Fairway woods, or metal are often difficult to hit for many golfers. Finding a forgiving wood that helps players get the best from their swings when their quality of strike is not perfect is even more important in these clubs. Finding the best fairway for your game should reflect your decisions on when to use your fairway woods and what you want from each club in your bag.
A proper discussion as to what makes fairway woods unique can help golfers to choose the best weapon for their bags. Different combinations of clubhead and shafts, loft, and center of gravities play pivotal roles in how clubs perform when compared to one another. Here, we take a look at these important characteristics of the woods in general before taking you step-by-step through this year’s top performing models.
Most Forgiving Fairway Woods
- 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 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
- 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
- Baffler rail System utilizes Shallower or steeper rails for improved versaltility
- 5-ply carbon fiber crown saves discretionary weight
- Aero trips positioned around the perimeter of the clubhead improve drag reduction
- 6-layer carbon crown, 450 stainless steel body, and 455 stainless face
- Cone Technology increases speed across the entire clubface to produce a bigger sweet spot for more forgiveness
- Two-tiered sole design provides added playability from all lies
When Do You Use A Fairway Wood?
Player preference and golf course layouts can have a dramatic effect on when players should use their fairway woods. In place of drivers from the tee box or approaching long par-4s and par-5s are the most common uses for these clubs. However, many golfers can benefit from using these clubs around the greens or to escape from trouble in place of their wedges and irons.
Finding the Best Fairway Wood for Your Golf Game
Knowing which wood is best for each golfer is best left to each individual separately. However, if you tend to use your fairways only from the tee box, lower lofted woods may be best for you. If you plan to use these woods for shots from the ground and various lies, a higher lofted more forgiving option, like the ones below can be best for you. Ideally, your fairway wood will be well suited for both the tee and the ground.
Setting aside money for new clubs can be expensive. Luckily for golfers, the technology in fairway woods even up to three years old can provide enough help to get their games heading in the right direction. If you are looking for options that provide the right distances for you, at prices below MSRP, we have included some great choices below.
Top Fairway Wood Features
When selecting a fairway metal, it is best to understand how its’ intrinsic characteristics may influence its’ performance. Club models come in several different lofts, head designs, and shaft combinations to help golfers find what is ideal for their swing’s characteristics. Getting a new club built for you can have lasting impacts on your game even if your swing is not textbook.
Choosing the correct loft for your fairway can make a difference in more than just distance. When outfitted with lofts that match their swing speed and delivery techniques, golfers can find shots that are more consistent, forgiving, and easier to hit. When considering forgiveness, an increase in loft may yield higher, more stable ball flights that leave you in play off the tee and on the greens in two.
Head Shape and Center of Gravity
Beyond just the loft of each club, its head profile and center of gravity features can directly influence the ball flight produced by similar swings. More forgiving woods are engineered with larger club shapes and centers of gravity that are as far back and low as possible. These shapes and mass locations allow for golf shots to be higher and with more spin, helping golfers increase launch, distance, and ultimately, forgiveness.
Once you have found a golf club that produces your ideal ball flight, getting the proper shaft to help you deliver that clubhead is essential. By selecting the right shaft, a club with be swung consistently and create shots that are reproducible and predictable in each player’s hands.
When testing shafts, keep in mind that weight, length, and flex change between models. 3-woods typically have a playing length of 43 inches and 5-woods approach 40 inches in length. Fairway wood shafts weigh between 50 and 90 grams and range in flex from (L)-Ladies to (X)-Extra-Stiff with (A)-Senior, (R)-Regular, and (S)-Stiff in between. Knowing which shaft is best for you comes from trying different models once you have selected your club head.
Frequently Asked Questions
All golfers seek clubs that perform great when struck properly and offer relief when mishit. We have outlined some common questions that amateur golfers have when buying their fairway woods.
Q: Driver vs Woods: What is the Difference?
