The Best Fairway Woods Reviewed In 2021 (Buyers Guide)
We spend countless hours researching everything from clubs to accessories so that you can get a head start on your next round. If you buy anything through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
- 1 The Best Fairway Woods Reviewed In 2021 (Buyers Guide)
- 1.1 TaylorMade Golf M6 Rocket
- 1.2 Callaway Golf 2020 Rogue
- 1.3 Taylor Made Men's RBZ Fairway
- 1.4 Cobra Golf 2019 F9 Men's Speedback
- 1.5 Cobra Men's F-Max
- 1.6 Cleveland Golf Men's Launcher HB Turbo
- 1.7 Founders Club Fresh Metal
- 1.8 Orlimar Golf Escape
- 1.9 Callaway XR 16
- 1.10 When to Use a Fairway Wood
- 1.11 Choosing a Shaft & Flex
- 1.12 The Best Fairway Woods for High Handicappers
- 1.13 Our Verdict
Not sure which fairway wood is right for you? We don’t blame you; there are hundreds out there to choose from. So, we’ve done the choosing for you.
Here’s our list of the best fairway woods to play with as we enter the 2020 golf season.
The M6 by TaylorMade is the first ever fairway club with a twist face. The unique geometry that makes up the club face helps you shoot the ball in a perfectly straight line.
The Twist Face curvature is engineered with angles that greatly forgive off-center shots, slowing down the spin and reducing any draw or fade. What’s cool about this series, too, is that TaylorMade customized their Twist Face tech to the particular physics of the club. It’s an upgraded version of their already-proven innovation.
The club heads are made with a deep face and a large crown that optimizes distance and control. There is an added mass of composite carbon material low in the head, carefully calculated to lower the center of gravity while maintaining high inertia.
They also feature TaylorMade’s prized Speed Pocket architecture. But, like the Twist Face, they’ve re-engineered it just for the M6. The Advanced Speed Pocket has a more flexible slot, creating a larger sweet spot and forgiving off-kilter shots. Plus, with its low center of gravity, missed shots low on the club face will still stay in control, even if they don’t go as far.
|3 W||15°||57°||43"||R/A/S||RH / LH (R & S Flex Only), Women's|
|5 W||18.5°||58°||42.5"||R/A/S||RH, Women's|
Callaway’s Rogue fairway woods combine two innovative technologies to form one of the hardest-hitting clubs they’ve ever made. Besides its phenomenal power, the Rogue also has an ultra-low center of gravity that makes them easier to lift than other woods.
Two steel “Jailbreak” bars add firmness to the body of the club, redirecting more impact to the club face, adding length and speed to your shot.
Then, Callaway upgraded their Face Cup technology to be ultra-thin, making the face springier (and pingier!). This, combined with the Jailbreak body, creates an impressively fast ball that’s easy to launch even from the rough.
The Rogue also features a triaxal carbon crown, a composite substance that’s stronger than pure steel. It’s also lighter, saving weight and helping pull the center of gravity towards the bottom.
|3 W||15°||59°||43.25"||RH / LH|
|5 W||18°||59.5°||42.25"||RH / LH|
|7 W||21°||60°||41.75"||RH / LH|
TaylorMade makes our list twice because their fairway woods deliver top-tier performance when stacked against the competition. This upgraded edition of the 2012 original is all about assertive, dominant, power-focused play.
The RBZ fairway wood features the classic Taylormade Speed Pocket, a simple but stunningly effective club head design that boosts range and control. The RBZ speed pocket isn’t as large and generous as the M6 Rocket’s advanced speed pocket, and comparisons have seen even the M4 shoot a little bit farther than the RBZ. However, a precise shot with the RBZ will be loftier, making it easier to hit your target with more precision.
You might see some claims that the RBZ will add 20+ yards to your shot… Taylormade’s claim is that it adds as many as 17 yards for “better players.” Your mileage may vary.
