Best Fairway Woods of 2019: Our Top Picks

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Whether a pro, a complete beginner, or anyone in between, any golfer of any level understands the importance of having a reliable fairway wood in the bag. Deciding on the best fairway woods for you could depend on a few factors, so we will lay out all the info and provide an array of options to ensure you know exactly which club is the ideal fit for your game. 

Best Fairway Woods 2019

Short on Time? Here's A Quick Product Synopsis

PRODUCT

Callaway Epic Flash

DETAILS

  • Worldwide golf shop
  • Flash face technology
  • Increased ball speed
  • Light hosel helps launch angle

OUR RATING

Editors Choice

5/5

5 out of 5

Pick #2

Taylormade JetSpeed

  • Speed pocket for ball speed
  • T shaft helps feel and control
  • Affordable price

Best Value Fairway Woods

4.7/5

4.7 out of 5

Pick #3

Callaway Rogue

  • MOI improved by lightweight design
  • Large distance improvments from jailbreak technology
  • Low spin and high launch angle

Best for Distance

4.5/5

4.5 out of 5

Pick #4

Callaway XR

  • Compact design provides forgiveness
  • Playable in most lies
  • Designed for faster ball speed

Best Fairway Woods for Mid Handicappers

4.5/5

4.5 out of 5

Pick #5

Cobra Fly Z

  • 8 different trajectory settings
  • Ball speed increased by speed channel face
  • Big sweet spot

Best Golf Wood for Versatility

4.5/5

4.5 out of 5

Pick #6

TaylorMade M4

  • High launch from low center of gravity technology
  • Easier launch from geocoustic technology
  • Durable graphite shaft

Best for Distance II

4.4/5

4.4 out of 5

The importance of the fairway wood

The fairway wood may well be the most versatile golf club in your bag.

Not only can you take it straight off the deck in pursuit of those mega par fives or longer par threes, but it can double up as a driver from the tee when the Big Dog isn’t behaving. 

Heck, there are plenty of players (present company included) that actually turn to the 3-wood as a first option while the driver stays largely neglected.

I’ve always been happy to sacrifice a few yards in distance for greater control of the golf ball, particularly on tighter holes. If it works for Henrik Stenson, that’s good enough for me. 

Of course, the 3-wood may be the most common fairway wood to have among your golf clubs, but it is by no means the only option.

We’ll go over your choices depending on what you’re looking for. 

When should I use a fairway wood? Can’t I just use a hybrid or long iron?

The easy answer to this question would be: distance. And that certainly does play its part, whether you’re looking to use your fairway wood off the tee or from the fairway.

Naturally, a 13-15-degree 3-wood is going to give you better distance than a 21-degree hybrid, and certainly more than a 24-degree 3-iron. The higher the degree, the greater the trajectory, which means the club will produce more height than distance.

However, it’s not all about distance, and knowing when to use a fairway wood compared to a hybrid or long iron could make all the difference.

As two-time major winner Anna Nordqvist recommends, you might want to select a fairway wood when you have a good lie, there’s not too much trouble around the green, and you’re playing into wind.

Plus, if you’re playing well and feeling confident, back yourself with the more ambitious, less forgiving club. 

On the flip side, she suggests opting for a hybrid if you’re playing from the rough, sand or an uneven lie, you have to carry a hazard, or you’re playing downwind.

Additionally, go for a hybrid or long iron if you’re having an off day as these clubs are more forgiving. 

At the end of the day, distance isn’t everything, and even for high-risk players, playing the percentages (and therefore selecting the right club in the right conditions), is key to low scores.

What am I looking for in my perfect fairway wood?

In a word, versatility. You want a fairway wood that can pack a punch off the tee, but can also deliver on the fairway.

Having said that, much will depend on how you intend to deploy your fairway wood: if you’re already a beast off the tee but need some assistance on the fairway, your choice could differ from if you’re predominantly looking to use your fairway wood from the tee. 

I’m looking for a fairway wood as a driver replacement

Then you’ll want a fairway wood that prioritises distance, targeting a club that provides lower loft degrees, lower spin rates and higher launch.

These kinds of clubs will offer less trajectory and therefore further distances.

There are plenty of fairway woods on the market where you can adjust the loft, the 3-5 wood Cobra Fly-Z for example can be adjusted between 13 and 16 degrees.

Therefore, at its lowest degree, the Fly-Z is only a degree or so higher than most drivers.

I’d rather get a fairway wood that helps me on the fairway

Then you will be looking for a club that provides greater control, loft and trajectory. Narrow your focus to clubs that offer a larger hitting area on the sole, meaning a wider, more accessible club face.

