A fairway wood is the type of club that can find a home in your bag for a long time if you nab the right one. Sure, the technology changes over time, but when you find a look feel and sound that you really love, it incentivizes a person to hang on to their club for a little longer.
It’s why Jack Nicklaus played with the same three wood for almost his entire career. The same could be said of Henrik Stenson and many other players as well.
If you want a club that will help you find the fairway on tight holes and put yourself in position to make a few eagles, read on as we take a look at some of the best fairway woods for high handicappers!
In a Rush?
Best Fairway Woods For High Handicappers
1. TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood
I really loved the attention to detail present in the engineering. The speed factor is insane, consistently yielding long straight shots.
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TaylorMade is one of the best in the business when it comes to maximizing the distance factor. This is very much at work in the M4. The design of the club is made to be as aerodynamic as possible, which means it will cut through the air faster on its way to catapulting your ball towards the green.
The aerodynamics are enhanced by an explosive face with a large sweet spot that helps you get the most out of even subpar swings.
In addition to being long though, the face is also made to sound great. You don’t often think about the acoustics of a club when you are shopping, but it’s actually an important factor that helps a great deal with the confidence you feel as you step up to the ball.
The low center of gravity also makes it one of the best fairway woods for beginners on our list. The weight distribution means that you shouldn’t have any trouble launching the ball high in the air. The lower center of gravity also means you’ll get less side spin out of the ball.
Unfortunately, the cutting edge technology does come with a cutting edge price tag. You’ll need to be willing to pay a good deal of money to put this club in your bag.
2. Callaway Golf Men’s Rogue
We loved the Boeing quality aerodynamic engineering that will help you launch your shots into the air like a jet taking flight.
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This club was designed to be as aerodynamic as a jet plane. Literally. Callaway took a note from Boeing’s playbook when they designed this club, to ensure that you get the most yards out of every swing possible.
What this does is enhance the trampoline effect at contact, ensuring that you regularly experience that optimal piercing, straight ball flight every golfer longs for from their fairway woods.
Finally, Callaway is also offering a large range of grips and shaft options that makes it as affordable as possible to have a “custom” wood. Getting fit for your clubs is the gold standard from equipment, but it is also something that your average Joe can’t usually afford.
This system makes it affordable to get something that is just right for you. However, it is a pricey club in general—not something that you will want to consider if you are buying on a tight budget.
3. TaylorMade Men’s RBZ Fairway
We loved the classic TaylorMade technology available for a relatively affordable price.
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If you were overwhelmed by the price of the first TaylorMade that we looked at, you will appreciate this model. It’s a slightly older club so it cost a lot less than the M4. However, it’s not so old that the technology is outdated.
At a glance, you might not even be able to tell the difference between these two clubs. The same speed pocket, the same explosive face, the same lower center of gravity that launches the ball high and straight into the air.
This club also comes with what the manufacturer calls their a “rocket fuel” shaft, which here means that it is lightweight and designed to hit the ball farther.
A good touch all wrapped together with a nice satin black finish that provides the club with a touch of elegance.
The only thing that I was a little bit reticent about came in the form of the shaft length. The stock model is about an inch longer than the standard shaft (44 inches as opposed to the 43 that we usually find on fairway metals).
This feature increases the clubhead speed on each swing but makes it a lot easier to hit a nasty snap hook as well. You don’t want a nasty snap hook.
If you’re a taller player, this won’t be a problem. Those of us that aren’t reaching the top shelf, however, may run into some problems here.
4. Cobra Men’s 2018 F-Max
I loved how affordable this club is. If you want to find a decent bargain pick, there is no beating the cobra.
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If you are looking for a high-quality bargain pick, this might be your best bet. But you also get a good deal of bang for your buck. The face features a low center of gravity that really gets the ball up in the air quickly while also ensuring that you don’t suffer too much side spin.
The face is also enhanced by a stainless steel face insert that produces a great feel and also helps you to get the most out of even off-center hits.