The club head also includes a specially engineered “mass pad” which Taylormade designed to optimize the sound and feel of your shot, as well as its launch angle. Its low, shallow profile “thick-thin” crown design drops the center of gravity to allow for launch, helping add distance.
Notably, the sleek black design isn’t just a stylish fashion choice. The contrast and black face reduces glare from the top of the club. Combined with a great pair of golf sunglasses, you won’t have to worry about any interference from bright, sunny skies.
|3 W||15°||59°||43.5"||RH / LH|
|3 W High Loft||17°||59°||43.5"||RH|
|5 W||19°||59.5°||43"||RH / LH|
|5 W High Loft||21°||60°||43"||RH|
Unique CNC milling results in more accurate shots than ever before!
Speed tuned to boost ball speeds and improve launch angles. Customizable trajectory for higher or lower arcs.
A recent Cobra fairway wood, built more for the advanced golf than the F-Max, is the F9 Speedback. Cobra packed these woods with signature technology that makes them a cut above the competition.
KING F9 Speedback combines their signature Baffler Rails with a new “Speedback” technology. Machined with a CNC milling, you’ll shoot more accurately than ever.
CNC milling allows the thickness of the metal face plate to be incredibly precise. Not only can the plate be thinner and more precisely curved, but it tolerates more tension and impact, making it highly resilient and long-lasting.
The fairway wood faces are “speed tuned” using what Cobra calls their Dual Roll and E9 Face technologies. This combination boosts ball speeds, gives your shots higher launch, and increases spin. The “speedback” design features an interchangeable 15-gram tungsten weight. This customization gives you the power to heighten or lower your trajectory right from the hardware level.
The Baffler Rails you see on the bottom help pull down the center of gravity without sacrificing friction through the turf. In the lower woods, the rails are set at a more shallow angle to help glide through tougher lies in the rough. On the higher woods, the rails are steeper, boosting your loft and preventing you from striking too low and digging a divot.
|Model||MyFly Adjustable Loft Angles||Lie||Length||Flex||Availability|
|3-4 FWY||13.0° / 13.5° / 13.5° Draw / 14.5° / 14.5° Draw / 15.5° / 15.5° Draw / 16.0°||58.75°||43.25"||R / S, Lite||RH / LH|
|5-6 FWY||17.0° / 17.5° / 17.5° Draw / 18.5° / 18.5° Draw / 19.5° / 19.5° Draw / 20.0°||59.5°||42.75"||R / S, Lite||RH / LH (Custom only)|
|7-8 FWY||21.0° / 21.5° / 21.5° Draw / 22.5° / 22.5° Draw / 23.5° / 23.5° Draw / 24.0°||60.25°||42.25"||R / S, Lite||RH / LH (Custom only)|
Cobra’s F-Max fairway woods are among the most lightweight clubs they make, and they’re some of the easiest to shoot with. Bar none, this is the best fairway wood on our list in terms of forgiveness.
Their lighter shafts reduce the overall swing weight. You’ll enjoy enhanced club head speeds and longer distance, even on slower swings. Plus, they’re easy on the hands. Their large grip size makes them comfortable and easier to swing with consistency on every shot.
The club face is built with an extra face insert. This stainless steel plate gives you a ball speed boost and a little extra distance, even on imperfect shots! In fact, it’s engineered with an offset hosel that increases trajectory, and includes an intentional draw bias, also helping to forgive inaccurate swings.
F-Max’s crown alignment scheme helps you address your shot more accurately right from the tee. The club is back-weighted in the heel, dropping the center of gravity down and slightly back. As a result, you’ll see low spin and a straighter flight path.
|3 W||16°||D1||S / R / Lite||43"||RH / LH|
|5 W||20°||D1||S / R / Lite||42.5"||RH / LH|
|7 W||23°||D1||S / R / Lite||42"||RH / LH|
The Launcher HB Turbo is an improvement over the original Launcher HB series, adding more ball speed off the tee or taking that fairway shot for the green in two.
