Welcome to our Best Fairway Woods 2019 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 clubs 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 Golf Fairway Woods
1. Callaway Epic Flash Fairway Wood
You could quite easily mistake the Epic Flash fairways with the Epic Flash driver – and, given the quality of the latter, that’s not a bad mistake to make at all.
All the wonderful technological bells and whistles are present in these fairway woods, although there are some other interesting points to note.
The Jailbreak bars from the Rogue fairway woods have been kept to give ball speeds a boost. Specifically, the bars sit behind a 455 Carpenter Steel Face Cup, which in turn covers the front part of the face. A new OptiFit hosel is another key feature, giving you precious loft adjustability. That said, the new hosel is light, and the low CG is therefore retained.
But the signature element is the new Flash Face design, located to the rear of the face insert. Callaway have leveraged the power of AI to design and integrate this feature, which effectively acts as ‘a face within a face’. The result? Ball speeds are exceptional, not only when you get it out the sweetspot, but also towards the toe.
This really is a bar-raiser in technology, and the performance in terms of trajectory, consistency and forgiveness is hard to beat. For low-to-mid handicappers, this really could be the one for you.
2. TaylorMade M6 Fairway Wood
For us, it was love at first sight when we took the TaylorMade M6 fairway woods for a ride. We were a bit sceptical about what improvement the M6 range would bring compared with its predecessor the M4 (itself a fine club, which really upped the ante in terms of forgiveness). But it didn’t let us down.
There’s a larger crown, which in turn spares a few grams of weight, thus allowing CG to be lower and deeper within the clubhead. Enhancements have also been made to the Speed Pocket slot in the sole, which now sports a new type of thermoplastic polyrethane to reduce friction with the turf at impact. As for the Twist Face technology, TaylorMade have had another year to study the data, and have said that the additional 0.5 degrees in the M6 reduces dispersion by up to 15 yards.
It’s also worth pointing out that the new matte finish looks outstanding, especially as a contrast to the silver topline.
Most importantly, the performance is exceptional, with a better sound and feel than the M4, and the bigger profile at address only adds to the sense of ease with which you can achieve consistency. A club for all types of player, and likely to be a big hit in 2019.
3. Titleist TS2
The TS fairways come as a double act – namely the TS2 and TS3s respectively. In terms of look, there isn’t much in it, although the TS2 is slightly larger. That isn’t the only reason why we preferred it though!
It sits beautifully at address, which really feels like you’ll have ample cushion on mishits. Plus, the sole weight near the back of the club enables you to shift weight lower and further towards the rear. It is quite a high-spinning fairway, but that’s all part of its playability (and hang-time).
We were really impressed with the performance levels of these fairways, and you’ve got four high-quality stock shaft options to choose from too. These fairways aren’t just for better players either. It’s a definite upgrade on the already-successful 917 equivalents, and therefore more than worthy of a test drive.
4. Srixon Z F85
The Srixon Z F85 fairways sport an interesting design – you may or may not love it. We weren’t sure about the Crown Step, which sees a bit of a drop-off from the crown to the topline. In that, and other ways, this club is pretty much a steel version of the Z 785 driver, although there are some clever little nuances.
For example, the carbon crown saves a fair chunk of weight, which in turn has enabled the designers to shift a few grams to the edges. As a result, MOI is given a handy increase. This is also backed up by a lower CG, thanks to the aforementioned Crown Step.
All of this is underpinned by the HT1770 Cup Face, which wraps itself all the way around the front to ensure good ball speeds across the face. And the result is excellent consistency, and above-average forgiveness. There are a couple of good stock shaft options too, and, above all, it comes in at a very competitive price.
Particularly for lower handicappers, this is a strong candidate if you don’t want to break the bank.
5. Taylormade M4 Fairway Wood
A few people have mentioned that there isn’t much value here, but in our opinion there is plenty. Nowadays a respectable price for a fairway is anywhere between $230 – $275.
The M4 provides absolutely everything for you – all of forgiveness, distance, playability. Not to mention how good it looks with the split grey/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.
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 M4 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.
6. Cobra F9 Speedback Fairway Wood
In a category of golf club that inspires the most angst, it’s fair to say that there is one primary objective of a fairway wood: it must be easy to hit. And when it comes to forgiveness, the Cobra King F9 stands up to the test.
It’s all built on the success of the Baffler Rails with a few little tweaks and enhancements – most of which revolves around the Speedback technology which has a 15g tungsten weight promoting a higher more towering ball flight. With the high rate of dispersion, it shores up accuracy, even on mishits. Furthermore, it ensures that these fairway woods are easy to hit from any type of surface.
It’s also a bit lighter, and, with a lower CG, it scores a perfect 10 in the playability category. Throw in a competitive price, and a snazzy design that resembles the F9 driver with the yellow touches, and you’re onto a winner.
7. Ping G410
So many manufacturers (if not all of them) are aiming to lower the center of gravity in drivers and fairways and Ping have done this exceptionally well.
The G410 fairways have moved the CG slightly forward of its predecessor the G400 promoting a slightly faster ball speed. And the sound at impact is fantastic – it’s a heads up heads down between this and the Taylormade M6 fairway, but either way it is just superb.
It is evident though that Ping have sacrificed that of workability rather opting for increased distance and narrower shot dispersion. Just a wonderful club in all respects and put it on your short list if searching for a new fairway!
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.