As a golfer, you have many choices for the best golf clubs. However, choosing a valuable one that is worth the money is not an easy task. Golf clubs are not something that you can pick carelessly. Read this article till the end before looking for the best fairway woods for high handicappers to avoid throwing money around.
What is a fairway wood?
As you might know, a professional golf player, especially PGA pros, will carry a lot of woods in their bag. Generally, they will need a driver (or commonly known as the 1 wood), a fairway wood, and a utility wood with higher-lofted woods.
So, what a fairway wood actually is?
Fairway woods are commonly known as 3 or 5 woods as they are suitable for the second shot of play. During this shot, you are in the fairway of the hole, and a fairway wood enables you to have more control over the ball.
Besides, fairway woods have the 12 to 20 degrees that allow you to shape your shots with ease. Compared to drivers, they can produce higher and softer shots. As a result, they are an ideal option for game improvement.
Those who are taking their first steps into this sport might need assistance that allows room for errors and mistakes. And a fairway wood seems to be a more forgiving option compared to a hybrid. Thus, while professionals prefer the hybrid, it is more comfortable for beginners to use a fairway wood.
Another important factor that makes fairway woods the must-have woods in the golf set is the distance. With a fairway wood, you can hit the ball as far as a hybrid but with more comfort and feel. So, many golfers use fairway woods as an excellent alternative for hybrids.
There are some modern technologies that can only be found in a fairway wood. CG, short for Center of Gravity, influences how you feel when swinging with the wood, how it sounds, how low it spins, and several things about the performance of the wood. With the shallower face compared to a driver, a fairway wood keeps the CG lower for more stability and feeling.
What fairway woods should I carry?
Different types of wood
If you are new to golf, distinguishing between types of wood might be quite challenging. This article, as a short encyclopedia about golf wood, will help you solve that problem. Below is a comparison chart that can help you have a broad view of several wood types.
|Loft (degrees)||Lie (degree)||Shaft Length(inches)||Distance (yards)|
|3 wood||12 – 17||57.00||42.5 – 43||188-215-234|
|4 wood||15 – 19||57.50||42 – 42.5||175-200-218|
|5 wood||19 – 21||58.00||41.5 – 42||170-195-213|
|7 wood||23 – 25||58.50||40.5 – 41||153-175-191|
|9 wood||26 – 28||59.00||40 – 40.5||131-150-164|
|11 wood||27 – 29||59.50||39.5 – 40||140-165-190|
3 or 5 wood is suitable for high handicappers?
As you might know, a handicap is the numerical indicator of a golfer’s ability. The lower the score is, the more skillful golfer he is. According to USGA, the highest handicap is 36 for men and 40 for women. And a golfer with a handicap above 20 is considered as a high handicapper.
For short, a high handicapper has more knowledge about golf than a beginner. However, his skill is quite poor. Thus, he will need a forgiving wood that comes with excellent handiness to improve the gameplay.
But should a high handicapper go for 3 woods or 5 woods?
When it comes to distance, it is obvious that a 3 wood allows you to hit the ball further than a 5 wood. The greater distance also means that you don’t need to smash the club to reach the desired distance toward the target.
With an offset 3 wood, it is easier to have smooth swings with high consistency and precision. Thus, a 3 wood might be a greater choice for poor-skill golfers.
What to consider when purchasing a best fairway woods for high handicappers?
For beginners and high handicappers, hitting the club on the dead center is quite challenging. Thus, a fairway wood with a large head size will increase the surface area and provide a larger sweet spot.
Moreover, a larger head accommodates a bigger moment of inertia (MOI). Combining with lower spins, it enables you to maximize distances. Besides, a low and back center of gravity in large head size fairway woods is suitable for those who experience difficulties in launching.
As you might or might not know, the loft is the key to determine distances and trajectory of fairway woods. With that in mind, you should pay a lot of attention to the loft when considering the best fairway woods.
As I have mentioned above, standard loft for 3 fairway wood ranges from 12 to 17 degrees. With a large variety, you will have a bunch of options to choose from.
Which loft is suitable for your fairway wood strongly depends on its application. For example, a 3 wood with a lower loft of 14 degrees is ideal for hitting tee shots. Meanwhile, if you want to hit the ball from the fairway or light rough, a 16 degree 3 wood might be suitable.
However, if you want a multi-purpose 3 wood that can accomplish both tasks, you should go for a 15-degree 3 wood.
Many high-handicapped golfers prefer high-lofted fairway woods. Their larger head size, and longer shaft length enables greater forgiveness and confidence than standard irons or hybrid irons.
High-lofted fairway woods are a perfect choice if you experience hassles with shanking. Also, they are considered as the ideal alternatives for the irons, namely the 9 and 11 wood.