Finally, it is also just a visually appealing club. The all-black appearance has a distinctly classic look to it that you mostly only see from older clubs.
Unfortunately, that’s not where the comparison between this wood and older clubs ends. The tech that is at work here just isn’t quite as sophisticated as some of the newer clubs on the market. The aerodynamic factor just isn’t there yet.
It’s not all bad. You can still get the ball out there a good distance with this club, but if you want the latest and greatest, you’ll have to find it somewhere else.
5. TaylorMade Men’s AeroBurner Fairway Wood
The club is pretty affordable considering that it comes from TaylorMade.
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If you are dead set on buying from a top tier company like TaylorMade, but you are also working with a very tight budget, this might be the club for you. I’ll put it on front street that this is a fairly old golf club. It’s not working with the latest and greatest technology, but it does have some nice features that you might find appealing.
For one thing, the club comes with a nice aerodynamic speed slot that helps you effortlessly accumulate speed on your downswing.
It also features a thin crown and a low center of gravity, both factors that contribute to a high ball flight, and a low spin factor that ensures a straight ball flight.
I also liked the looks of the club. The top of the club is all white, while the sole is matte black. It’s an attractive combination that I think golfers with an eye for modern design touches are going to appreciate.
The older technology is a bit of bummer, but when it comes to TaylorMade golf clubs, you probably aren’t going to find a cheaper option out there.
6. Orlimar Golf Escape Fairway Wood
I loved the price tag. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a more affordable new club.
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This club produces a much higher ball flight than most people will care for.
I’m going to put it on front street that Orlimar is not a big name company. I’m usually a little bit on the fence with off-brand clubs, and the same could be said with this unit to a certain extent. It’s not that the club fails in any major ways. It just doesn’t feature the same level of technology that the other clubs on our list can boast.
No aerodynamic engineering, no special ways to maximize the trampoline effect of the face.
However, there are a couple of key features that are kind of unique to the Orlimar. For one thing, it comes with an interesting velvet grip that is thick and padded and purple. The grip is comfortable and encourages a proper gripping technique.
It also comes with a super compact head that makes it as easy as possible to chop your shots out of the rough. The compact clubhead, coupled with the lower center of gravity will really help you hit shots that other fairway woods aren’t so great with.
It does come at a cost though. The ball flight is high. Really, really high. It’s easy to hit a lot of balloon shots that come up short and miss the green. For the price tag, it might be forgivable, but this is something to look out for.
7. Pinemeadow PGX Offset
This will be one of the best fairway woods for seniors. It’s made to hit the ball long and straight, even if you have a slower swing speed.
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If you are struggling to get the ball in the air, this club is going to be one of your best friends. I’ve never seen a club that is more focused just on helping beginner golfers hitting nice, straight, high shots.
In that respect, it is one of the best fairway woods for mid handicappers on our list. A large part of this efficiency can be attributed to the hosel. It’s substantially offset to an extent that you really don’t see with fairway woods. An offset hosel makes it easy to hit down and through the ball.
What does this mean? It means that you are going to consistently hit nice, straight shots…it also means that the club looks really goofy.
The massive offset may keep your clubhead as square as possible but it does come at the cost of the club’s aesthetic.
One thing to keep in mind is that these features lead to extremely high ball flights. As a result, it doesn’t quite function like your average three wood. In fact, it’s more like a hybrid club, which could easily take the place of a two or three iron.
Not a huge deal, but it is something to be on the lookout for. One nice thing to bear in mind though is that this is another affordable fairway wood. In fact, the price tag makes it a low-risk option even if you aren’t entirely sure that this is a club you will end up liking.
8. Cleveland Golf Men’s Launcher HB Fairway
We loved the affordable price on a club that will be great for slow swing speeds.
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I’ve always been a big fan of Cleveland golf. They make clubs that are attractive and almost classic in their design. The clubs are also optimized for players with slower swing speeds, making most of their clubs very senior friendly.
This particular fairway wood is no exception though it is worth mentioning that we are looking at a club that is a few years old. In fact, Cleveland doesn’t really make too many fairway woods anymore—these days they are focusing most of their attention on putters and wedges.
