As a beginner or high handicap golfer, it is always good to have a solid go-to club that you are confident with, that’s where fairway woods can be your secret weapon. Drivers can be tough to control and irons can be difficult to hit and not provide enough distance. Fairway woods are much easier to control, easier to launch your shots high, and can hit almost as long as your driver. They are typically your 3-woods and 5-woods. However, there are other options such as a 4-wood, 7-wood, or even a “strong” 3-wood which can play as your 2-wood, one club less than driver. Sometimes beginners or high handicap players can hit fairway woods more often than their driver, or start learning to hit fairway woods and learn to hit driver later on.
So if you’re looking to add a wood to your bag to hit off the deck or when the driver just isn’t needed – well we will be up front with you – our top pick of the year is the Callaway Mavrik Max fairway wood. Read on for our top choices of the year, or scroll down further for our in depth breakdowns of each woods strengths and weaknesses!
The Best High Handicapper Wood
Callaway Mavrik Max
Best Wood For Beginners
Hit bombs with a bit of extra forgiveness, the Mavrik Max is a fantastic choice for anyone on the hunt for their next fairway wood!
Packed with technology and powered with artificial intelligence, the Callaway Mavrik offers distance and forgiveness which is sure to translate to an enjoyable round! Combining the Flash Face and Jailbreak Technology with high quality materials creates a highly performing club and very valuable investment
The low CG and high forgiveness level in this club makes it very enjoyable for beginner players. It is also one of the cheapest fairway woods you will find – Forgiveness, Value, and a great looking club, what else can you ask for?
Lightweight design is ideal for beginner players looking for an easy to swing club. The club also has extremely high forgiveness and high launch capabilities help you build confidence
Tour Edge HL4 Wood
Forgiveness and Value
Tour Edge has perfected their fairway wood design and they come in at an excellent price point for the technology you get
Callaway Maverik Max
Our Top Choice
Our top choice for the year has speed, length, and excellent launch angel all built into one top tier fairway wood
Cobra F-Max Fairway
A top fairway wood from 2020, the prices you can get this thing for in 2021 is insanely good value with excellent performance
Our Research and Findings
For beginners who are new to the game, it is best to select a fairway wood that can easily launch the ball in the air on and off the tee, and provide plenty of forgiveness on mis-hits. Woods that feel and look good in your hands and easy to control are also things to consider.
There are plenty of selections in the fairway woods that cater to all beginner-type and high handicap players, and they are packed with their own technologies and designs. It is all about what feels best for you. Fairway woods aren’t as long as the driver but are still plenty fun to hit. They are also much easier to hit than long irons. Beginner golfers will reap the rewards having a fairway wood or two in their bag. Let’s check out some of our best recommendations to you for fairway woods.
The Best Fairway Woods For High Handicappers
1. Callaway Maverik Max - Best Overall Fairway Wood For Beginners
- Jailbreak Technology promote maximum forgiveness in your shots
- Flash Face Technology with forged C300 Maraging Steel for fast ball speeds and incredible forgiveness
- Leading Edge clubhead design for easy launch
- Weighting options of the clubhead bottom for neutral or draw bias shot shape options
- Provides plenty of distance and forgiveness
- High quality materials (carbon fiber crown, forged steel)
- Comes with shaft and grip options
- Changeable weights give players options to experiment
- Larger clubhead size may not be appealing to some players
- Higher price point
Callaway is always a brand worth considering when finding a fairway wood for beginner or high handicap players. They have developed many new and exciting technologies that truly improve any player’s game. Their current use of artificial intelligence (AI) in clubhead design has created clubs that are easy and enjoyable to hit.
The Mavrik Max Fairway wood is an extremely fun club to hit. It is packed with plenty of distance and forgiveness where players can feel comfortable hitting it off the tee or fairway. It features a relatively large clubhead, but that is typical for game improvement clubs designed to enlarge the sweet spot. This gives players a bit more margin for error on off-center hits so these shots can still catch a piece of the sweet spot and fly relatively straight.
This clubhead is so well designed that it’s a worthwhile multi-season investment. First, it is made of carbon fibre and light weight forged steel that makes it durable yet easy for players to swing. Callaway’s use of AI and Flash Face technology has created a clubface that is very responsive resulting in fast ball speeds. Shifting to the Jailbreak Technology, these are essentially two steel bars positioned right behind the clubface providing exceptional forgiveness. One other bonus this club delivers is the adjustable weights on the sole. These weights are interchangeable depending on what players are looking for in their shots.