The Turbo-charged cup face contributes to the ball speed, ultimately giving your shot more distance. The HiBore Crown drops the center of gravity by over 2 millimeters, and sets it 10% deeper. And, the hosel is made with ultralight material which further drops the weight of the head, resulting in higher, more forgiving launches.
Launcher HB Turbo’s counter-balanced shaft design places the shaft’s CG up closer to the grip, adding to the mass of the head and improved inertia.
There’s also a variation on the set with a draw-bias. This helps less-than-advanced golfers keep the club face more closed at the point of impact. However, it doesn’t sacrifice any weight, so the Turbo Draw model has the same feel as the standard.
|3 W||15°||57.5°||43"||D2||RH / LH|
|5 W||18°||58°||42.5"||D2||RH / LH|
Founders Club is a less common name on our list, but they’re our best budget pick for good reason. Even advanced players find that Founders Club metal fairway woods perform at a competitive level, allowing for fine-tuned control over ball speed, spin, and launch angles.
The fresh metal clubs feature a progressive “flow weighting” technology, which drops the center of gravity lower and places it behind the face of the golf club.
These stainless steel woods have a larger-sized, grooved sole that allows for less friction and easier launches. The cavity also helps improve weight distribution around the head. It also lengthens the CG, making the clubs more forgiving, and even adding some distance to your shot.
The biggest advantage for most amateur golfers is the low price point. These budget woods come in at well under $100 apiece, and are often on sale. This means that a set of high tech golf clubs is available even to the golfer with shallower pockets.
|3 W||15°||57.5°||43"||R / A||RH|
|5 W||18°||58°||42.25"||R / A||RH|
|7 W||21°||58.5°||41.5"||R / A||RH|
|9 W||24°||59°||41"||R / A||RH|
|11 W||27°||59.5°||40.5"||R / A||RH|
|13 W||30°||60°||40"||R / A||RH|
Specially designed to play competitively in harsh terrain or poor weather conditions
Available in seven different styles to give you diverse play all over the course, from any distance.
Another uncommon name makes our list in Orlimar, a specialty series designed for huge, lofty launch angles, and superior playability in difficult terrain & conditions.
The ultra-low center of gravity is achieved by dropping the weight down and towards the heel of the club, with balanced weight low towards the face. This helps lift the ball high into the air. The club’s shallow face height ensures that the ball achieves the necessary lift even through tight, precarious lies on the fairway.
A unique component of the Escape fairway wood line is its completeness. The Escape is available in a variety of lies, with each iteration being labeled odd-numbered from wood 3 thru 15. If you’ve been thinking about expanding your fairway wood play, you can assemble almost an entire golf bag out of just these clubs.
|3 W||16°||58°||43"||L / A / R||RH, Women's|
|5 W||19°||58.5°||42.5"||L / A / R||RH, Women's|
|7 W||22°||59°||42"||L / A / R||RH, Women's|
|9 W||26°||59.5°||41.5"||L / A / R||RH, Women's|
|11 W||30°||60°||41"||L / A / R||RH, Women's|
|13 W||34°||60.5°||40.5"||L / A / R||RH, Women's|
|15 W||38º||61º||40"||L / A / R||RH, Women's|
Impressively, Callaway’s club makers collaborated with engineers at Boeing to develop XR 16’s ulta-aerodynamic head shape. Forgiveness meets fast in this “best of both worlds” offering from golf’s premiere brand.
The 8-1-1 titanium face is ultra-thin, removing unneeded weight from the front of the club head without sacrificing durability. This also improves the sweet spot, enhancing the club’s forgiveness on tricky shots.
