Golf is a miraculous mixture of mathematics and art, of mind and body, and crucially of a player’s skill and the equipment they use to maximize it.
High handicappers and beginners need three things. They need exposure to a course. They need practice to improve both their swing and their judgment.
And they need decent clubs that can help them make the most of the skills they have.
Most beginners focus on their driving and their putting. But it’s often the bit in between that’s letting them down – their fairway play.
Here we grab a bagful of the best fairway woods on the market for high handicap play, to help high handicappers cut their numbers and improve their game.
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.
In a hurry?
This is our Winner!
Best Fairway Woods For High Handicap - Comparison Table
Best Fairway Woods For High Handicap - Reviews
Golf clubs are like smartphones. The latest releases get the most press and have all the most up to date bells and whistles, but often, it’s products that have had a few years to prove their performance that deliver most of what users actually need.
They’ve also come down from their release prices, which improves their value for money rating against some of the newer, more flashy products on the market.
On that basis, the M2, swings into the sweet spot at the top of our list.
One of the M2’s special features is that it’s much smaller than some of the newer clubs like the Mavrik or the SIM. That makes it less of an intimidating prospect for new golfers and other high handicappers when they’re faced with a long fairway – it’s almost designed to feel like the friendly option, while still delivering the power you need to get your ball closer to the green.
Its lower profile helps the M2 look like a manageable club, but it’s no means lacking in technological design – it’s friendly, but not basic.
In fact, the M2 was the first club TaylorMade developed with its ‘Inverted Core’ technology to enlarge the club’s sweet spot as a specific aid to golfers with a bias towards an off-center address.
It also uses the TaylorMade ‘Speed Pocket’ technology which allows for a large, unsupported club face, meaning more flex when it strikes the ball. The practical result of that is superb speed, even if you hit the ball off-center, making for both impressive distance play and for a forgiving club for those whose precision needs perfecting.
Some golfers regard the M2 as little more than a game improvement tool, rather than a proper fairway wood. But we’d argue that a game improvement tool is precisely what high handicappers need while they develop power and precision, and for its application of clever design in the service of the high handicap golfer, the M2 tops our list.
High handicap golfers have little to do with perfect swings, spot-on strikes, holes in one or any of the other wonders of the game.
At the beginning, and until the instinctive movements of golf become fluid, what you need are clubs that can forgive your natural inclinations, and even, if necessary, correct them. It’s also pretty important for your beginner clubs not to cost you the earth, because you probably won’t keep them forever.
If you persevere with the game, you’ll buy others that help you hone your growing skills. If you don’t carry on with golf, you don’t want to regret the thousands of dollars you spent on those initial clubs.
For all these reasons, the Pinemeadow PGX Offset Fairway Wood claims a strong second place on our list.
The PGX Offset is unmistakeably and unashamedly a budget club, but it comes with a trick or two up its sleeve to particularly help those with a high handicap.
In particular, its offset design helps beginners and high handicappers straighten out the inevitable slice they’ll bring to the fairway until they’ve learned about stance, swing and all the other elements of perfect play.
The offset doesn’t exactly cheat a player out of their slice as such, but it is a helper-club. It will stop new golfers getting discouraged by the slice that all new golfers, along with those who don’t practice regularly, will have, and hopefully stop them losing interest in the game.
What’s more, the PGX Offset comes in a lot of variants, from a 3 wood all the way down to a 15 wood, so it’s not a club that will correct you on one shot and then leave you floundering as you try to replicate its effects over a shorter distance.
If the PGX Offset feels right in your hands, feel free to fill your golf bag with woods that will help you and guide you gradually out of your initial slice until you feel ready and confident to trade it in for a club that more precisely transmits your swing to the ball.
Not all high handicappers are absolute beginners.
As such, the best clubs for high handicappers aren’t restricted to those that forgive natural errors of swing or contact.
For the high handicapper who knows a little bit more about what they’re doing but still needs a range of options on the fairway, the TaylorMade M1 delivers enviable degrees of choice with a little technological addition to make the most of your shot.
If you know more or less what you want the ball to do, and have some grasp of how to make it do that, the M1 could be the smartwatch of clubs to have at your disposal.
It has two sliding weights, each of 15 grams, and no fewer than four degrees of loft adjustment, meaning it acts as a prototype shot calculator and you can adjust the club to deliver the shot type, the direction and the flightpath you want.
That equates to a club that can give you screaming power or surprising finesse, and stands a good chance of getting your ball more or less where you want it to be.
Because it’s designed for rather more experienced golfers who still have a high handicap, it’s not as forgiving as some others on our list, but in addition to the sliding weights and the loft options, it comes in 3 wood, 5 wood and 7 wood versions, so you can use it for a lot of necessary fairway work by adjusting, tinkering and choosing the right club variant to help you get where you want – which is like forgiveness for more serious-minded golfers.
The Callaway Epic Flash is an odd but glorious combination – a fairway wood that delivers the speed and flair that lower handicappers and serious golfers demand, but which is also recommended and loved by high handicap players, especially for its forgiving nature.
The speed and power of the Epic Flash is like taking a 44 Magnum onto the course with you. Its ‘Flash Face’ technology means the club face has a thinner impact zone which lets the club deliver increased distance for those long fairway shots.
