Buy?

As mid-handicap golfers are unique, so are their club needs. All golfers should look for clubs that pair their swing characteristics with optimal ball speeds, launch angles, and spin rates. Pairing a loft and clubhead design to your swing give golfers confidence to fill the gaps in their game.

Manufacturers provide a wide selection of models, shafts, and configurations for golfers in today’s market. For mid-handicap players, finding the right fairway wood means finding the wood that best fills the needs of each player. While some fairway woods are strong when used from a tee, others provide soles that help golfers form tricky lies. The perfect fairway wood is a club that a golfer feels comfortable with from the tee and from the ground as they approach their favorite holes.

When testing fairway woods, keep in mind that standard lofts are not the best lofts for all players and that lower lofts do not always mean further distances. By getting a loft and a clubhead that best fits your swing, golfers can gain distance and accuracy with their fairway woods. After selecting your clubhead and loft, make sure to pair it with a shaft that is comfortable and provides you with the ability to play and practice golf. Don’t burden yourself with a shaft weight that is uncomfortable and has you swinging off balance to use. When getting outside is unavailable, launch monitors and indoor simulators make great alternatives. As always, thanks for sharing in this game we all love and happy testing!

 

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