Welcome to our Best Fairway Woods 2018 review!
In this comprehensive guide we have sifted through the absolute best fairway woods currently available on the market. The guide separates fairway woods by category, price and features to help you find the best woods for your game.
We tried to keep our selection pretty broad in terms of handicap suitability, but admittedly, most of the fairway woods featured below are for low single figure to high-teen handicaps.
If you are just beginning golf or are a high handicapper we recommend you check out our review of the Best Golf Clubs for Beginners and High Handicappers.
Let’s jump into our Best Golf Fairway Woods review and find out which is best for you and why!
Best Fairway Woods
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- Editor’s Choice – Srixon Z F65
- Best Seller – Callaway Epic
- Best Seller – Callaway Big Bertha Fusion
- Best Price – Cobra F7
- Best Value – Taylormade M2 (2016)
- Worthy Competitors – Ping G400, Titleist 917F2, Ping G, Mizuno JPX 900, Callaway Great Big Bertha, Cobra King Ltd, Titleist 915F
Best Fairway Woods by Category
Editor’s Choice – Srixon Z F65 Fairway Wood
Despite no obvious adjustability, these woods won’t really exclude many players of differing abilities or swing speeds – the performance levels are that nuanced. These clubs are well worth the acclaim they’ve been steeped in, and we’d definitely recommend giving them a test drive.
The Z F65s is our Editor’s Choice of Fairway Wood for 2018.Check Price on Amazon Compare price on: GlobalGolf.com and WorldwideGolfShops.com
- Smooth, elegant and understated design oozes class
- A delicious cocktail of forgiveness, an easy launch, and a fearsome sound and excellent feedback
- Impressive distance, but even more impressive consistency in terms of accuracy and dispersion
- Very competitive price and undoubtedly one of the best value purchases you’ll make in terms of fairway wood
- A lack of adjustability – although many players won’t even notice this
Best Sellers – Callaway Epic Fairway Wood
The Triaxial carbon crown and face cup technology are primarily to thank for this with it making the overall weight of the head lighter than you may be used to.
In testing we found the Epic fairway really easy to hit from just about anywhere and this is a massive positive. It’s one thing hitting your fairway wood well from the fairway, but far too often we are in either the first or second cut of rough (if not the hard pan).
Some of you might not really like the feel, but it grew on us tremendously after hitting hundreds of balls with the Epic fairway. A slight thud or thwack with solid feel. It’s pricey at $270, but let me tell you something – it’s worth it!Check Price on Amazon Compare price on: GlobalGolf.com and WorldwideGolfShops.com
- Superb forgiveness due to the high MOI and low center of gravity – not to mention Triaxial carbon crown!
- Exceptional distance that is hard to be beaten
- Wide range in terms of loft selection and really easy to hit from almost anywhere
- It looks fantastic, makes you want to hit fairway woods all day long!
- A touch on the pricey side at $270, but still worth it
- Very slight thud of a sound at impact which may take getting used to
Best Sellers – Callaway Big Bertha Fusion
An innovative design, backed up by consistent and impressive results. What more do you want?
Callaway have set the bar high over the years when it comes to fairway woods, but these may well be the best ones yet. Undoubtedly a best seller among mid to high handicap players and just has so much to offer.
- Long, long and longer!
- The shiny triaxial carbon on the crown underpins the ingenious weight distribution across the clubhead
- Such an easy launch, and tremendously forgiving and consistent
- Arrow-like head shape and sound at impact make for very satisfying look and feel
- Could possibly point to a lack of versatility in loft/face angle features
Best Price – Cobra F7 Fairway Wood
Its predecessor had a solitary weight lower and further back in the clubhead whereas the F7 provides moveable weights of 3 and 20 grams in the sole. These offer you the option of sparking a lower or higher launch and trajectory, which for the better golfer is wonderful. But if you’re a mid handicap rather test out the weight settings, see which suits best and then stick with it.
The rail system concept keeps the clubface squarer through impact resulting in straighter launch and general direction. But there is only so much that the rail system can do, and, at the end of the day, consistency will always be hardest to achieve with fairway woods.
But we’re converts to the rail system (which surprisingly dates back to the mid 70’s can you believe it) and we think that for players from quite a wide range of handicaps, there are great results waiting to be enjoyed here.