Overall, the Mavrik Max Fairway is a stellar club. It is a pricey club but it ranks highest on our performance picks for good reason. We think this fairway wood is a fantastic investment that will reap rewards for you game for many years.
2. Tour Edge HL4 - Most Forgiving Beginners Fairway Wood
- Variable Face Thickness Technology with Cup Face design for highest level of forgiveness
- Power Channel positioned behind the clubface to increase ball speed
- Rear weighting on the sole to lower CG and increase launch angles
- Thin design forged 17-4 steel clubhead to maximizing MOI
- Lightweight design for improved control
- Adjustable weights can promote higher ball launch
- Customizable option with different shafts available from Tour Edge
- Attractive pricing
- Lightweight design may not suit players with faster swing speeds
- Difficult to find any cons for this stellar club
Not only has Tour Edge designed a great game-improvement fairway wood, this club is enjoyed by players of all skill levels. Beginners won’t need to break the bank and will find a great amount of performance with this club. The HL4 fairway wood is an easy to hit club where just by looking at it when addressing the ball, players will feel confident he or she can hit it straight and high.
This new fairway wood design in Tour Edge’s Hot Launch series features a slightly different shape than their HL3. In this version they went with a lighter weight design using 17-4 forged steel, which creates stability and a high MOI (forgiveness) rating. Also new is the additional weight on the back part of the sole creating a lower CG for optimizing forgiveness and launching the ball high into the air.
Let’s talk about clubface now. There is nothing better in a fairway wood than a thin forgiving face that generates some serious speed on your tee and fairway shots. Tour Edge’s Variable Face Thickness Technology is found in the HL4 Fairway wood along with a Power Channel giving your shots that extra speed.
If you have read our review of the HL4 driver, you won’t be surprised that Tour Edge provides custom fitting for their fairway woods too. With multiple shaft selections to suit your swing speed and feel preference, you can put together an HL4 fairway wood that you can call your own. As you can see, this club packs plenty of features that will help beginners elevate their game. Best of all, Tour Edge makes their products very affordable to the average player and the HL4 has a very attractive price.
3. Cobra F-Max Airspeed - Best Beginners Fairway Wood for the Money
- Light weight design for easy swinging and faster swing speed
- Offset hosel to promote draw bias and more accurate shots
- Crown alignment detailing to improve accuracy
- Forged stainless steel clubface for faster ball speeds
- Extremely lightweight design helps increase swing speed
- Low CG helps the ball up in the air
- Back heel weighting helps straighten shots and provides forgiveness
- Players already with fast swing speeds may not be suited for this club
- The offset may not be a good visual for players
When it comes to Cobra clubs, they sure know how to design for beginners. Consistent with the rest of the F-Max line, their Airspeed fairway wood is an ultra-light weight design for players who don’t swing that fast, but are looking to increase swing speed and distance. Being able to swing faster without having to exert more effort is a big bonus for beginner and high handicap players.
This wood is also a very forgiving club with a slight bit of offset to promote straighter shots. The forgiveness comes from a combination of the carbon fibre material crown and the back-heel weighting. Together you have a club that sports high MOI so that even mis-hits can travel decently straight, and a low CG that gets your ball in the air quick.
Forgiveness also comes from other features in this club. The wide clubface increases the surface area and provides a larger sweet spot for players to hit. Not only is the clubhead designed to be light, the shaft is also very light weight as well. Although one drawback is players already with faster swing speeds will likely not find the benefit from using the F Max Airspeed. Cobra’s F9 would be a better choice.
4. TaylorMade Sim Max - Longest Fairway Wood for Beginners
- Multi-material design: Clubface designed with C300 steel, crown designed with carbon fibre
- Twist Face Technology for maximum forgiveness
- Thru-Slot Speed Pocket to maximize ball speed
- V-Steel design on the sole for handling difficult lies and reducing turf friction.
- Easy to hit off the tee and fairway
- Solid feel at impact
- One of the longest fairway woods on market
- High level of forgiveness in this club
- Clubhead can be easily scratched
- High price point
If you’re looking for distance, you will certainly find it with the TaylorMade SIM Max Fairway Wood. When starting out, distance can be an issue for beginners and they will look to push their limits with every swing. The newest TaylorMade fairway wood is packed with plenty of technology that will get every inch out of your swing. It also packs plenty of forgiveness too for mis-hits.
