Best Fairway Woods 2024: Our data-backed shortlist reveals the best-in-class

Today’s Golfer puts the latest models through their paces for distance, forgiveness, and more to help you find the perfect match for your long game.

Choosing the best fairway wood for your game is one of the trickiest club choices in golf. They are typically the clubs we hit least often, but when we do, we expect to have full confidence in them. Whether it’s finding the fairway on a tight tee shot or getting greenside in two on a par-5, a trusty fairway wood plays a crucial role in helping to lower your scores.

Unfortunately, selecting the right fairway wood(s) isn’t quite as simple as just picking the one that matches your driver. We tee it up with a driver, yet often hit fairways from the deck. So how your swing presents the club to the ball at impact can differ massively between the two, meaning the best driver for you can be very different from your optimal fairway wood setup.

One of the first things to consider is the yardage gaps in your bag between your driver and longest iron or hybrid. It’s not until you jump on a launch monitor and note down your stock yardages with each club that you can identify the most beneficial loft and style of fairway wood for your game. Then there’s the course where you play most of your golf. If your home course is a wind-exposed links then you’re more likely to want clubs with a penetrating low launch, similar to the best driving irons and utility clubs. Whereas if you mostly play on inland or parkland courses then their nature means you’ll need to hit more shots that fly higher and land more softly due to the ‘target’ nature of their set-up.

Best At A Glance

Best overall fairway wood: TaylorMade Qi10 | Buy Now – US | Buy Now – UK

Most forgiving fairway wood: Ping G430 Max | Buy Now – US | Buy Now – UK

Best for high-launch with low-spin: Callaway Paradym Ai-Smoke Max | Buy Now – US | Buy Now – UK

Most playable fairway wood: TaylorMade Qi10 Max | Buy Now – US | Buy Now – UK

You’ll also need to be realistic about whether you need a fairway wood that’s easy to launch off the deck, as this is a shot many mid-to-high handicap golfers struggle to hit consistently well. Luckily, continual advances in technology are making fairway woods more playable than ever, offering greater forgiveness than a long-iron alternative. We’d recommend that beginners and high-handicappers switch out as many of those clubs for fairway woods as possible, providing the lofts and gapping are correct. With many brands now offering up to 11-woods, there have never been so many long-game options.

Our test pro has put the latest models through their paces on a launch monitor to crown our 2024 TG award-winners and help point you in the right direction. We suggest using our expert reviews in conjunction with the information found in the buying guide to hone in on the best fairway wood to take your game forward.

Best Fairway Woods 2024:

A seriously impressive option for those seeking speed and distance.

Best overall fairway wood
Ever since TaylorMade came up with the RocketBallz fairway woods back in 2012, our testing here at TG has highlighted the brands' proficiency at creating some of the fastest and longest fairway woods on the market. The trend really hasn’t changed much in 2024. By posting our fastest ball speed, and longest carry distance (2 yards longer than the nearest competitor plus a full 11.3 yards further than our test average) I can confidently say the Qi10 is a beast of a fairway wood choice in 2024.    
The model also posted the 2nd smallest carry distance drop off and 3rd smallest shot area of our entire 24 model test, which were 43.9% and 54.9% respectively smaller than the test averages. In anyone’s book those numbers are out of this world good, yet I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t say this model might well not be your best option. The problem TaylorMade have created for themselves in 2024 is they’ve also produced a brilliant wider body, more forgiving fairway wood option in the Qi10 Max, a model that if your swing speed is anywhere close to average will be easier to flight successfully.
If speed and distance are your top requirements from new fairway woods in 2024 and you have decent levels of speed, stick with the Qi10, it’s seriously impressive. However, if you’ve found fairway woods have become harder to launch from the deck, the Qi10 Max would be my preferred option.
With its shallower more lofted head (16° instead of 15° in the 3W), the Max for our test pro launched and flighted shots higher with more spin, and hit the ground at a steeper angle. While for our test pro that meant giving up 7 yards of carry distance, at more average club golfer speeds it would add more yardage thanks to flighting shots optimally with increased levels of forgiveness which virtually no golfer doesn’t want.
You really can’t make a bad choice between the two but any good fitter will ensure whatever direction you go in is optimal for your game.          

