How To Choose Shafts For Fairway Woods: Unlocking The Secrets of Shaft Selection

Looking to up your game with the right fairway wood shafts? It’s no easy task, but we’re here to help.

We dive into the steel and graphite wood shafts, helping you understand which type suits your style.

The ins and outs of fairway wood shaft flex and weight are also discussed, and how they influence your swing.

Finally, we’ll share our top picks for the best fairway wood shafts in the game.

Let’s get into it.

Types of Golf shafts available for Fairway Woods 

Fairway woods can be equipped in either a graphite or steel shaft. Most woods and drivers are provided with graphite shafts. It’s rare to see a wood attached to a steel shaft.

Graphite Wood Shafts

Wood graphite shafts come in many different brands.

Fujikura, Mitsubishi, Project X, Accra, and Aldila are some of the best and most well-known graphite shaft makers in the industry.

📢 Need To Know: Woods are called “woods” because they were initially made from persimmon in the early 1900s. Four screws were commonly found in the sweet spot and that is where the phrase “hit it on the screws” came from.

Pros and Cons of Graphite Fairway Wood Shafts


  • Graphite shafts are lighter and easier to swing.
  • These shafts can increase swing speed and ball speed resulting in longer distances.
  • Graphite shafts are more flexible than steel shafts so they are simpler to control and more forgiving.


  • Graphite shafts are less durable than steel shafts and can be damaged more easily. When traveling, they can be snapped accidentally in baggage claims.
  • The graphite material makes these shafts more expensive than steel shafts.

Who Are Graphite Fairway Woods Shafts Suitable For?

Graphite shafts are suitable for any level of golfer. Flexibility will come into play when selecting the club. If you’re a beginner you should choose a regular flex. 

If you have a high swing speed and are more advanced, a stiff flex is better.

Best fairway woods with graphite shafts

Our best of the best pick for a fairway wood with a graphite shaft is the TaylorMade Stealth Fairway Wood.

The club made the Golf Digest Gold List and is one of the best woods in the golf world.

It features a lower center of gravity than previous TaylorMade models which allows for more forgiveness on off-center hits.

The sole has a V Steel design that distributes the weight so it feels comfortable and consistent when swinging. The head glides well against the turf and promotes maximum distance. 

TaylorMade equips the wood with a Fujikura Ventus Red 5 or 6 shaft. The 5 is a regular flex that weighs 65 grams. It provides a medium launch with a mid-low spin.

The 6 is a stiff flex that weighs 67 grams. It promotes a lower launch with low spin.

📢 Need To Know: The first graphite golf shaft was created in 1968 by Frank Thomas, Chief Design Engineer at Shakespeare Sporting Goods Company. Union Carbide, another company, had been in contact with him about introducing carbon fiber technology to the general public. Graphite shafts were very expensive when first introduced.

Steel Fairway Wood Shafts

Steel fairway wood shafts are a lot rarer to find but do provide certain characteristics not found in graphite woods such as extreme accuracy if hit properly. 

Tiger Woods used a 43.5-inch steel-shafted driver when he was with Titleist in 1997. 

Jimmy Walker is another professional who has used a steel shaft in a driver as he did at the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge.

Steel Fairway Wood shaft features

Steel fairway wood shafts will be heavier than graphite shafts. They are also more durable and will last longer. 

Pros and Cons of Steel Fairway Wood shafts


  • If you’re one of the many players that uses steel shafts in irons and wedges, using a fairway wood with a steel shaft will feel very similar in terms of weight.
  • Purchasing a steel shaft to put on a wood is cheaper than a graphite shaft.
  • It’s easier to shape shots and receive feedback when using a steel shaft in a wood.


  • Mishits can be painful if you thin the ball when using a steel shaft rather than graphite.
  • Steel shafts are heavier for woods so you could lose swing speed and distance.
  • Beginners will have a lot more trouble hitting a wood with a steel shaft since they are less forgiving.

Who Are Steel Fairway Wood shafts suitable for?

Steel fairway wood shafts are suitable for low-handicap golfers with extremely high swing speeds. Since they’re good for shot shaping, an elite golfer can benefit from using one.

Fairway Wood Shaft Flex Explained


Regular flex shafts bend more and can be used for players with slower swing speeds. Golfers who swing between 75-95 miles per hour can benefit from using regular flex shafts. 

Most beginners and medium-high handicappers also play with a regular flex shaft in their fairway woods. 

Regular flex shafts also promote a higher ball flight.


