- Do You Need a Fairway Wood?
- How Many Fairway Woods Should You Have In Your Bag?
- Why You Should Trust Us
- How We Reviewed These Products
- The Reviews – Best Fairway Woods For High Handicappers
- 2. Wilson Dynapower Fairway Wood– Best AI-inspired Fairway Wood
- 3. TaylorMade Stealth Fairway Wood– Most Reliable Fairway Wood
- 4. Cobra LTDx MAX Fairway– Best Feeling Fairway Wood
- 5. TaylorMade SiM Max 2 Fairway Wood – Best Top-Tier Club for High Handicappers
- 6.Mizuno ST-Z 220 Fairway Wood – Best for Straight Shots
- 7. Cobra Golf 2022 Air X Men’s Fairway– Best Lightweight Fairway Club
- 8. Srixon Golf ZX Fairway Wood – Best for Distance
- What About the Best Fairway Woods for Ladies?
- How To Select a Fairway Wood As a High Handicapper
- Final Thoughts
The best fairway woods will give you the extra distance you need to reach those long par 5s. But their shaft is longer than a hybrid, so they can be more challenging to master.
So, which are the best fairway woods for high handicappers that 2023 has to offer?
- TaylorMade’s Stealth 2 – Best Overall
- Wilson Dynapower Fairway Wood Wood– Best AI-inspired Fairway Wood
- TaylorMade Stealth Fairway Wood – Most Reliable Fairway Wood
- Cobra LTDx MAX Fairway – Best Feeling Fairway Wood
- TaylorMade SiM Max 2 Fairway Wood – Best Top-Tier Club for High Handicappers
- Mizuno ST-Z 220 Fairway Wood – Best for Straight Shots
- Cobra Golf 2022 Air X Men’s Fairway – Best Lightweight Fairway Club
- Srixon Golf ZX Fairway Wood – Best for Distance
If you get the wrong fairway wood, this could mean wasting your money on a club that could hurt your game. Or it could set you back years if you try to make the wrong club fit your style.
Read on to learn if fairway woods are right for you and the specs on the best fairway woods.
Do You Need a Fairway Wood?
Many beginners believe fairway woods are not for them. This is especially true since hybrids have also become increasingly popular for high handicappers. Many players are intimidated by the length and appearance of fairway woods.
You can also get 7 woods; the best 7 wood for high handicappers will have a larger head than the hybrid.
While fairway woods are sometimes used off the tee, the main purpose of a fairway wood is to give you good distance on your second shot on long par 5s.
Given the length of many of these holes, investing in a fairway wood is generally a great idea. It will take some time to get used to, but once you get the hang of it, you will wonder how you ever lived without it. The key is to find the right one for you within your budget.
What is the Difference Between a Fairway Wood and a Hybrid?
Hybrids are great, and there is certainly a place for them in your bag. They tend to be easier to swing, and most high handicappers have more confidence using them than drivers or fairway woods.
This is because they have a shorter shaft and a bit more forgiveness due to the lower COG.
Fairway woods, however, have a longer shaft and a larger head. This makes them deliver more distance, which you want on the long par 5’s. Another benefit is that fairway woods are easier to play out of the short rough.
If you are concerned about hitting fairway woods, this video will give you some pointers…
How Many Fairway Woods Should You Have In Your Bag?
Some golfers choose to opt for one fairway wood. Others prefer the choice of two. The 3 wood and 5 wood will usually be the clubs you have in your armory.
Though, if you want a second driver and choose to have only one fairway wood, golfers can tend to do more with the 5 wood. Usually, the ball will travel further, and your shot will be more accurate with the 5 wood. Additionally, they are a bit more forgiving than the 3 wood, which helps as a high handicapper.
Why You Should Trust Us
We can bring these reviews to you through the small commissions we earn if you buy through the links below.
How We Reviewed These Products
Golfspan only shares equipment and brands we trust.
I’m an experienced golfer who thoroughly researched and evaluated the products shared below. Then an editor reviewed and fact-checked the list. Finally, we conduct regular content audits to update and revise our reviews to ensure you receive the latest information.
To select these fairway woods, I considered these criteria:
Read more: The Best Fairway Woods This Year
The Reviews – Best Fairway Woods For High Handicappers
1. TaylorMade Stealth 2 Fairway Wood – Best Overall Fairway Wood
- Looks very slick
- Contrast between face and crown brings confidence
- Optimal forgiveness
- Very expensive
The Stealth 2 has been dubbed a cheat code thanks to its 3D carbon crown and precision CG to create a higher launch. It is aimed at effectively tackling any shot you are faced with, and it certainly offers that.