‘Flash Face’ technology also gives the face a larger sweet spot. Larger sweet spots mean better contacts, and more forgiveness if and when a high handicap golfer hits the ball off-center.
Added to that, the Epic Flash boasts ‘Face Cup’ technology. That’s a tweak to the club face that helps keep your shots straight in spite of the extra speed the Epic Flash delivers.
The Epic Flash also comes with an adjustable loft sleeve, helping golfers at all skill levels, but particularly high handicap players who need to be sure of their shots, to get the flight path they want.
In some senses the best of both worlds, the Epic Flash is respected by low handicap players who use its power and accuracy to refine their game, and by high handicap golfers who respond to its forgiving nature.
The Cobra Golf F9 Speedback is a lot of golf club for high handicap players.
That said, it’s a club that issues a challenge, but also delivers handfuls of technology and the promise of total shot control, which both encourages and reassures high handicap golfers that the sport is something to which there are rules, and at which practice will help them excel.
The Speedback is available in three club-variants, from a 3 wood to an 8 wood, but it’s in the hardcore technology that it delivers its promise of shot control.
A precision-milled club face that has been recorded to add 2.5mph to the flight of the golf ball when struck is just the start of this club’s surprises.
The speedback technology after which the club is named uses a tungsten weight and re-engineered baffler rails to move the club’s center of gravity lower and deeper, for more ball speed on impact.
What’s perhaps more for high handicap golfers, progressive baffler rail heights help the club deal with both lower and higher lofted fairways, for better and more deliberate shot control.
The F9 also brings what Cobra calls ‘MyFly8 with SmartRail’ technology to every stroke, allowing golfers to choose between no fewer than 8 loft settings to determine their intended trajectory, while the SmartRail helps keep the club face square to the ball whichever loft setting you choose.
All the high-tech that goes into the F9 can make it the supercomputer of golf clubs, and that might prove too intimidating for absolute beginners or long-term high handicap players, unfamiliar with the technical sides of the game.
But on the basis that it both introduces high handicappers to those technical aspects, and rewards golfers of any handicap who master its many options, the F9 can improve the game of any golfer, especially those with a high handicap.
Best Fairway Woods For High Handicap - Buyers Guide
Choosing a golf club is a highly individual thing
The best ones for you won’t be the same as the best ones for other players, whether you’re all grouped together as high handicap, mid-handicap or low handicap golfers.
That means anyone buying a new club, especially a fairway wood – often the most neglected of clubs – will have to assess the purchase based on the specifics of their own particular game and habits.
Do you suffer from the slice of inexperienced golfers? If so, look for any club that offers correction of those initial issues, like the PGX Offset. How accurate is your regular contact with the ball? If you regularly hit it off-center, look for clubs that have proven to be forgiving, with larger sweet spots.
Perhaps even ask advice from a golf buddy or club pro on the main issues that add to your particular handicap, so you can narrow your search to clubs that will genuinely help you.
Choose your speed
Golf is a game that rewards honesty, commitment and gradual progression. Don’t spend professional dollars on the sleekest, most up-to-date and eye-wateringly new clubs if you’re not yet ready for their swashbuckling characteristics.
Choose clubs that are too advanced for you and the chances are, all that will happen is that you’ll get disillusioned with the game. Choose clubs that help you as you are today, and use them regularly. Then the time will come for clubs designed for mid-handicap play, and eventually for low handicap golfers.
By choosing clubs that are at your level, you will make the kind of progress that golf rewards.
Protect Your Pocket
Remember, golf is a game for most of its fans. It only becomes a sport at its highest levels. Only spend what you can actually afford, and spend it on clubs that help you today to reach sensible golfing goals. You’ll never get the money back from expensive clubs that make you disillusioned and don’t help you as a high handicapper.
You also won’t get the value you’re hoping for out of expensive clubs designed to help low handicap golfers. Buy clubs that help you gain extra satisfaction from the game, and make sure to practice as much as you can to master their use – then golf will give you plenty of pleasure.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I improve my handicap?
Buying the right clubs will definitely help, because there’s no shame in being a high handicap golfer, and companies have designed clubs that deal specifically with some of the main issues that afflict high handicap players, like slice and off-center impact. Find out what your particular issues are, then buy clubs that help address those issues.
Practice. Golf is a game which mixes technology, technical know-how and muscle memory in the moment. The more you practice with a particular club, the more predictable your shots will become, and the more regularly you’ll put your golf ball precisely where you want it.
Ideally, practice on one course at a time. That will allow your muscle memory to be clear, rather than having to adapt to different courses, lengths, terrains etc. Learn one course at a time and you’ll begin to assess the kind of shots that preoduce particular results.
With the right equipment and more practice, your handicap will almost inevitably start to drop as you get closer and closer to the standard for a given course.
How can the right club help me drop my handicap?
Choosing a club that helps address your particular shortcomings today will make you not only more aware of those shortcomings, but also more able to overcome them, until it’s you, rather than the club, that’s conquering your issues, whether they be hooks, slices or other issues of swing. Choose the right tool for the job you need doing today and you’ll make progress down the handicap scale.