Not to mention the price point they’ve come in at – exceptionally good price for a modern day fairway wood and plenty to like about it.
- Simple but effective hosel and weight adjustability
- Surprisingly potent in the distance stakes
- Upped their game in terms of forgiveness, and the Baffler Rail System is a winner
- So affordable. Brilliant work from Cobra once again with price
- Better players may point to a lack of ‘workability’
Best Value – Taylormade M2 (2016) Fairway Wood
The M2 2016 provides absolutely everything for you – all of forgiveness, distance, playability. Not to mention how good it looks with the split white/black crown. The best thing though is the versatility. If you need to negotiate a tight Par 4 hitting it off the tee or if you need to come in as high as possible into a narrow Par 5 green over water then this has your name on it.
The adjustability options are simple – and that is just what we like. Noted it is nice to have a heap of options at your disposal, but it’s also nice to just have less to think about and just focus on hitting the ball.Check Price on Amazon Compare price on: GlobalGolf.com and eBay
The reason behind the distance is the Speed Pocket behind the clubface which enables the face to flex slightly at impact providing more of a springy effect.
Lastly the feel off the clubface through impact is absolutely beautiful. It just makes you want to hit this club as much as possible throughout the round and it also provides a slight psychological confidence boost.
All in all the M2 is a fantastic fairway wood that has been seen in many a PGA Tour player’s bag and for good reason. It ticks all the boxes. Give it a bash and see the results for yourself – you won’t be disappointed.
- Exceptionally long and when you strike one out the screws you’ll be staring in misbelief at the ball’s trajectory
- A really forgiving club whether it be striking it off the fairway into a tight green or using it off the tee on a narrow Par 4
- Wonderful sound through impact and actually addictive – can’t get enough of it!
- Great value at the price, especially now that a newer M2 model has been released
- Only thing to crit is the lack of movable weights, but like we mentioned earlier we don’t mind this point at all
Worthy Competitor #1 – Ping G400
The G400 fairways offered a slightly higher than normal ball flight and while it was a bit of a surprise, it actually was pleasant to experience and view. And the sound at impact is fantastic – it’s a heads up heads down between this and the Taylormade M2 fairway, but either way it is just superb.
The best thing about the G400’s though is the versatility. Being able to hit it in any shape and also have the confidence that if not struck perfectly there is enough cushioning to offset the weak strike.
Just a wonderful club in all respects and put it on your short list if searching for a new fairway!
- The wonderful combination of versatility and forgiveness appeals to a wide range of player
- As with the older brother G400 driver, the feedback through impact is world class and solid
- Strong trajectory right through the head options, but particularly the 3 and 5 woods
- Middle of the road price and offers decent value
- Nothing in particular except that the G400 and G don’t have immense differences
Worthy Competitor #2 – Titleist 917F2
The F2 woods have plenty to offer. The fullish shape of the clubhead, combined with easy, high launch makes it a suitable metal both off the tee and on the deck – which I find to be one of the deciding factors when choosing a fairway wood. It also does an excellent job of instilling weight-based versatilities for things like CG and fade/draw bias, while still retaining good balance across the various settings.
Higher handicappers will be charmed by improved user friendliness compared with some of its predecessors too. Yet while it is difficult to criticize anything about the F2, there was nothing to really set our lives on fire either; nothing especially memorable.
And it doesn’t come cheap either. One of the most expensive fairway woods on the market so keep your options open unless you have already made up your mind that this one is for you. Otherwise there’s better value to be had elsewhere.
- Elastomer-filled ARC reduces spin and gives distance a big boost
- World-class adjustability and versatility
- Excellent, soft feel across the whole clubface
- Arguably the most forgiving Titleist fairway wood to date
- Titleist prices for Titleist clubs. This one seems particularly costly though
- By their high standards, not the best-looking wood they’ve ever produced
Worthy Competitor #3 – Ping G
Rather than a slightly rounded leading edge, the G has a straighter edge which assists with a better strike through impact delivering more consistent and better shot results. You’ll likely take a small divot through impact even, but don’t worry – that is how this fairway wood is meant to be hit!
