Fairway woods are serendipitous not just in name but also of course. They are capable of bringing you closer to the hole like no other club. While each golfer may have an individual gameplay strategy, playing with the right fairway woods will make the conquest much easier. In this post, we discuss the best fairway woods 2017 and detail how we selected them and how to play them.
Comparison Chart: Top 5 Best Fairway Woods 2017
What Are Fairway Woods?
Fairway woods are a set of clubs that is used to hit longer distances than irons. Their design pivots on two important features:
- Fairway woods have higher loft compared to driver. This allows you to lift the ball off the turf and send it off at a high angle.
- The shallow face height restricts the sweet spot to its entire face. This way if you make an impact with the golf ball, it’s most likely at the sweet spot of the fairway wood. This ensures straighter longer shots.
3-, 5- and 7-wood are the most common fairway woods carried by a golfer. The 1-wood is commonly called a driver, which you are all familiar with. The driver is the longest fairway wood with the lowest loft. As the wood number increases, the lofts also increase.
Here’s how lofts are usually divided amongst woods:
Degrees of Loft
Description and Notes
13 - 14
A 'Strong' 3. Slightly lower loft than a normal 3 - slightly lower trajectory
15 - 16
Classic fairway 3 wood
16 - 17
Strong 4 - A slightly easier, shorter 3 wood
17 - 18
4 wood. Safer than a 3 wood, longer than a 5
18 - 19
19 - 21
Easy hitting long wood. Along with the driver, often carried with a 3 wood
23 - 24
Strong 7. Shaft should be a little longer than a regular seven. A good complement to 4 woods.
28 - 29
9 woods and beyond. High-lofted woods like these can be used instead of mid irons – some find them easier to hit. Also good out of rough because the edges are smoother than an iron head so swipe through long grass more easily
11 Woods. See above. Lofts vary considerably between manufacturers. These very high loft fairway woods are especially popular with lady golfers and seniors who don’t generate quite as much clubhead speed.
How To Play Fairway Woods?
Fairway woods are usually played in the following situations:
- Second shot of par-5 or long par-4
- Tee shot when it should fall short of dogleg or hazard. Here driver may drive the golf ball into the hazard.
- In place of long irons from the fairway.
To Play 3-Wood:
- Ball Position
1. Ball position:
The ball should be forward in your position. For a right-handed golfer set up the ball 2-3 inches inside of the left foot.
The stance should be wider than that used to play irons. Try shoulder width apart or elbow width apart. The wider stance facilitates better power transfer at impact.
The fairway wood should not the hit the ball in the upswing or the downswing. The clubhead should be level to the ground while hitting the ball. You should have a shallow angle of attack and a sweeping strike. So the club should impact the ball level to the ground or slightly in the upswing..
This way you let the native loft of the wood raise the ball and send it flying far. You should concentrate your momentum on the ball by moving your right shoulder( for right-handed players).
To Play 5-Wood:
While the method above works for 3-woods, the ideology behind hitting a 5-wood is a little different. As the fairway wood number rises, you must play it more like the irons. The attack should be at a sharper angle and ball should be struck with a downward impact.
How To Buy Fairway Woods?
We have mentioned the loft of the fairway woods above. Depending on the local course and your gameplay, you can decide which woods you want to keep. 3-wood and 5-woods are usually essential unless replaced by hybrids. Larger fairway woods ( 11-, 13-, 15-wood etc.) can replace irons for women and seniors.
Traditionally the clubheads of fairway woods were made of wood, specifically persimmon. Currently, fairway woods have stainless steel or titanium-coated heads. The latter allows bigger clubhead which is useful anywhere but the rough.
You get a choice between steel and graphite shafts. The graphite shafts are more pliant and hence easier to hit for people with lower swing speeds like senior golfers. Steel shafts offer more control and accuracy to golfers with high swing speed (90-110mph).
Low handicappers should go for heavier fairway woods to get more control. Women and mid-handicappers benefit from low and standard weights. A low Center of Gravity(CG) of clubhead allows straighter shots.
Top 5 Best Fairway Woods 2017
#1: Callaway Men's XR Fairway Wood
Callaway introduced an internal standing wave on the inner sole which lowers the CG by 20% and moves it forward. It makes the woods easier to hit off the ground.
The low forward CG also yields more distance by reducing spin by around 200 rpm.
The lower back spin is aided by the face which has been thinned down by 36% and made lighter. The Forged Hyper Speed Face cup lends higher speed to the clubface.
The leading edge of the club has been flattened and is supported by a higher toe. The face height remains optimum for most golfers from the fairway. The Project LZ shaft maximizes energy transfer at impact.
The matte finish of the crown contributes to better aerodynamics and increased clubspeed.
These fairway woods sound great at impact. They are good for golfers of all handicaps. They come with head covers.
3-, 5-, 4-, 7-woods are available in regular, senior and stiff shafts for right- and left-handed players.
