As a beginning golfer or high handicapper, there may be no club any harder to hit than a fairway wood off the fairway. The tops, the skulls, the amount of sod that gets destroyed… It is no fun to watch or be a part of.
However, it could be argued that having a trusty 3 wood could be a beginners best friend. You can use it off the tee when the driver goes bad. You can use it to recover from short tee shots. You can even use it around the green. (Okay, maybe not a great idea until you can break 100.)
But the point is, you need fairway woods you can trust.
Our Choice for Top Fairway Woods for High Handicapper and Beginners
- Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo Fairway Woods – Best All Around Fairway Woods for High Handicappers
- TaylorMade SIM Max Fairway Woods – Also Very Good for High Handicapper
- Cobra F-Max Airspeed Fairway Woods – Best for Players needing to add Club Head Speed
Not quite a beginner and looking for a workable or low spin fairway wood, move on to our review of the best fairway woods for better players.
What Should a Beginner Look for in a Fairway Wood?
- Look for the most forgiving fairway wood. Don’t worry about distance.
- Every brand on our list will get you down the fairway in good measure.
- Forgiveness, launch, spin, and adjustability differentiate golf clubs these days.
Here’s a quick rundown on each:
The Perfect Beginner’s 3 Wood
No club will help if you hit three inches behind the ball, or pick your head up and top it. But, modern clubs make their living on correcting slight and moderate mishits. Of all the factors a beginner should consider when looking for fairway woods – or any club for that matter – forgiveness ranks at the top.
Many beginners find launching the ball off the fairway one the hardest things in golf. Manufacturers know this, and that’s why they make game improvement clubs differently than the clubs aimed at pros and experienced players. They do everything possible to position weight low and back in the clubhead to promote launch.
Optimally, the combination of low spin and high launch will get you the best distance. But, spin is a double edge sword. More seasoned players like some backspin because – off the tee, it gives their ball rise, and off the fairway backspin provides more stopping power on the green.
However, because spin often works against newer golfers – picture that slice that made a sharp turn about 120 yards out – fairway woods designed for high handicappers and beginners reduce spin, at least for the longer three and four woods.
Less spin also helps in the distance category thanks to more roll after landing. As you progress through the bag towards the more lofted clubs, however, spin becomes your friend. A little backspin could be the difference between a birdie putt, and rolling off the back of the green.
CG weights will allow you to add, remove, and move weight, from one area of the club head to another.
When positioned correctly, they’ll help you to – raise or lower the ball’s launch angle, reduce any tendency to draw or slice, and get more or less spin on the ball.
CG weights aren’t magic but, they do work reasonably well when set up correctly. On the downside, most players either don’t know how to or don’t have the time it takes to configure them correctly. Plus, many CG weights come with a special tool, (which usually disappears within about a month), to take them in and out.
Some clubmakers have moved away from using CG weights because they found that players don’t use them anyway.
Adjustable Lie and Loft
Like CG weighting, an adjustable hosel will let you customize your club to fit your swing. The adjustable lie will let you raise or lower the clubs shaft at address. This, in turn, makes it more likely that you’ll be able to get comfortable and keep the sole of the club even with the ground, at the same time. The adjustable loft lets you raise or lower shot trajectory based on your swing.
What should a player look for who intends to use the fairway wood as a driver replacement?
Assuming you’re a beginner, consider a wood with between fifteen and eighteen degrees of loft. Usually, this means either a standard three or four wood, depending on whether the club has an adjustable hosel.
Also look for the most forgiving 3 wood that offers high launch and low spin, as this combination will get you the most distance and accuracy. Last but not least, look for a more driver-like wood with a more substantial head, deeper face, and rounder profile.
What should a player look for who intends to use the fairway wood off the fairway more than the tee?
Woods with shallow faces have a lower center of gravity and will launch higher with more spin than those with deeper rounder faces. Also, a longer heel-to-toe profile inspires confidence and makes them perfect for beginners.
If hitting a 3 wood off the deck scares you to death, read our tips to crushing your 3 wood next.
I Already Have Hybrids, Why Do I Need Fairway Woods?
The average golfer feels more comfortable swinging a hybrid than a fairway wood. The hybrid has a shorter shaft which makes good contact an easier chore.
Also, the denser head and lower center of gravity that hybrids typically have, make them more forgiving on mishits and helps get the ball in the air. Most fairway woods have longer and broader soles and require cleaner contact and a more shallow approach to the ball than hybrids. But, don’t let that scare you off of carrying a wood or three.