There is a lot that goes into this fairway wood so we will start with the main features. First, TaylorMade brings back an old goodie called the V-Steel sole design. On the bottom of the club, this shape is design to reduce friction between the club and the turf so you can optimize your clubhead speed right before impact. Adding another level of forgiveness comes from the Twist Face Technology. This allows off-center hits to still travel a respectable distance and fly straighter. Combining this with the Thru-Slot Speed Pocket, you have a fairway wood that will squeeze every single possible yard out of your golf shots. This delivers additional ball speed and forgiveness on shots that are hit low on the clubface.
In terms of materials and construction, TaylorMade has found a great combination. Combining carbon fibre and the ultra-sturdy C300 steel on the clubface, you have a lightweight fairway wood that allows for easy and faster swinging for new players delivering faster ball speeds. Faster speeds mean longer distances. The combination also helps lower the CG in the clubhead helping the ball launch at higher angles.
The TaylorMade SIM Max fairway wood is a fun club to hit that is packed with technology. It is designed for distance, but also offers a lot of forgiveness for beginners. As you can see there are many features in this club, and not surprisingly this TaylorMade club comes at a relatively expensive price. It is on the higher end of the market. However, if you feel like splurging and know you’ll be using this club for many years, it is a fantastic choice.
5. Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo
- HiBore Crown creating a lower CG
- Deep weighting to increase MOI and promote faster ball speed
- Turbocharged Cup Face for higher COR and larger sweet spot
- High-launch capability
- Attractive looking club when addressing the ball
- Hosel offset helps eliminate slice
- Light-weight feel
- No adjustability features
- Matte finish can be scratched easy
Choosing a Cleveland Golf club is never a bad choice, especially their popular Launcher HB Turbo series. Cleveland is known for their practical designs and sneaky distance that are well suited for high handicap golfers and beginners, and their fairway woods are no different. The Launcher HB Turbo packs a mean punch and behind it are features that can improve any player’s game.
Starting with the clubface, the Launcher HB Turbo is a simple design that is both forgiving and helps straighten shots. Cleveland’s Turbocharged Cup Face technology expands the sweet spot as large as possible so that mis-hits can still travel relatively straight and fast. Pared with a slight offset from the hosel, this club helps offset slices creating a straighter shot. Average players usually have a slice, some more severe than others, but the hosel offset gives that extra split-second of time for players to square the clubface.
The crown design of the clubhead is also a main feature. It is an easy-on-the-eyes design that has actually been in Cleveland’s woods for a decade and counting. The design of the crown adjusts weighting and shifts the center of gravity to a lower position helping launch golf shots higher. Its visuals when addressing the ball make it easy to align as well so that you’re aimed at your desired target.
Beginner golfers usually look for distance and game-improvement out of their clubs. The Launcher HB Turbo is an excellent choice to deliver on those wishes. If we were to pick on anything, it would be this club is not adjustable. In our view, the lack of adjustability is more than offset by the amazing Turbocharged Cup Face technology that delivers long distances, and their classic simple crown design that creates high launch and high forgiveness.
6. Pinemeadow PGX Offset - Best Value Fairway Wood
- Large clubhead size for maximum forgiveness
- Hosel offset to help square the clubface
- Anti-Slice Technology
- Price! One of the cheapest fairway woods on market
- A true beginner club design with hosel offset
- Seven different woods available from 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15-wood!
- Not ideal for faster swinging more advanced players
- Offset design is not very appealing
Sure, Pinemeadow isn’t your premium golf brands but not is it popular, it is one of the best options for beginner golfers who are on a budget. Their Offset Fairway Woods are a great choice for players just starting out in the game. These clubs are easy to hit and provide beginners valuable feel for feedback and improvement.
The main highlights of these fairway woods are their hosel off combined with Anti-Slice Technology. Majority of beginner players tend to slice the ball or have trouble squaring the club face at impact. But shifting the clubface behind the hosel, it provides that extra split second for a player to being the clubface back to square and promote a straighter shot. On top of that, the Anti-Slice Technology delivers additional offset and weighting within the clubface to further reduce slicing tendencies.
Pinemeadow offers a fairway wood to substitute almost every iron in your bag. You can have a bag full of fairway woods if you please. However, if you have a fast swing speed, these fairway woods will not work well for you. Beginners who are looking for a light, easy to swing fairway wood will get positive results from the PGX fairway woods. You’ll find these clubs are very budget friendly as well so you can save more hard earned dollars for the tee times!