A: Drivers are largely designed to be used from the tee box and only rarely from the ground. Larger head sizes and lower lofts from drivers push the golf ball further but with less forgiveness than fairway woods. The soles of fairway woods are designed so golfers may attack balls resting from small tees or any lie from the ground. The lengths of these clubs can differ with drivers having longer shafts to maximize club head speeds and fairway wood shafts may be cut shorter to promote better struck golf shots. Although the lofts of these two club categories can overlap, the technology packed into the clubheads make the ball react very differently when struck by each club respectfully.
Q: What is the Difference Between a 3 Wood and a 5 Wood (3 Wood vs 5 Wood)?
A: 3-woods have lofts around 15 degrees while 5-woods usually rest at 18 degrees. 3-wood shafts are longer and may be harder to control than their 5-wood counterparts. Golfers may find that hitting the more forgiving 5-woods can produce shots that are consistently longer and straighter than 3-woods depending on their abilities. However, for the better golfer, a 3-wood usually results in shots that fly further in distance.
Q: What is the Difference Between a Fairway Wood and a Hybrid? (Fairway Wood vs Hybrid)?
A: Many golfers believe that hybrids are to be used instead of fairway woods. This is not the case and these two clubs can be used together or in place of one another depending on each golfer’s needs. Hybrid clubs are designed with smaller shapes to promote a more iron-like ball flights and can be less forgiving when compared to a similar lofted fairway wood. Hybrid soles are designed to help golfers from difficult lies in the deeper rough or from tree locked edges of fairways. Depending on your swing, your bag may utilize hybrids over fairways or fairways over hybrids. However, more often than not, a golfer can benefit from a combination of both club types in their golf bags.
Q: How Do I Hit a Fairway Wood?
A: Simply put, hitting a fairway wood can be difficult. Golfer who find success with these shots share an ability to sweep the sole of their clubheads along the ground as the golf ball is struck. Taking a small divot is not required nor is it discouraged and can fluctuate between golfers. Playing the golf ball slightly forward of center can help players to achieve these results. Additionally, in order to make your fairway as easy to hit as possible, make sure the loft is right for you, you are playing with a club that has a center of gravity that promotes higher launching shots and inspires you with confidence.
Top 10 Most Forgiving Fairway Woods
1. Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood
The Taylormade M3 Fairway Woodis designed with customization in mind. Being able to build a club to exact preferences of golfers give M3 an advantage to other woods. The use of a sliding weight track helps golfers reduce curvature and hit straighter golf shots. TaylorMade’s M3 earned a Gold medal from Golf Digests for providing golfers with maximum setting adjustments. M3 is unparalleled in its ability to alter loft, lie, and center of gravity for each golfer’s swing.
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
2. TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood
The TaylorMade M4 Fairway Woodis the perfect club for golfers looking for forgiveness in a fairway metal. M4 has a center of gravity that is pushed all the way back and low to give golfers maximum forgiveness. M4 was awarded a Gold medal by Golf Digest for its distance forgiveness. M4 has been called the best sounding fairway wood on the market. TaylorMade’s Geocoustic technology allows them the ability to combine traditional sounds and feel with advanced performance.
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. Cobra KING F8 Fairway Wood
The Cobra KING F8 Fairway Woodis designed with forgiveness its number one priority. Cobra’s Baffler Rail sole is beneficial to golfers who struggle with hitting fairway woods fat. Players struggling from inconsistent strikes with their fairway metals can find relief with F8. If you are a golfer worried about striking the golf ball heavily, F8 can be your best option. Celebrated by Golf Digest who gave F8 a Gold medal, players looking for forgiveness through sole design should add F8 to their bag.
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
4. Callaway Epic Fairway Wood
The Callaway Epic Fairway Woodis a great budget option for players looking for a fairway with amazing forgiveness and great distance. Epic is as good as it gets from Callaway when pushing centers of gravity low and back. Epic promotes high launches and forgiveness for shots from the tee and from the ground. An obvious contender for Golf Digest’s highest award, Callaway have a winner in the Epic fairway.