Read our full TaylorMade Qi10 fairway wood review.


  • Decent players will love the compact head shape.
  • The hefty sliding sole weight creates a very versatile fairway wood.
  • A great option for those who want to tinker with ball flight, spin, and descent angle.


  • A very costly fairway wood option.
Lofts 3W – 15° / 5 - 18°
Stock shafts Mid 60g - Mitsubishi Tensei AV Ltd Blue FW (65 R), Mid 70g -Mitsubishi Tensei AV Ltd Blue (75 X/S)
Stock grip Golf Pride Z-Grip Plus 2 (52g)

Perhaps the most maxed out Max model on the market.

Best for high-launch with low-spin
The entire Callaway Ai Smoke family has taken us by surprise this year as time and again it has performed brilliantly in our 2024 tests. The Max fairway wood hasn’t let the side down either. Both myself and our test pro love the really shallow profile, and found it incredibly easy to launch high from the turf. A trait that our test data totally supports as shots launched and flew higher than average while spinning just below it - numbers that will add distance even without excessive swing speed.
It's well worth pointing out that Ai Smoke is the only fairway wood we’ve tested this year that comes with a full-on carbon fiber sole, very much like the brand's latest drivers (Callaway introduced the idea on the standard Paradym fairway wood last year). It’s a really bold move, because as strong as carbon fiber is in one direction, it can also be incredibly fragile in others. My gut feeling though is this carbon fiber chassis frees up just a bit more weight to squeeze out a fraction more performance than some of the leading competition, in exactly the same way as engineers have employed on the latest drivers. We’re talking tiny amounts but if we’re looking for optimal performance the Ai Smoke Max to my eyes is more maxed out than most.
Our test data has the Ai Smoke Max down as our 3rd longest fairway wood of the year, just 3 yards back from the TaylorMade Qi10, a result that my experience says could be reversed on another day of testing. Throw in a shot area 36.2% tighter than our test average, and an adjustable hosel in the 3W so you can dial in launch, spin, lie, and face angle - and you have one of my top five performing fairway woods of 2024.     

Read our full Callaway Paradym Ai-Smoke Max fairway wood review.


  • The Max loft options are outstanding.
  • At reasonable speed, the Max is incredibly easy to flight.
  • A very forgiving fairway wood option.


  • If you use more than one fairway wood these are a costly investment.
Lofts 3W -15° / 3 HL -16.5 ° / 5 - 18° / HVN - 20° / 7 - 21° / 9 - 24° / 11 - 27°
Stock shafts Project X Denali Black, Mitsubishi Tensei AV Series Blue, Project X Cypher 2.0
Stock grip Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360

Still one of the best blends of speed, power, and forgiveness you can buy.

Most forgiving fairway wood
It would be easy to question why Ping’s one-year-old and still very costly G430 Max fairway justifies a place among our list of elite fairway woods in 2024, especially when the competition is so hot this year. But unlike the Titleist fairways, the G430 isn't scheduled to be replaced this year. In anyone’s book the G430 Max is still a cracking option, I say that as the model comes with some very strong stock shaft offerings and an adjustable hosel that lets golfers tailor the loft, lie, and face angle of every head to their own desired setup.
At 153.7mph the G430 Max posted the 4th fastest ball speed of our entire 24-model test, which is seriously impressive, but the reasons to include the model as a top performer grow exponentially when I throw into the ring a carry distance 4.3 yards further than our average, the smallest ball speed drop off (9 yds) and our tests 2nd smallest shot area (61% smaller than our test average).
Ping has a massive reputation for making forgiving products and once again our data highlights how this model flies incredibly high in the forgiveness stakes. Yes at $/£350 a pop you don’t want to buy too many but if you’re looking for a blend of speed, power, and forgiveness at any swing speed in 2024 write the G430 off at your peril.     

Read our full Ping G430 Max fairway wood review.


  • Seriously impressive all-round performance.
  • There's an excellent range of shafts.
  • Super easy to hit from a range of lies.


