The Best Fairway Woods

The golf equipment industry is booming. With all the golf clubs currently available on the market it is difficult to pick only 14 clubs to fill your golf bag with.

Buying a new club or clubs is an investment into your golf game. Making informed decisions when buying a new golf club is of utmost importance.

best fairway woods

Fairway woods feature prominently in the bags of majority of golfers and it is important to choose fairway woods that are best for your game.

Fairway woods fill the gap between a driver and long irons. In the modern game long irons are rarely used and many players have replaced their 3 and 4 irons, and sometimes even their 5 or 6 iron with either fairway woods or hybrids. Definitely check my guide on How to Choose The Best Hybrid Golf Clubs.

With so many fairway wood options on the market it can be difficult to choose the best option for your golf game. In order to make the decision a bit easier, let’s take a look at all the factors that a golfer should consider about fairway woods that will help them choose the best fairway wood for their game.

Questions & Answers

What is a fairway food and what are the different types of fairway woods?

Fairway woods are metal woods that range between a 3 and a 7 wood. On occasion 9 and 11 woods are also manufactured by some brands. Fairway woods look like a smaller version of a driver that sweeps the ball off the ground.

A stock standard 3 wood has 15 degrees of loft, a 5 wood 19 degrees, a 7 wood 21 degrees and a 9 wood 23 degrees. Different loft variations are available based on the golfer’s needs. Majority of manufacturers offer a strong 3 wood that has roughly 13 degrees of loft.

Golfers that struggle with their drivers often times opt to use a strong 3 wood instead of their driver off the tee. Henrik Stenson is famous for using his 13 degree 3 wood on route to winning the 2016 Open Championship at historic Royal Troon in Scotland. Stenson is the perfect example of a player that preferred the consistency and accuracy of his 3 wood over the distance of his driver. I wrote an article on How to Choose The Best Golf Drivers For Mid Handicappers that will help you a lot.

Each manufacturer produces a 3 wood with a unique design, but most have the same characteristics. Majority of fairway wood designs resemble the design of a driver. The only difference being that the head is smaller and with the help of added loft the ball can be hit with ease from the fairway as well as the rough.

Game improvement fairway woods are popular amongst golfers that struggle to master the art of hitting a fairway wood.

Fairway woods that feature an offset design helps golfers that normally hit a big slice to hit the ball straighter and more accurate. This is achieved simply by changing the club, and not by changing your golf swing.

Offset fairway woods promote a closed clubface at impact and this reduces the amount of slice spin on the golf ball. I wrote about best golf balls, specially for mid handicappers, that you should check out if you are considering a ball.

Adjustable settings is a feature that can be found in majority of fairway woods that are currently available on the market. Either the clubface angle can be altered, or weight can be moved around on the club head in order to obtain an optimal ball flight.

The addition of weight to the heel of the club will promote a draw ball flight, and added weight to the toe of the club will promote a fade.

Added weight to the toe slows down rotation and the result is an open clubface that promotes a fade, added weight to the heel allows the toe to rotate and the result is a draw biased ball flight. (Source).

The loft and lie of fairway woods can also be adjusted, majority of new fairway woods can be adjusted by either 1 degree less or 1 degree more in terms of both loft and lie angle.

Adjustable clubs took the golf world by storm about a decade ago, now it is the norm and they seem to be getting better and better with every new design that hits the shelves.

When should a fairway wood be used?

Fairway woods can serve many different purposes in a golfers bag. Fairway woods with less loft, like a 3 wood, can be set up to the point where it almost has the same amount of loft as a driver. A fairway wood is easier to hit than a driver due to its smaller less intimidating profile. A vast amount of golfers will chose to hit a fairway wood instead of a driver due to its better accuracy. 13 degree 3 woods are the perfect clubs for golfers that are seeking an alternative to their unreliable drivers. (Source)

Fairway woods are also more commonly used on long approach shots. Long hitters will use a fairway wood in order to try and hit a par 5 in two, or to try and get as close as possible to the green. Slow swinging shorter hitters will use their fairway woods on a regular basis either on par 3’s or on the approach shots on par 4’s. Before choosing to hit a fairway wood it is important to evaluate your lie, stance and the environmental conditions. Fairway woods are tough to hit out of tight lies or downhill lies. If you are faced with a tricky lie a hybrid or iron will be recommended. Fairway woods deliver a penetrating ball flight, fairway woods will in particular be effective in windy conditions.

When should a fairway wood be used?

Fairway woods are designed to sweep across the grass with ease, this allows the loft of the club to get the ball into the air. Fairway woods aren’t designed to dig into the ground, thus a shallow angle of attack is recommended and it will also deliver consistent results. Good technique is important in order to hit a fairway wood with precision.