Ignore the options that promise to give you greater distance, instead look at clubs that match your clubhead speed which in turn will provide you more consistent trajectory.

Loft degree settings might vary based on your playing style, but in general seek out higher degree options, with 5/7 woods offering anything between 17 and 22 degrees. 

How many woods do I need?

Much will depend on you personally as a player, but a general rule would be between two and three.

You obviously need a driver in your arsenal, plus a 3/4 wood – a club that offers a loft of around 13-16 degrees.

Beyond that, it’s up to you and your playing style. I would then suggest either another fairway wood – a 5/7-wood with a degree loft of 17-21 – or a hybrid that offers similar trajectory.

If you’re more confident with long irons compared to fairway woods, or vice versa, that should determine which club takes that third spot. 

How do I effectively hit a fairway wood off the deck?

Having a fairway wood is all very well and good, but unless you know how to harness its power off the deck, you’ll only ever use it from the tee, or even worse: remain in awe of your shiny new weapon and leave it to collect dust in your bag.

So for those of us who need a bit of advice on how to conquer the fairway wood off the deck, check out this video from Chris Ryan, who has a clever trick to ensure you’ll be hitting your fairway wood just as clean with or without a tee:

Product Reviews

Callaway Epic Flash Fairway Wood

Editor’s Choice / Best 3 Wood 

  • Quality
4.9/5
  • Price
4/5
  • Our Rating
5/5

Callaway’s Epic Flash fairway wood and Sub Zero range of fairway woods have taken the golf world by storm since their release in January.

Launched alongside this and Epic Flash Sub Zero drivers, the new fairway woods received many of the same technological additions as the drivers, including Jailbreak and Flash Face – designed to give golfers of all levels greater ball speeds and distance.

Both model are both fitted with the shorter, lighter OptlFIT Hosel, which has allowed Callaway’s engineers to reposition the centre of gravity, resulting in a high, long-carrying flight.

Also aiding in fast ball speeds is the forged 455 Carpenter steel construction, which combined with Face Cup technology, allows for more distance on-centre and off-centre ball striking. 

The key difference between the Epic Flash and the Sub Zero is the latter has what Callaway call “precision shot-shaping technology” through adjustable sole weighting (16g and 2g), which allows for spin control, launch and trajectory.

The stock steel shaft is a Project X Evenflow Green, while there are two graphite options: the Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black and the Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue. Available in 3-wood, 3+-wood, 5-wood, 7-wood, 9-wood, 11-wood, and Heavenwood.

PROS

  • Cutting edge technology designed to provide the most advanced fairway woods on the market
  • offers added distance and trajectory, adjustment capabilities
  • custom options

CONS

  • Cost - as the premium club on the market, it comes with a premium price

TaylorMade JetSpeed

Budget Option

  • Quality
4.7/5
  • Price
5/5
  • Our Rating
4.7/5

The JetSpeed was created and launched as the replacement to the RBZ Stage 2 line in 2013, but even some years later, this fairway wood remains a favourite.

The curved Speed Pocket design is central to the JetSpeed’s ability to produce better swing speed and distance.

When released, TaylorMade described the JetSpeed range as “our longest and most playable fairway woods ever and it has stood the test of time.

Other components that promote fast ball speed and long distance include the JetSteel face, low-and-forward CG (which also allows for low ball spin), and low-profile head design.

The Matrix Velox T69 shaft provides plenty of support and feel, allowing the JetSpeed to be more forgiving than some other fairway woods, including another TaylorMade model, the SLDR.

A big difference between the JetSpeed and its predecessor, the RBZ Stage 2, is that the JetSpeed has been filled with a polymer, keeping the club free of debris, which has reduced vibration and provided an improved feel.

The JetSpeed is available as a 15-degree 3-wood, a 19-degree 5-wood, and a 23-degree seven wood, so depending on your needs there is a club to suit your game, particularly if you’re looking to hit the ball higher.

PROS

  • Price
  • Forgiving club
  • improves distance
  • helps ball flight

CONS

  • No adjustability
  • older model

Callaway Rogue

Best for Distance

  • Quality
4.4/5
  • Price
4.1/5
  • Our Rating
4.5/5

The first time Jailbreak technology was implemented into a fairway wood was with the Callaway Rogue last year.

For those unfamiliar with “Jailbreak” (apologies, I should’ve explained earlier), it refers to the two vertical bars Callaway fitted that join the sole and the heel, creating what looks like mini prison bars.

This proved to stiffen the club face on impact, which in turn improves energy transfer and thus produces greater distance.

Until the Rogue, Callaway had struggled to include Jailbreak tech in their fairway woods and hybrids having had great success since using it in their drivers.