The carbon crown actually takes mass away from the high toe area to push more weight further back. This enables optimal forgiveness and great playability.
It is also great for high handicappers as there is a contrast between the face and the club’s crown. Directional alignment benefits the golfer as they can be more confident of the shot they are about to pull off and benefit from the results.
The Speed Pocket is present and will keep the ball speed high while enhancing the club’s durability.
Despite its price, it is worth it. We would consider this the best fairway wood for high handicappers with good overall abilities.
- Golf club shaft flex – Regular/stiff/X stiff
- Golf club loft – 19 or 25 degrees
- Shaft material – Mitsubishi Kaili Red
2. Wilson Dynapower Fairway Wood– Best AI-inspired Fairway Wood
- Fast and forgiving shots
- Clean look
- Enables high-launching shots
- Won’t suit those of a lower handicap as well
- Little adjustability
This fairway wood came out very recently on March 1st, and AI has given it a helping hand.
How has artificial intelligence helped create a fairway wood, you wonder?
Well, Dynapower AI analyzed thousands of variations to find the ideal thickness for each part of the club face. It means this fairway wood can offer very fast ball speeds and great levels of forgiveness.
After testing with Tour players, a flatter profile was decided to create a smooth set-up.
Moreover, the rear weighting enables high launching angles too.
- Golf club shaft flex – Senior
- Golf club loft – 15 – 18 degrees
- Shaft material – Graphite
3. TaylorMade Stealth Fairway Wood– Most Reliable Fairway Wood
- Very reliable and stable
- Enables straighter shots
- Great forgiveness
- Well priced
- Won’t produce as fast swing speeds or suit lower handicaps as well
The predecessor to the new Stealth 2, the original Stealth club is Mr. Reliable. If you aren’t having your best game and need a club that will undoubtedly get you back on track, this is the one.
Its corrective angles avoid mishits and slices, creating straighter, more consistent shots.
To be this reliable, it has to be very forgiving. Weight was moved lower and further back in the larger club head for more stability when needed.
The Speed Pocket, which was TaylorMade’s most flexible at the time of release, adds to the forgiveness on low-face shots while producing maximized ball speeds.
Additionally, it is certainly the best 7 wood for a high handicapper.
- Golf club shaft options – Regular/stiff/X stiff/senior
- Golf club loft – 15 – 24 degrees
- Shaft material – Carbon steel
4. Cobra LTDx MAX Fairway– Best Feeling Fairway Wood
- Best for fast swingers wanting a bit of forgiveness
- Great for those wanting more ball speed
- Well priced
- Not as long as other Cobra clubs
The lightweight Cobra LTDx MAX offers the best feel of any club on the list. It comes with a beautiful sound too.
It is full of technology, such as the Pwr-Cor multi-material weighting system. This positions the weight low and forward in the club head to drive lower spin levels and more ball speed.
Ball speed and smash factor are also encouraged through the HOT face technology after 15 HOT zones have been placed on the club head.
There is also adjustable weighting. A heavy (12g) and lightweight (3g) option is also provided to place in the back of the heel, which will support golfers who love a slice.
- Golf club shaft flex – Regular
- Golf club loft – 15.5 degrees
- Shaft material – UST Helium Nanocore
5. TaylorMade SiM Max 2 Fairway Wood – Best Top-Tier Club for High Handicappers
- Great looking club
- Latest in golf technology
- Awesome distance and loft
- Great sound on strikes
- Includes Twist Face Technology
- More forgiving than its predecessor
- Accessible driver
- No shaft tool—only headcover
- May not have shaft or lie angle that fits your swing
- Stock shaft is not made for super-fast swinging players
- A bit pricey
The SiM Max 2 is a premium-tier fairway wood that some notable golf professionals use, such as Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and Collin Morikawa. Despite the few big golf names who swing a SiM Max 2, everyday golfers and high handicappers can also enjoy this club.
The TaylorMade SiM Max 2 leverages all the technology of the regular SiM 2. The biggest difference between the SiM Max 2 and the SiM 2 comes in the weight of the golf heads. They both use a 460cc head, but their weight is different.
The TaylorMade SiM Max 2 works for high handicap golfers because they equipped it to boost your distance and consistency.