All in all, there is a primary rule that the lower loft wood, the more skills are required to hit.
The next key feature that you should take into account when purchasing a fairway wood is the shaft length. The length of the shaft makes a great contribution to your comfort during the game. You should choose the correct length that fits your height.
To determine the suitable length of your golf club, you should measure your height as well as the tall of your wrists from the floor. Remember to stand on a level surface with your arms and shoulder relaxed. Measure the distance from your wrists to the floor.
The next criterion that you should pay attention to is the head material. It is the key factor that affects your performance and the club lifespan.
While wood was widely used in traditional golf club heads, nowadays, metal club heads with advanced technologies are commonly used. They are made from stainless steel, titanium, and multi-material. I will go into details of each material right below and help you with their pros and cons.
Stainless steel is the ideal choice for those with a limited budget. It is not only a budget-friendly option but also a robust metal that can last for several games. The steel material allows the head to be minimal in size but maximum in distances and forgiveness.
However, the downside of stainless steel is the weight. It might be a little heavy for high handicappers in a few first swings. But you can get used to it and make the best use of it.
Titanium is the lightest material of all, which is about half the weight of steel. The weight advantage also allows the manufacturer to push the CG point as back as possible. Hence, with a titanium club head, you will get the maximum distance.
However, it might be an expensive investment for an elite titanium club head. Moreover, the reduced weight might require a larger design to meet the standard. Thus, the head might be taller and a little bulkier to hit off the fairway.
Last but not least, multi-material includes various materials with the aim to optimize the quality for club heads. Hence, multi-material heads provide you with a better launch and significantly reduces twisting for off-center contact.
However, you might need to pay slightly more money for a high-quality multi-material club head. But they are beginner-friendly so you can improve your gameplay with them.
Adjustability is nowadays making a phenomenon among golfers. Manufacturers offer their customers with the freedom to customize their club in mainly three forms:
With modern technologies, many fairway woods allows you to adjust the loft and lie to make the best use of the club. An adjustable screw in the heel that enables you to increase or decrease the loft angle by 1 to 3 degrees.
While customizing the loft, you might also make changes in the lie, the angle between the shaft and the ground. If you do not have much experience in adjusting, a hosel can keep the lie unaffected.
However, it requires adequate knowledge about how to adjust the loft in the right way and when to use it. You can hit several balls in different settings to know which one fits you the most.
Another customization that can cause a significant effect on performance is the face angle adjustment. It is the angle of the face when hitting the ball. Thus, making changes in the face angle directly impacts ball flight.
If you have a tendency to slice the ball, a closed clubface might be an ideal adjustment. Otherwise, an open clubface might be suitable for those with hook tendencies.
Movable weights are more commonly included in drivers than in fairway woods. But it isn’t hard for you to find these amazing features in many woods on the market.
The aim of adding or reducing weights is to affect the center of gravity. Hence, it will result in forgiveness, distance, and flight trajectory of the clubs.
Moreover, it will affect the total price of a fairway wood. So my recommendation is to purchase an adjustable club later when you know well about golf.
Last but not least, you need to consider your budget as an important factor. There are many options that fit your budget. But remember that you will get what you paid for.
An fairway wood with elite quality might cost you a lot, but it will stay with you for a long time. However, if you don’t intend to go professional but only are a leisurely player, a budget-friendly option might be a suitable choice.
Which brands make the best fairway woods?
I know that many of you might choose stuff by brands. And it works in almost every case, including fairway woods. I will make it as easy as possible for you with the list of the best fairway woods brands in the market.
TaylorMade is among the most trustworthy manufacturers on the market with over 40 years of experience. They are the leading brands in fairway woods technologies and innovation toward users’ experiences.
With great forgiveness and distances, TaylorMade fairway woods are among the best choices for high handicappers.
Another top dog in the world of golf equipment is the Callaway with the undeniable quality and trust. Callaway stands out in the market with the combination of modern technology and classical design.
Products from Callaway rank themselves as one of the most beginner-oriented equipment with a comfortable feeling and aesthetic look.
With the hopes to offer golfers in America the best-quality golf equipment, Cobra was founded in 1973 by a champion of the Australian amateur golf tournament.
As the leading brands in golf equipment, Cobra always achieves the highest score of user satisfaction with the application of modern technologies that we haven’t seen in fairway woods.
Ping is a fast-rising name in the golf equipment world with their fitting innovation. Since 1980, they are the first brand that offers an exclusive fitting program to make their products fit correctly with the player’s physical characteristics. They also provide users with high-quality clubs with several strong points.
Moreover, if you want an adjustable golf club, Ping might be the best brand to choose from.
Orlimar was a rising star in the 1990s with the iconic clubs TriMetal fairway wood that boast several strong points at that time. However, the business dropped dramatically in 1998 that forced the brand to reboot.