Still, what we find here is very much in line with the level of quality they’ve been associated with for many years.
The low weight factor, as well as the orientation of the center of gravity, make it easy to get shots with this club high in the air without too much effort.
The sweet spot is also massive. No matter where you make contact with the ball, it’s going to wind up going somewhere.
The features are particularly friendly for players that have very slow swing speeds. Those that are already hitting the ball far are probably going to get themselves into trouble a little bit. Swing too fast with this club and you’ll find yourself hitting some snap hooks very high into the air.
9. Founders Club Fresh Metal Golf Clubs Fairway Woods
Without question, the biggest selling point of this club is the affordable price tag. However, it’s also an attractive club with some solid features that you don’t often find on a budget pick.
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Our second to last pick is another budget-friendly option that most buyers aren’t going to have any trouble affording.
It’s more than just a friendly price tag though. I really liked the clubhead concept. It’s compact and attractive, made to inspire confidence at address.
The small size and a slight offset also make it great for chopping out of the rough. The compact build allows you to pass through the grass easier, while the offset will give you an extra insurance policy that should guarantee your clubface is square at impact.
The offset will also help to ensure that you just consistently hit straight shots from the tee and the fairway.
I also liked the shaft a lot—something that I very rarely find in budget picks like this one. It’s a low torque shaft that guarantees it will remain stable at impact so that you don’t hit weird ballooned shots.
The one thing to keep in mind is that this isn’t a very sophisticated club. The engineering isn’t designed to maximize your clubhead speed—the design is more just a means to an end.
Big deal? Not really. For the price, this is pretty much what you should expect to see. Still, for the money, this is one club that many buyers will want to pay serious attention to.
10. Callaway Men’s Steelhead XR Fairway Wood
I loved how affordable this club was. Callaway quality at a budget club price.
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We end things on a high note with the Callaway XR. This beautiful, compact club features an elegant, all-black design, and clubhead that will work well from the tee, fairway, or rough.
This, facilitated by an undersized design that works well in the rough will still inspire confidence from the tee box.
The club also has what you might call a “fast face” which essentially means that it naturally produces quick ball speed. This is accomplished via a J-36 Carbon Crown that launches the ball high and fast into the air, giving you great distance and a consistently beautiful ball flight.
You also get all of this for a decent price tag, simply for the fact that this club is several years old. The only disappointing factor is that the club misses out on some awesome breakthroughs Callaway has had in the past couple of seasons.
The Jailbreak face construction, as well as the implementation of AI in the build process, are all innovations that came in the last year or so. All innovations this club lacks.
Naturally, the club isn’t to blame here, but it is a bummer all the same.
A Faiway Woods Buyer’s Guide
Now, we take a look at some key buying considerations that should help make your decisions a little bit simpler.
Loft Matters A lot
The loft is one of the most important factors when it comes to selecting a fairway wood. For example, you may find one three wood with thirteen degrees of loft, and another three wood with fifteen degrees of loft.
Two the untrained ear, two degrees may not sound like very much, but to the amateur, it can be the difference between finding the green and watching the ball dribble out a few yards in front of them.
One thing you need to remember is that getting the ball off the ground at all with this amount of loft is a small miracle. It takes a lot of clubhead swing, and good, high-quality ball striking.
Those two degrees of added loft will be especially handy for knocking it flush out of the rough, or even from tight lies on the fairway.
On the other hand, you might opt for the lower lofted club if you plan to use your fairway wood primarily off the tee. There are lots of drivers that have thirteen degrees of loft, so in that sense, you’re basically buying a miniaturized version of the big dog.
Just be smart when you look at the loft of a club. The vast majority of players are better off with as much loft as they can get.
You Need at Least Two Fairway Woods
Most players need at least two fairway woods. The three wood is a great all-purpose club for finding the fairway, or for knocking it stiff from a couple of hundred yards out.