  • Will be replaced in 2025.
Lofts 3 – 15° / 5 – 18° / 7 – 21° / 9 - 24°
Stock shafts Ping Alta CB Black, Ping Tour 2.0 Chrome, Ping Tour 2.0 Black
Stock grip Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360

A super appealing blend of forgiveness and playability.

Best for launchability
Price: $229 / £249 RRP
Super forgiving fairway woods have become a massive deal over the last few years as golfers have become more willing to buy into equipment that will genuinely benefit their game rather than just chasing ball speed and distance. In 2024, in a way we’ve never seen before, brands are talking up forgiveness to levels so high that MOI has now become a major battleground. If forgiveness and playability are high on your list of fairway wood wants in 2024 I’d back the PXG 0311 XF GEN6 to put a seriously wide smile on your face.
Like the TaylorMade Qi10 Max this model has been designed to be incredibly easy to flight at any speed and thanks to its big wide body profile it’s also really forgiving too. I’ve used this model for a year and have been very surprised at how easy it is to launch high from the turf. Our test pro loved the forgiving hanging ball flight too.
The XF 3-wood comes with 1° weaker loft (16°) than our test spec, yet it didn’t hold the head back from posting a ball speed just over, and a carry distance spot on our test average. That’s some seriously impressive performance against stronger lofted models.
However, if I were looking for friendly new fairway woods in 2024 my eyes would be drawn to the launch angle (1.3°), backspin (592.6 RPM), and shot height (6.3 yds) all being higher than our test average which along with a significantly steeper landing angle (5.8°) will make a huge difference to enjoying the game and helping nestle long approaches on to a green. And if you’re anything like me, the 3-wood will fast become your favorite club in your bag.


  • Easy to launch high from the deck.
  • There's a good selection of stock shafts plus lots of premium upgrade choices.
  • PXG's weight and length fitting capability is second to none.


  • Better options for those seeking speed and distance.
Lofts 3W - 16° / 4W - 17° / 5W - 19°, 7W - 22°
Stock shafts Multiple custom-fit options are available
Stock grip PXG Z5 Black Standard

A fantastic-looking low-spin option for high-speed players.

Best looking fairway wood
Looks play a huge role in hitting fairway woods well. If a head sits squarely behind the ball, and it’s possible to see a little bit of loft, plus the head is a good size and doesn’t have distracting graphics or detailing there’s a much greater chance of hitting shots successfully with it. As soon as any of these are out of kilter, it’s highly likely you’re going to feel under pressure on what’s become the golfer's toughest club to hit (the modern fairway wood) before you’ve even start.
If there’s one completely unoffensive fairway wood out there for decent swing speed players it has to be the super simple Cobra Darkspeed X. To say our test pro loved this completely plain unfussy head is a massive understatement, and because he was a fan of the shape and appearance of course he hit it really well too.  
I’d love to say the Darkspeed X tore up trees in terms of performance, but where it produced a faster-than-average ball speed, carry distance, and tighter shot area, it also launched, flew, and span less than our test averages. All traits that have to say this model is a great alternative to the TaylorMade Qi10 for decent speed players, and those who really want to specifically target a lower ball flight with their fairway woods. If forgiveness and playability though is your ultimate goal, or your swing speed hovers around average there are better options out there.        

Read our full Cobra Darkspeed X fairway wood review.


  • Forgiveness, sound, and feel are very good.
  • Amazing stock shaft options.
  • Adjustability for a fairway wood is fantastic.


  • Full black head which can pose a challenge when lining up with the center of the clubface.
Lofts 3W - 15° / 5W - 18° / 7W - 21°
Stock shafts Mitsubishi Kai’li Blue, UST Mamiya Lin-Q Blue
Stock grip Lamkin Crossline Black

A super playable fairway wood destined for great success in 2024.

