Fairway woods can be difficult to hit. Upgrading your current equipment can make this part of your bag better and make playing golf easier. Understanding what makes a fairway wood unique can help you build a club for your swing. Getting a fairway wood that is built for you can give you more options off the tee, more options approaching par-4s and par-5s and more options around the greens.
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 Most Forgiving Fairway Woods
In this guide, we take you through the different parts of fairway woods. We will help explain what to look for depending on how you intend to use your new club and we help you make a list of clubs to test once you are ready to begin your fit. Hundreds of options are available and we make starting easy.
When Do You Use A Fairway Wood?
Fairway woods are versatile clubs that can be used from a variety of spots around the golf course. Many players use their fairway woods from the tee box. Almost all players use their fairway woods from the fairways and rough. Some golfers elect to use their fairway woods to chip around the greens when striking a wedge is difficult. No matter what kind of golfer you are, isolating where a new fairway wood or woods could improve your game is the best starting place.
Finding the Best Fairway Wood for Your Golf Game
Fairway woods come in different makes and models that help tailor them to different swing and playing styles. Smaller headed fairway woods are often much stronger off the tee but can be difficult to get airborne when launching out of the rough. Larger fairway woods or higher lofted models are easier to get airborne but may fly shorter when coming from a tee. Your swing dynamics and skill level will also help determine which clubs are best for you. More on all of that below.
The fairway category often gives players an opportunity to save some money while still upgrading equipment. Because fairway woods are designed to fly a specific distance, many players can find older models or used clubs that fulfill the role they desire. With all clubs, paying more does not always mean receiving more, and this is especially the case with fairway woods.
Top Fairway Wood Features
No matter what brand or fairway wood style you choose, similarities exist to help you narrow your list of potential options. All fairway woods will be made with the launch and spin characterizations that tailor them towards certain golfers. Each club must be complemented with a club shaft and grip to deliver them to the golf ball. All of these components must be balanced to get the ideal fit.
The shaft of many golfer’s fairway woods become an afterthought and performance is leaked due to the lack of knowledge and information available on the subject. The best club fitting practice is always to test a matrix of club heads and shaft to see what combination is best in your hands. However, some guidelines exist that helps players and club builders know where to start.
Most often the shaft in your fairway wood will be 10 or 20-grams heavier than your driver shaft. They will typically be the same flex as your driver shaft and one and one-half or two inches shorter in length. The bend profile of most fairway woods shafts tends to be slightly more active in the tip section to promote higher launch and more spin when coming from the ground and rough. Be sure to check our other buying guides and shaft reviews to learn more about golf club shafts.
The head size and shape of fairway woods dictate the center of gravity distribution and the subsequent launch and spin ratios. Larger-headed fairway woods offer golfers more forgiveness, higher launch, and higher spin. These clubs are recommended to players that want to use their fairway woods from both the tee and ground or only the ground. For golfers looking to pick up a fairway wood to use as a driver substitute or rarely from the fairways and rough, a smaller-headed model may be best. These clubs are lower launching, lower spinning fairway woods that can fly further and produce a more driver-like ball flight.
The loft of your fairway wood will determine how high your golf ball launches and how far it goes in the air and on the ground. Getting the correct amount of loft for your new club or clubs is critical in improving your performance. Many golfers make the mistake of thinking that less loft will equal more distance. Depending on your swing style and swing speed, adding loft may mean adding distance and stability to your ball flight.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have questions about your club buying experience, you are not alone. We have provided some of the most common for your convenience.
Q: Driver vs Fairway Woods: What is the Difference?
A: Generally speaking, drivers and fairway woods differ in key areas such as club head size, shaft length, and intended use. Drivers are crafted to be used primarily when striking a golf ball from a tee. Fairway woods can be used equally from a short tee or the ground. The curved sole of a fairway wood is what provides the club with versatility and easier launch characteristics even at the same loft.
Q: What is the Difference Between a 3 Wood and a 5 Wood (3 Wood vs 5 Wood)?
Q: What is the Difference Between a Fairway Wood and a Hybrid? (Fairway Wood vs Hybrid)?
A: Hybrids are created to replace long irons. Hybrids and fairway woods can have the same loft and shaft length but hybrids often produce lower spinning, flatter ball flights than fairway woods when hit with the same swing.
Q: How Do I Hit a Fairway Wood?
A: Golf coaches often recommend players to approach hitting a fairway wood by moving the golf ball forward of center and attempting to sweep the golf ball off of the turf. Envision brushing the bottom of your fairway wood along the top of the ground and compressing the back of the golf ball.
Top 10 Best Fairway Woods
PING G410 Fairway Wood
Not always considered the longest fairway woods, Ping fairway metals have a reputation for being easy to hit and extremely forgiving. This season, the G410 looks to build on that reputation but add distance to players bags. More custom options, a force line center of gravity and faster forged face combine with a dense tungsten weight port to build a fairway wood that is high launching, low spinning, and easy to hit from any lie. Previously going with a Ping fairway meant sometimes weighing your prioritizes of distance and accuracy but G410 gives golfers everything they need this year.
