The second longest golf clubs in your bag are fairway woods, designed to help you maximize long game distance from the tee and the deck.
Many amateurs find the weaker lofts of 3 and 5 woods easier to launch off the tee than a driver. This prompted me to compile a list of the best fairway woods for beginners.
In this post, I will take you through the easiest launching and highly forgiving, long fairway woods. The options are crafted to get your ball airborne, keep you straight and boost your total distance.
And for golfers that just need a quick recommendation, here are our top choices:
As we dive into the realm of fairway woods, you should bookmark our review on a 3 wood vs 5 wood to give you a better understanding of their features and performance.
Table of Contents
What to Look for in Good Fairway Woods as a Beginner
High handicap golfers tend to swing on the slower end of the spectrum and struggle to generate sufficient clubhead and ball speed for a powerful launch. You’ll find that a fairway wood with a high-strength stainless steel face is a suitable option for ball velocity aid.
You will also want to consider a fairway wood with an expanded sweet spot and a flexible clubface because they help you maintain speed on off-center hits.
Clean Turf Interaction
Your woods must deliver clean turf interaction to help your clubhead glide through the grass and strike your ball cleanly from any lie. Inefficient interaction with the ground could see your clubhead stick into the turf, reducing your swing speed and the quality of the strike.
Mid to Low Spin
You need to reduce your spin off the clubface to optimize distance, or you’ll balloon your strikes. Mid to low spin fairway woods are ideal for high handicapper players who naturally produce excess spin at impact.
Another challenge faced by amateurs is the inability to get your golf ball airborne consistently. If the ball does not fly, you produce no distance and will endure long days on the golf course. Therefore, you want a fairway wood with a low center of gravity (CG) to produce high-flying shots and increased carry distance.
Straight Ball Flight
Accuracy is another area where the average golfer struggles. Therefore, I recommend sourcing a wood that encourages straighter ball flight to keep you in play. Draw bias profiles are popular among higher handicappers because it combats the dreaded right miss.
The profile of the golf club resists slice side spin to deliver straighter shots and keep you out of trouble. An adjustable fairway wood is one route to straighter ball flight besides more practice and coaching. It enables you to alter the clubface loft and lie for your desired launch.
The final feature to consider is forgiveness. As a newbie, you need all the help you can get, to remain straight and long. You’ll find that woods with an expanded sweet spot, oversized club head, and flexible face offer the most forgiveness.
An oversized head enhances stability and moment of inertia (MOI) to keep your clubhead square at contact. In addition, the wider sweet spot maintains ball speed and reduces spin on mishits for straighter results. Finally, a flexible clubface increases spring at impact to retain velocity on strikes low off the clubface.
6 Best Fairway Woods for Beginners
1. Callaway Rogue ST Max D
- Combats slices for improved long game accuracy
- Encourages a high launch
- Maximum forgiveness
- Rapid ball speed across the clubface
- Moderate spin
- The draw bias profile can worsen hook shots
The Callaway Rogue ST Max is an innovative fairway wood packed with the latest advancements in golf technology. I found this technologically advanced wood is the best option for a high handicapper seeking elevated forgiveness, a high launch, and rapid ball speed.
The key difference between the ST Max D and its relatives is the angle of the clubface. It is set up to prevent slice golf shots, and prompts a draw bias for improved accuracy.
An A.I. designed Jailbreak System boosts stability at impact while optimizing clubface flexibility for accelerated velocity. Its core feature is a 27-gram tungsten speed cartridge which positions the CG low and forward for accelerated ball speed and low spin.
A.I features once again in the C300 maraging steel face to produce the expected ball velocity, spin, and a high launch. The clubface is incredibly durable and flexible, generating high speed and consistent spin.
- Available in multiple lofts
- Advanced laser alignment to ensure an accurate set up
- Exceptional turf interaction
- Optimal forgiveness
- Combats off-center strikes to produce straighter results
- It does not contain an adjustable loft hosel
- Expensive for a high handicappers
The latest release from the TaylorMade stable is the Stealth range. Unlike the drivers do not feature 60 layers of carbon sheets. However, the engineers employed a lightweight carbon to reduce the total weight of the clubhead. Then, they redistributed that available mass low and deep in the clubhead for optimal launch and playability.
A 3D carbon crown sheds weight in the toe of the club and repositions it in the heel to close the clubface. I noticed that the angle encouraged a draw bias shot, mitigating the impact of slices off the tee.
You will notice that the Stealth is equipped with an advanced laser alignment aid, which helps golfers understand where the clubface is pointing. I enjoyed the performance of the V-Steel sole, which produced clean turf interaction for a clean strike from the rough or fairway.
Furthermore, I felt that the Twist Face design suits beginners because it contains spin on off-center strikes. As a result, the clubface generates straighter shots to keep you in play. Finally, the classic TaylorMade Thru-Slot speed pocket enhances flexibility on low-face strikes to generate rapid ball velocity and a high launch on all strikes.