7. Titleist TS2 Fairway Wood
- Variable Face Thickness design for faster ball speeds and increased forgiveness
- Low Center of Gravity from an optimized weight distribution in the clubhead
- Ultra-thin crown design for lower Center of Gravity
- Active Recoil Channel for faster ball speeds
- Wide face for large sweet spot and higher forgiveness
- Thin crown made of titanium provides durability
- Mid to high launch capabilities for faster swinging players
- Higher price point
- Heavier design is more difficult to hit compared to other brands
The craftsmanship in Titleist fairway woods are worth mentioning. This brand is known for its sleek traditional designs more accustomed to experienced players, but Titleist has certainly made efforts to cater to beginners. We would call their TS2 Fairway Wood our dark horse pick. They aren’t as easy to hit compared to other beginner level woods, but they do perform very well when hit consistently.
The Titleist TS2 is a very refined looking club that does offer high launch ability and fast ball speeds. It features a thin clubface with Variable Face Thickness technology built in similar to other brand fairway woods. The club’s crown also has a thin and lightweight design helping to lower the CG for easier ball launch.
One thing that distinguishes the Titleist TS2 from other fairway woods for high handicap players is the level of control the club offers. It is a heavier fairway wood compared to its peers and is designed for faster swinging players looking for more feel. Although Titleist does well to achieve lower CG and higher forgiveness for players, it does take a faster swing to achieve the optimal results from this club.
Overall, the TS2 is an awesome club that offers distance and control. Slower swing speed players may find this club is not as forgiving and harder to hit and may be better off scoping other brands. It is geared more towards players with faster swings. When trying a TS2 myself, hitting the sweet spot definitely gets the golf ball flying hot! Titleist prices this fairway wood on the high end of the market, but it is an excellent choice for golfers who are becoming more experienced with faster swings.
How To Choose Fairway Woods for Beginner Golfers
Now that you have a sense on the selections of fairway woods available, it is important to figure out which one suits you best. Below is some additional information worth considering before picking the best fairway wood for your game.
Fairway Wood Forgiveness
For beginners just getting their feet wet in the game, having a highly forgiving fairway wood will go a long way for enjoying the game. Of all the factors to consider, this should rank near the top and commonly most game improvement fairway woods are designed with plenty of forgiveness for players. When shopping for clubs however, and of course reading this article, you’ll come across some important keywords that piece together the club’s forgiveness. Here are their descriptions:
Fairway Wood Sweet Spot
Bigger is better. That is typically the case when it comes to sweet spots on clubheads. The sweet spot is the center of the clubface where if the ball is struck on that spot, it will feel the most solid and likely travel the longest, compared to hitting away from the center. Fairway woods for beginners are typically designed with larger sweet spots. Hitting the ball on the toe-side of heel-side of the club will still feel very solid and result in decent shots.
Fairway Wood Center of Gravity
The Center of Gravity of a fairway wood is the point in the clubhead where it is perfectly balanced. When the Center of Gravity is moved lower and to the back in a clubhead (away from the clubface), will result in higher launch angle with more spin. This is desired for beginners and high handicappers.
Fairway Wood Moment of Inertia
MOI is the measure of how much resistance a clubhead has against twisting when striking the golf ball. Higher resistance means higher MOI and ultimately higher forgiveness. A ball hit away from the middle of the club face is a mishit and can lead to twisting. This can result in lower distance and accuracy, and no golfer wants to miss fairways! Fairway woods designed with high MOI are more resistant to twisting such that your mishits can still fly straighter with good distance.
Off-Center Shots with a Fairway Wood
This is when the ball is struck away from the clubface center, either on the toe-side (left side for right-handed golf clubs) or heel-side (right side of the face). Game-improvement clubs provide forgiveness for these types of hits such that the ball still flies a decent distance.
Coefficient of Restitution
COR is essentially it is the measurement of energy transferred from one object to the other after colliding. It is also defined as the ratio of the final velocity to the initial velocity between two objects after their collision. In golf, COR is calculated by the ball speed after impact minus the clubhead speed after impact then divided by the clubhead speed before impact. COR ranges from 0 to 1.0, where a higher COR typically translates to faster ball speed, and therefore longer distances.
Fairway Wood Loft
For beginner players, loft is your friend. When checking out fairway woods, the higher the degrees of loft, the easier it is to hit the ball in the air. Typically, beginner plyers have slower swing speeds so any bit of help you can get to launch your shots higher is a good thing. Seeing these results build experience and confidence in your game. Yes, lower lofted clubs can produce more distance than higher lofted clubs. For example, a 3-wood that has a standard 15 degrees loft versus a 5-wood with 19 degrees loft. However, this is mainly the case with players with faster swing speeds. For beginners, you may find hitting that 5-wood can be longer than the 3-wood because the higher loft keeps your ball in the air longer. A higher loft starts your ball on a higher trajectory, and also puts more backspin on your ball than a lower lofted club, thus carrying you ball farther.