The crown of the club has been lightened by 25% which has allowed Ping to shift more weight towards the sole. Together with a higher MOI the G has a beautiful launch and optimal spin seeing the ball stay in the air slightly longer than you may be used to.Check Price on Global Golf Compare prices on: eBay and WorldwideGolfShop.com
It is long – that is a given. But the versatility and workability is what we love the most. Being able to strike it with confidence and shape it either way at the drop of a hat.
All in all the Ping G offers good value and a wide range of golfer is accommodated rather than being targeted at only the lower or higher handicaps. Great club.
- Exceptional playability primarily due to the straighter leading edge allowing you to strike it more in the center of the clubface
- A medium to high launch with very little spin delivering plenty of distance
- It’s fairly simpe, but it is nonetheless a great looking fairway wood with the solid black appearance
- Due to the straighter leading edge it may take a little while to adjust to how to strike it. The fist few may come out a bit high off the clubface, but soon you’ll be striping it
Worthy Competitors #4: Mizuno JPX900
The latter system is crucial for a fairway wood, as it allows you to seamlessly use it off the tee and from the deck, and bridge any distance gaps to boot.
But, customization aside, the levels of performance were impressive across every metric, and we can confidently say that these are the best woods Mizuno have produced to date.
- Plenty of versatility with loft, face angle, spin, launch and more
- Superb balance and stability across various settings
- Easy, user-friendly launch without being naturally ‘hook biased’
- Compact head and sleek design will appeal to better players
- Perhaps a bit too much offset in the 5 and 7
Worthy Competitors #5: Callaway Great Big Bertha Fairway Wood
The adjustability isn’t overboard in terms of options, but 8 different lie/loft pairings are more than enough to keep you happy.
One of the best factors about the GBB Fairway are that the launch has a mid trajectory and is beautifully penetrating. Too high a flight and it balloons and too low a flight and it doesn’t carry far at all.Check Price on Amazon Compare price on: GlobalGolf.com and eBay
This fairway wood is perfect in terms of launch angle.
The Great Big Bertha fairway is versatile and also feels fantastic on center strikes. Without doubt one of the best value fairway wood on the market in our opinion.
- Callaway have won the race here in terms of playability – the straighter leading edge is to thank for this and really provides a consistently good strike
- Mid to high launch with a low spin rate that really does improve accuracy and is not affected by the elements
- Good looking solid black appearance, especially from aerial view
- Only thing that MIGHT (really scraping the barrel here) be a factor is because of the very shallow profile you may strike the clubface a bit too high up off the tee or from first cut of rough
Worthy Competitors #6: Cobra King Ltd Fairway Wood
It is an expensive choice, but the King Ltd is POWER in a nutshell. Undoubtedly the longest fairway wood we have hit to this point – and the distance boost is just so addictive! The added distance is a result of the spaceport which has been placed fairly deep and low in the clubhead subsequently launching the ball higher with a powerful trajectory.
What is even better is that there is superb forgiveness and the feel off the face between a great strike and weak strike is not as striking as some of its competitors.
You can’t work this fairway wood as much as say the Titleist 917F2, but there is enough workability to be satisfied.Check Price on Amazon Compare price on: GlobalGolf.com and eBay
The diamond checked tone on tone crown is also quite a nice touch and stands out from the crowd.
If you struggle with confidence in your fairway woods and looking for a bit more length then this has your name on it.
- Very long!! In fact the longest fairway wood we’ve tested and will give you huge confidence
- Forgiving clubface where there isn’t much difference between center and off-center strikes
- Funky checked crown that makes you look twice
- Expensive purchase – even though it has plenty of punch
- The feedback isn’t the best either with you not being able to define EXACTLY where you struck each shot
Worthy Competitor #7 – Titleist 915F Fairway Wood
A Players club. All the factors that the good ball striker will really appreciate and use to their advantage! Everything from workability to distance to consistency. If you’re a low handicap player this targeted at you in particular.
It provides a beautifully high launch yet still penetrates and carries exceptionally far. Not to mention the feel off the clubface at impact.
Despite the ever so slight tingyness, there is still enough meat behind the golf ball to reward you when striking it out the middle.