Fortunately, with the upgraded version of TriMetal, the brand was reborn and continuously scores the highest point in customer satisfaction. With the advanced technology that allows users to customize their club, Orlimar products are ideal options for those who need particular adjustments.
Moonwood golf club is a new name in the golf equipment market with the first product Moon Wood 8, the innovative club that blends between mid-irons, hybrids and woods.
It possesses a shorter shaft compared to a typical fairway wood, which is considered more control and easier to hit. It is an inch shorter than a 4-iron and a 5-hybrid and 4 inches shorter than a 5-wood.
Moreover, it features an ultra-low profile face design that allows you to swing thin shots with ease. Combining with a high launch angle, the Moonwood 8 is ideal for getting the ball up in the air from any lie.
Our top-rated picks
1. Most Forgiving
Top of the list is the Taylormade M4 3-wood with a bunch of advantages that can satisfy even the most critical buyers. It features several technologies that can significantly improve high handicappers’ performance.
The M4, one of the strong 3 woods with 15 degrees, contains the 2019 latest technologies of Taylormade that provides users with the ultimate forgiveness.
The crown is constructed of 5-layer light carbon material to evenly distribute the weight and create lower CG points. Thus, it allows high handicappers to hit the ball at the great distance in the relatively straight line.
For beginners and high handicappers, golf feel is one of the most important factors that affect the performance. To address that problem, the M4 fairway wood features the Geoacoustic Technology for optimal playability, sound, and feel.
- Speed pocket for additional ball speed, distance, and forgiveness.
- Ultra-strong steel face
- Great weight distribution
- Do not have the adjustability options
New version: TaylorMade SIM MAX Fairway
The 2020 version of the M4 fairway wood is the SIM MAX fairway wood with the unique V Steel Sole design to improve turf interaction. It significantly reduces vibration and offers extra versatility.
This upgraded version also adds the adjustability that allows golfers to customize face angles to match their tendencies. It also features a standard head design that accommodates ultra-low CG for extensive distance.
2. Best for Launch
Next on my list is the Taylormade RBZ Fairway for mid handicappers with the optimization in both style and performance.
This RBZ fairway wood features the revolutionary Speed Pocket, an exclusive feature of Taylormade, to launch the ball higher and increase distance. Thus it will enable high handicappers to carry the ball straight and far enough in every shot.
The most noticeable feature of the RBZ Fairway is the optimal launch. Golfers who are facing problems in launching might find this fairway wood as a desirable option with its comfortable feel as well as minimal sound and impact.
In terms of design, the RBZ Men wood can satisfy any male golfers with the black finish. Not only to serve the aesthetic factor, but elegant details on the crown also make it easier for golfers to aim the shots.
- Lightweight shaft for optimal speed
- Thoughtfully-positioned mass for a comfortable feel
- Elegant look
- Built with 2012 technologies
- Smaller clubhead
3. Easiest To Hit
The Cobra King F8 fairway wood is an elite option with adjustability for those who want to customize their clubs.
At its price range, it might be hard to find a fairway wood that allows you to adjust the loft angles, not to mention a wide range of customizable angles in this King F8 wood. However, it doesn’t come with an adjustment tool. So you have to purchase it separately or have the club adjusted in the store.
With a larger face that accommodates larger sweet spots, the King F8 is ideal for high handicappers who find it hard to hit the ball in the center of the face. Moreover, the forged steel face offers maximal flex to increase carry distance and ball speed.
- Progressive baffler dual rail system for extra forgiveness
- 5-ply carbon fiber crown
- Back center gravity position
- Adjustable loft between 13 degrees and 16 degrees
- Adjustment tool not included
4. Best for seniors
If you are a senior in golf, looking for a comfortable yet helpful fairway wood might cost you a lot of time and effort. The Callaway Steelhead XR can provide you with the ultimate comfort in every shot.
With the latest technology of face materials, the Steelhead XR is equipped with a 4th Gen Face Cup that maximum the ball speed no matter where the contact point is. Meanwhile, the lightweight J-36 carbon crown created lower CG points for added forgiveness, lower spin, and extra power.
One more thing that I love in the Steelhead XR is the iconic shape of the Steelhead series. Combining with the black finish, this fairway wood is an aesthetic option for seniors.
- Next-generation Face Cup Technology for maximum ball speed
- Premium shaft for a comfortable feel and reliable power
- Classic steelhead shape with a larger clubhead
- Does not include the club headcover
5. Best for Long Distance
Many high-handicappers face the problem of unuseful wood, which might lead to a short distance and low performance. If you want to improve your distance, the Taylormade M2 Men fairway wood might do you good.
The M2 wood is the first product that features the two latest technology of Taylormade. It is equipped with the inverted cone technology, and geoacoustic technology to significantly improve your performance.