If you are serious about improving your fairway wood play take a look at these two instructional videos by two of the best golf instructors in the world, Sean Foley and Hank Haney.

Watch Below Videos

How many fairway woods should I carry in my bag?

This is a common question asked by many amateur golfers. There are numerous ways to reach an answer to this question. Longer hitting players tend to have a driver and 1 or 2 fairway woods or hybrids in their bag. Shorter hitters are the players that can really benefit from having 3 or more fairway woods in the bag. Shorter hitters normally tend to be juniors, seniors and female golfers. Short hitters will often times be faced with long approach shots into par 4’s or on par 3’s.

Hitting a well-struck shot with a fairway is a lot easier than with a long iron due to the design of the club.

Fairway woods are more forgiving than long irons. Fairway woods are designed to get the ball into the air with maximum distance and overall they are a better option for players that struggle to generate clubhead speed.

Shorter hitting players normally have lower swing speeds and that is another reason as to why it is a lot easier for them to hit a fairway wood instead of a long iron.

Fairway woods are aerodynamic and due to their longer shaft the player can generate more speed. When hitting a long iron with a shorter shaft it is more difficult to generate maximum clubhead speed.

Long hitters will tend to use a fairway wood off the tee. They choose to do this either because they prefer the control of a fairway wood, or to keep their tee shot short of danger on the hole. Long hitters are also likely to use a fairway wood on their second shot on a par 5 with the hopes of reaching the green in 2.

The table below serves as a good guideline as to how many fairway woods a player is recommended to have in their bag based on their average driving distance.

Should I buy a new or used fairway wood?

Unlike wedges fairway woods only get hit a limited amount of times during a round. If you are looking to purchase an affordable fairway wood it might be a good idea to look at some used fairway wood options. Golf clubs are designed to last and fairway woods that haven’t been hit on a regular basis are basically as good as new.

There are many golfers that buy golf clubs impulsively and as a result there are some really good used clubs available for purchase when they decide to get rid of their unused clubs.

How important is the shaft?

The shaft of a golf club is arguably the most important component. Every golfer on the planet swings the club in their own unique way. With that being said it makes sense to play with a shaft in your clubs that matches your swing speed. Slow swinging players need more flexible shafts, stronger players with faster swing speeds need stiffer shafts and male professional players with high swing speeds get the best results with extra stiff shafts. Players that are serious about their golf games, and about buying a fairway wood that suits their game should strongly consider going for a fitting with a professional club fitter before making a purchase. If going for a club fitting isn’t an option the table below serves as a guideline as to what type of shaft is best for golfers depending on their swing speeds.

The correct shaft won’t only ensure a consistent strike, it will also maximize distance and control ball flight. (Source)

Why should I buy a fairway wood instead of a hybrid?

Choosing between a fairway wood and a hybrid is personal preference. Fairway woods have a longer shaft and they are best suited to hit from the fairway or from a tee box. Hybrids have shorter shafts that replicate the setup of a long iron, hybrids are also designed to use out of the rough with efficiency. Majority of amateur golfers tend to have a mix of both fairway woods and hybrids in their bag, but it might be worth a try to use a 7 or a 9 wood instead of a hybrid. (Source)

Consider the club head material when choosing a fairway wood

Different materials are used for fairway wood heads, the feel off of the clubface will depend on the material. The 3 most common materials used to manufacture fairway wood heads are: steel, titanium and composite.

  • Composite – Multi-material club designs combine different materials such as carbon, steel and titanium for the manufacturing of the clubhead. Composite fairway wood heads are designed in order to produce higher launch and consistency, especially on miss hit shots.
  • Steel – Steel is a common material that gets used to manufacture the clubhead for a fairway wood.
  • Titanium – Titanium is lightweight in comparison to other materials such as steel. The light weight of titanium allows designers to move the center of gravity to the back of the clubhead. This ensures maximum distance, early launch and it also reduces twisting of the clubface on off center hits.

