You know exactly why you need a fairway wood—to shoot from the fairway far more effectively.
Many golfers make the mistake of using an iron in these situations, but on a five par course, it’s not going to do you any favors.
Instead, you should have one of the best 3 woods (or multiple) to get the job done the right way be it in your bag or in your cart.
Striking from the fairway can already be a daunting task, but having the right club for the job will make it far easier.
Come in with that shallow swing, send the ball flying, and end up with a better game than you anticipated.
You have so much strategy that goes into a high par game, so make it could with the best fairwood on the market.
TaylorMade RBZ Fairway
TaylorMade is an agreeable gold brand, but we were pleasantly surprised when the RBZ topped the best fairway woods list.
Featuring a 55 RocketFuel graphite shaft, this ultralight club is designed to provide better contact with the ball.
Fairway woods, by nature, come in a variety of different specifications.
You can choose three different flexes for the shaft, but for this one, we’ve chosen the stiff for better performance.
Feeling this rigid club in your hands feels like the perfect amount of weight distribution.
With a satin black finish on the graphite to make the entire design cohesive, you don’t have to worry about corrosion or damage in the same fashion that you do with all-steel clubs.
The thing is, it feels like a fully forged steel club in the way the head attaches to the shaft.
While TaylorMade tried their best to give this club a great center of gravity, it’s no easy task for any club.
Otherwise you’d have to offset the club weight by putting an odd bit on the handle, but we do have to give credit where it’s due: it feels pretty balanced.
With the low profile and ultralight design, it’s the last fairwood model you’ll ever want to own.
TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood
Thanks to the way they angled this, the M4 is the best fairway woods for high handicappers that are still trying to improve your game.
If you’d like, you can choose from five different flex fashions to better suit your play style. Stiff is usually the way to go to promote longevity in your clubs, but it’s up to you.
This 5 wood comes with a five-layer carbon crown that actually reduces the overall weight of your club by eight grams.
That may not seem like much in the long haul, but it‘s going to make a difference in every swing you make. The lighter (and more balanced) your club is, the better you can hit your ball.
If you’re unaware as to what forgiveness is in the design of a golf club, it’s when the design compensates for improper swinging or a beginner’s form.
Basically, if you’re going to take these clubs out on one of your first games, or you just know that you still have some room to go, forgiveness is a term relative to design that means that it’s going to line up your shot with the expectation of a misaligned hit.
The M4 has a high level of forgiveness.
Built with steel and carbon, it has enough weight to it to let you feel when you send the ball flying, but still remains lightweight enough to be comfortable in your hands.
Callaway Golf 2019 Epic Flash Fairway Wood
You can’t mention top rated fairway woods and not bring Callaway into the mix.
Apart from being America’s favorite provider of golf balls and gloves, they’ve done a bang-up job at making a proper fairwood.
Choose from any angle at 15 degrees (3 wood) up to 25 degrees (9 wood) for a completely custom feel.
While most of us don’t really need to worry about the hovel on our golf club, Callaway knows how to save space when possible.
This ultralight hovel is smaller than average, giving you more forgiveness on a swing that’s close to the ground.
Forged steel is generally the best way you should have steel. That means that the entire club is made from one cut of steel, making it a stronger, more sturdy construction.
Well, it’s kind of forged. They incorporated two metal rods in the middle of the shaft to help reduce the vibrations that go up to your hands.
With the lightweight design, you’re able to lob the ball just a little farther than your standard 3 wood.
The lightweight design pairs beautifully with the sturdy grip, making this an all-around, budget-friendly club that you’ll bring with you on every round.
Vixa V12 Fairway Wood
Vixa gets some mixed reviews, but as a game improvement fairway wood, it’s going to come with its problems.
First and foremost, we want to highlight the lightweight graphite shaft and its durability.
Next, we want to tell you that a small amount of rain can get it to peel; you really have to be careful with these clubs.
When you watch the video on their sales page, they really amp up this club. It’s a fair club, not fantastic, not bad, but it’s nothing like they make it seem.
Step one to deciding if this club is right for you or not is disavowing the hardcore marketing attempts by Vixa.
