Fairway woods are the most versatile clubs in our bags. We can use them for chipping, substitute them for our driver, or use them for long approach shots. That is why I decided to construct a list of the best fairway woods in 2023.
I take you through the ease of launch, distance, forgiveness, and the cost of each fairway wood. By outlining the core features of each club, it will help you determine which construction stands to benefit your game the most.
Overview Of The Best Fairway Woods 2023
|Best Overall Fairway Wood||Best 3 Wood||Best 5 Wood|
|TaylorMade SIM 2 Max||Cobra Speedzone Fairway Wood||Callaway Epic Max|
|Rating||4.5 Stars||4.5 Stars||4.5 Stars|
Our Research Parameters
Golfspan is independent and not pressured by manufacturers to recommend products. We were not paid for the reviews in this article. These fairway woods were selected by our team, who have over 100 years of experience playing golf and thousands of hours reviewing products. We may earn an affiliate commission when you purchase something through our retail links.
19 Products were considered from 18 brands on:
Factors To Consider When Purchasing Fairway Woods
Whether you are a high roller or a bargain hunter, there are fairway woods for every budget. Those looking to save some pennies can find entry-level fairway woods for approximately $100. Conversely, premium fairway woods fetch several hundreds of dollars.
Types of Fairway Woods
The most common fairway woods used by amateurs and Tour Pros are a 3 and a 5-wood. However, there are several lesser-known fairway woods that you may want to consider. The strongest lofted fairway wood on the market is a 2-wood, but you will be hard-pressed to find one.
Next up is the common 3-wood, followed by the rare 4-wood. Then we move on to the favorite fairway wood of most average golfers, the easy launching 5.
After that, we get into the high lofted fairways, such as the 7, 9, 11, and 13-wood. There are manufacturers, like Thomas Golf, who produce a complete bag of woods. They even offer a 25-wood with 55-degrees of loft, which is similar to a strong lofted sand wedge.
The first port of call to determine your preferred fairway woods is to identify the ideal loft for your game. Think about the degree of loft on your driver and which clubs will best assist you in bridging any distance gaps.
For example, if you carry a 10.5-degree driver, you should consider a 15-degree 3-wood. If you decide to carry a 5-wood, I recommend something around the standard 19-degree mark.
Your swing speed offers another guideline of which loft is better suited to your game. Those who swing a driver faster than 105 mph are best equipped for stronger lofted fairway woods, such as a 13-degree 3-wood.
Contrarily, golfers with a driver swing speed below 83 mph are better suited to weaker lofted fairway woods, like a 16.5-degree 3-wood.
Golfers with average swing speeds may prefer the mid-level launch of a standard loft fairway wood. An example of that is a 15-degree 3-wood.
Read More: If you are unsure what fairway wood loft best suits your swing, read our review on a 3 wood vs 5 wood.
|Swing Speed||Club||Clubhead Speed Range||Shaft Flex|
|Very Fast||Driver||>105 mph||X Stiff|
The next area to assess is the correct shaft for your swing. True Spec Golf reports that players with super-fast swing speeds are best off with an extra stiff shaft to produce lower ball flight. Conversely, slower swingers suit a seniors flex shaft for an added whip, optimal ball speed, and a high launching shot.
Those of us average Joe’s, with moderate swing speeds, perform best with a regular flex shaft. That construction provides a balance of flex and stiffness to produce mid to high launching shots for consistent distance.
Top-rated fairway woods provide superb turf interaction to promote a clean strike from anywhere off the deck. If a club is lackluster through the turf, it heightens the risk of digging into the turf at the low point of your swing. That is especially problematic for those with a steep angle of attack.
Fairway woods with enhanced turf interaction glide swiftly through the pasture to promote clean contact with the ball.
High and mid-handicap golfers require maximum forgiveness from their fairway woods for consistency in your long game. Forgiving fairway woods reduce side spin on heel and toe mishits to produce straighter shots for improved accuracy.