The five wood functions a little bit more like a long iron and takes the place of the two iron that plagued amateurs in the fifties and sixties.
It usually has around twenty degrees of loft and will be good for hitting the ball nice and high.
There are other fairway woods as well—seven and nine—but they are far rarer these days.
These days, there is a big premium on adjustability in golf clubs. This is especially true in drivers but it is also a factor when it comes to fairway woods as well. The adjustability feature of any given club can take many forms—featuring either hosel adjustments or variable weight alterations.
The general idea when it comes to adjustability is to instill a shot pattern bias on the club—causing your shots to consistently fade or draw depending on how the club is set. You can also set the club to neutral if you do not want a shot bias.
Generally speaking, the simpler the adjustability feature, the better. You aren’t an engineer, you don’t know exactly what it takes to make a golf club perform as well as possible. All you know is that you have a slice, and you want it to go away. A good, simple adjustability system will help get the job done.
Forgiveness is another major factor that can have a significant impact on your user experience. Fairway woods usually feature smallish clubheads, which is necessary for their function. However, it can also make it a little bit harder to find the sweet spot.
That’s why you want a big one. The more forgiving the fairway wood, the more likely you are to hit a beautiful straight shot.
There are two different types of clubs: players, or game improvement clubs. Professional golfers like Tiger Woods utilize “players” clubs. This means that they probably aren’t for you.
The vast majority of us will be much better off with clubs of the game improvement variety. If you are a single digit handicap, you may be able to get away with the player’s clubs, but otherwise, go for something that is made to be easy to hit. Chances are pretty high that you won’t regret your decision.
How Brand Matters
The off-brand market is substantial in golf, for the obvious reason that clubs are expensive and many buyers would love to get a good deal if they can.
However, there is merit to buying from well-established manufacturers whenever possible. This is simply a product of the fact that they have better technology at their disposal.
Here’s an example I like to use that demonstrates the sort of resources big brand manufacturers have at their disposal: The golf club giant Callaway recently released a driver that was designed by a computer. The AI created a face concept that maximizes speed and effectiveness to produce longer shots. Callaway paid millions of dollars for this technology, but the investment paid off.
The off-brand companies do not have AI building their clubs.
Do you really need that level of technology anyway?
I won’t lie and say that you do but there are other factors that come with well-established companies that will have a bigger bearing on your experience.
Brand name companies have better aerodynamic engineering. Higher quality metals, better warranties, more sophisticated shafts.
I could go on and on. The point is that every aspect of the club will be just a little bit better when you buy from a company with resources at their disposal.
How Often You Should By Fairway Woods?
That’s a good question. On TV these days, you see pros changing out their clubs every six months. Often times it can be even more than that.
You’re not them. The only reason professionals swap out their equipment anyway is because they get paid millions of dollars a year to do so. If that’s your situation, great. More power to you.
If not, there is no need to buy new woods more regularly than every three to five years. That’s about the amount of time you can expect it to take to see big technological advancements in a golf club.
However, you can also wait significantly longer than that if you would prefer. Fairway woods are as much a feel club as they are anything else. If you get hold of a club that makes you feel comfortable and confident, there is no reason to replace it.
How many types of fairway woods are there?
Most players only use a three and a five wood. However, seven woods are also making a comeback, with several high-profile tour players (including Tiger Woods himself) gaming them on occasion.
However, most fairway woods above the five have been replaced by hybrids at this point in time.
Is there a limit to how many fairway woods I can keep in my bag?
Nope! The only real limit the USGA places on what you can game is the total number of clubs: 14. You can have fourteen putters in the bag if you want to! But don’t do that…
What are those covers I see some people keeping on their clubheads?
Headcovers are an optional accessory that keep the clubhead safe from dents and dings. Most new clubs come with them included.
So, there you have it. Ten different fairway woods out there for every type of buyer, and every style of player. Whether you want a high-end club like the TaylorMade M4, or something a little more affordable, like the Cobra, or even the Olimar, there will be something on this list for you.
All that you have left to do is to sit back, relax, and choose the right club for your game.