No golf club set is complete without one or two fairway woods.
Unlike a driver, a fairway wood doesn’t have a rounded sole, and is easier to hit off the turf, and they can hit the ball to a really long distance, so it’s an essential piece of kit.
Another thing we love about fairway woods is that their shallower face height allows you to hit the ball from the ground using the exact center of the club, providing greater distance for longer shots.
Some fairway woods can even replace your driver, and others can replace your iron.
Getting the best equipment can really help your game. Many companies have come along trying to make the best fairway woods, but there are some that stand out against the rest.
We give you our Top 5 fairway woods ever, and have a good buying guide for you to assist with your choice.
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Best Fairway Woods Ever - Reviews
This is a great fairway wood from a great brand. And this one is super forgiving!
What we love about this fairway is it’s innovative clubhead shape. It’s sole is shaped for optimal playability and has a large footprint and low profile shape making for easy launch and easier play. It’s perfect even for newbies!
The split weight mass pads in the club head make for better perimeter weight distribution, which makes for an increased moment of inertia in the swing and trajectory. In other words, the club is more forgiving - it feels like it has a bigger sweet spot, and mishits will fly straighter.
It features TaylorMade’s legendary speed pocket which helps not only with ball speed and distance, but also forgiveness too.
The 5 layer carbon crown in the clubface creates a lower center of gravity, as it’s 8 grams lighter than a steel crown, to make for a higher launch - all the while reducing spin.
The design provides a superior feel without having to compromise the location of the center of gravity.
The ball speed is also helped by inclusion of an ultra strong steel face insert.
It’s available in different hand orientations, levels of flex, including regular, senior, stiff, extra stiff and ladies, and different configurations from a 3 wood up to a 7 wood high loft.
Callaway Golf offer a great range of clubs, but this was hands down one of the best fairways they’ve got to offer.
It features a face design that boosts ball speed for longer distance. The special design in the clubface allows fast ball speed right across the face for great distance, whether the ball is hit right at the center of the face or whether it’s hit off center.
Another of it’s innovations to aid ball speed is the inclusion of 2 internal bars that stiffen the body of the shaft, placing more impact load on the clubface.
The club is nice and light, which has allowed Callaway to re-position the center of gravity for easy launch and high, long-carrying flight.
In addition to being available for different hand orientations, it’s also available in different levels of flex, including regular, stiff, extra stiff, light and women’s. There are also different shaft’s available which differ in color, and more importantly in weight, ranging from 40 grams to 80 grams.
Most notable of the variations however is the degree of loft. You’ve got a 3 wood coming in at 15 degrees loft, all the way through to an 11 wood with 25 degrees of loft. (More on loft in our buying guide.)
The original Callaway Steelhead was one of the most popular fairway woods of all time, and this was down to its unique shape and innovative sole which encourages smooth turf interaction promoting solid contact from almost any lie. Great for building a beginner’s confidence.
Callaway have now improved on their classic, by making the head more forgiving and easy to launch. They even managed to improve on the sole, so it's now more playable and versatile.
They’ve also tweaked their club to produce more power on impact to drive the ball a further distance. For instance in their hyper speed face cup which can even handle mis hits. The head itself is faster too, thanks to direct input from aerospace experts no less.
The clubhead provides extreme forgiveness thanks to it’s lightweight carbon crown, which saves substantial weight in important areas, leading not just to easier launch, but also lower spin and added power.
It’s available in both hand orientations, and in flexes of regular, senior, stiff, and extra stiff. The configurations start at 3+ wood, 13.5 degrees and go all the way up to heavenwood, at 20.5 degrees.
You won’t be surprised to spot another big name here. Some argue that cobra golf clubs offer the best value for the money spent.
And a lot of technology has gone into designing this fairway: baffler dual rail system, ultralight carbon fiber crown, stainless steel face insert, and also a carefully positioned center of gravity position.
The Baffler rail system uses hallower or steeper rails depending on the angle of attack for improved control and forgiveness from any lie. We absolutely love how you can adjust the loft settings to help manage trajectory, and fine tune launch conditions to maximize the distance covered.
The lower, deeper center of gravity produces higher trajectories for your shot AND provides increased forgiveness.
The stainless steel face maximizes flex for increased ball speeds and distance from all points of the face.
There’s also innovation in the club head which improves drag reduction face-on through the downswing to generate maximum clubhead speed.
In addition to offering a 3 to 4 wood and a 5 to 6 wood, Cobra even has this fairway available in a 7 to 8 wood (more on wood numbers and how they represent loft in our buying guide).
It’s also available in different colors, shaft flex, and hand orientation.
TaylorMade is a big name in the world of golf, they’ve been creating revolutionary golfing products year after year. This fairway wood is one of Amazon’s best sellers, and is also one of Amazon’s most wished for in their category.