3. Cleveland Launcher XL Halo
Bigger head means an MOI of 3,338 g-cm2. Add that forgiveness to a high launch from low-and-deep weighting, and you’ll enjoy maximum distance with maximum fun. Twin rails along the sole of the club help keep the face straight through impact for optimal ball striking.
- Super forgiving
- Encourages straighter shots
- Crisp turf interaction
- High launch
- Consistent ball speed and spin
- The oversized head is unattractive
- Minimal workability
Cleveland is no stranger to producing easy launching woods for the average golfer, and the status quo remains with the Launcher XL Halo. It is built to deliver high, straight ball flight for elevated length and accuracy. From the clubs I tested, I am confident this is the most forgiving fairway wood this year.
Off the bat, you will notice an expanded clubhead, which is welcomed from a forgiveness perspective. The enlarged head offers aggressive MOI and low and deep weighting to restrict the effects of mishits and encourage straighter results.
I found the Gliderail system performed as expected, helping my clubhead fly through the grass to connect the ball cleanly. In addition, you will appreciate the Rebound Frame that promotes clubface flex and stability for superb ball speed and speed.
The flexible part of the frame accelerates velocity on strikes across the face for a consistent launch. Conversely, the rigid area helps restrain spin for maximum yardage. Finally, you will experience a consistently high launch, thanks to the low CG, brought about by the Hibore Crown Step design.
4. PXG 0211
- Moderately affordable
- Exceptional feel and acoustics
- High launching
- Optimal forgiveness
- Superb turf interaction
- The weights to adjust precision weighting technology are not included
- I found the stock grip provided limited traction in wet conditions
So far, we have examined legacy brands that continue to manufacture quality products for all golfers. Now we change course and look at the newer kids on the block, PXG. The 0211 fairway woods provide a delicate feel, high launch, impressive velocity, and improved long game results.
The first feature that stood out to me was the HT 1770 Stainless Steel Face, which worked well to ensure escalated speed on all shots. I noticed that even heel and toe strikes provided sufficient contact for a satisfactory result.
You will notice that PXG added a Railed Sole Geometry system, which serves two purposes. Firstly, it pushes the CG low and enhances the MOI. Then, it promotes clean interaction with the grass.
Although I couldn’t see the next feature, I felt the difference on off-center strikes. The Honeycomb TPE Insert dampened vibrations on mishits to shield my hands and offer a soft feel. Plus, it created a deafening sound on strikes out of the middle.
5. Cobra Radspeed Draw
- Promotes straighter shots
- Highly forgiving
- Produces explosive ball speed off the clubface
- Generates medium spin for a higher launch
- Crisp ground interation
- The 3-wood loft may prove to strong for some slower swingers
- The draw bias can aggravate hooks if your rhythm and tempo are off
Cobra has gained a reputation recently for their long woods and irons that help every golfer gain yards from tee to green. I found that the Radspeed draw was not as long as some of its relatives, but it made up for it with forgiveness and accuracy.
Engineers at Cobra fitted these fairway woods with a 16 and 7-gram RAD weight. The larger structure is employed internally, in the heel area, to create a draw bias profile.
You will find that this fights sidespin that aggravates a slice to encourage accurate shots. The lighter weighting system is inserted in the back to produce moderate spin and a high launch.
The next feature that stood out was the CNC Milled clubface which exploded ball speed off the face to increase length. It is supported by the Hollow Split Rails, that creates 70% added flex for improved turf interaction, ball speed, and a high launch.
Lastly, a thin carbon crown enhances the flexibility of the clubface for faster swing speed and powerful strike.
6. TaylorMade SIM 2 Max D
A large 195cc head design features precision weighting and strategic CG placement for explosive distance, enhanced forgiveness and high launch. Updated V Steel design redistributes weight to enhance forgiveness while maintaining low CG properties.
- Reduced from the original listing price
- High launch
- Draw bias, helps boost your accuracy
- Maximum forgiveness
- Clean turf interaction
- The draw bias can produce nasty snap hooks
- More expensive than some newly released drivers
The second TaylorMade on our list this year is the predecessor to the Stealth, and you will notice similar technology. However, this older model is also more affordable and suited to the pockets of beginners.
This 190cc clubhead contains a strategically low CG set up to produce high-flying fairway wood shots. I noticed that I had the V-Steel sole design to thank for the low CG and the club’s clean ground interaction. It traveled across the ground with limited friction to produce a sweet strike.
You will notice that TaylorMade opted for a High Strength C300 clubface which generates rampant pace across and expanded zone for consistent velocity. You will find you still enjoy ball speed, even on off-center hits.
Adding to the forgiveness of the SIM 2 Max D are Twist Face technology and a Thru-Slot Speed Pocket. The Twist Face technology uses corrective face curvature to combat the effects of heel and toe mishits, instead inducing straighter flights for improved accuracy.
In addition, the Thru-Slot Speed Pocket boosts the flexibility of the clubface on low-face strikes. You’ll notice that you still deliver elevated ball pace to get it airborne and traveling for ample carry distance.
Finally, TaylorMade designed the SIM 2 Max D with a draw bias clubhead profile, which limits the impact of an open clubface at contact for straighter results.