The fairway wood is an important club for many players and if you’re still working on your swing and have a high handicap, then being comfortable with your woods can make a huge difference in your scores.
Callaway Epic Flash
Cobra King F9 Speedback
Taylor Made M6 Fairway D-type
You man also want to check our our list of the best game improvement irons to round out your bag.
Callaway Mavrik | Top Pick
Callaway has done a great job of incorporating their driver technology into the fairway woods. This might be their best fairway wood so far, especially for players that need a little help hitting the sweet spot.
Lofts Available: 13.5, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 25
Stock Shafts: UST Helium Black (50g) | Project X Evenflow Riptide (60g/70g) | Aldila Rogue White 130 MSI (70g)
By most accounts, the Mavrik lineup is an evolution from the Epic Flash clubs rather than a change. After another year of research and development, Callaway has made some tweaks to an already impressive design using their “artificial intelligence” technology that was introduced last year.
As far as the specific design features that make this clubs appealing to higher handicaps…
Callaway has expanded the hitting area, increasing the sweet spot to give you better results on off center hits. In my experience, this has two effect. First, it does what they say by helping make your off-center hits more playable. Second, the result over time is that you’ll feel more confidence standing over the ball which can actually help you swing better.
They included a single fixed weight in the sole to pull the center of gravity low and back in the clubhead. This results in a bit of a higher launch (which is very helpful for less than perfect swings) but also tends to promote a flatter ball flight so you don’t get those sky balls that sometimes occur with game improvement irons.
That ball flight makes the club more playable in windy conditions and helps minimize distance loss when hitting into the wind.
Overall, I really liked the Mavrik. It felt and played a lot like the Epic Flash with a touch more distance and a more ideal ball flight when struck well.
Callaway Epic Flash | Budget Pick
The Callaway Epic Flash was our top pick from last year’s clubs and it is still a great option for high handicappers. The only difference is that now it is a lot cheaper!
Lofts Available: 13.5, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 25
Stock Shafts: Stock Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black Smoke (70g) | Project X Evenflow Green (55g) | Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue (75g) | Project X HZRDUS Black Smoke (80g) | Project X Evenflow Green (65g) | Project X Evenflow Green (45g)
A great way to save some money on your golf clubs, especially if you don’t want used clubs, is simply to choose last year’s model. Golf clubs don’t improve that much every year. So if you are budget-minded but still want a high-quality fairway wood, don’t go with some off-brand knock off…try one of the best fairway woods from last year.
The primary goal of the design in this club is to deliver high ball speed for shots contacted anywhere on the face. It became pretty clear after trying these fairway woods, that the Epic Flash did the best job at minimizing distance loss on off-center hits.
The Callaway Epic Flash includes Callaway’s OptiFit Hosel technology. For the fairway woods, this means you’ll be able to adjust the loft -1, +1, or +2 degrees as well as switch between a neutral and draw bias. This adjustability in a fairway wood can be a tremendous help to high handicappers.
The adjustability combined with a good range of available shafts makes this an excellent choice for high handicap golfers looking to improve their scores while also giving enough admissibility to use as your game improves.
Cobra King F9 Speedback | Runner Up
The Cobra King F9 Speedback is designed to get the ball in the air and flying with ease. It has two rails at the bottom of the club that is supposed to help with turf interaction on shots off the fairway. It also has a lower center of gravity to help get the ball up in the air.
Lofts Available: 3-4 (adjustable 13-16 degrees), 5-6 (adjustable 17-20 degrees), 7-8 (adjustable 21-24 degrees); F9+: 3-4 (adjustable 12-15 degrees); 5-6 (adjustable 16-19 degrees)
Shafts: UST Helium (60g) | Fujikura Atmos Blue 7 (70g)
One feature of this club that should really help higher handicappers is the rail technology in the sole. This is something that Cobra developed with the Baffler model clubs a few years back and has been used by other companies before. It helps the turf interaction and can help the club skim across the grass and make solid contact even on swings that would otherwise result in a fat shot.
In addition, they have a center of gravity that is low and towards the rear of the clubhead like the other models on this list. That helps get the ball up in the air and increases distance on off-center hits.
Overall, this is a great option for high handicappers and costs less than our top pick.
Taylor Made M6 Fairway D-type | Best For Slicers
If you struggle with slicing the ball, this could be the club for you.
Taylor Made clubs are known for forgiveness and distance which are two things a high handicapper definitely needs. While I think it falls just a little short of our top picks, this club is certainly worth a look if you want some additional options.
Lofts Available: 14, 15, 18, 21, 24
Stock Shafts: Fujikura Atmos Orange 6
The M6 Fairway Woods feature Taylor Made’s “Twist Face” technology which helps to keep the ball headed straight even on off-center hits.
The D-Type model of the M6 stands for “draw.” The design of the head, including the offset and lie angle are all designed to encourage a draw.
This design makes it great for high handicappers that are fighting a slice.
The crown of the clubhead is made with carbon fiber to reduce weight. That weight was then redistributed in the bottom of the club to lower the center of gravity. That makes it easier to get the ball airborne off the turf as well as off of a tee.
What High Handicappers Should Look For In A Fairway Wood
High handicappers have different needs when choosing a club than players that shoot consistently low scores. So you can’t just believe what you see on TV commercials about which fairway woods are “the best.” There really is no such thing as the best club.
It is more important that you find the right club for your swing and your game. So here are some things you should be looking for when choosing a fairway wood. We took these factors into consideration when choosing the recommendations above.
Forgiving Club Face
Pros hit the center of the clubface just about every time they swing a club. So what works for them may not work for everyone. Most high handicap players make contact all over the clubface. So if you’re not making contact like a pro, then you want to find a fairway wood that is very forgiving.
You’re working on improving your swing all the time. So it’s not a finished product yet and may be changing frequently. You also still have some swing flaws that likely causing slices and hooks. So being able to adjust the club to minimize your typical miss and be able to adjust it back as your swing improves is an extremely valuable thing to have for a high handicapper.
A good approach is to practice with the club in a more neutral position, but then adjust it to correct your usual miss before playing a scored round. That will give you the best of both worlds, allowing you to improve while at the same time minimizing mistakes during a round.
Good For Tee Shots
Most high handicap golfers should be using their 3 wood off the tee rather than a driver. In fact, we explain why in this article.
So when you’re choosing a 3 wood, you want to make sure it is designed in such a way that makes it useful off the tee. That typically means a slightly taller face than the average fairway wood. It is most significant in the 3 wood, but can also be important if you use higher lofted woods as well.
What is the difference between fairway woods and hybrids?
Fairway woods will have a larger head and a longer shaft than hybrids. Hybrids are designed to be a mix of fairway woods and irons (which is why we call them hybrids). In general, a fairway wood will hit the ball farther with a slightly lower ball flight than a hybrid. Hybrids are generally easier to hit than fairway woods due to the shorter shaft.
High handicappers should have a 3 wood in their bag and then think about using hybrids for distances shorter than that instead of a 5 wood.
Can a beginner golfer use fairway woods?
Yes, fairway woods are a great club for beginners. In fact, using a 3 wood instead of a driver off the tee is one thing I would recommend for beginners. Fairway woods are not hard to hit and will be important for a beginner in terms of maximizing distance when needed.