This fairway wood is an updated version of TaylorMade's more classic woods, and features their legendary speed pocket in the sole of the club for high launch, reduced spin, and increased carry distance.
There’s also a strategically placed mass pad in the head designed to optimize the launch and the feel on impact.
It’s quite lightweight, which really helps to generate more swing and increase your swing speed.
The shallower profile provides a lower center of gravity, for easier playability.
Whether your left handed or right handed, you won’t go far wrong with this beauty. You can go for a 3 wood with 15 degrees of loft, a 3 wood HL with 16.5 degrees of loft, or a 5 wood with 18 degrees of loft. The choice is yours - or pick up a couple.
It’s also available in different degrees of flex, including regular, stiff and senior.
Best Fairway Woods Ever - Buyers Guide
When we started looking at what were the best fairway woods ever, it became quite evident the majority of them were both designed and manufactured in more recent years, since design has only got better with time.
There are a few things you need to consider when selecting your fairway woods. The central factors being loft, length of shaft and the coefficient of restitution (which we like to refer to as COR for short).
If you didn’t know already, the loft of a fairway wood describes the angle at which the ball is directed off the ground at impact. Woods are numbered in ascending order starting with the driver, or 1-wood, which has the lowest loft, usually between 9 and 13 degrees.
The two most popular fairway woods are numbered 3 and 5, and the numbers represent the degree of loft. A 3 wood will have 13 to 16 degrees of loft, while a 5 wood can have 18 to 20 degrees of loft.
Now, if you were aiming to shoot the ball over a long distance, a low loft is generally better because all of the power you generate in your swing will be used to push the ball further forward rather than upwards.
However, when the ball is hit with a club with very little loft, the ball may fly with great speed, but have a minimal carry. In other words, it will land back on the ground perhaps sooner than intended, and certainly sooner than if it had been hit with a club with more loft. You don’t want that to happen because, once the ball lands back on the ground, it has to contend with friction on the turf, which is a huge drawback to trying to make a good distance.
5 woods are easier to hit high in the air thanks to their higher loft angle. 3 woods on the other hand go a lot further. That said, 5 woods will still gain you plenty yards as well as more height on the fairway.
It’s somewhat of a balancing act to be honest. If you can generate a lot of power and distance from your swing, you may be better getting the most loft available in your fairway wood. But not everyone’s swing is the same, and to really determine what’s the best fairway wood for you, it can come down to trial and error. But once you’ve got your equipment licked it’s only a case of practise makes perfect.
Shaft length really isn’t to be overlooked, and again it comes down to striking a balance.
A shorter, and therefore lighter shaft, will give you more swing speed and generate more power with which to take your shots, which in turn will send the ball a further distance. However if you need to bend to take the shot you’re really not going to get a good shot, as a more natural position allows you far better control of the shot.
The problem with a longer shaft, is that it’s heavier, so will not allow you as good a swing speed on impact. And again, if it’s the wrong length for you, you don’t want to have to take your shots from an awkward position, sending the ball who knows where.
Fairway wood head materials
While fairway woods derived their name whilst composed of wood, you will find that the best fairway wood heads are composed of better materials, such as steel titanium or composite.
Almost all fairway wood heads are made of steel, as it's strong and not too expensive.
For hitting from the tee, a titanium head is popular. This is because it’s light weight (half that of steel) enables manufacturers to push the centre of gravity far back in the head which helps get the ball airborne early.
Composite clubs meanwhile are ultra-lightweight, which allows the manufacturers to place weights around the inside perimeter of the head which helps to reduce slices and hooks.
Coefficient of restitution
The coefficient of restitution, which we’ll refer to as COR for short, is basically a measure of the energy transfer when two objects come together. A really high COR, means that you get the maximum level of energy transferred from the swing of your fairway wood to the golf ball, and hopefully sending it a further distance.
When competing in formal competitions, you cannot use a golf club that has a COR greater than 0.83. So 0.83 is the best COR for competitions, but if you’re playing just for fun of it or practising, you may opt to go for something higher for shorter game play.
Common mistakes golfers make with their fairway wood shots
The usual routine of taking a few swings at the air before taking your shot is one of the more common mistakes made by golfers before they take their shot. It’s a mistake because that swing would only be an accurate representation of the actual shot if there was a tee present underneath the ball.
Another mistake is that of cutting your swing midway, and not following through on your shot. When you force the swing to stop, there’s a twisting motion, which will invariably affect the accuracy of your shot.
A further bad mistake occurs when you bend your arm through the shot, since this leads to a relative loss of energy on the moment of impact, which in turn means a shorter trajectory distance. What you need to do to avoid this is ensure that your arms are fully extended throughout the shot.