Important tip: Choose the right shaft for your swing speed, and you will elevate your performance despite the high handicap.
Most critics praised the SiM Max 2 as offering a highly accessible driver. The 2021 Golf Digest Hot List awarded it a gold medal and scored it with raving reviews about why frequent weekend players would use it often.
You can hit longer and straighter drives with it. Part of the reason behind that comes from the Cap Back design material. This hollow design body enables a lower center of gravity, which creates a low spin for farther distances. It also sounds great when striking the ball.
They are made from high-strength and lightweight aluminum. They put a new shape on the head for better aerodynamics and extra forgiveness.
- Golf club shaft options – Regular/stiff/senior
- Golf club loft options – 15 degrees/16.5 degrees/18 degrees
- Shaft material – Graphite
6.Mizuno ST-Z 220 Fairway Wood – Best for Straight Shots
- Great for reliable, straight shots
- Still allows for fast ball speeds
- Doesn’t suit those with a lower handicap as well
The ST-Z 220 model thrives in keeping shots straight thanks to a Z-axis design. The mix of carbon composite on the sole and a deep central sole weight encouraged a straight flight and little amount of spin.
You get the reliability of the shots while also getting good ball speeds when connecting low on the club face due to the multi-thickness CORTECH face and the optimized sole plate.
As a plus, there are 4 different degrees of loft adjustability to choose from too.
- Golf club shaft flex – Stiff
- Golf club loft – 15 – 21 degrees
- Shaft material – Graphite
7. Cobra Golf 2022 Air X Men’s Fairway– Best Lightweight Fairway Club
- Helps curb the dreaded slice
- Women’s option as well
- A little pricey
- Too light for some golfers
Cobra has made a beauty with this fairway wood from 2022. It caters to the high handicapper by being light and easy to manipulate. This is thanks to the 48g shaft, 41g grip, and a lighter club head.
The latter was achieved by using a lighter carbon crown material to shave off 2 grams of weight from the club head to aid the club.
Despite its lightness, it is still stable during off-center hits due to the back-heel weighting.
Lots of us have been victims of the dreaded slice. I mean, who hasn’t? It is easily done as a high handicapper. But the hosel design enables 20% more offset to curb those slices and hit the fairways more often.
It is light but also effective at getting you around the green in good time.
- Golf club shaft flex – Ladies/regular/senior/stiff
- Golf club loft – 16 degrees – 27 degrees
- Shaft material – Cobra Ultralite 40 or Cobra Ultralite 50
8. Srixon Golf ZX Fairway Wood – Best for Distance
- Ideal for those wanting good distance and speed
- Light so suits those with slower swing speeds
- Launch is optimized
- Also too light for some golfers
- Not adjustable
The Srixon ZX fairway wood is great for a middle ground between finding a forgiving club that still helps advance your distance.
The rebound frame helps push more energy into the shot – the closer to the center face the better.
And the launch capabilities are really good too. A forward-leaning weight pad and the sole optimize the launch and the ball speed to get the best of both worlds.
It also features a lightweight crown to make it easy to use for those with slower swing speeds. This crown has a lower center of gravity and increased MOI for more forgiveness, providing more consistency on the course.
We would call this one of the best 3 woods for high handicappers.
- Golf club shaft flex – Regular
- Golf club loft – 15 degrees
- Shaft material – Graphite
What About the Best Fairway Woods for Ladies?
We don’t want to leave women out on this list for the best woods for high handicapper options, so we figured we’d post some recommendations. First, we’d suggest the TaylorMade Stealth 2 High Draw fairway wood. The 200cc oversized head suits those who require a bit more confidence and playability. It also maximizes ball speeds too.
The TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX Women’s Fairway is also worth a shoutout. You can buy it in four configurations, and it features the same technology found in the men’s clubs. Both are pricey, but if you are looking to step up your game they are the best options for high handicappers.
Check out our in-depth article, 5 of the Best Women’s Golf Clubs on the Market in 2023.
How To Select a Fairway Wood As a High Handicapper
There are a few important aspects to consider when selecting a fairway wood.
High handicappers do not strike the ball dead center consistently, so forgiveness is essential. The weighting, design features, head size, materials, and other factors will determine the forgiveness of the fairway wood.
With some clubs, an increase in forgiveness means sacrificing distance or other important elements. You need to balance this out when making your selection.