- More than long enough, plenty of oomph on the center strikes with low spin
- High launching, which in turn improves accuracy and dispersion
- Feels superb on center strikes – this is actually a consistent factor in Titleist fairways and drivers
- Very workable in terms of shaping it either way
- Forgiveness not exceptional – off slightly downhill lies or when sitting down a touch it’s tough to get the whole face on the back of the ball
- Beware fiddling with the loft/lie adjustability too often unless helped by a professional as it can affect shot dispersion
Fairway Woods Buying Guide
You’d think that as technology advances there would be some kind of homogenization, as, while clubs undergo rigorous testing and thought leadership, a new normal is tended to. Not so. In fact with fairways in particular, I’m fascinated by the different features, nuances and technologies various brands adopt.
And they aren’t just gimmicks either – they have a material impact on performance. As ever, the things to look out for when looking at build quality are weight distribution, CG, MOI, the materials used, adjustability and any features which make the wood(s) stand out from the crowd. The most important of these I believe are Center of Gravity and Adjustability – particularly in today’s game. The COG has a knock on effect with regard to ball flight, the lower the CG the higher the ball flight and vice-versa. In terms of adjustability you need to have the option of moving weight around within the clubhead or adjusting lie angle in order to assist shot shape and trajectory.
Control and Performance
As alluded to above, it can be difficult to generalize performance of fairways, because it varies so much from person to person. This is particularly so when it comes to players of different abilities and swing speeds, whereby it becomes hazardous to find common denominators and metrics to ensure targeting of as wide a market as possible.
But I think we are starting to see that gap being bridged to some extent, as huge improvements in forgiveness, spin reduction, trajectory, shape and consistency of distance bring us all a bit more into line.
And of course, where these important measures of performance and control can’t be generalized in a fairway’s stock form, there is always adjustability to keep (almost) everyone satisfied.
Design and Appearance
Round? Pear-shaped? What’s your fancy? Clubhead shape preference seems to oscillate between the two with fairways, and the jury’s out as to which is preferential. But there is much more to design and appearance than mere clubhead shape. There can be nothing quite as intoxicating and confidence-building as a sleek, glossy or matte crown; while I for one have a real eye for subtle features such as groove lines on the clubface or the terrain of the sole.
But perhaps the most important aesthetic issue of all is with any technological features or gimmicks. Do they enhance the club’s looks, or diminish it? That’s the question you need to ask yourself, and no doubt the same one manufacturers ask themselves on the production line every day.
Value for Money
Drivers and irons will naturally have the most variance when it comes to price tags. But it is interesting to note how brands position themselves within the fairway niche too. For some, it is all about reaffirming a sense of quality, and even elitism. For others, it is about coming in with a cost that is more accessible to the masses. Which is interesting, given that this is the top-end of the market we are talking about here – we’d have expected more homogeneity.
Anyway, what’s important is trying to determine what proportion of any premium is reflected in terms of quality and suitability. Once you are able to confidently balance these two elements against each other, you’ll be well placed to determine what represents good value for money, and what doesn’t.
With the huge variety of offerings on the market, the most challenging aspect we had was choosing a comprehensive set of fairway woods to review. We initially cast the net wide, but quickly whittled the list down to our view of the 10 best golf fairway woods available on the market at the moment.
Below you can find a side-by-side comparison of our list of best golf fairway woods currently on the market.
All fairway woods were put to the test against our standard assessment model, where we looked at 4 key aspects: Build Quality, Control & Performance, Design & Appearance and Value for Money. Individual scores of each of these aspects was then aggregated to give an overall assessment score, as follows:
|Outstanding A+||9.6 – 10||Stop the clock and buy now. This piece of equipment will change your game.|
|Excellent A||9.0 – 9.5||Superb piece of gear. Amazing quality, performance and value for money.|
|Great B+||8.6 – 8.9||Great offering. This piece of gear won’t let you down.|
|Good B||8.0 – 8.5||Solid piece of gear with only minor issues to criticise.|
|Average C+||7.6 – 7.9||Adequate offering, but not the best value for money.|
|Average C||7.0 – 7.5||Not the most exciting piece of gear, seek alternatives.|
|Weak D+||6.6 – 6.9||Leaves lots to be desired. You can do a lot better.|
|Weak D||6.0 – 6.5||Steer well clear of this gear. Not worth the money!|
Have Your Say!
We put this article together to help players, like yourself, find a fairway wood that suits their specific game, level and budget. By keeping this guide updated and via feedback from the GA community, we hope this article becomes a great resource for anyone looking to get a new fairway wood or two. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.