Instead, focus on the unique benefits, such as the smooth sole on the underside to help glide against the grass when you swing.
If you’re a high handicapper and you’re teeing high, this helps you swing low without hitting the ground and bending your clubs.
Keep those graphite shafts protected, while also keeping this in mind: the grip wears down extremely fast.
It’s not built to withstand a lot of game time, so you will have to replace it after a couple of months to keep good dexterity on your swing.
Cleveland Golf Men’s Launcher HB Fairway Wood
I would have to say that Cleveland made the most forgiving fairway wood, meaning it compensates for beginner play styles and any issues that a newcomer might have driving the ball.
Choose from three different flex types, each with their own mass and torque to fine tune your shot every single time.
It helps with that pop that you want when you collide with the ball, sending it whirling through the air.
The aim is to get a nice straight shot, and the Cleveland Launcher HB does its best to guarantee it.
With a fair amount of forgiveness built right into the club, it’s a mix between a beginner’s ideal 3 wood and an intermediate player’s preferences.
Utilizing Flex-Fin technology, you get a bit of an extra buff when you slightly mishit a ball. It accounts for that, doing its best to right the ball for you while it’s in mid-air.
With inexpensive clubs like this, you’re more prone to bending your shafts fairly easily.
Because this is built so straight, you’ll be able to see dings and dents that mess with the curvature from play.
It’s not the most durable club out there, but it can take a beating before it will quit on you.
Fairway Wood Buying Guide and FAQ
Why Are Fairway Woods for a High Handicapper?
It can be the best fairwood for handicappers, or the best 3 wood for seniors—they all do pretty much the same thing.
They change the angle and the weight of the average club, and make it work with a high forgiveness.
There’s a low center of gravity, which usually means that the clubs are shorter than what you’d expect to be using for your fairway shots.
It allows for shorter swings but stronger hits, so you can get out of the sand trap like it’s nobody’s business.
How do You Hit Fairway Woods Higher?
3 wood reviews often talk about the club itself, but they don’t talk about what the golfer in question might be doing wrong.
Just because you have a fairway wood—a club that’s mostly a high handicapper special—doesn’t mean you can’t make mistakes during your swing.
Instead of listening to all the angry people online talk about why a fairwood swing went wrong, let’s just talk about how to do it right, and move forward from here.
1. Square Those Shoulders
The golden rule of golf is having your stance already locked in before you start playing competitively.
Your stance is basically the prelude to your shot, so getting it down pat is something you should make a priority right from the start.
If you’ve ever heard the term “square your shoulders” used in comedic reference, it comes from golf. The importance of gear here is paramount good shoes will give you the grip you need for your feet and good gloves for your iron.
One of the top tips to get that fairway shot just a bit higher is to broaden your shoulders, thereby broadening your grip on the club.
So what does this do?
It gives you a little more power in your swing. If your shoulders are squared, then your spinal alignment is better.
If your shoulders are squared, your hands are further apart on the actual grip, giving you move control instead of swinging from the center. Basically, it hones the precision of your shot.
2. Place the Ball Forward
If you’ve ever had a golf instructor, you might have heard this a different way. Some say to keep it back, some say forward.
It gets a bit confusing, but in my opinion keeping it forward is the best way to achieve a higher shot.
If you theoretically keep your stance in the exact same position, then moving the ball forward means your club should crest the bottom of the ball instead of the side of t.
That means you’re launching it up more than you are launching it forward.
This can be a tricky balance to find at first, but one that’s absolutely critical when shooting from the fairway. You’re going for precision over just distance here.
Now, your fairway number is going to matter big time here. A 3 wood is, on average, 15° while a 5 wood is set at a 18°.
Those are going to give you entirely different results, so plan ahead carefully.
3. Pretend It’s an Iron
If you’re bugging out about it being a wood instead of an iron, that’s okay. It’s going to feel a little different, but if you keep your eye on the prize, you’ll do just fine.
You’re probably more comfortable with an iron, as most of us are, so just keep thinking that it’s an iron when you go in for the swing.
Irons have a similar feel to them, except that you usually don’t divot the turf when you come down.