Furthermore, forgiving fairway woods prompt rapid ball speed across the face for consistent distance. Even when you strike the ball low in the clubface.
The challenge with forgiving fairway woods is that they reduce workability, restricting the control of players who shape their shots. However, that is an issue more prevalent among low handicappers. The rest of us should focus on trying to hit straight shots for now.
Since fairway woods form part of your long game, you ideally want to select the options that help you maximize yards. However, if that impedes your accuracy, then look at alternative options.
Finally, accuracy is key. There is no point acquiring fairway woods that maximize your distance but keep you out of play. If you are a serial slicer, you need a driver which restricts left to right sidespin for right-handers. An offset head profile that promotes a draw bias will keep you straight.
Conversely, if you are hooking the ball, think about an adjustable fairway wood that allows you to set up for a fade bias.
The Best Fairway Woods for 2023
1. TaylorMade SIM 2 Max – Overall Best Fairway Wood for 2023
- Low CG promotes high launching shots
- High forgiveness
- Prompt explosive ball speed off the face
- Encourages straighter shots
- Superior turf interaction
- Restricts workability
- Not suited to players seeking a mid to low launch
Claiming the top spot on the list of best golf woods for 2023 is the TaylorMade SIM 2 Max. The 190cc clubhead, coupled with a low center of gravity (CG), leads to a high launching shot with optimal forgiveness.
Added to its forgiving head is a V-Steel sole design that encourages superior turf interaction and redistributes weight to the heel and toe. Therefore you enjoy increased stability and forgiveness on off-center strikes.
Furthermore, TaylorMade included their C300 Steel Twist Face to deliver explosive ball speed off the face and restrict side spin on heel and toe strikes. Therefore, it offers prime distance and accuracy from the tee box and the fairway.
Adding to the cause of ball speed is a Thru Slot Speed Pocket. It enhances the flex of the clubface to create more spring at impact. That means it encourages rapid ball speed, even on strikes low off the face.
Overall, the TaylorMade SIM 2 Max is long, forgiving, and easy to launch. It is perfect for mid to high handicappers looking for accuracy, consistency, and extra yards.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
2. Cobra Speedzone Fairway Wood – Best 3 Wood
- Produces accelerated ball speed across an expanded area of the face
- Promotes maximum distance
- Excellent turf interaction
- Delivers high launching shots
- Compact head size
- Adjustable hosel
- It does not restrict sidespin significantly, opening you up to the potential of a slice
Whenever there is a discussion about drivers or fairway woods Cobra’s name is never far away. The Speedzone tops the list of the best 3 woods in 2023 because of the ease of launch, distance, and forgiveness.
The CNC Milled face on the Speedzone pushes the legal limits of ball speed to promote supreme distance. Aiding the added yardage is its Flex-Zone Hollow Split Rails. This construction expands the clubface area that delivers explosive ball speed by 70%.
In addition, the engineers added the legendary Baffler rails to enable the clubhead to glide through the turf and make clean contact with the ball. Therefore, you can catch the golf ball cleanly from any lie on the golf course.
Finally, the light carbon fiber crown enables mass to be repositioned in the sole for added forgiveness. Plus, it improves aerodynamics to encourage accelerated clubhead speed on the downswing, for optimal coefficient of restitution (COR), at impact.
Ultimately, the Cobra Speedzone produces rapid ball speed for increased distance without impacting forgiveness. Therefore, mid handicappers and faster swingers benefit from this club the most.
Read More: Those not up for spending on a new club can search for options in our best used 3 woods review.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
3. Callaway Epic Max – Best 5 Wood
- Generates rapid ball speed off the face
- Adjustable weight
- Easy launching
- Limits slices
- The high launch does not suit golfers who generate excess spin
- The draw bias profile restricts workability
A 5-wood should be an easy launching fairway wood that you can rely on to send your ball high and straight for added carry distance. The Callaway Epic Max executes this task with precision, which is why it tops the charts as the best 5 wood in 2023.