Thankfully they overcame the challenge and the result is the Rogue. Made from Triaxial Carbon, this ultra-light material allows for an even faster swing and improved MOI (Moment of Intertia – or when the club meets the ball in another place other than the sweet spot, i.e the optimum area on the club to strike the ball), making this club long and forgiving.

Face Cup technology has also increased speed and distance through the ball as Callaway thinned out the club face, which therefore flexes more on impact.

Meanwhile, the Rogue allows for low-spin and high-launch thanks to the club’s Internal Standing Wave technology.

Put simply, if you are looking for greater distance, then look no further than the Callaway Rogue, which is available in a range of lofts.

PROS

  • Distance
  • distance and more distance
  • forgiving
  • low-spin (allowing the ball to carry further)
  • high-launch

CONS

  • Hosels non-adjustable

Callaway XR

Best for Mid Handicappers

  • Quality
4.6/5
  • Price
4.6/5
  • Our Rating
4.5/5

Our third of three Callaway fairway woods on this list (do you see a pattern emerging?), the XR16 brought back the ‘Warbird’ sole most famously associated with Callaway’s iconic Big Bertha, modernising and updating the design.

The Hyper Speed Face Cup technology offers the XR16 flex on impact to assist in creating distance, while the Fujikura Speeder Evolution 565 Red graphite shaft provides light and stable support.

Don’t expect monster distance (like the Rogue or Epic Flash) with the XR16, but the club is extremely versatile, allowing you to deploy the club from the tee, fairway or even light rough.

Also, the flight trajectory is low compared to other clubs on this list, making it feel like a greater effort to get the ball airborne if you’re a player with a lower swing speed.

PROS

  • Versatile
  • good-looking with classic Warbird shape
  • sounds great when struck well
  • excellent feel

CONS

  • Low trajectory
  • average distance

Cobra Fly Z

Best for Versatility

  • Quality
4.5/5
  • Price
4.2/5
  • Our Rating
4.5/5

For a company famous for its woods, it seemed only fair to feature the Cobra’s range, in particular the Fly-Z. (The Cobra King is also ppopular but we preferred Fly-Z’s versatility.)

The stand-out feature of the Fly Z is the MyFly8 with SmartPad, which provides eight, easy-to-adjust loft settings to make sure you are using your club in the right way based on the circumstances.

The SmartPad then provides a square face at impact, whatever loft settings you choose.

The forged E9 face design has seen Cobra increase the size of the sweet spot by removing some weight from the hosel and face. This means that even on off-centre hits, the Fly Z provides some forgiveness.

The Fly Z comes with a graphite shaft – either regular or stiff – to provide durability and performance.

Unlike the rest of the fairway woods on this list, the Fly Z, only comes in two configurations: 3/4-wood and 5/7-wood, allowing you to adjust the lofts accordingly.

PROS

  • Ultimate versatility and customisable options with eight different loft settings
  • offers good distance and forgiveness
  • looks great

CONS

  • Does not produce high ball flight
  • beginners and high-handicappers may struggle when using not on tee or fairway

TaylorMade M4

Best for Distance II

  • Quality
4.4/5
  • Price
4.3/5
  • Our Rating
4.4/5

Just to make things a bit interesting, I’ve decided to throw another fairway wood bomber into the mix.

Released alongside the M3 to replace the M1 and M2, the TaylorMade M4 is one of the most powerful fairway woods on the market.

If you’re looking for some help from the tee, or want to reach that pesky par-5 green in two, then you can’t go too far wrong with this club.

The GeoCoustic design on the M4’s sole has made these golf clubs easier to hit, too, and compared to the M3, it creates more spin and a higher trajectory.

One downside though: it has a fixed hosel, so if you want a custom shaft, be sure to get it fitted in advance.

The M4 is available in five loft options – 3-wood, 3-wood HL, 5-wood, 5-wood HL, and 7-wood HL. Distance and forgiveness – what more could you ask for?

PROS

  • Forgiving
  • plenty of distance
  • similar to the popular M2 but upgraded

CONS

  • Non-adjustable hosel

It’s been quite a journey but we completed it together. By now you should have a complete understanding into the beauty of fairway woods, what sort of club you need for your game and the best rated fairway woods that suits your needs.

To be quite honest, you can’t go too wrong with any of the six listed above – but it’s the Callaway Epic Flash that really stands out from the crowd: the latest in cutting-edge technology, suitable for players of all abilities, a beast from the tee and reliable off the deck, and plenty of adjustment and customiseable options make this, in my opinion, the best fairway wood on the market.

best putter for yips

About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff at Golfible is a team of golfing geeks and enthusiasts led by founder Alec Rose. All have the same obsession with golf tech, equipment updates and avoiding rain on the course.

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