Steel head fairway woods will have a harder feel, in comparison to titanium or composite heads. The use of a lighter material such as titanium or composite materials also promotes more speed. More speed leads to added distance. Lighter materials used in the crown design of a golf club allow designers to play around with the positioning of the center of gravity. Alower center of gravity increases the MOI which ensures great feel and forgiveness. (Source)

What to look for when buying a fairway wood

Steel head fairway woods will have a harder feel, in comparison to titanium or composite heads. The use of a lighter material such as titanium or composite materials also promotes more speed. More speed leads to added distance. Lighter materials used in the crown design of a golf club allow designers to play around with the positioning of the center of gravity. Alower center of gravity increases the MOI which ensures great feel and forgiveness. (Source)

  • Cost – New golf clubs are expensive, majority of new fairway woods on the market carry a hefty price tag. Don’t be afraid to buy a used fairway wood instead to save some money. For the price of one new fairway wood you will be able to buy two used clubs instead. Previous ranges are also less expensive, especially when a new range gets released. Timing your purchase around a new release or around festive season sales might save you some extra money.​​​​
  • Adjustability – Adjustability has become the norm in modern golf club design. As golfers our swings change on a regular basis and at times it is necessary to adjust our clubs to these changes. With the help of an adjustable club one can do just that. If all of a sudden you have a swing fault that promotes a fade or hook weight can be moved around in the clubhead to counter either that big draw or slice. Loft can also be adjusted and this allows golfers to completely change the purpose of a club essentially. For example: you have a standard 15 degree 3 wood, the loft on it can be adjusted +/- 1 degree up or down. If you are struggling with your driver it might be a good idea to take some loft off your 3 wood and to use it off of the tee until your driver gets back on track. Loft can also be added to your 3 wood if you are playing a golf course where you use your 3 wood regularly for approach shots into par 5’s, the small addition of loft will allow the ball to land a bit softer and stop quicker on the green.
  • Design/Look – The design of fairway woods have evolved over the last decade. When choosing a new fairway wood it is important to pick a design and look that suits your eye. Some golfers prefer a traditional looking clubhead, others don’t mind what the club looks like at all. TaylorMade are famous for their white and black clubheads, Ping and Titleist have more traditional looking designs. The look shouldn’t be the deciding factor when choosing a new fairway wood, but you do need to be able to stand over the ball with confidence.
  • Feel – The feel of a club is definitely personal preference, some golfers prefer a club with soft feel off of the clubface at impact, and other players prefer a harder feel instead. The design and technology used in most new fairway woods tend to promote a softer more forgiving feel at impact.
  • Performance – At the end of the day it comes down to performance when choosing which fairway wood to add to the bag. The design, feel, cost and adjustability matters but all golfers are seeking results. Performance can be judged off of both distance and consistency. Yes it is important to maximize distance, but being able to hit the ball consistently straight is just as important.
  • Performance can be judged off of both distance and consistency. Yes it is important to maximize distance, but being able to hit the ball consistently straight is just as important.
  • Shaft – Manufacturers normally have stock shafts that they sell their clubs with. Different shaft brands will be available to choose from and the standard regular, stiff and extra stiff options will be available. Some golfers don’t always like the standard options from the manufacturer in terms of shaft brands. If that is the case a custom fitting will have to be done in order to find an alternative shaft option.
  • Loft Options – Fairway woods are available in different loft options, it is important to choose the correct options that fit into the current setup of your bag. Normally players will have a 3 and 5 wood in their bags, but some might want to add a 7 or a 9 wood instead of a hybrid or a long iron.


Best Fairway Woods


The Ping G400 fairway wood is a high launching hot fairway wood that delivers unprecedented distance. The G400 comes standard with an Alta CB premium shaft. This counter balanced shaft allows for higher head mass and its copper color transitions to almost black in the sunlight in order to reduce glare. The G400 is packed with the latest technology from Ping and it is sure to be a welcome addition to the bag of any golfer. (Source)

Things We Liked

  • The G400 features a maraging extremely thin, strong and flexible steel face. This face design generates faster ball speeds that maximizes distance.
  • The center of gravity is positioned low in the clubhead of the G400, this increases the MOI (Moment of Inertia) and in return delivers exceptional soft feel.
  • The G400 is available in a 3,5,7 and 9 wood options.
  • The G400 design reduces spin, less spin equates to better control and accuracy.
  • The Ping G400 has a reasonable price tag.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The interchangeable weight in the head of the G400 is fixed and doesn’t move around the clubhead, this limits adjustability.
  • Limited shaft availability, the standard G400 is only available in 2 different shaft options.

TaylorMade M4

The TaylorMade M4 range of fairway woods are designed to produce straight distance. TaylorMade are renowned for the manufacturing of high quality fairway woods and drivers. The M4 features a speed pocket that creates added ball speed, which leads to added distance. The M4 is a high quality affordable fairway wood that is trusted by many tour professionals, if it is good enough for the pros it will be good enough for any amateurs. (Source)

Things We Liked

  • The M4 has a reasonable price tag for a top of the range fairway wood.
  • The M4 is packed with technology that promotes added distance and accuracy.
  • The M4 is available in a variety of loft options.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The M4 has limited stock shaft options available.