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
5. Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood
The Callaway Rogue Fairway Woodis a champion for golfers suffering from strikes low in the clubface. The best fairway wood on the market for balls struck low in the clubhead, Rogue fairway with Jailbreak technology is Callaway’s most advanced fairway ever. A member of Golf Digest’s Gold medal recipients, Rogue fairway uses the same technology that put the Epic driver as the #1 driver in golf.
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
6. Ping G400 Fairway Wood
The Ping G400 Fairway Woodbuilds on Ping’s use of aerodynamics to help add speeds to slower swing speed players. Build around Ping’s ideas of forgiveness and playability, G400 helps players add speed without giving up any help on mishits. G400 is the fasted fairway Ping has ever made and we, along with Golf Digest took note.
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 Woodis a perfect option for players looking to dial in their swing on a budget. By using sliding weights, M1 can help golfers with their left and right misses. TaylorMade pride themselves on making great fairway woods and M1 is a perfect example of that. If you are looking to purchase a new wood and budget is a top priority, M1 is perfect for you.
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 is known for its forgiveness and ball speed acumen. Even though it is over one year old, M2 is still one of the longest fairway woods on the market. If you are looking for added distance and forgiveness at a price less than MSRP, M2 is a great choice.
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 G30 Fairway Woodis for players looking to find classic fairway looks in advanced performance packages. G30 delivers on Ping engineering at a reduced price. Ping put their emphasis on playability when designing products and you know you are getting a great product when you buy from Ping. A member of Golf Digests 2015 Gold medal class, G30 is a great club at a great price.
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. Adams Tight Lies 2 Fairway Wood
The Adams Tight Lies 2 Fairway Wood is the beneficiary of TaylorMade’s acquisition of Adams Golf. With TaylorMade’s flagship products covering the better players market, Adams Golf has put the amateur golfer in focus. Making an outstanding fairway wood in terms of speed and forgiveness, the Tight Lies 2 fairway from Adams is for the weekend golfer.
Adams Tight Lies Fairway Wood
- Improved design from its predecessor, with a sleek shape and paint scheme
- Low profile allows players to hit the club from just about any lie
- Ball really jumps off the club face at impact
- With such a low profile, may make it prone to pop-ups off the tee
- No alignment markings may make it difficult to set square at the target
- Not as technologically advanced as newer models
What Fairway Wood Should You Buy?
Buying the right fairway for you involves understanding how you want to use this club. Will you use it mainly from the tee? Do the courses you play often demand you to hit longer approach shots into the greens? These answer can largely determine which models are best for you.
Ultimately, when deciding on a new club, testing different models and configurations is your best route to finding your ideal setup. Keeping lofts, head sizes and shapes, and your shaft of choice in mind, whatever fairway you decide should be built for your swing. This spot in the bag is difficult for many golfers to hit and should be managed with forgiveness in mind.
Any new club should be better than what is already in your bag. Remember, this game is supposed to be fun and having clubs that make it easier can be all the difference. Thanks for reading and thank you for sharing in this game we all love!
- Most Forgiving Fairway Woods
- When Do You Use A Fairway Wood?
- Finding the Best Fairway Wood for Your Golf Game
- Top Fairway Wood Features
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Our Favorites
- Top 10 Most Forgiving Fairway Woods
- 1. Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood
- Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood
- 2. TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood
- TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood
- 3. Cobra KING F8 Fairway Wood
- Cobra King F8 Fairway Wood
- 4. Callaway Epic Fairway Wood
- Callaway Epic Fairway Wood
- 5. Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood
- Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood
- 6. Ping G400 Fairway Wood
- Ping G400 Fairway Wood
- 7. TaylorMade M1 3 Wood
- TaylorMade M1 3 Wood
- 8. TaylorMade M2 Golf Fairway Wood
- TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood
- 9. Ping G Fairway Wood
- Ping G Fairway Wood
- 10. Adams Tight Lies 2 Fairway Wood
- Adams Tight Lies Fairway Wood
- What Fairway Wood Should You Buy?