The longer shaft and larger heads that fairway woods feature give them a considerable edge in distance over their same numbered counterpart.
Fairway woods also work better out of short rough. Plus, nothing beats a three wood at stinging a low line drive down the fairway into the wind or sliding one under a low hanging tree branch.
Who makes the good fairway woods for beginners?
They both excel in the all-important categories of distance, forgiveness, launch, and spin as well. The simplicity of the SIM Max might give it a slight edge as beginners have enough to think about without complicating matters with interchangeable weights.
Off the fairway, new players and high handicappers should take a hard look at the Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo. It has all the right ingredients – a low profile, a low center-of-gravity, and significant rear weighting – to help newer players launch the ball off the turf.
But without further adieu, here are our favorites of this year’s lineup:
Beginner and High Handicap Fairway Woods Review
TaylorMade SIM Max Fairway Wood
The TaylorMade SIM Max Fairway Wood lives up to its name, Shape in Motion, with a compelling design that will impress even the most critical of golfers. TaylorMade has been creating exceptional golf equipment since 1979, and they show no signs of stopping. The company astonishes the golf community once again with their newest collection of Fairway Woods.
The TaylorMade SIM Max Fairway Wood has already made waves by being named to the GolfDigest Gold Hot List 2020. Its sibling, the SIM Fairway Wood, was also named to this prestigious list. The most significant difference between the two models is that the Max is partially composed of C300 Steel, while the standard SIM contains titanium. This difference in composition also makes the Max a tad heavier, but more powerful and forgiving.
- Multi-material construction including C300 Steel, Composite Carbon, and V Steel
- Twist Face
- Thru-Slot Speed Pocket
- Graphite shaft
- Powerful performance
- Improved versatility
- Exceptional forgiveness
- Faster clubhead speed heading toward the ball
- Allows for straighter shots even on mishits
- No ballooning
- Limits friction with the turf
- Easy to frame the ball
- Extremely low center of gravity
- Increased sole flexibility
- Larger club head which can be challenging to adjust to
For golfers who desire to wield significant striking power with ease, the TaylorMade SIM Max Fairway Wood is perfect. Seriously, you’ll hit more powerful shots than ever before with the TaylorMade SIM Max Fairway. Buy it here.
Callaway Mavrik Max Fairway Wood
Are you looking for a new fairway wood to add to your set of clubs? Then you may want to check out about the Mavrik Max Fairway Wood made by Callaway. Alongside it new lineup of Mavrik Drivers, Hybrids, and Irons, Callaway’s new line of clubs for 2020 and includes the Mavrik Max Fairway Wood.
As the Max name suggests, this Fairway Wood is designed with Beginners and High Handicaps in mind. This club is created with the idea of max forgiveness and easy distance.
- Shaft: Shaft options include UST Helium Black 50g class and Project X Evenflow Riptide 60g/70g class, plus custom shaft options
- Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align Gray 50g
- Interchangeable Weights: Yes, it includes 14g and 2g weights
- A.I.-optimized face
- T2C Carbon Crown
- Experience fast forgiveness and ball speed
- Interchangeable weights allow users to explore different spin-rates and launch angles
- Jailbreak technology aids in distance
- Sleek design
- Custom shaft lets you find the right one for you
- Interchangeable weights let you experiment
- Quality materials make it a durable club
- Some have noted its larger footprint, Better Players should check out the Sub Zero Model
Want to know what we think of the Callaway Mavrik Max Fairway Wood? We give it a glowing review. If you are in need of a new fairway wood, this is a great investment for your game. You are sure to love the feel of this club and how easy it will make the launching process. Want to explore options for purchasing this club? Find the Callaway Mavrik Max Fairway Wood when you click here.
Cobra F-MAX Airspeed Fairway Wood
Cobra is a brand known for its high-quality, affordable and durable golf gear. The company produces a wide range of clubs and golf accessories, as well as custom clubs and components.
In its lineup of clubs for high handicap players, the F-MAX Airspeed Fairway is an ultra-light club that helps you achieve faster swings for less effort.
The F-MAX Airspeed Fairway is considered Cobra’s “lightweight champion.” Here’s a closer look at the club’s features.
- 5 grams
- Carbon fiber crown
- PWR Ridges
- Back/heel weighting
- Offset hosel
- Loft: 16-23 degrees
- Lie angle: 57-59 degrees
- Length: 43-42”
- Swing Weight: D0
- Volume: 170-160cc
- Stock Flex: S, R, Lite
- The F-MAX Line was created with high handicap golfers in mind, Because of the lightweight design, you can achieve a faster swing. This lightweight design was achieved by replacing the old titanium crown with a carbon fiber crown.
