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Last updated: March 26, 2021
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It is very unfortunate that fairway woods are the last thing on any beginner or high handicapper’s mind. They are often overlooked, yet they make a whole world of difference to a player’s overall gameplay and score. On top of helping you cover long distances from the fairway, it will add versatility to your game. There are tons of options available on the market, so choosing the best fairway woods for high handicappers can be a tad tricky.
We rounded up the best-rated brands and models to make shopping a seamless experience for you. We considered such primary fairway wood features in our reviews as design, length, head, and loft. These features are the significant determinants of a fairway’s overall performance and convenient functionality. For instance, a fairway wood with a longer shaft and a larger head will deliver more distance, making the game much easier for you. And forgiveness is key for any high handicapper to make mis-hits playable. So, let’s dive into the best fairway woods for beginners!
"A versatile, easy to launch, and extremely forgiving fairway wood for those beginners who are ready to spend more.Up to 24° loft.Several shaft length options.Speed pockets for better sole flexibility."
"A fairway wood with impressive design and two titanium bars connecting the crown and sole together for a higher energy transfer.Up to 21° loft.Great speed and distance.Aerodynamic design for low spin and high launches."
"The lightest and most forgiving fairway wood by Cobra, which offers great value for golfers with moderate swing speeds.Up to 23° loft.Solid and responsive feel.Forged 455 stainless steel face insert."
This is a resuscitation of the famous steelhead fairway wood that was released at around the turn of the century. The Steelhead XR combines the steelhead shape of the legendary fairway wood with modern technology. Since its launch, it has quickly become a top favorite for golfers of different playing abilities.
The fairway wood has an attractive, clean-looking design with a black and blue head color scheme. It has an industry-average head size that appears more compact than that of its peers because of the unique steelhead shaping and a carbon fiber crown with a simple logo.
Other than its perfect blend of modern technology and classic styling, the steelhead XR stands out because of the wide range of lofts it offers from 13.5 degrees to 21 degrees and even the 20.5-degree heavenwood. You have plenty of options to fill your bag.
As for the shaft, you get the Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei CK Series 55 Graphite. It is pretty lightweight, coming in at 68 grams, and well balanced.
Why is it special? The Steelhead XR offers unparalleled versatility and first-rate performance. Its compact design sets it apart from its peers and, surprisingly, provides a low-spin high launch flight. This allows you to achieve both a longer distance and soft approach shots.
What are the flaws? The steelhead XR lacks adjustability as it comes with a fixed hosel.
The SIM range is the newest line of TaylorMade meant to replace the “M” line that has been a top favorite for many golfers for the longest time. Like all the other SIM models, the SIM MAX has some singularity in its design to increase speed for more distance and speed.
TaylorMade has reincarnated its iconic V-steel sole with the entire SIM family. Together with an advanced shaping, the V-steel sole enhances turf interaction and playability. The design also ensures you get the best ball speed and clubhead speed.
The SIM max gets its name from its multi-material construction that makes it the highest launching fairway wood out there. Its head is made of steel and a carbon fiber crown. Additionally, it features a twist face and speed pockets to produce incredibly fast ball speeds and longer distances.
What stands out? This is by far the best fairway for making higher launches at extremely long distances while at the same time maintaining peak trajectories. It also offers enhanced playability.
What cons did we manage to find? You have to dig deeper into your pockets to get this fairway, but the versatility and efficiency it offers make it a worthy buy.
This is another high-end fairway wood from TaylorMade. The M6 has been carefully designed with newly-developed technology to offer better scores, more yards, and straighter shots. It distinguishes itself with the Twist Face Technology that provides more correction on low-heel and high-toe heels, which are usually the main mis-hits for many golfers.
Unlike other models in the M-series, the M6 boasts of a laid back crown design that combines silver on its half front and carbon fiber on the back. It also has an indicator that will give you a great visual every time you want to swing.
Moreover, the fairway has an advanced version of its legendary speed pocket. A center of Thermoplastic Polyurethane has been used to improve it to fit better and minimize sole drag. Even when you lie is poor, you will experience better contact. What’s more, you will be able to get under the ball more easily for an effortless launch because of the additional advancements in the sole design. It has more heel and toe curve.
What makes it stand out? The fairway has a whole load of technological and design features that make it one of the best long-hitting and highly forgiving fairway woods on the market. The new technology used in its design makes it more useful to high handicap features.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind? The M6 costs a pretty penny, and it is not adjustable as it features a fixed hosel.
Yet another well-liked fairway wood by Callaway. It is a popular option among beginners because of its impressive design features and the Callaway Jailbreak Technology. The technology consists of two titanium bars that connect the crown and sole together for a higher energy transfer. The result is a higher speed and a greater distance.
Another thing that contributes to the fairway’s high-speed shots and great distance is the ultra-thin 455 steel face.
Moreover, the fairway has a super-lightweight carbon crown with more weight focused on the edges of the club to offer you an easier launch and faster ball speed. The aerodynamic design also enhances low center of gravity that gives you a low spin and incredibly high launches.