Callaway Rogue

The Rogue fairway wood from Callaway might just be the most technologically advanced fairway wood available on the market today. The Rogue features Callaway’s signature Jailbreak Technology, the first of its kind in a fairway wood, and it also features their renowned Face Cup technology. The Rogue has a sleek look that accompanies its industry leading design, the Rogue will be a welcome addition to any golfers bag.

Things We Liked

  • The implementation of Jailbreak Technology promotes unprecedented distance along with ultimate control even on off center strikes.
  • The Rogue is available in a variety of different loft options. These options include a 3,4,5,7,9,11 and a strong 3 wood option.
  • The Rogue can be custom ordered with a variety of different shaft and grip options.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The Rogue features a hefty price tag, adding multiple Rogue fairway woods to you bag will be pricey.

Titleist 917F2

Titleist is renowned for designing traditional looking clubs that still feature industry leading technology. The look of a Titleist fairway hasn’t changed in years, but the technology improves with each new model that hits the shelves. The F2 fairway woods by Titleist is another one of their trusted designs. The F2 is a highly adjustable club that delivers maximum distance and control.

Things We Liked

  • The weight in the head of the F2 can be swapped out for either or a lighter weight, and more weight can be positioned in either the heel or the toe of the clubhead.
  • The F2 has a traditional single color solid look.
  • The F2 features an active recoil channel in its design, this increases ball speed and lowers spin, and the result is maximum distance without compromising on accuracy.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The F2 comes with a hefty price tag in comparison to other industry leading fairway woods.
  • The F2 is only available in limited loft options, and left-handed players have even less F2 loft options to choose from.

Callaway GBB Epic

The Callaway Epic is packed with technology that promotes both distance and control. The clubhead of the Epic is designed with a combination of composite materials. The use of these advanced composite materials makes the clubhead considerably lighter than if steel was used instead. The Epic’s name says it all, it is indeed a fairway wood that will make an Epic impact on your golf game.

Things We Liked

  • The Epic features 4th generation face cup technology, this technology increases ball speed across the face, maximizing distance on both center and off center strikes.
  • The Epic is available in a wide variety of loft options, these options include a 3,5,7,9 and it also includes a strong 3 wood and a heavenwood.
  • The Epic is available at a reasonable price.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The Epic doesn’t feature the more advanced technology that can be found in the latest release from Callaway, the Rogue.

How to take care of your fairway wood

Buying a new fairway wood is an investment, and it is an investment that needs to be taken care of. The best way to clean dirt off of your new fairway wood is with a wet towel, brushes also work great. It is very important to protect your new fairway wood from scratching by making sure that it’s cover is on at all times when you aren’t hitting with it.

Scratches aren’t the end of the world, but it is rather annoying to look down at a scratched clubface when you get ready to hit your shot. Fairway woods can last for many years, but the one part that doesn’t last a lifetime is the grip.

Make sure to clean your grips regularly and also ensure that your grips get replaced on an annual basis. The best way to clean your grips is with warm water, dishwashing soap and a soft cloth.

Fairway wood accessories that you will need

Golfers in general love accessories, but there aren’t many accessories that are needed for a fairway wood. The only accessory to keep close by is an adjustment tool. You never know when you might want to change the weight position or loft on your fairway wood and it is thus very important to keep your tool ready at all times.

Some fairway woods have adjustable weights that are replaceable with a different weight. The Titleist fairway wood weights are available in a variety of weight options. The different weights don’t come standard with the fairway wood and needs to be bought separately. Fairway wood covers are also available with numerous different design options. Custom covers can also be bought that feature your favorite football or other sports team’s logo.

Bottom Line

Choosing a new fairway wood can be a daunting task, but if you keep some key factors in mind you will be able to make a well-informed choice.

When making a choice the first step is to decide how many fairway woods and with what loft you need to add to your bag. It is important to add fairway woods that will complement the rest of your set.

The second factor to consider is to choose a shaft flex that suits your game. If you are a slow swinging player you need a flexible shaft and vice versa.

Adjustability is another key feature to keep in mind. This will allow you to make changes to your club if your needs or your swing were to change and evolve with time.

Cost can be a deciding factor as well. But don’t be afraid to consider a used fairway wood in order to bring cost down and to be able to get the fairway wood that you want. The leading brands like Ping, TaylorMade, Titleist and Callaway all have high quality fairway woods currently available.

The TaylorMade M4 might just be the best one of the lot at the moment, but the addition of any of these top fairway woods will have a positive impact on your golf game.

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