Best Fairway Woods For High Handicappers

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Updated January 2021

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.

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You man also want to check our our list of the best irons for high handicap golfers to round out your bag.

Top Pick | Callaway Big Bertha B21

Big Bertha is a name synonymous with forgiveness and distance since I started playing golf in the early 90s. This latest version packs in all the latest Callaway tech to make it one of the most forgiving and easiest to hit clubs on the market.

Lofts Available: 15°, 18°, 21°, 24°
Stock Shafts: Callaway RCH 45 Graphite, Callaway RCH 55 Graphite, Callaway RCH 65 Graphite, Callaway RCH 75 Graphite

Click below to compare prices and check availability…

Callaway claims that the Big Bertha B21 Fairway Woods are the easiest to launch woods out there. As expected, it is designed with a large forgiving face and a big 190cc head that inspires confidence at address, especially for higher handicappers.

It is aslo designed an off-set head which helps promote a draw. It’s not quite as pronounced as our slice-fixing pick below, but it will help to keep the ball out of the right rough (and vice versa for lefties).

Callaway has kept up with their recent trend of using an AI designed “flash face” like they did in the previous Mavrik and Epic Flash models. This design is supposed to help add ball speed all over the face which minimizes the distance lost on off-center hits. I can’t talk much about the science behind it, but in my testing, I was happy with the results even on off center hits, so I think it does it’s job. The B21 also looks good and feels hot off the face.

I wasn’t turned off by the looks of the club, which is not always the case with more forgiving clubs.

Now, I try to be honest in these reviews, so let’s talk about a couple of negatives. First, it is not adjustable. For most high handicappers, this isn’t really a big deal as your ball flight isn’t consistent enough to take advantage of adjustability.

Also, if you already have a Mavrik or even an Epic Flash…you probably don’t need to upgrade. There’s not a ton of difference from those two prior models. But if you have an older club and want the added forgiveness and easy launch…then the Big Bertha B21 is what I recommend.

Runner-Up | SIM 2 Max

This was a toss-up between these first two fairway woods. TaylorMade is right up there with Callaway when it comes to forgiveness and this year’s SIM 2 Max is every bit as good as our top pick.

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Lofts Available: 15°, 16.5°, 18°, 21°, 24°
Stock Shafts: Ventus Blue 6 FW, Ventus Blue 5 FW

While Callaway is using the name recognition of its Big Bertha clubs, TaylorMade took a different approach and updated the technology of one of its most popular clubs from the early 2000s…the V-steel. There are still players out there that swear by that almost 20 year old club (and they might be justified…I played those woods for over a decade!)

TaylorMade added the v-steel shape in the new SIM 2 lineup to help turf interaction, making it easier to launch the ball high and far. It’s a big help for golfers that might hit the turn before the ball on occasion.

TaylorMade states that the modified sole helps reduce unnecessarily turf interaction by 25%. In addition to reincorpporating the v-steel sole, these fairway woods also has the bigger head profile and face (190cc compared to 185cc in the 2020 version) that adds forgiveness which helps on off center hits.

In my unscientific testing, I found that the SIM 2 Max was just slightly behind out top pick above for forgiveness, but the v-shaped sole made it easier to get solid contact off the turf.

If you’re a high handicapper that often uses your fariway woods from the fairway, then the SIM 2 Max may be perfect for you.

Budget Pick | Callaway Mavrik Max

The best way to save a few bucks on your clubs is to grab the prior year’s model. In this case the Callaway Mavrik comes pretty close to the brand new models so you won’t be giving up much.

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Lofts Available: 13.5°, 15°, 18°, 20°, 21°, 23°, 25°
Stock Shafts: Project X EvenFlow Riptide 60 Graphite, UST Mamiya Helium Black 4 Graphite, UST Mamiya Helium Black 5 Graphite

If you want to save even more then check out Callaway’s excellent pre-owned marketplace for some excellent options.

The Mavrik Max is adjustable, unlike the B21 above, so in that respect it has an advantage. I like that it allows you to adjust from a slight draw bias to a stronger draw bias.

One way you can take advantage of this is by practicing with it on slight draw to work on correcting it and then increasing the draw bias on the course.

The Mavrik Max also has a bunch of different loft options from 13.5° to 25° which is great for those of you that want more woods in your bag to keep up with the bigger hitters.

You can save even more money by CLICKING HERE to check out Callaway’s excellent pre-owned selection.

Best For Slicers | TaylorMade SIM 2 Max D

The TaylorMade SIM 2 Max is basically the draw biased version of the SIM 2 Max. So if you are fighting a slice, this club is going to give you the best chance to square the face and hit it straight.

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Lofts Available: 16°, 19°, 22°
Stock Shafts: Fujikura Air Speeder

The SIM 2 Max D is a little larger than the regular SIM 2 MaxWith lofts of 16°, 19°, 22° the D model has higher lofts to help you get the ball in the air. The extra loft also helps add more backspin which will also help add height to your shots and also minimize sidespin to keep the ball in play.

The Fijukura Air Speeder stock shaft is lighter higher launching shaft which will help you with launching the ball off the turf when you can’t tee it up.

Basically, everything about this club is designed to keep your shots high, far, and straight. If the slice is a problem for you then this is the club you need.

For Slower Swing Speeds | Callaway Epic Flash Star

The Callaway Epic Flash Star is designed to be one of the lightest drivers on the market. That comes at an added cost but will help you increase that clubhead speed and gain back some of the distance you may be losing.

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Lofts Available: 15°, 18°, 21°, 23°, 25°
Stock Shafts: UST Mamiya ATTAS Speed Series Graphite

The Callaway Star series is for golfers that are willing to pay a premium for excellent clubs that have all the same technology of Callaway’s top models but in a lighter package that makes it easier to swing faster.

Some of the ways in which Callaway saves weight is with a glued (non-adjustable) hosel, 40-gram ATTAS Speed shaft, and Golf Pride JL00 or J200 grip.

As for the head, the Flash Star incorporates Callaway’s Jailbreak and Face Cup technology to increase ball speeds and a T2C carbon crown to allow them to redistribute the weight low and back in the club. This helps forgiveness and helps to launch the ball higher.

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.

Common Questions

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.

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Pete | Editor-in-Chief
Pete is an avid golfer since he was 10 years old and currently plays to a 9 handicap. He started Under Par Goals to help other golfers all around the world improve their games and learn more about the game.