The Internal Standing Wave Technology used in the fairway’s design also enhances the low center of gravity further.
What are our favorite features? This is an extremely versatile fairway wood perfect for both beginners and players with fast swing speeds. It is easy to launch, super-fast, and long enough to give you a decent distance.
What could be better? The Fairway doesn’t feature a hosel or any center of gravity adjustability.
This is the best affordable fairway wood from the top manufacturer TaylorMade. If you are looking to use a fairway wood from a top brand but don’t want to decimate your bank balance, then this is your best shot.
The RBZ comes in a sleek all-black subtle design. It looks like it could shoot the ball into the stratosphere. As much as it forgoes all the fancy multi-material construction of the latest fairway woods, it has a tried and true design that can benefit golfers of all abilities.
The fairway wood is vertically compact and has a very low profile that settles behind the ball properly, giving you the pre-swing confidence to send the ball flying high in the sky.
Like all the other TaylorMade woods, the RBZ features the brand’s legendary speed pocket that is a sure guarantee of great distance. Even heel and toe strikes benefit from the speed pocket and travel a good far distance with a perfect rollout.
What do we love it for? This is a simple and affordable, well-designed fairway wood that performs exceptionally well.
What were we disappointed with? The RBZ doesn’t offer the most satisfying sweet-spot contact, and it produces a high-pitched tinny sound. Though it is not such a huge deal breaker as it doesn’t affect the shots.
Need a little help hitting the sweet spot? This is your best shot. The Mavrik is not the most affordable fairway wood out there, but it packs a punch with top-tier technology that can be highly beneficial to beginners.
Of all the Callaway fairway woods, the Mavrik has an impressive design that features an expanded hitting area. This increases the sweet spot, which improves your off-center hits results tremendously. You will also gain pre-swing confidence with time.
What’s more, the fairway wood has a single fixed weight in its sole to pull the center of gravity low and focused on the clubhead to give you a higher launch. Also, you will get a flatter ball flight that makes the club more playable and reduces distance loss when hitting into the wind.
Why are we impressed? The Mavrik is a playable fairway wood with a pretty good distance and a perfect ball flight that is ideal for golfers who make imperfect swings.
What negatives must you be aware of? Not every beginner or handicapper would be willing to part with the premium amount the Mavrik costs.
This is the lightest and most forgiving fairway wood by Cobra. It has been specially designed for golfers with moderate swing speeds. Its main selling point is its shallow point at address that enhances a higher launch and an offset hosel that promotes added draw bias to give you longer, and straighter, ball flights.
The forgiving and draw-biased fairway features a round shape with a shallow face depth to promote a higher launch. Surprisingly, it has a compact footprint. You will love its luxurious black and gold silky texture and a little alignment aid stripe that will help you aim easily.
The F-Max is loved by many for its quiet sound that is audible enough for a shot feedback. Its face feels solid and responsive that every time you hit the ball, you will be able to feel it popping.
Why did it make our list? The Cobra F-Max is the prime choice for seniors with a moderate swing speed or any player looking for a lightweight club that can generate more speed and send the ball high in the air.
What is not ideal about it? Only players with moderate swing speeds can make the most out of this fairway.
This is another affordable, first-rate fairway wood option on the market. It is a superb combination of the brand’s most celebrated technologies, like the Baffler and Speedback.
The F9 distinguishes itself with its eight adjustable loft settings. This gives you more control and options on the height of your shots, and with the smart pad technology, the face square will always be at impact.
Even more, the fairway comes in three different options allowing you to customize the club set. You can choose from the 3-4, 5-6, or 7-8 clubs for your preferred shot height and shape. For a sweeping motion, you can go for the 3-4 wood that has shallower rails.
Another major plus for the F9 is its aerodynamic crown that offers maximum head speed. The carbon fiber crown focuses more weight on the high side of the head to pull the center of gravity lower. This generates an incredibly high launch and straighter shots.
What are its best features? The fairway lives up to its billing with an ultra-light aerodynamic crown offering you an unrivaled clubhead speed. Its high launch and peak-trajectory shots make it one of the best bargains for mid-handicappers.
What could be improved? The fairway can be challenging for some high handicappers as its features are a bit sophisticated.
This is another straight-up monster from the highly celebrated brand Callaway. It packs a punch with a load of innovative features that offer exceptional forgiveness and unreal distance. It has a lightweight build that maximizes swing speed and ball speed.
Besides the high ball speed shots, the Epic flash does a pretty good job reducing distance loss when you make off-center hits. Another innovative feature of this club is its adjustable loft sleeve, which, together with its rear weight, offer you numerous options to choose from when you are creating the best shot shape for your game.
Even more, the fairway includes the flash face technology in its design to offer you more distance, and a larger sweet spot for better forgiveness and high-quality contact. The flash face technology is backed by the face cup technology that ensures you achieve straight shots at a flash speed.