Most playable fairway wood
Very rarely when we come to dishing out our awards for the best performing clubs each year do two products from the same brand feature as our top performers in a single category. Sometimes it happens with putters, there’s been a couple of times with wedges but never has it happened with Fairway Woods before. But 2024 is a very different year.
2024 is the year that TaylorMade ditched their ‘draw biased’ family in a bid to make an ultimate forgiveness driver, fairway, and hybrid family, and the Qi10 Max across all three categories has performed in a way that its HD (High Draw) predecessor would always have struggled to compete with. By removing the draw bias/slicers family designation the Max family has suddenly become an option for everyone, and it’s so much better for it.
If you want to chase ball speed and distance that’s fine - TaylorMade’s Qi10 is all over that for you. But if you want a very forgiving and playable driver, fairway wood or hybrid, the Qi10 Max is the friend you wish you’d always had. This model puts a serious fairway wood choice on the table in a way that hasn’t been there before. For some, it won’t ever be the longest especially at the very highest speeds, as the wide-body head will create too much spin. Its strength though lies in no matter where shots hit the face it’s always going to be forgiving, and for reasonable – average swing speed players it will flight shots for optimum distance and stopping power.
I’ve been bowled over by the Qi10 Max this year, from a loft 1° weaker loft than our test spec this head produced a 2mph faster ball speed, and 4.3 yards more carry distance than our test averages, so the model is absolutely no slouch in terms of power. Where it comes into its own though is that speed and distance come with more launch angle, more spin, more shot height, and additional stopping power - all traits that will help regular golfers score better more often. My guess is the Max is going to be so successful this year that it's only a matter of time before other brands start retargeting their draw-biased families to ‘ultimate forgiveness’ golfers too. Watch this space.

Read our full TaylorMade Qi10 Max fairway wood review.


  • The wide shallow profile is really confidence-inspiring at address.
  • The high-launch ball flight will maximize carry distance at more average speeds.
  • I love the slightly weaker lofts that are a doddle to launch from the turf.


  • So long as you can justify the price there's nothing here not to like.
Lofts 3W – 16° / 5W – 19° / 7W - 22°
Stock shafts High -Fujikura Speeder NX TCS (50 S/R/A, 40L)
Stock grip Golf Pride Z-Grip Plus 2 (52g)

A great value and high-performing fairway wood, best for higher-speed players.

Best value fairway wood
Value for money fairway woods are incredibly hard to come by in 2024, so much so if I were buying fairway woods on a budget this year I’d look for models like the Dynapower that are set to be retired at the end of the year or good second-hand equipment, as from what I’ve seen there just aren’t too many desirable low-cost options around.      
Our test pro really enjoyed the Dynapower’s crisp impact sound, its completely unoffensive head shape, and just like last year the data it produced was very solid too. With a carry distance of 245 yards the model was tied 4th longest (5.3 yards longer than our test average), it also produced a ball speed above and shot area below our test averages, which should be applauded from a fairway wood that doesn’t on the surface at least appear to be crammed full of tech.
So long as you have reasonable levels of speed and are not close to falling below average you should be able to launch this model, not as high as the most forgiving models I’ve highlighted in our Best 2024 Fairway Wood test, but to sufficient levels to rival the TaylorMade Qi10 and Ping G430 Max. And if you can pick one up for reasonable money later in the year as the model is phased out I don’t think you’ll regret your purchase.   

Read our full Wilson Dynapower woods and irons review.


  • Really competitive levels of ball speed and carry distance.
  • Easy to launch from multiple lies.
  • Pleasing looking at address.


  • No adjustable hosel.
Lofts 3W - 15° / 5W - 18° / 7W - 21°
Stock shafts Project X HZRDUS Smoke Red
Stock grip WS Lamkin Crossline 360

A top performer one year on in the hands of stronger players.

Best for ball speed
Srixon ZX fairways and hybrids have been strong competitors in our test sessions over the last few years, and the MK II, a winner here in 2023, put in another strong performance this time around. So long as you have good levels of club speed I’m a big fan of the slightly larger, more friendly-looking head, as it is seriously powerful.
The ZX was our 2nd longest (249 yards) and 3rd fastest (153.9mph) fairway wood of 2024, which is seriously impressive considering it’s not a brand-new model for this year, and the competition was incredibly fierce. With launch, backspin, and shot height a fraction below our test averages this model will be a better fit for slightly stronger players, so make sure you can launch it successfully from the deck before buying in. In the right hands, the ZX is a top performer, and as we head into late summer you might also find them available for very good money.

