Fairway woods have been around since the start of golf. The first fairway woods featured wooden clubheads with hickory shafts and leather grips. Over time the design of these woods has changed dramatically and modern fairway woods are jam-packed with mind-blowing technological features. Fairway woods are key clubs in the bags of both amateur and professional players.
- The 5 Best Fairway Woods:
- Fairway Wood Buyers Guide
- Fairway Woods vs. Hybrids
- Fairway Wood FAQ’s
- How to Hit a Fairway Wood
The 5 Best Fairway Woods:
Below we review 5 of the best fairway woods currently available on the market and we will also take a closer at how many/which fairway woods you should feature in your golf bag.
1. Callaway Mavrik Fairway Wood (Standard)
|Configuration||3 wood||3+ wood||4 wood||5 wood||7 wood|
|Clubhead size||174 cc||173 cc||175 cc||154 cc||143 cc|
|Lie||56 degrees||55 degrees||56 degrees||56.5 degrees||57 degrees|
|Adjustable||Yes (loft & lie)||Yes (loft & lie)||Yes (loft & lie)||Yes (loft & lie)||Yes (loft & lie)|
|Hand Orientation||Right & Left||Right Only||Right & Left||Right & Left||Right & Left|
The Callaway brand has been an industry-leading golf manufacturer for decades. Callaway continues to lead the way and their latest Mavrik range is set to continue their legacy as one of the best in the business.
The Mavrik fairway woods retail at an above-average price point but it is worth the spend when you consider the design and performance of these fairway woods. The Mavrik fairway woods feature custom AI optimized clubfaces that are designed for each fairway wood number respectively. The strong SS20 titanium engineered clubfaces are lighter than regular titanium crafted clubfaces which ensure that the Mavrik has a clubface that promotes optimal spin, forgiveness, and speed at impact.
Callaway revolutionized the golf club industry with their jailbreak technology, this technology connects the sole and the crown of the clubhead with two Jailbreak bars. These bars redistribute energy in an efficient manner which in return ensures fast ball speeds and maximum distance.
The Mavrik fairway woods feature a unique leading-edge geometry in every model that launches the golf ball into the air with maximum ease. A single fixed weight can be found in the back of the Mavrik clubhead, this weight pulls the center of gravity to the lower bottom part of the clubhead which promotes a high launching penetrating trajectory.
|Configuration||3 wood||5 wood|
|Clubhead size||161 cc||151 cc|
|Lie||57.5 – 59.5 degrees||57.5 – 59.5 degrees|
|Adjustable||Yes (loft , lie & weight)||Yes (loft, lie & weight)|
|Hand Orientation||Right & Left||Right & Left|
The M5 fairway wood by TaylorMade is jam-packed with technology. This high-quality fairway wood features TaylorMade’s signature Twist Face technology, this revolutionary technology features a clubface with a curvature that corrects the face angle on poorly struck shots.
The M5 features a clubhead that is made up out of multiple materials which include titanium, carbon, and stainless steel. The combination of these materials ensures maximum distance.
The M5 can be adjusted in a variety of different ways including loft and lie, but the most impactful is the ability to adjust the positioning of weight in the clubface. The M5 features a 65-gram sliding weight that can be positioned to adjust the ball flight bias from a draw to a fade and vice versa.
|Configuration||3 wood||5 wood||7 wood|
|Clubhead size||188 cc||177 cc||167 cc|
|Lie||56.5 degrees||57 degrees||57.5 degrees|
|Adjustable||Yes (loft & lie)||Yes (loft & lie)||Yes (loft & lie)|
|Hand Orientation||Right & Left||Right & Left||Right & Left|
The Ping G410 SFT fairway woods with their larger profiles are a hit amongst amateur and professional players. The bigger clubheads of the G10 SFT’s inspire confidence and they also feature 1.5 degrees more loft than what the Ping standard is to promote the easier launch.
The center of gravity (COG) in these fairway woods are positioned towards the lower back. This positioning of the COG promotes stability, forgiveness, fast ball speeds, and low spin rates which ensure a long penetrating ball flight.
