Improving your game means working on your technique and your golf equipment. Getting a new set of fairway woods can be a great way to help bridge the gap between your irons or hybrids and your driver. Modern fairway woods have become much easy to hit and can help players stay in play off the tee or reach long golf holes in two. Amateur golfers can often hit their fairway woods longer and straighter than their drivers if they struggle fro the tee.
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 10 Best Game Improvement Fairway Woods
Getting the correct fairway wood for your golf bag is a puzzle of building each club to accomplish a task. We have created this guide to help you figure out where new equipment can help your game and where your current fairway woods are letting you down. If you are a player looking for a driver substitute we outline the configuration that can help you most. If you love your driver and need help getting to par-4 and par-5 golf holes in two shots we provide insight into some of the most forgiving and highest launching fairway woods on the market.
Before we get into the lists, however, let’s take a closer look at fairway woods’ characteristics and how they apply to your game.
When Do You Use A Fairway Wood?
Fairway woods are versatile clubs that can be used to keep the ball in play off the tee, or short of trouble when a driver is too much club. Fairway woods can also be used from the fairway and the rough. You can even use them as short game clubs from the fringe or valleys around the greens when chipping with a wedge is difficult.
Finding the Best Fairway Wood for Your Golf Game
The intended use of your fairway wood will largely determine which model and what lofts you need. If you are gapping your golf bag then each club will need to fly a specific distance. If you are looking to use your fairway wood mostly off the tee then you may sacrifice some higher launch characteristics to gain distance. No matter your skill level or how long you’ve been playing the game, having the best equipment for you makes playing golf easier and less stressful.
Fairway woods can be a great place to save money when upgrading equipment in your golf bag. Because each club is built for a specific yardage, older model clubs or used fairway woods can be great options for budget-conscious golfers. Fairway wood technology does not progress as rapidly as driver tech so paying more does not always mean getting more.
Top Fairway Wood Features
Although differences exist between fairway woods, similarities make it easier for players to narrow their choice based on their playing style and desires. Each fairway wood should be built with a club head that matches your intended performance characteristics. Matching that head to a shaft and grip that help you deliver the golf club time-after-time back to the golf ball is essential for your confidence and consistency.
Golf shaft fitting is completely specific to the individual golfer and can be one of the hardest aspects to get right for many players. Oftentimes, your fairway wood shafts will be the same flex as your driver shaft and 10 to 20-grams heavier in weight. Each shaft can be custom built to a length that suits your balance of distance and control.
When choosing your fairway shaft, keep in mind that a softer tip section may provide you will more elevation and forgiveness when striking the golf ball from the ground. Checking different shaft model bend profiles will give you a great starting point but testing them in-hand is the only way to be sure what is best for you. If you are confused about shaft weights, flexes, or bend profiles, be sure to check out our shaft reviews and buying guides for more details.
Fairway woods come in a variety of different head shapes and sizes. These many shapes fall primarily under two categories, lower launch, lower spin and higher launch, higher spin. The lower spinning options are typically played by better players who use their fairway woods only from the tee or who need less spin during their golf shots. The higher spinning fairway woods tend to be easier to launch and offer players more forgiveness from the tee box and the ground. Most players will find that the larger headed fairway woods are easier to use and better suited for their game.
The loft of your fairway wood(s) will dictate how far the ball goes and how high it rises into the sky. Getting the right loft is essential for creating proper distance gaps and ball flight characteristics. A common mistake is amateur golfers going with too little loft in their fairway wood. More loft can mean a higher launch angle and more carry and total distance.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have provided some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to fairway wood buying.
Q: Driver vs Fairway Woods: What is the Difference?
A: The most apparent difference between a driver and a fairway wood are its head size, loft, and purpose. Drivers are almost exclusively used when the golf ball is resting on a tee. The larger head sizes make them more forgiving in this position. Fairway woods, on the other hand, are smaller and more versatile. These clubs can be used from a short tee or from the ground on many different lies.
Q: What is the Difference Between a 3 Wood and a 5 Wood (3 Wood vs 5 Wood)?
A: Most commonly, 3-woods will have slightly less loft and longer shaft lengths. The skill level you possess and your swing dynamics will determine which golf club you are better with. It is not uncommon for golfers to hit 5-woods further than 3-woods, especially at lower swing speeds.
Q: What is the Difference Between a Fairway Wood and a Hybrid? (Fairway Wood vs Hybrid)?
A: Hybrids are designed to mimic irons but give golfers more forgiveness and more versatility through various types of grasses. Hybrids and fairway woods can have the same loft but different ball flight characteristics. Often, hybrids are easier to hit when the golf ball is lying deep in the rough or in the bunker or hazard areas. Hybrids tend to launch lower and spin less when hit against fairway woods at the same loft.
Q: How Do I Hit a Fairway Wood?
A: Modern technology has made fairway woods easier to hit. However, since your woods are often the longest clubs you will attempt to hit from the ground, they can still provide a challenge. Many golfers find success by playing the golf ball off of their front foot heel and trying to sweep the golf ball from the turf. The sole of your club should gently brush the ground as it impacts the golf ball.