Read our full Srixon ZX MKII fairway woods and hybrids review.


  • Produced our 2nd fastest ball speed and distance on test.
  • Very powerful.
  • Confidence-inspiring at address.


  • No adjustability on offer.
Lofts 13.5° / 15° / 18° / 21°
Stock shafts Project X HZRDUS Smoke Red RDX 60
Stock grip Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 Grip

A long and powerful low-spin fairway wood for high-speed players.

Best for penetrating ball flights
With good value for money fairway woods now incredibly hard to come by and with there being less spin lowering options around for higher speed players the TSR 3 has snuck its way onto our radar this year. This smaller-headed model isn’t an option for everyone. But if you have decent levels of speed and are looking to lower your fairway wood ball flight, due to the model being retired around mid-summer you might be able to pick a TSR 3 up for decent money in 2024.  
If you can you’ll want to know the TSR 3 tied 4th longest in our best fairway wood test this year. It launched and flighted shots lower than the test averages so only entertain this model if speed is not your Achilles heel. As lovely and attractive as the head is, just remember it is less forgiving than a lot of the competition, which explains why it produced a shot area significantly above average for our test pro. If you have speed and pick a TSR 3 up for decent money, you’ve got a powerful low-spin fairway wood on your hands, which makes it worthy of consideration in 2024.     

Read our full Titleist TSR fairway woods review.             


  • Exceptional adjustability.
  • Long and powerful.
  • Striking aesthetics.


  • Less forgiving than much of the competition.
Lofts 15.0° / 16.5° / 18.0° / 21.0°
Stock shafts HZRDUS Red CB, Tensei AV Blue, HZRDUS Black 4G, Tensei 1K Black
Stock grip Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360

Best Fairway Woods: The Data

Below is the data from our independent testing of the best fairway woods available in 2024. You can read about all the other models that didn’t make our shortlist above in our golf club review pages.

Fairway WoodLoftBall SpeedLaunch AngleBackspinHeightDescent AngleCarry DistanceCarry Distance Drop OffShot Area
TaylorMade Qi1015°154.5 MPH (1)8.7°2916 RPM26 YDS34.5°251 YDS (1)12 YDS (2)379.2 SQ YDS (3)
Srixon ZX MK II15°153.9 MPH (3)8.1°2715 RPM23 YDS31.5°249 YDS (2)20 YDS864 SQ YDS
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max15°152.4 MPH9.6°2995 RPM27 YDS36°248 YDS (3)20 YDS566 SQ YDS
Titleist TSR 315°152.5 MPH8.3°2786 RPM23 YDS31.9°245 YDS29 YDS1377.5 SQ YDS
Wilson Dynapower15°152.4 MPH8.2°2849 RPM23 YDS32.5°245 YDS16 YDS838.4 SQ YDS
Cobra Darkspeed LS14.5° @ 15.5°152.3 MPH9.6°3189 RPM28 YDS37.4°245 YDS17 YDS906.1 SQ YDS
TaylorMade Qi10 Max16°153 MPH8.6°3309 RPM27 YDS36.4°244 YDS22 YDS693 SQ YDS
Ping G430 Max15°153.7 MPH7.2°2913 RPM21 YDS31°244 YDS9 YDS (1)328.5 SQ YDS (2)
Mizuno ST-G15°150.4 MPH2666 RPM23 YDS31.6°244 YDS30 YDS1302 SQ YDS
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke TD15°154 MPH (2)8.3°2611 RPM23 YDS31.7°243 YDS46 YDS3109.6 SQ YDS
Titleist TSR 216.5°149.8 MPH10.2°3204 RPM29 YDS38.2°242 YDS24 YDS907.2 SQ YDS
PXG 0311 Black Ops15°152.5 MPH8.7°3589 RPM28 YDS38.1°241 YDS25 YDS815 SQ YDS
Cobra Darkspeed X15°152.6 MPH7.5°2952 RPM23 YDS32.7°241 YDS21 YDS821.1 SQ YDS
Cleveland Launcher XL 215°151.2 MPH7.3°2877 RPM20 YDS30.4°240 YDS17 YDS382.5 SQ YDS
PXG 0311 XF GEN616°151.7 MPH9.9°3699 RPM31 YDS40.3°239 YDS17 YDS698.7 SQ YDS
Mizuno ST-Z 23015°150.8 MPH8.3°2714 RPM22 YDS31.7°239 YDS25 YDS892.5 SQ YDS
TaylorMade Qi10 Tour15°150.7 MPH8.8°3239 RPM27 YDS36.8°238 YDS25 YDS705 SQ YDS
Ram FX15°150.6 MPH7.3°2516 RPM19 YDS28°236 YDS15 YDS (T3)579 SQ YDS
Sub 70 949 X15°150 MPH7.6°2874 RPM21 YDS31.4°235 YDS25 YDS562.5 SQ YDS
Cobra Darkspeed Max15.5°151 MPH7.4°3841 RPM25 YDS36.2°232 YDS17 YDS839.8 SQ YDS
Vega Alkaid15°148 MPH8.3°3554 RPM24 YDS35.7°231 YDS15 YDS (T3)486 SQ YDS
PXG 021115°146 MPH9.3°3092 RPM25 YDS35.7°230 YDS20 YDS848 SQ YDS
Inesis 50015°145.1 MPH10.7°3401 RPM30 YDS39.9°229 YDS22 YDS264 SQ YDS (1)
MacGregor V Max15°146 MPH8.4°4052 RPM25 YDS37.3°222 YDS24 YDS993.6 SQ YDS
Average151 MPH8.6°3106.4 RPM24.7 YDS34.5°239.7 YDS21.4 YDS840 SQ YDS