The G410 SFT features a high-density weight on the outside perimeter of the clubhead which further improves the forgiveness of these fairway woods. The face of the G410 SFT is made out of C300 maraging steel, this extremely strong alloy is machined to be extremely thin and it produces exceptional ball speeds which lead to added distance.
|Configuration||2 wood||3 wood||5 wood||7 wood|
|Lie||57.5 degrees||58 degrees||58.5 degrees||59 degrees|
|Adjustable||Yes (loft, lie & weight)||Yes (loft, lie & weight)||Yes (loft, lie & weight)||Yes (loft, lie & weight)|
|Hand Orientation||Right & Left||Right & Left||Right & Left||Right & Left|
PXG took the golf industry by storm in recent years and they seem to be going from strength to strength. Their 0341X Gen 2 fairway woods are some of the best fairway woods currently available on the market.
The 0341X Gen 2 is packed with technology including a high-strength titanium alloy face that produces faster ball speeds. The crown of the 0341X Gen 2 is a multi-level carbon fiber crown with variable thickness. The design of this stiff carbon crown limits energy loss which ensures high ball speeds and added distance.
The 0341X Gen 2 fairway woods all feature PXG’s signature precision weighting technology, this technology allows for weight to be moved around in the head to ensure high ball speeds, low spin numbers, and an optimal ball flight.
Additionally, the 0341X Gen 2 fairway woods also feature PXG’s signature vibration dampening honeycomb TPE insert, this polymer insert delivers exceptional sound and feel at impact.
|Configuration||3 wood||3+ wood||4 wood||5 wood|
|Clubhead size||175 cc||175 cc||175 cc||175 cc|
|Lie||56.5 degrees||56.5 degrees||57 degrees||57.5 degrees|
|Adjustable||Yes (loft, lie & weight)||Yes (loft, lie & weight)||Yes (loft, lie & weight)||Yes (loft, lie & weight)|
|Hand Orientation||Right & Left||Right Only||Right & Left||Right|
Titleist is one of the most well-known brands in golf and their latest TS3 range of fairway woods are some of the best fairway woods currently available on the market. The Titleist R&D team had one mission with the design of these fairway woods, to maximize speed.
The Titleist Speed Chassis design focuses on optimizing the construction of the clubhead to maximize clubhead and ball speeds. The construction of the crown of the TS3 features a lightweight, titanium crown that allows weight to be redistributed throughout the clubhead. Additionally, an interchangeable weight shaft is situated at the bottom of the clubhead, this weight creates a low COG which ensures higher launch and low spin numbers. By adjusting this weight players are also able to change the swing weight of the TS3.
The thin face of the TS2 fairway woods do more than just ensure faster ball speeds, it also promotes exceptional feel at impact. The TS3 range of fairway woods are available in a variety of unconventional loft options and these woods are great for players that prefer a fairway wood over a driver off the tee.
Fairway Wood Buyers Guide
By now you are aware that fairway woods are available in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Below we will look at some important factors to consider before you purchase a new fairway to ensure that you add the fairway wood/s that is perfect for you.
Fairway wood clubhead designs differ from one manufacturer to the next. In general, fairway woods feature round profiles that resemble the look of a small/miniature driver. The clubhead size of fairway woods changes depending on the wood number.
3 woods are the fairway woods with the lowest loft but the biggest clubhead, the clubhead size of fairway woods decreases as the loft of the fairway wood increases.
The shaft makes the club. A state of the art club head is almost useless if you don’t have the correct shaft. Amateur golfers don’t always realize the importance of a shaft but a good clubhead shaft combination can make a massive difference when it comes to results.
Golf club shafts are available in many different options. The majority of fairway woods feature graphite shafts, it is very rare to see a modern fairway wood with a steel shaft.
Deciding on a shaft can be daunting, features such as flex, weight, kick point, and torque are all things that one should consider. The average golfer has no idea what the majority of those are, if that is you then you should enlist the help of your local club fitter/PGA professional before deciding on which fairway wood to buy. To learn more about different golf shafts click here.
Fairway Woods vs. Hybrids
Fairway woods and hybrids have similar designs but key differences do exist.