Top 10 Best Fairway Woods
PING G410 Fairway Wood
The Ping G410 fairway wood is an excellent choice for players looking to stabilize their game and give themselves more options from the tee box and the ground. The G410 has a rear center of gravity that makes it easier to launch and more forgiving than lower spinning models. Handicap golfers and players looking to improve their game the fastest can often benefit from making their equipment as user-friendly as possible. Ping gave G410 a forged face, more weight placed in the Tungsten plug in the back, and a precisely aligned CG to give players higher launch and more spin when they need it and the capacity to hit high launch low spin shots when it is called upon as well. The Ping G410 fairway is a perfectly balanced golf club that can make a significant impact in the golf bags of golfers at any skill level.
Callaway Epic Flash Fairway Wood
Coming off one of the most successful product lines in their history, Callaway has invested more money and development in the Epic Flash than ever before. The Epic Flash fairway wood uses Flash Face to give players more speed from any strike point. Flash Face was designed using artificial intelligence to create a wave pattern that puts weight were golfers need it most. Jailbreak becomes a staple in the Epic Flash line and gives players more forgiveness on strikes high and low in the club face. A traditional shape with modern technology, the Epic Flash appeals to golfs of all ages and abilities.
TaylorMade M6 Fairway Wood
The TaylorMade M5 and M6 are the first fairway woods to feature Twist Face. Twist Face helps players to dial in their misses by giving them more relief in the high toe and low heel sections M6 comes standard with a Speed Pocket for more distance and a blend of multiple construction materials for more ball speed across the face. The larger profile club head in the TaylorMade lineup, the M6 fairway is perfect for players looking to make the game easier this season.
Tour Edge Exotics EXS Fairway Wood
Tour Edge helps players improve their games this year by giving them a lower cost fairway wood option with maximum performance. The Exotics EXS fairway wood uses a slipstream sole to give players more club head speed. A variable face and carbon fiber toe help make your best swing better and your worse swing not as punishing. The Flight Tuning System of the EXS makes custom fitting easy and the hyper-strength steel cup face is made more durable from a specialized heating process. Although less popular in the North American market, Tour Edge is not to be overlooked this season.
TaylorMade M5 Fairway Wood
The TaylorMade M5 introduces golfers to Twist Face. Twist Face helps players find more fairways and greens from a wider design of the club face. The larger story with the M5 fairway is how much weight is positioned in the movable plate on the club’s sole. 65-grams of changeable weight is used to give players more customization than ever before. More than 30% of the M5 fairway is fully-customizable to your swing and that is the most of any golf club ever. A true engineering marvel, the combination of titanium and adjustable weight technology make the M5 fairway a one-of-a-kind golf club.
Cobra F9 Speedback Fairway
Cobra gives players a great new fairway option in the F9. The F9 brings back Cobra’s signature Baffler Rail technology and the first fully milled CNC club face. The Baffler Rails are fantastic at giving players relief from strikes from the ground when players hit the golf ball heavy or thin. Improved aerodynamics help players get more club head speed and optimized centers of gravity in each loft makes sure there are no power leaks in any of the F9 models. Loud in it colorway and performance, the Cobra F9 is a great choice for your golf bag this season.
Callaway Epic Fairway Wood
The fairway wood category in your golf bag can be a great place to gain performance without spending too much money. Oftentimes, golfers can find excellent golf club for cheap on the second-hand market. The Callaway Epic fairway wood is the best option when it comes to going with an older club that still performs at the highest level. Epic was more heavily decorated than any other fairway wood during its release and it still is second to none in looks, sound, and performance.
TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood
TaylorMade gives golfers simplified distance with the M4 fairway. M4 uses split internal weights, Geocoustic technology, and a Speed Pocket to help improve ball speeds and spin rates. Another confidence inspiring option for players looking to pick up a less expensive fairway wood option, the M4 is everything golfers need and nothing that they don’t.
Titleist 917 F2 Fairway Wood
Titleist produced one of their best performing clubs ever when they released the 917 F2 fairway wood. The 917 drivers underperformed at best but the F2 fairway was awarded top-of-its-class in several tests. The 917 F2 is one of the largest and most forgiving profiles in the fairway wood category and great for players that are struggling with this area of their bag. Not only forgiving, but the 917 F2 fairway also uses an Active Recoil Channel and a Variable Thickness Face insert to give players faster ball speeds and more distance. Leaving nothing behind, golfers can pick up the 917 F2 today for less than $200.
Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood
The TaylorMade M3 fairway wood surpasses other models in one key area when it comes to buying a golf club off-the-rack or on the second hand or online market. The M3 is readily customizable thanks in part to the adjustable hosel and sliding weight on the club’s sole. The addition of these two pieces makes the M3 an obvious choice for serious golfers that need to save money at the point of sale with their new fairway wood. Packed with premium distance and forgiveness characteristics, the M3 is great for golfers that want to dial in their golf shots or who think their golf swing will be changing soon.
What Fairway Wood Should You Buy?
As alluded to previously, what fairway wood or woods is best for your golf bag will be dependent on when you intend to use the golf club most often. Players that only want to hit fairway woods from the tee may need a drastically different setup than a player looking to reach par-4s and par-5s in two. Knowing this, and understanding how each fairway wood model will play in your hands is the best place to begin.
After settling on a club head, make sure to pair it with a shaft and grip that help you feel comfortable during the entire swing. Playing golf is challenging but having correctly built equipment can make it more simple and straightforward. Testing these clubs with real-time feedback is the only way to know what is best for you.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out our reviews and other buying guides to help you find equipment and accessories for your entire golf bag. See your local pro and do not be afraid to ask questions as they put different golf clubs into your hands. Use club buying as an experience to learn more about your game and improve. Have fun and happy testing!