How we tested the best fairway woods

We asked the leading brands to send us their 2024 fairway woods in our test Pro Neil Wain’s specs.

We created an indoor test lab at Keele Golf Centre to ensure a controlled environment, which meant we could use premium Titleist Pro V1x golf balls and a Foresight GC Quad launch monitor to create the most reliable data possible. We rejected major misses but recorded how shots launched, span, peaked out, and how far they flew in which direction.

See more about how TG tests golf clubs and other equipment.

Neil Wain is Today's Golfer's test pro.

Best Fairway Woods: Buying Guide

To help you make the most informed buying decsion, we’ve put together this short buying guide that walks you through some of the key things to consider before parting with your cash.


You have space for 14 clubs in your bag so you want to make the best use of all of them. Having a fairway wood that goes the same distance as your driver or gives you the same shots as your longest iron or hybrid is a waste. Make sure you know exactly what the gap is that you’re trying to fill and allow this to dictate the loft of your fairway wood setup.


As with drivers, manufacturers now create versions of their fairway wood models specifically to boost forgiveness. This year sees the game’s powerhouse brands really go after forgiveness with models such as the TaylorMade Qi10 Max, Callaway Paradym Ai-Smoke Max, and Ping G430 Max just to name a few. So before going all in on your favorite brand’s hero model, consider your game first, and if forgiveness is important then these more stable variations will likely be a far better match.


Adjustability is as common in modern fairway woods as in the best drivers. Many models allow you to tweak the loft and lie, move weights, and swap in the perfect shaft for your swing. Consider how important adjustability is to you… Are you likely to need to change the characteristics of your club’s performance with a simple twist of a wrench? Or would you prefer a model with a non-adjustable hosel, standard weights, and a stock shaft? If you’re unsure, speak to your PGA pro and book a fitting.


Modern fairway woods are designed to play a huge variety of shots. As well as being a great option off the tee and for second shots into par 5s, they can even be used from a variety of different lies, to get the ball out and running when you’re in trouble, or even for shots around the green.

If your current fairway wood only offers you one type of shot then it could be worth considering upgrading. You can visit our dedicated page to find out more about the factors to consider when deciding whether to upgrade your clubs.


Liking how a fairway wood looks doesn’t guarantee it will perform for you, but there is little point in considering a fairway wood that doesn’t suit your eye. When you look down on a golf club you want it to breed confidence, be easy to align, and not have any features you find distracting. Fairway woods are among the most difficult clubs to hit, which is why you need something that you feel happy pulling out of the bag for any shot.