Callaway Epic Flash Fairway Wood
The Epic Flash is making waves both literally and figuratively. Flash Face is built by compiling thousands of simulated golf impact using artificial intelligence t create a golf club face that is thicker where it needs to be and thinner in spots of maximum ball speed. This intrinsic wave pattern creates more ball speed as strikes move around the golf club face and Jailbreak is there to help you prevent power leaks in any direction. The Perfect combination of power and precision, the Epic Flash fairway looks to be one of the top performs in this year’s class for golfers of all abilities and handicap levels.
TaylorMade M6 Fairway Wood
TaylorMade gave M6 all the ingredients to be one of the most forgiving fairway woods they have ever built. M6 uses a multi-material construction and a Speed Pocket to help players retain ball speed as strikes vary high and low and left to right. Twist Face comes to fairway woods for the first time to help players dial in left and right misses with more relief in the heel and toe sections of the golf club. A simple package mixed with top-of-the-line technology makes M6 an obvious choice for players looking for the most help possible.
Callaway Epic Fairway Wood
The only prior generation fairway wood model to make it inside our top 5 for the most forgiving fairway woods this season, the Callaway Epic fairway wood is an absolute steal for its current price. Epic was one of the most successful golf club lines in history, not only for Callaway but for every equipment manufacturer to date. The Epic fairway uses Face Cup technology, a speed step system, and a triaxial carbon crown to deliver players more distance and forgiveness than any fairway wood in its year. With performance that still rivals even the newest releases, the Epic fairway cannot be recommended enough.
Tour Edge Exotics EXS Fairway Wood
Tour Edge loaded the Exotics EXS fairway wood with traditional technology and new age innovation. The carbon fiber toe section helps move weight back and down for higher moments of inertia and more forgiveness. The variable face thickness gives players the most ball speed they can legally generate from their club head speeds and the slipstream sole tries to give players even more club head speed from improved aerodynamics. Tour Edge may be less advertised or less known but their performance takes a backseat to no one and their products are priced so that players can get the most from their hard earned money.
Cobra F9 Speedback Fairway
Cobra F9 fairway wood is built for speed but carried signature technology to help golfers during their worst swings. Cobra revolutionized fairway wood forgiveness by applying the Baffler Rail system to larger headed fairway metals. The result is higher ball speeds and a club that survives impacts with the ground more easily than other models. The result of this diminished impact is more speed into your golf ball and better results from your worse swings. If you are a player who frequently hits the ground before your golf ball with your fairway woods, the F9 can be the perfect option for squeezing out more distance and better results from your swing.
TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood
The TaylorMade M4 fairway wood is simple distance and extreme forgiveness in a confidence inspiring package. Split internal weights and the Speed Pocket work in tandem to give players higher ball speeds from misstrikes and better results when their swing lets them down. Made better by the improved sounds and feel thanks to the Geocoustic insert technology, the M4 fairway is an excellent choice for players looking to pick up a new club without spending too much money.
TaylorMade M5 Fairway Wood
One of the longest fairway woods in our test, the TaylorMade M5 is built for customized distance. The largest movable weight ever put into a fairway metal, the 65-gram sole plate of the M5 gives players more options to build their new club for their unique swing patterns. Twist Face is present to help players dial in their left and right misses and the compact shape helps players get more versatility in a variety of lies. Not the most forgiving fairway wood this year but definitely worth a try if you are looking to pick up yards this season.
Titleist 917 F2 Fairway Wood
One of the easiest to hit fairway models to date, the 917 F2 is still an outstanding option for many player’s bags. Titleist hit a home run with their design of the 917 F2 fairway wood. The Active Recoil Channel and Variable Thickness Face insert help make the 917 F2 both long and forgiving. One of the largest club head profiles as well make the F2 more inspiring off thee and easier to launch from the turf. Traditional looks, sounds, and feel help make the 917 F2 one of the most well-produced fairway metals in recent history and a must-try for players that can still get their hands on one.
Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood
TaylorMade makes outstanding golf clubs, especially in the metal wood categories. The M3 fairway is made for customized distance but can also offer outstanding forgiveness characteristics depending on the way it is set up. The ability to dial in hosel settings and shot shape preferences to your swing patterns can help you eliminate your big miss and tighten up dispersion. Not often praised for their forgiveness profiles, the odd-numbered TaylorMade golf clubs can still provide plenty of performance to golfers of all ability and handicap levels.
What Fairway Wood Should You Buy?
The best fairway wood or woods for your bag will depend mostly on what the other golf clubs in your bag are. How you plan to use your new wood(s) will also dictate what models and lofts are best for you. Slower swinging players may need more loft to get more height and more distance, especially when hitting shots from the ground.
No matter what kind of fairway wood you are looking for, it is important to test different sizes, lofts, and centers of gravity to see what is best for your swing. Match your club head of choice to a shaft that you feel comfortable with and that helps you make your best swings more often. Round that out with your grip of choice and you will be on your way to lower scores.
Remember that fairway woods should be built to fit a specific role and you should know how these clubs may help your game before you head to the point of sale. As always, testing them in your hands is the best way of knowing what you enjoy the most. Do not be afraid to ask questions and use this process as an opportunity to learn about your game and improve. Happy testing and thank so much for reading!