Best Men's Fairway Woods

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

28 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
473 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best men’s fairway woods

Last Updated September 2020

A fairway wood may not be a golf club you count on all that often, but it’s a key part of any golf bag. A fairway wood can help you recover from a poor tee shot, or it can give you the ability to get home in two shots on that par 5 that always gives you trouble.

Even though hybrid golf clubs have grown in popularity, there’s still a place for a trusty fairway wood in your golf bag. Some people carry two, three, or more fairway woods, as they find them easier to hit consistently than long irons. Some golfers even choose to use the fairway wood in place of a driver when they’re struggling to keep the ball on the fairway off the tee.

Men’s fairway woods are available in multiple club face lofts and with a variety of materials in the club head and shaft. Having these options simplifies the process of finding a fairway wood that you’ll love to use and that fits your swing and game perfectly.

For a right-handed golfer, a ball that is sliced travels right of the target line, and a ball that is hooked travels left of the target. The opposite is true for a left-handed golfer.

Key considerations

Numbers

When comparing different fairway woods, it’s important to understand how they’re numbered. Each number on the fairway wood corresponds to a different loft in the club face. With a greater degree of loft in the club face, the fairway wood pops the ball higher into the air, but the shot has less distance than a wood with a lesser degree of loft.

  • 2-wood: 11° to 15°
  • 3-wood: 13° to 17°
  • 4-wood: 15° to 19°
  • 5-wood: 17° to 21°
  • 7-wood: 20° to 24°
  • 9-wood: 23° to 27°
  • 11-wood: 26° to 30°
     

Understand that a driver is also called a 1-wood, and it has a smaller loft angle than the 2-wood, usually between 8° and 12°. You may find fairway woods with other numbers, but these are commonly sold options.

Additionally, some fairway woods have a dial system that allows you to adjust the loft angle of the club slightly. This usually allows one club to serve as a 3-wood and a 4-wood, for example.

Designed to forgive mishits

If you often have off-center ball strikes, the design of this club face is made to reduce the effects of a bad swing. It’s a high-quality club that ensures you receive the distance you expect. The club head’s aerodynamic design allows the player to reach a maximum swing speed.

Features

The design and materials used in the construction of the fairway wood’s club head and shaft play a big role in how you use the club and how it can help your game.

Club head

A men’s fairway wood club head may consist of steel, titanium, or a combination of the two. Some club heads have carbon mixed in with the other materials.

Steel club heads are inexpensive compared to other materials, and steel gives a high level of longevity. However, it doesn’t deliver the distance or the forgiveness on a mishit like the other materials do.

Because titanium is lighter than steel, using it in the club head moves the center of gravity farther back, which helps with consistency. This design generates more backspin than side spin, keeping the ball on a straighter path.

A mix of titanium, steel, and carbon (called a composite club head) has many of the same benefits. Composite club heads, like titanium club heads, are expensive.

To clean a fairway wood, a dry or slightly damp golf towel should work well. A golf club brush removes soil or muddy grass.

Club face

The club face likely consists of a variety of materials, including titanium, steel, and carbon. Some club faces are made to help maximize distance. Others may be shaped to allow the ball to remain on a straight path.

Some club faces on fairway woods even are hook-biased or slice-biased, attempting to help a golfer who has a consistent flaw in their swing to counteract it.

Shaft

Graphite is the most common shaft material used in a fairway wood. It’s lightweight and delivers the desired level of flex in the club at impact, helping with distance. Inexpensive men’s fairway woods have a steel shaft.

The length of the shaft varies depending on the loft of the club face for the fairway wood. Clubs with less loft have a longer shaft than clubs with more loft.

DID YOU KNOW?

Several decades ago, club heads on fairway woods were made of wood, hence the name. Even though wood is no longer used to make these clubs, the name persists.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some men’s golf club sets include one or two fairway woods as part of the set, but you can always buy a fairway wood separately to add to your bag.

Men’s fairway wood prices

Inexpensive: Beginner level men’s fairway woods cost $40 to $100. These are simple golf clubs with no adjustable features or specific design tweaks to yield extra distance. They’re made for beginners and usually consist of steel.

Mid-range: Mid-range fairway woods cost $100 to $200. These are well-built golf clubs with some nice features aimed at helping average golfers gain more consistency in both distance and accuracy.

Expensive: The most expensive fairway woods cost $200 to $400 apiece. These models consist of lightweight materials or a composite material, allowing for maximum club head speed and distance. They have a larger sweet spot in the club face, which reduces the penalty for a ball that isn’t struck dead center.

Good value for golfers

When you need to find the perfect loft in a fairway wood, this model has several choices available. It has an extremely low price for a fairway wood that’s made for inexperienced golfers. For a golfer who often slices the ball, this club has a design that tries to reduce the effect of that slice.

Tips

  • A wider sole in the club head keeps the club stable at the moment of impact, reducing the club head’s attempt to twist at impact. This keeps balls from traveling off the desired path.
  • A fairway wood with a greater loft angle has a lower center of gravity than a fairway wood with less of a loft angle. The lower center of gravity reduces spin on the ball, keeping it straighter.
  • To overcome a consistent slice or hook in your swing, consider a fairway wood with moveable weights in the club head.
  • Fairway wood club heads with extra weight around the perimeter of the head help you keep the club head on target better than a club head with an equally distributed weight.
Fairway woods have long shafts, so the club heads stick out of the golf bag several inches, making them susceptible to banging into other items. Use a head cover to protect them.

FAQ

Q. How does a fairway wood differ from a driver?
A.
Fairway woods are different golf clubs than a driver, even though both have a similar look and both are considered woods. The driver’s club head measures 400cc to 440cc, while an average fairway wood has a club head size of 140cc to 180cc. The driver is made for use off the tee, while a fairway wood can be used off the tee or from a lie in the fairway.
 

Q. Why is a fairway wood easier to control than a driver?
A.
Because the fairway wood has a shorter shaft and a lighter club head than a driver, golfers are better able to maintain a proper swing path with it. However, these same features mean that it cannot deliver the same distance as a ball struck with a driver. Additionally, the extra loft angle in the face of the fairway wood versus a driver places more backspin on the ball. This reduces side to side spin, keeping the ball straighter on the target path.
 

Q. Can I use a fairway wood in the rough?
A.
Sometimes. If you’re using a fairway wood with a high loft angle in the club face and your lie in the rough is reasonable, you may have some success. With thick rough where the ball has a deep lie, it’s difficult to move the club head on a wood through the grass. An iron or hybrid club usually works better.
 

Q. Do I have to carry a fairway wood?
A.
No. If you often play an executive course (or a par 3 course), you probably have no use for a fairway wood. Some people prefer hitting a hybrid club or a long iron instead of a fairway wood. However, those clubs don’t have quite the same maximum distance as the fairway wood.

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