Fairway woods have bigger clubheads and more rounded profiles. Hybrid club heads have smaller, denser profiles, this delivers a club head with a lower and deeper center of gravity than that of a fairway wood.
Due to this low center of gravity, hybrids are exceptionally forgiving on miss-hit shots. Fairway woods feature broader sole designs, this does minimize your room for error but if you remember to sweep the golf ball off of the ground you will have no issues at all.
To learn more about the differences between fairway woods and other woods read our Most Popular Types of Golf Woods article.
Fairway Wood FAQ’s
What degree is a fairway wood?
Fairway woods are available in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Low lofted 3 woods feature progressively bigger clubheads than higher lofted fairway woods. Different fairway wood numbers and lofts are 3 wood (15 degrees), 5 wood (8 degrees), and 7 wood (21 degrees).
3, 5 and 7 Woods are the most commonly manufactured fairway wood options but some manufacturers do have 4 and 9 woods available in their line-ups. Callaway’s latest range of fairway woods, the Mavrik range, is available in a wide variety of different loft and number options.
When to hit a fairway wood?
Fairway woods are versatile golf clubs, golfers that struggle with their driving prefer to use their fairway woods off of the tee and short hitters tend to replace their long irons with a repertoire of fairway woods. Players with slower swing speeds can benefit greatly by changing out their 3 and 4 irons with a 5 and 7 wood instead.
Henrik Stenson won the Open Championship by only hitting his ‘well-trained’ 3 wood off the tee instead of a driver. Lydia Ko, a former world number 1, is renowned for her accuracy, Ko features an entire repertoire of fairway woods and hybrids in her bag.
How to Hit a Fairway Wood
Fairway woods feature a broad sole design, this broad sole coupled with the rounded profiles of a fairway wood requires precision if you want to consistently hit good shots with your fairway wood. Let’s take a closer look at some key factors that will help you to hit good shots with your fairway woods.
1. Ball position
Ball position is arguably one of the most important golf fundamentals. When it is time to hit a shot with one of your fairway woods it is important to move the golf ball up in your stance. Ideally, with a fairway wood, the golf ball should be positioned about 1 or 2 inches inside your front (left) heel if you are a right-handed player.
Good ball position is key to ensure a good angle of attack. When we hit a shot with a fairway wood we want the angle of attack to be fairly shallow, fairway woods aren’t designed to hit big chunky divots, instead, they are made to sweep the ball off of the grass or a tee.
A great way to practice sweeping your golf ball off of the ground is to place a plastic bottle cap in the spot where your golf ball would normally be. Take your normal swing and try to hit the bottle cap by sweeping it off of the ground. If your angle of attack is too steep you will hit the ground first and your bottle cap won’t get airborne, if your angle of attack is too shallow you will swing right over the bottle cap. This is a fun exercise that you can do at home that is sure to make a big difference out on the golf course.
Good posture is a key component in any good golf swing. When your posture is good your body will be able to function optimally during your golf swing. An effective shoulder turn and an explosive hip turn through the golf ball both start with good posture and both are vital to ensure consistent shots with your fairway woods.
Good posture can be equated to an athletic stance similar to that of a boxer that is getting ready to take on round 1 in the ring.
3. Rhythm and Balance
Amateur golfers tend to power their way around the golf course by swinging at every shot with everything that they have in them. A good positive swing is important but it is just as important to keep your balance while swinging the golf club.
Rhythmic swings ensure that your body and the clubhead is synchronized throughout your swing. Synchronized golf swings ensure both maximum distance and accuracy which is what one wants with their fairway woods. To learn more about the importance of good rhythm in your golf swing watch this video from instructor Chris Ryan.
Fairway woods are versatile clubs that are used by both amateurs and professional golfers. Some golfers rely heavily on their fairway woods from the tee while others trust their fairway woods on long approach shots. Regardless of what your go to shots are with your fairway woods it is important to buy the fairway wood/s that are best for your golf swing.
With some many great fairway wood options to choose from, purchasing a fairway wood can seem like a daunting task, but after reading this review and buyers guide you should be able to purchase your next fairway wood with confidence. If you still have any doubt remaining in the back of your head ask your local PGA Professional for guidance.
This article was last updated on January 20, 2021 .