We’d recommend you go and select several models, see how they look and feel, and then test them in a variety of situations and lies before getting a full fitting for your preferred style.


As with most things in the golf world, prices for fairway woods can vary considerably. Value for money is subjective and therefore you should spend however much you feel comfortable with, be it a premium model, or one with a more competitive price point.

If you’re ready to upgrade in 2024 but can’t justify the dizzying price tags of the games’s powerhouse brands, check out our pick of the best fairway woods from 2023. Many of these recently replaced models are now available at reduced prices and still deliver a competitive performance package.

Are irons, hybrids, or fairway woods the best option for your golf bag?

Best Fairway Woods: FAQs

What are fairway woods?

Fairway woods fills the gap in your bag between your driver and your longest hybrid or iron. It is a versatile distance club that can be used off the tee, fairway, out of light rough, and around the greens, and is designed to sweep the ball. It has a similar look to a driver, only with a smaller head, more loft, and a shallower face.

Golfers typically carry two or more fairway woods in different lofts to help them hit the different shots they require around their home course. A fairway wood ranges from 140cc to 180cc in size (drivers can be up to 460cc) with a 3-wood starting at around 13.5º, which is considered a strong loft, up to around 16.5º. That loft would be called a 3-wood.

Who are fairway woods for?

Fairway woods are designed for every golfer, from high-handicappers to tour pros. As with drivers, most brands now create multiple versions of their fairway woods to suit different needs – from low-spinning to more forgiving and draw-biased. Most modern fairway woods also feature adjustable hosels so that the loft and lie can be perfectly suited to your game.

What shots can I use a fairway wood for?

Fairway woods are very versatile. They can be used instead of a driver off the tee if you want to leave the ball short of a hazard or leave yourself a specific yardage into a green. As the name suggests, they can also be used from the fairway and are designed to sweep the ball from the turf. They are mostly used to play approach shots into long par 4s and par 5s.

You can also use a fairway wood to hit shots out of light rough – just be sure to check the lie before you play the ball to ensure it’s suitable. If you can comfortably sit the club behind the back of the ball then it should be playable, but if your ball is buried or in long grass then playing a higher lofted club and getting back into play would be more sensible.

Some players even use fairway woods around the greens, taking advantage of the clubs sweeping nature to run the ball onto the greens. Justin Rose famously used his fairway wood to get up and down on the final hole of his 2013 US Open win at Merion, below.

What is a 7-wood?

7-woods have become far more common in recent years because they are easier to hit than long irons and hybrids and allow players to create a high ball flight and soft landing. Stats gurus Arccos say the greens in regulation stats with a 7-wood are 70% higher than that of a 3-hybrid; astonishing numbers when we’ve always been told hybrids are the more forgiving option. Read our full 7-woods test to find out if they’re right for you.

What fairway woods do the world’s best golfers use?

Rory McIlroy uses a TaylorMade Qi10 3-wood (15°) with Fujikura Ventus TR Black 8 X shaft and a TaylorMade Qi10 5-wood (18°) with Fujikura Ventus TR Black 9 X shaft. Scottie Scheffler also games the TaylorMade Qi10 fairway wood on the PGA Tour, whereas LIV Golf’s star signing, Jon Rahm uses a Callaway Paradym Ai-Smoke Triple Diamond Fairway Wood (16°, 18°) with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8X Shaft.

SUBSCRIBE TO TODAY’S GOLFER: Print and Digital access, discounts and rewards!

About the author

Simon Daddow

Simon Daddow – Today’s Golfer Equipment Editor

Simon Daddow is the Equipment Editor for Today’s Golfer. Having tested and played more than 10,000 clubs in his life, what he doesn’t know about golf clubs isn’t worth knowing.

He’s a specialist in all things metal having spent a large part of his career as a golf club maker and product development manager, and has worked in the golf industry for more than 30 years.

He joined Bauer Media as Equipment Editor in 2006 and has worked for both Today’s Golfer and Golf World. Working alongside our test pro Neil Wain, Simon has made the most reliable source for golf club testing.

You can contact Simon via email and follow him on Twitter for loads more golf equipment insight.

- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us.