A forgiving fairway wood will have a large sweet spot and will allow your off-center strikes to still travel a good distance and relatively straight.
Launch is another issue that many beginners struggle with. Fairway woods designed for high handicappers have a low and back center of gravity (COG). This is simply the weight positioning at the head of the club. Low and back promote an easier launch. If the launch is one of your difficulties, consider one optimized for an easier launch.
The correct loft is also a consideration, and you often have a choice of lofts. Remember that a higher loft will reduce the distance, so consider your needs and your swing speed.
The forgiveness and ease of launch are worthless if you do not achieve a good distance with your fairway wood. Their purpose is to get you close to the green on long shots.
Fortunately, modern materials, designs, and technologies have made today’s clubs exceptionally adept at distance.
Lower spin and a good moment of inertia (MOI) will allow you to maximize distance even off a slower swing. MOI simply means that there is less twisting on impact.
Some fairway woods allow you to adjust the loft and lie. While there are times when this could be useful, it is not essential. One needs to fully understand the adjustments and when to use them. This feature also adds to the cost and weight of the club.
The shaft is also important. Be sure you get the correct length for your height. A lighter shaft should allow you to get faster club head speed for more distance.
Flex or stiffness is another aspect. Often you will get a choice of shaft flex options. Slow swing speeds, which is the case for many high handicappers, need more flex. As your swing speed increases, you will want to go for a stiffer shaft.
You generally have to consider your budget, and there are options to suit all budgets. Remember, the best fairway wood for high handicapper options will last you for many years, making it a worthwhile investment.
Consider The Intended Use of Your Fairway Woods
While they are versatile clubs, some players purchase them to primarily use them off the tee as a driver replacement, while others intend to use them more off the fairway.
Suppose you are a high handicapper looking for a driver replacement. Look for a fairway wood with around 15 to 18 degrees loft options. You want something with a relatively high launch, fairly low spin, and plenty of forgiveness.
If you want the wood mainly for fairway play, you want a low COG and a shallower face. A long sole profile will also make it easier to hit off the deck.
Now you know the best fairway woods for high handicappers. Whether you are a high handicapper yourself or are buying for one, hopefully, our guide has given you the tools you need to make the right choice of golf club.
There are golf clubs for every budget, type of golfer and their priorities, so make sure you look for what fairway wood suits the buyer best.
Once armed with one, you can enjoy the benefits it brings to your game rather than trying to deal with a fairway wood that is meant for a golfer of a much lower handicap.
Plus, the above best woods for high handicappers make beautiful additions to your golf bag too.
Enjoy getting that handicap down with the help of those golf clubs…
What Is the Best Three Wood for High Handicapper?
The Wilson Dynapower fairway wood performs the best in this category. This club can save you a stroke or two. It supports high-launching, fast, and forgiving shots. Not only that, it plays as good as it looks.
Which Fairway Wood Is Most Forgiving?
You may want to check out the Stealth 2 fairway wood here because it delivers great speed and playability with abundant forgiveness for high handicappers. This fairway wood ranks more forgiving than the original Stealth model too.
Should High Handicappers Use Fairway Woods?
Fairway woods offer more forgiveness than long irons, making them the perfect choice for beginners. If you’d like to know the best fairway wood for a high handicapper, we recommend carrying a 5 wood. This combines loft, distance, and speed. The best 5 wood for a high handicapper would be the Callaway Epic Max.
What Is the Easiest Fairway Wood To Hit?
The Stealth fairway wood is the best choice as the easiest fairway wood to hit. It is ever so reliable, and if you have a bad game, you can rely on this club to help you out. Its corrective angles avoid mishits, and your shots will be straight and consistent.
The club also ranks as one of the best fairway woods for beginners
Which Fairway Woods Should I Carry?
Conditions on the golf course will vary in terms of weather. Due to the changing weather conditions, you will want a 5-wood for hitting the ball between 180 and 240 yards. You will want a 3-wood for tee shots and par-5 approaches.
What Are the Key Benefits of Fairway Woods for High Handicap Golfers?
The shallower faces are your greatest benefit for high handicappers on the fairway wood. This design lowers the center of gravity to make the ball go airborne more easily. Greater forgiveness with fairway woods allows you to strike the ball somewhat off-center and still achieve good distance.
Read more: If you’d like to learn more about the best used 3 woods, we wrote an article on “The 12 Best Used 3 Woods for 2023.”
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.