The oversized head shape may put some players off this club, but “never judge a book by its cover.” The employment of A.I. Jailbreak Velocity Blades combined with the Flash Face SS21 to increase the flex of the clubface and deliver added rebound at impact. This motion prompts accelerated ball speed across a wider zone of the face.
Furthermore, a shallow C300 Maraging Steel Face pairs with the oversized head construction to present an easy launching fairway wood.
Engineers at Callaway further included two moveable weights to adjust the CG of the club. There is a 2 and 14-gram weight option. Callaway suggests placing the 14-gram weight for a low launch and minimal spin. Conversely, they recommend placing it back for added forgiveness and a high launch.
In conclusion, the Callaway Epic Max fairway wood is an ideal 5-wood option for the average golfer. It is easy to launch, adjustable, and produces increased distance and accuracy.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
4. PXG 2021 0211– The Longest Fairway Wood
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- Explosive ball speed
- Promotes straight shots
- Optimal turf interaction
- Adjustable weight
- Superior feel and acoustics
- You need to purchase the adjustable weight kits separately
While every golfer could use extra yards in their long game, some need it more than others. If you are a shorter hitter and looking for anything to boost your distance, the Callaway X Hot may be worth testing out.
It tops the list as the longest fairway wood in 2023. That is because of its High-Speed Square Face, which produces blistering ball speed and accuracy. If you catch the ball off the heel or toe, the HT1770 stainless steel clubface produces consistent distance.
The Railed Sole Geometry of the 0211 runs from the heel to the toe, optimizing the moment of inertia (MOI). That means that the club resists twisting to generate straight ball flight for added accuracy.
Moreover, the sole design optimizes turf interaction to enable you to strike the ball cleanly from any lie. Plus, using Recision Weighting Technology lets you adjust the head weight and level of spin.
Lastly, the PXG 2021 0211 includes a Honeycomb TPE Insert to amplify the acoustics and feel of the fairway wood at impact.
Ultimately, the 0211 is a fast, long, and straight fairway that can benefit the long games of mid to high handicappers.
Rating: 4 Stars
5. Pinemeadow Golf (PGX) Offset – Best Budget Fairway Woods
- Restricts slices
- Promotes straight shots
- Increased distance
- Easy launching fairway wood
- Not the prettiest fairway wood
- The increased offset reduces your ability to shape shots
No list is complete without the best budget option. The Pinemeadow Golf Offset fairway wood claims that prize because of its affordability, forgiveness, and accuracy.
The inclusion of anti-slice technology extends the offset of the face, positioning it in a draw bias setup. As a result, it restricts side spin that leads to a slice or fade shape and instead sends your ball straight.
Eradicating a slice or fade shape from your long game can increase your total distance substantially.
Overall, the PGX Offset is a basic design with an exaggerated offset. Mid to low handicappers may not appreciate the look or the lack of workability. However, this feature is a blessing for beginners and high handicap golfers.
Rating: 4 Stars
Read also: The Best Fairway Woods For High Handicappers
Selecting the correct fairway woods for your game is vital to bridging the distance gap between your driver and long irons. The best fairway woods in 2023 provide a variety of affordable and premium products. Plus, they include options for distance and accuracy.
The Cobra Speedzone bagged the title for the best 3 wood this year, and the Epic Max topped the 5-wood standings. Next, the PXG 2021 0211 is your longest fairway wood this year, while the Pinemeadow Golf Anti Slice is the best budget.
However, the best fairway wood overall is the TaylorMade SIM Max 2, thanks to its explosive ball speed, high launch, distance, and forgiveness.
Those in the market for a long, forgiving fairway wood can check out the SIM Max 2 here.
Matt is a seasoned golf equipment writer and sports fanatic. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for over 28 years.