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 (Best Overall)
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: 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)
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)
Callaway Rogue Fairway (Budget-Friendly Option)
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 Callaway Rogue Fairway.
Lofts Available: 13.5, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 25
Stock Shafts: Project X EvenFlow Blue (70g) | Aldila Synergy (60g) | Aldila Quaranta (50g) | Project X HZRDUS Yellow 80 (80g) | Project X HZRDUS Yellow 75 (75g)
Taylor Made M6 Fairway
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 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.