Fairway Wood Club Setup
There is no right answer to how many fairway woods should be in a player’s bag. We have seen players with three to four different lofted fairway woods to other players who don’t have fairway woods at all. Do you necessarily need to have a 3, 5 or 7 wood? The answer is simply no. Beginner players should find exactly what they need for woods, and part of the fun is experimenting and finding your distances.
For the most part, 5-woods and 7-woods are fairly popular compared to the 3-wood counterpart. The reason being, they are simply easier to hit than 3-woods. However, with recent advances in technology and materials, three-woods are built better and more comfortable to hit. Yes, they can hit longer distances than the 5 and 7-woods, but are harder to control and can get you in trouble more often. What good is distance if the club consistently puts you in tough spots on the course? Fairway woods should be a reliable fairway finder for your bag, and if you find yourself in the situation to go for the green, it should provide you enough distance to do so.
When we say finding your distances, one other thing to keep in mind is asking yourself how often you see yourself hitting that fairway wood during a round. Will you tee-off with that 3-wood more often than the 5-wood? Will you use that 7-wood for more approach shots than the 5-wood? Maybe you struggle with driver and feel way more comfortable with the 5 or 7-wood. Only you will know what is best for your game to fill that gap and how many fairway woods you need. You certainly don’t need to buy all of them.
Fairway Wood Price
As a beginner or high handicap player, getting into the game can be costly. Sticking to a budget isn’t necessarily a bad thing because there are plenty of well-designed fairway woods that are friendly to the wallet. Fairway woods can range from $150 to over $300 per club. If you’re looking to fill your bag with multiple fairway woods, the tab can add up quick. On the other side, there is nothing wrong with getting yourself a premium club if you feel it suits your game best. Our mindset is purchasing higher priced clubs can be viewed as an investment where you play the fairway wood often for several seasons.
Another path you can take is to start out with cheap brandless option fairway woods. The materials aren’t typically great and can wear out fast. However, as you get used to the game and improve you can outgrow those clubs and move onto higher quality fairway woods such as the ones we’ve reviewed in this article.
Fairway Wood Shaft
If you thought choosing the right club for you was difficult, finding the right shaft to go with those clubs can be even more puzzling. As we have mentioned before, part of the journey in golf is experimenting and finding your distances. Another factor is finding your swing speed. Beginners tend to start the game with slower swing speeds, but as they play more and gain experience that speed increases. There are plenty of shaft options that cover the entire range of possible swing speeds.
When experimenting with different clubs, it is helpful to spend sometime at a launch monitor to find out your swing speed. Determining the appropriate shaft flex is done by measuring a player’s swing speed with a driver. Generally, a swing speed between 80 and 95 mph should use a regular stiff shaft. Lower than 80 mph, a lighter or senior flex shaft is best. Between 95 and 110 mph, a stiff rated shaft is best. For fairway woods, shaft weighting can be slightly higher than the driver because it is a shorter club and a smaller clubhead compared to the driver.
One other thing to add, these days fairway woods are almost entirely equipped with graphite shafts. You will almost never find woods equipped with steel shafts.
Fairway Wood Adjustability
Not all fairway wood designs are adjustable. High handicap or beginner level options will likely not have this feature unlike some of the clubs we’ve reviewed above. For those that are adjustable, some fairway woods can only have their lofts adjusted, some can open or close the face.
There are a couple of great advantages to buying an adjustable fairway wood. The club features multiple settings so it can be like buying multiple clubs for the price of one. Beginners can struggle with slicing or hooking the ball, so having the options to close or open the clubface can help straighten out their shots. Also, as an example, if you’re more comfortable with your 5-wood being 19-degrees loft versus 18-degrees because you can launch the ball easier, adjustability will serve you well.
Fairway woods are an essential part of the golf bag, but finding the right one(s) for you can be a tricky process. They are a good option to hit off the tee if your driver travels too far for a specific hole, or if your driver isn’t performing well for you. A fairway wood offers more accuracy than a driver and more distance than your irons. To find the right one that suits you best, it’s worth the time to try different brands and designs to answer some questions for yourself. Does it feel good in your hands? Does it launch my shots in the air easily? Is it forgiving on mis-hits? Do I hit 5-wood about the same distance as the 3-wood? For beginners, fairway woods should ideally bridge the gap between your irons and driver. And the only way to find out which ones and how many should fit your bag is to experiment.
We hope our reviews and top picks of the fairway woods will help your decisions. We finish this article with considerations to bear in mind when choosing your fairway wood.
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