Like most clubs on our list, the XR 16 fairway wood has a nice, low center of gravity to help improve its launch angles and create low spin on the ball. However, ball speeds are as fast as ever due to the weightiness of the head and the raise crown piece, which enhances airflow.
|3+W||14°||56°||43"||R / S / X, Lite||RH, Women's|
|3 W||15°||57°||43.25"||R / S / X, Lite||RH / LH, Women's|
|4 W||17°||57°||43"||R / S / X, Lite||RH, Women's|
|5 W||19°||58°||42.5"||R / S / X, Lite||RH / LH, Women's|
|7 W||21°||58.5°||42"||R / S / X, Lite||RH / LH (Custom only), Women's|
|9 W||23°||59°||41.5"||R / S / X, Lite||RH, Women's|
|11 W||25º||59.5º||41"||R / S / X, Lite||RH, Women's|
When to Use a Fairway Wood
Well, use them when you’re on the fairway, of course!
…ahem, OK, now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems…
The bigger club heads on fairway woods make them a good choice when shooting for distance on your second stroke. But, they’re fairway woods for a reason; you don’t want to shoot these out of the rough. If you find yourself in tall grass on the second stroke, you need to recover with a lofty iron or wedge.
You’ll also observe some golfers take their tee shots with fairway woods, particularly the 3 wood or 5 wood on shorter holes.
You can replace a standard driver with a lower wood (2 – 4). One rule of thumb is that if you’re approaching par 5 greens in 2, you can sub your 3wood or 4 wood to maximize distance on your early strokes.
For irons, you can sub your 5 wood in for a 2 iron, a 7 wood for a 3 iron, or a 9 wood for a 4 iron. However, your golf bag might not have room for every club under the sun. Many players don’t carry a 7 or 9 wood. Check out our discussion on what to carry in your golf bag for more thoughts on this.
Choosing a Shaft & Flex
Fairway woods face different challenges from the other golf clubs in your bag. You should pay a little extra attention to the shaft & flex you select, if you have a preference for your other clubs, since they may perform differently on these woods.
For example, they’re roughly 10 grams heavier than your driver’s shaft. A lightweight option may be better for your needs, if weight differences will throw off your swing.
You may also prefer a stiff flex option. Be warned! Since fairway woods tend to have heavier, bulkier club heads, the shafts tend to flex much more easily even with the stiff designation.
Shafts & Flex Types
You know your irons aren’t just iron… right?
Club shafts are made from a variety of metals. The best fairway woods, in particular, are made with graphite shafts. Graphite is lighter in weight making it easier to swing faster than the same club made from steel. You always want graphite shafts on your fairway woods.
Flex is a term used across all different clubs, especially your driver. Your swing speed will largely determine your preferred flex, but you won’t know until you’ve gotten your hands on some clubs to try them out.
The common flex types are Regular (R), Senior (A), Ladies (L), Stiff (S), and Extra-Stiff (XS). Be aware that while some player may greatly prefer an XS fairway wood, they’re a bit less common in the marketplace.
The Best Fairway Woods for High Handicappers
New fairway woods are deliberately engineered with lower centers of gravity (CG) to help amateur players with ball speed, and thus, distance.
They also tend to have large soles that increase energy moving through the ball at the point of impact. They do so by stabilizing the club, reducing friction and twisting, focusing as much power as possible through the ball.
Finally, the best fairway woods for high handicappers will tend to have thinner club faces, which tend to offer a larger “sweet spot” and thus a more forgiving shot.
That’s why we recommend the Cobra Men’s F-Max fairway woods for high handicappers. They’re easy to hit and generously forgiving.
Still can’t decide which new fairway wood is best for your game? Here are our quick-hit recommendations.
For easy shooting and forgiveness, there’s no better choice on our list than the Cobra Men’s F-Max fairway wood.
The best value, without a shadow of a doubt, is the Founders Club Fresh Metal fairway wood. These clubs are far and away the lowest-priced on our list, but without giving up much in terms of quality and innovative technology.
Jordan’s favorite, however, is the Taylormade M6. There’s just something about the awesome, high-tech combination that makes this fairway wood more playable, more reliable, and better at producing results.
We’ve narrowed down the jungle of clubs to help find the best fairway woods in the game. But, we can’t possible review ever club under the sun. Golfers, drop us a review to tell us about your experience with our top clubs, or your favorite alternatives!