That’s going to be the tricky part. If you think that it’s an iron and treat it like one, you might divot the turf just a bit.
Take your shots while feeling like it’s an iron, and adjust your expectations slightly.
4. Swing Like a Hot Knife Through Butter
You want a nice, smooth shot. Everyone does, but with your fairwood, you really need it to be smooth.
Just because you’re on the fairway doesn’t mean that you need to dig up the soil and send that ball flying like a bat outta hell.
Take your time, and find the best way to get a smooth shot over just a deep one.
The best way to do this is to look at the angle at which the ball would travel if you just lobbed it. Does it look like the best option?
Maybe so, but probably not. Start thinking like a mathematician and angle everything out in your mind.
How Far Should My Fairwood Shots Go?
That’s up to interpretation. Thanks to modern machines making these fantastic clubs, they’re more optimized and angularly perfect than ever before.
You can hit your shots far, but what should you expect when you step up to that divot ball?
Your fairwood should be used when you have to send the ball over 200 yards away, but under 250 yards.
This tends to be the sweet spot for most high to medium handicap players with and average swing speed of 72-84 MPH.
What is a 3 Wood?
A 3 wood, as well as a 5 wood, are both golf clubs that simply fall under the ambiguous category of fairway woods.
While you might not hear them referred to like that out on the course, they’re called this because you use them during your second shot, while you’re in the fairway of the golf hole.
I guess people didn’t like puns, because everyone just started calling them by their numbered woods.
A 3 wood is used as a utility wood or club, and is about half an inch shorter than a 5 wood. You use it when you’re going to bend over just a little bit more, and hit that ball higher.
Woods in general are golf clubs with a specific angling and degree to hit balls higher.
It can’t be used as a driver, based on the angles and size, but it can sometimes feel like a driver when you see how high the golf ball goes with less effort.
How Should I Grip my 3 Wood?
Grip is important no doubt, so if you want to get the most out of your 3 wood or 5 wood, this is what you do.
Start with your top hand, which would be your gloved, non-dominant hand. While the golf club is lined up, you’re going to grasp three fingers around the base and tighten them.
There should be about 0.75” left between the bottom of your pinky finger and the butt of the club.
From there, bring your index in and keep it a little bit lower than the rest of your fingers.
Your thumb is going to rest on top, because it’s the foothold for your dominant hand to come in and rest on top of it, applying the same type of grip to the club.
You should have about 1.2” of space between both of your wrists. If they’re any closer, you’re holding the 3 wood too tight and you’re going to have a flimsy shot.
Any further than that, and you’ll have more control, but less mobility. That might not be the best thing for your shot when you’re trying to get it up in the air.
Should You Take a Divot with a Fairway Wood?
Even if you have the easiest 3 wood to hit, you’re going to have to divot the turf at one point or another.
Depending on your swing style and where the ball is resting, a divot is bound to happen sooner or later.
Now then, it’s okay to divot, you just don’t want to send a sheet of turf flying through the air and pelt your caddy with a ton of little dirt balls. That’s not the goal here.
If you want to learn how to hit a divot with a fairway effectively, I’ve got you covered.
Pretend that you have two golf balls behind where your ball is resting, and adjust your stance as if you were going to hit this invisible golf ball.
It sounds crazy, but when you come down for the swing, you’ll only lightly graze the turf, and then hit the actual ball from the right angle to send it flying.
It’s okay to take a divot when you use your fairway.
It should be avoided when possible (sometimes looks unprofessional, sometimes you get additional club dues, etc.), but sometimes it’s inevitable.
Doing your best to mitigate damage to the turf is all you can do, and if a little grass gets turned over, then it’s not the end of the world.
Hit Higher Like a Champion
Do you know what the PGA and USGA professionals do?
They take every single angle and opportunity into account, then look at their game from all sides to determine the best possible outcome. It’s time that you do the same.
With our archive of golf-related articles and information on the best golf products on the market, you’ll be well equipped to handle come-what-may during every single game.
We can’t predict all the once-in-a-lifetime moments you’re going to have out on the course, but we can help you prepare for anything.
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