Shafts with a stiff flex are suitable for golfers with faster swing speeds from 95-110 miles per hour. These shafts are heavier and bend less

Many medium-low handicap golfers with fast swing speeds use stiff flex shafts in their woods.

They can help provide more accuracy and spin as well as a medium-lower ball flight.

Extra Stiff

These shafts are the heaviest and least flexible. They are great for golfers with swing speeds of 110 mph and higher. 

The shafts promote a low trajectory with extremely high spin rates. They are often used by low handicaps, scratch, and professionals.

Extra stiff shafts, which are among the golf shafts that professionals use, can be very difficult and unforgiving if a player with a slow swing speed and high handicap uses them.


This flex is ideal for female golfers who have swing speeds below 75 mph. The shafts are flexible and very forgiving. They promote extremely high launch.

Not all female golfers will use a ladies’ flex, some will need a regular or even a stiff depending on how fast they swing.

Fairway Wood Shaft Weight Explained

Fairway wood shafts should generally be between 65-80 grams for most players. Driver shafts should be around 5-15 grams lighter than fairway woods. 

Wood shafts should be heavier since the shaft is generally one to three inches shorter than a driver shaft.    

65-70 grams

If you have an average swing speed of around 85 miles per hour and hit your fairway wood between 200-250 yards then a 65 to 70-gram shaft is a good choice. 

Anything heavier might cause you to lose distance or affect tempo in a negative way.

75-80 grams

A 75 to 80-gram fairway wood shaft is ideal for players who can hit their woods over 250 yards. Golfers with fast swing speeds of 100 mph and over can use this to their benefit.

Using a lighter shaft might take away distance and feel too light.

Determining the Right Fairway Wood Shaft for You

Picking the right fairway wood shaft for your game can make a difference in both distance and accuracy off the tee. The following tips showcase how to determine the right weight.

Get fitted

Having a fitting done is the best thing you can do to ensure you’re using the right weight and shaft flex.

A fitter will provide you with different weights, flexes, and lengths. You will be using a launch monitor that will provide statistics on which club is the best. 

📢 Need To Know: It’s also important you feel comfortable using the shaft. The fitter will recommend a few of the best options out of the shafts you hit and explain the pros and cons of each one.


If you don’t want to spend the money on a fitting, head to your local golf store or range and try out different clubs.

You can use a store’s Trackman and bay to hit into and see what works best for you.

You won’t have a fitter to choose the right one for your height or go into detail, but it’s still a better option than blindly purchasing one you haven’t tried.

Upkeep and Maintenance of Fairway Wood Shafts

Advice on maintaining and prolonging the life of your Fairway Wood shafts

It’s always a hassle to go to the store and replace a shaft if it gets broken. It not only costs time and money, but it also can be difficult to find the exact shaft.

To maintain and prolong the life of your fairway wood shafts, you should space them out properly in your golf bag so they don’t clank against each other.

Since most wood shafts are graphite, they’ll be much easier to damage or break than iron shafts. 

Place a towel between each shaft when driving or traveling to ensure they don’t rub against each other.

When going through airports a club carry case can also make a difference since luggage is often thrown around. You can also put bubble wrap around each shaft.

How to identify signs of wear and tear in your Fairway Wood shaft

If your club starts to feel different when you swing it or make contact, be sure to inspect your shaft. 

Small dinks in the shaft will affect the performance, so if you see those, it’s time for a new shaft.

How often to replace Fairway Wood shafts

It depends on how often you play golf. If you play over 300 rounds, then you’ll probably want to replace your three-wood shaft.

If you prefer time as a measurement and you’re a weekend golfer, take your wood shafts to a golf store after three to four years to have them checked.

Factors To Consider Before Changing Fairway wood Shaft

  • If you’re not hitting the ball consistently but you hit other clubs well, then consider a change.
  • Consider the costs and if you’re playing well enough and have a decent handicap to warrant a change in the shaft.
  • If the club feels too light or heavy, you more than likely have the wrong shaft. 


Should driver and fairway wood shafts be the same?

Yes, the driver and fairway woods shafts should be the same. It is highly recommended to employ the same material so that when switching between the two clubs, you feel a similar way during your swing.

How Much Does It Cost To Reshaft A Fairway Wood?

It costs between $25-45 dollars to reshaft a fairway wood. The price can be much higher depending on the price and quality of the shaft you select.

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Lawrence Smelser has been part of the Golfible writing staff since 2019 and is a freelance golf journalist. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour including the U.S. Masters with He holds a journalism Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas. Learn more about our team at Golfible on our About Us page.

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