- Lower, more forward CG with internal standing wave
- Very forgiving
- Very easy to hit off the ground
- Excellent feedback and sound at impact
#2: TaylorMade Men's M2 Fairway Wood
TaylorMade men’s M2 Fairway wood is acing the game with both excellent distances and spin. Whether it’s hit off the tee or the fairway, this club brings definite improvement to your game. Although unlike M1, this doesn’t have adjustable weights, it is extremely easy to hit.
This fairway wood has carbon composite crown as debuted in M1 which lowers the center of gravity. When combined with the steel chassis, this moves the CG lower and closer to the impact zone.
The leading edge is painted white in stark contrast to the rest of the crown making it a valuable alignment aid.
Instead of the sliding weights of M1, the underside of M2 carries the Speed Pocket design used popularly in TaylorMade Aeroburner. This translates to higher clubface flex and 400-500 rpm less spin upon impact.
The hosel of these fairway woods is fixed. This is a cost-cutting measure and going by the trend, a popular one. This fixed hosel design lowers the weight and builds the strength of the club.
3-, 5-, 7-woods are available in regular, senior, x-stiff and stiff shafts for right- and left-handed players.
- Carbon composite crown promotes low, forward CG
- A white alignment mark on crown
- Ball bursts with speed and loft off the clubface
- X-stiff shaft is available
- Head covers are shipped with it
#3: Adams Tight Lies 2013 Fairway Wood
Adams Tights Lies Fairway woods debuted the revolutionary upside-down design and slot technology. The visible slots on crown and sole have troubled many a young golfer so they have been ‘dignified’ in the newer version.
The newer Tight Lies fairway woods have a slot each on the crown and the sole. But the crown slot has been sheathed and is now called a ‘Ghost Slot’. Because it exists but you will not know from looking.
The two slots enable the clubface to flex more at impact and reduce backspin transferred to the golf ball. This results in higher ball speed.
Their Tri-sole design adapts them to use from any kind of lie: rough, light rough, tee, you name it.
The low CG and widened bottom part of the face makes them very forgiving no matter which lies you are aiming from.
These fairway woods give solid sound and feedback upon impact. They come with Mitsubishi Rayon KuroKage stock shaft and Under Your Hands grips.
Tight Lies fairway woods are available in regular, senior, and stiff shafts for right- and left-handed players with 14°, 16° and 19° lofts.
- Solid forgiving impact
- Ghost slot and sole slot hugely improve ball speed
- Tri-sole for hitting off any lie
- Head cover included
- Clubhead looks too compact
#4: Cleveland Golf Men's 588 Fairway Wood
A weight screw at the back of the clubhead may fool you into thinking this is an adjustable fairway wood. It’s not. The screw moves the CG lower and forward.
The ball flies true and mid-high off the face of these fairway woods because of their low CG. The long flight ends in a soft landing. So 588 does not sacrifice control for distance.
The impact and forgiveness of these clubs remain consistent even through various swing situations. We found them rather dependable while taking shots in pressure.
The 588 fairway woods are marketed as one of the longest in the market at 43.5 inches. Their Premium Matrix Ozik 6q3 shaft weighs around 67.5grams.
588 fairway woods are available in regular, senior, and stiff shafts for right- and left-handed players with 15.5° and 18° lofts.
- Long mid-high ball flight
- Low, forward CG for lower spin
- Traditional, reassuring fairway woods looks
- Large sweet spot
- Head covers included
- Performance is reliable, not exceptional
#5: Cobra Men's 5-7 W Bio Cell Fairway Wood
The MyFly8 technology of these fairway woods offers 8 adjustable loft settings. Based on the lie and your strategy, you can use these settings to maximize the shot distances. You can also cover the yardages gaps with fewer clubs.
The Neutral/Draw biasing screw re-adjusts the clubface to square after you have made the loft changes. A square face promotes truer and longer shots with low spin.
These are extremely forgiving fairway woods that work well in diverse situations. They bring marked improvement to the golfers’ game.
The shallow club face has been forged with thin steel to maximize flex and hence reduce ball spin.
5- and 7-woods are provided in regular, stiff and senior flex for right- and left- handed golfers.
- 8 adjustable loft setting
- Biasing screw for squaring clubface
- Very forgiving and versatile
- Headcovers included
- 3-wood not available
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Fairway woods serve as the important relaying tools between drivers and irons. They are near-irreplaceable because of their distance-driving and loft capabilities. We found the best fairway woods for you that remain versatile and forgiving in any lie. The Callaway XR fairway woods offer all common woods in the most-used flexes for both righties and lefties.
This is our top pick because it is as forgiving as fairway woods get. The ball literally explodes off the face of these clubs. If you have your swing right, these clubs could take your game to the next level. The other clubs on this list bring various strengths to the table and are spread across the price range. Hope you will find the best fairway woods for yourself.
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