While the inverted cone technology created an enlarged sweet spot, the geoacoustic technology offers the optimal playability from all lies. Moreover, it features the flexible speed pocket for extra ball speed and minimal backspin. Hence, it will offer a comfortable experience with great forgiveness.
- Inverted cone technology for an enlarged sweet spot
- Provide consistent and straight ball flight
- Fluted hosel for superior sound and feel
- The stiff shaft might be hard to hit
- Less attractive design
6. Large Head
As I have mentioned above, many golfers find it hard to hit the ball on the sweet spot, especially high handicappers. So, the best solution here is to pick a fairway wood with a larger head and enlarged sweet spot. And the Callaway Big Bertha is a wise choice for you.
The Callaway Big Bertha is the ultimate combination that matches all criteria of a good fairway wood. It features the Cup Face technology that can give you a broader distance compared to other competitions in the same price range.
The Callaway Big Bertha also allows you to customize the golf club to find the optimal loft and lie for your characteristics. It features 8 ways to tune the club the way you want it to be. But its price is among the bottom price range on the market.
- Optimal face for center and off-center hits
- Larger head for added playability
- Loft adjustability
- Loud impact sound
7. The Cheapest Option
Golf is not the high-class sport that is only for those with a generous budget. With the Fresh Metal fairway wood, golfers with a limited budget can join the sport with valuable quality clubs.
The Fresh Metal offers buyers the standard quality with a stylish design. It is made from stainless steel with the silver finish for a shiny and attractive look.
In terms of performance, the Fresh Metal features the offset that promotes high drawing ball flight in high and consistent shots. Moreover, it comes with the famous Founders Club rail for extra confidence when hitting the ball.
- Modern and stylish design
- Made from 100% stainless steel
- Great value
- Only have the right-hand option
Another Option: Orlimar Golf Escape Fairway Wood
Another option at the same price is the Orlimar Golf Escape wood with a similar silver finish. It is a 16-degree high-launch 3 wood that only available for right-hand golfers.
The Golf Escape wood accommodates a low center of gravity that can extract the ball even from tight lies. Meanwhile, the shallow face height enables you to launch the ball high and land it softly on the ground. With a large footprint, it is an excellent alternative for hybrids and irons.
8. Great Quality
Here comes the star of my list, the Callaway Rogue fairway wood, the first club features the Jailbreak technology that offers the triple fasting-effect.
It comes with an ultra-thin, Carpenter 455 steel face that among the fastest faces in the market. Moreover, it features two steel Jailbreak bars to harden the body and promote increasing speed and distance. The Face Cup technology optimizes the speed at both center and off-center areas. Hence, it will provide you with smooth and consistent ball flights.
Besides, the design with neon blue details makes gives the Callaway Rogue a modern and stylish look that fits all types of golfers styles.
- The leading quality of shaft, loft and weight options
- Triaxial carbon crown
- Easy to launch
- Weight adjusting tool is not included
9. Easily Adjustable
Last of the list is the Cobra King F6 fairway wood that allows you to have the whole control to adjust the club your way. It comes with eight loft adjustment levels that allow you to fine tune launch conditions and trajectory to maximize the distance based on your skill levels.
According to my research, the King F6 is the best in weight distribution. It features front-to-back CG adjustment which makes it a versatile club for both tendencies.
The King F6 fairway wood integrates the latest Speed Channel innovation of Cobra that not only reduces the thickness of the face but also significantly enhances ball speed.
- Front to back CG adjustment
- Eight loft settings
- Latest Speed Channel innovation
- Only for left-hand golfers
Fairway wood or hybrid for beginners?
For beginners, I strongly recommend them to start with fairway woods. They are forgiving clubs with several assistant technologies to accelerate the golfers’ performance.
Although many golfers claim that hybrids make long iron games easier, 17, 19 or 21 degrees fairway woods are easier to control that the same-loft hybrid.
Can I use a 3 wood as a driver replacement?
In fact, many amateur golf players use their 3 wood to replace the driver. As 3 woods have more loft than drivers, they are able to hit at high swing speed. When considering the distance between 3 woods and drivers, the 3 woods allow you to have more control with the large distance range that can be adjusted by adding or removing force.
Furthermore, you will have better angles to deal with the shot and also more spin for the desired distance.
Driver and 3 wood combo
If you want to have a driver and 3 wood combo, TaylorMade is already available for you. I strongly recommend the M2 Driver and M2 3 wood. They are the best combo with elite performance and comfortable feel that any high handicapper should have in his golf set.
So, here comes the end of this article. I hope that it could give you some insight into a good fairway wood’s criteria. Consider your skills and your demands carefully and go for a suitable options. Enjoy!