- More than ever, lightweight clubs are in high demand, and this club definitely delivers on that front. This means that you’ll be able to swing faster without needing to exert more effort. As a result, you’ll reach farther distances.
- Easy to generate speed
- Power ridges for visual alignment
- Helps you hit straighter drivers
- The offset may hurt players who struggle with going left
The F-MAX Airspeed Fairway is a powerful golf club that many golfers love because of its ultra-light design and forgiveness. The weight of this model is perfectly distributed to achieve the fastest swings without sacrificing accuracy.
If you want a golf club that will help you reach higher speeds, try out this model by Cobra.
Cleveland Golf Launcher HB Turbo Fairway Wood
Cleveland Golf is known for creating powerful and practical clubs that help golfers make the most of every round. Cleveland’s Launcher HB Turbo Fairway Wood is one of Cleveland Golf’s most-loved models.
This balanced, lightweight club is designed to help you hit higher, straighter, and longer shots. Check out some of the features of this club:
- HiBore Crown
- Turbocharged cup face
- Lightweight Hosel
- Counter-balanced shaft design
- Deep weighting
- Loft: 5-8 degrees
- Length: 43-42.5”
- Lie Angle: 57.5-58 degrees
- SW: D2
- Hand: RH/LH
- Cleveland’s Golf Launcher HB Turbo Fairway Wood can help you achieve your maximum speed off of the tee and in the fairway. Thanks to its turbo-charged Cup Face, this club promises increased speed and distance.
- This model uses an HiBore crown to lower the center of gravity and allow for an improved launch. As a result of the counter-balanced shaft design and lightweight hosel, this club also gives you a better MOI and additional forgiveness.
- Higher COR
- Larger impact area
- High speeds
- Lower center of gravity enables lower CG position
- Tough to find anything wrong with this club
Most golfers value things like speed and distance and this club flat out delivers. The Launcher HB Turbo Fairway Wood promises that and more. Using innovative technology like the turbocharged cup face, deep weighting, and counter-balanced shaft design, Cleveland created a high-performance club that even made Golf Digest’s Hot List of 2020. For a player looking for a consistent strike with a fairway wood, look no further.
Click here to learn more or to see the price of this club.
Titleist TS2 Fairway Wood
It’s no secret that Titleist is known for creating some of the best golf equipment on the market. The company’s TS line features a new shape, thin faces, and a host of speed-focused features.
All around, the TS2 is a high-launching club that makes for stable and consistent shots. Take a look at some of the features of this model:
- The TS2 Fairway Wood doesn’t disappoint when it comes to features:
- Taller ARC 3.0
- High launch/low spin
- Loft: 13.5-21 degrees
- Lie: 56.5-58 degrees
- Length: 43-41.5 degrees
- The TS2’s ultra-thin crown is 27% thinner than the 917 fairways. This allows weight to be shifted lower. Other features like the ARC (Active Recoil Channel) 3.0 make for better face flexibility and faster speeds.
- Thanks to the crown and face this model drives the CG low to allow for higher launches and lower spins. The Titleist TS2 driver combines speed and stability to create an elevated golfing experience.
- High launch/low spin
- Wide face for more forgiveness
- Thin titanium crown
- Original shafts might not be suited to all golfers
- For true beginners and High Handicaps, this may not be the easiest of clubs to hit
The TS line by Titleist was designed to give golfers the perfect blend of speed, distance, and control. If you’re comfortable with the higher price point, the TS2 is an excellent choice for high handicap golfers that are trending into intermediate status For players that are truly struggling, they may want to look at some of the other options that area a little easier to hit.
But for people who have lost speed over the years, this fairway wood compensates by evenly distributing weight and minimizing the effort required to recapture some of that lost distance.
The Titleist TS2 is a well-made club with many thoughtful features and a sleek design. See the price or discover some of the other features today!
Quick Update: The new Tsi fairway woods have been released. If you’re a Titleist guy, head over to our hands-on review of the Tsi Fairway Woods.
And the Winner is…
While all five clubs reviewed will help you launch the ball long and straight, the Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo is our favorite fairway woods for most players reading this article.
With that said, the TaylorMade SIM Max Fairway wood is not too far behind. For players trending into the intermediate range this is a really good pick. The combination of exceptional forgiveness, consistent distance, simplicity, and overall performance.
Finally, the Cobra F-Max Airspeed should be considered for players needing to add serious swing speed to their game.