What do we love it for? The fairway’s adjustable loft sleeve, together with a wide range of shafts, makes it a fantastic choice for golfers who want enough admissibility when improving their game and scores. It utilizes technology to offer remarkable forgiveness and distance.
What were we disappointed with? This model offers great features, but the price point can be somewhat high for beginners. This is actually the most expensive fairway wood on our list right now.
As a high handicapper, you need to make the most of your fairway wood, but launching is usually the main issue for many golfers. Cleveland offers the ultimate solution with this highly forgiving fairway.
The fairway is not adjustable but very effective at launching, especially for mid and high handicappers. What’s more, on the flip side is that the fairway is more affordable and lightweight.
Moreover, a lower and lighter HiBore Crown that has flex fins has been used in the fairways construction to improve distance by compressing the ball when you strike it on the toe or heel.
Why is it special? There is nothing fancy about the appearance of this fairway, but it is very effective if you want a good launch and great forgiveness. It doesn’t compromise on distance either, and you don’t have to hurt your wallet to get it.
What are the flaws? Some users have complained that the fairway feels stiff and unruly after a few uses.
Things to Consider
Choosing the best fairway wood for high handicappers is not the easiest of tasks, but with the right information, it’s as easy as ABC. This section contains all the essential information you need including the pertinent features to consider before making a purchase.
How to choose the right fairway woods for a high handicapper
Here are some of the crucial aspects you must consider when choosing a fairway wood to make the best buy.
Wood and loft
This is one of the main difficulties high handicap golfers experience as each golfer has a unique speed and swing style. For maximum convenience, go for a fairway with an adjustable hosel, which will allow you to tweak the fairway wood to work perfectly with your swing.
When you adjust the loft, your trajectory will be altered up or down depending on your swing style and speed.
If you choose a fairway with a lower club, then the shaft has got to be longer as it will give you a higher clubhead speed to launch the ball and send it up at a great speed. On the other hand, if you choose a fairway wood with more loft, then the shaft can be shorter. All in all, ensure the shaft length matches your height for the best convenience.
Shaft and shaft flex
This is another critical aspect. You must ensure you get the right shaft length for your height and keep in mind that a more lightweight shaft will give you faster head-speed and a good distance.
The shaft’s flex or stiffness also matters. As a high handicapper, it is highly likely that you have a low swing speed, and you can make the most out of a flex shaft. As your swing speed improves with time, you will need a stiffer shaft.
The type of materials used in the fairway wood’s build determines its durability. For the shaft, the most common material used is stainless steel, which is durable, sturdy, and affordable. Though they are a bit heavy and usually limit the weight of the clubhead.
Graphite is also used to make shafts and is more common in modern models. It is much lighter and offers a wide range of flex options.
As for the clubheads, the most common material used is a carbon fiber compound. Its high-quality is usually reflected in the fairway wood’s retail price tag, especially when combined with a graphite shaft.
Design and extra features
Yes, performance is key, but it would be much better if the fairway complemented other clubs in your golf bag. There are numerous eye-catching designs from different brands like the Callaway Steelhead XR Fairway Wood. Take your time to ensure you get what matches your tastes and preferences and will look cool in the field.
You can also consider extra features that will help improve your game, like forgiveness. The best forgiving fairway wood has a large sweet spot that allows your off-center strikes to travel an incredibly long distance in a perfectly straight trajectory.
Also, for an easier launch, consider the weight positioning of the club. A fairway wood that promotes an easy launch, which is a huge challenge for high handicappers, is a low and back center of gravity.
At the end of the day, you have to consider your budget. You don’t have to decimate your bank account to enjoy the benefits of a fairway wood. There are a lot of options that can suit different budgets and offer excellent value for money. The Callaway Epic Flash Star Fairway Wood is a prime example of a fairway that offers a good pennyworth.
You could be a beginner with a naturally fast swing. If that’s the case, then a loft angle below 10 degrees would be okay for you. If you have a low swing typical of most beginners, then a higher loft angle of about 11 to 12 degrees is suitable.
That’s it! All the information you need to get some insight into what to look for in a fairway wood and some of the leading options. We reviewed only top-rated options, and our call for the best overall fairway wood was Callaway Steelhead XR Fairway Wood. Its durable build with high-grade materials combined with advanced technology to offer you unrivaled speed and distance went unmatched. The fact that it has a ‘heavenwood’ fairway wood option is enough to sell its capabilities.
Our premium pick, TaylorMade SIM MAX Fairway Wood, has pretty much everything you need as a high handicapper. It is versatile, easy to launch, and extremely forgiving. It is a fantastic option for any golfer with a poor lie, as it offers a good distance even if the ball is not struck well.
Our third option, TaylorMade M6 Fairway Wood, sets itself apart with the unique twist face geometry, which provides more correction on the most common off-center hits, low-heel and high-toe heels. Its improved slot flexibility makes it one of the best fairway woods for high handicappers on the market.