The 8 Best Fairway Woods For High Handicappers

Golfers have so many choices these days that it can sometimes be a bit bewildering. A fairway wood is a useful club to have, but many golfers don’t know where to start.

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. You also want to pick the right one for your game.  

We will take you through important information and highlight a few of the best fairway woods for high handicappers.

Do You Need a Fairway Wood?

Many beginners believe fairway woods are not for them. This is especially true since hybrids have become increasingly popular. Many players are intimidated by the length and appearance of fairway woods. You can also get 7 woods, and 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 5’s.

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.

Can You Just Use Hybrids?

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…

Also, if you’d like to learn the difference between the 3 Wood vs 5 Wood, you can check it out here.

Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for Best Fairway Woods For High Handicappers

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
OUR RATING: 5.0/5gstblcr-table__imageTaylorMade Golf M6 Fairway Wood
  • Delivers good distance
  • Easy to launch
  • Beneficial to high handicap golfers
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OUR RATING: 4.7/5gstblcr-table__imageTaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood
  • Ultra strong ni co 300 steel
  • Fluted hostel provides superior sound and feel without compromising CG location
  • Easy to launch
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OUR RATING: 4.4/5gstblcr-table__imageCallaway Golf Rogue Fairway Wood
  • Jailbreak Technology
  • Triaxial Carbon Crown for Distance and Forgiveness
  • Easy to launch
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OUR RATING: 4.4/5gstblcr-table__imageCleveland Golf Launcher HB Fairway Wood
  • Unique flex-fins
  • HiBore Crown
  • For longer distances, especially on heel and toe impacts
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OUR RATING: 4.2/5gstblcr-table__imagePinemeadow PGX Offset Golf Fairway Wood
  • Anti-slice technology
  • Pinemeadow Graphite shaft
  • Comes with a headcover to protect your club
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The Reviews – Best Fairway Woods For High Handicappers

1. TaylorMade Golf M6 Fairway Wood — Best Overall Fairway Wood

Pros:

  • Twist Face
  • Improved Speed Pocket
  • Ultra-forgiving
  • Delivers good distance
  • Great turf interaction
  • Easy to launch

Cons:

  • Fixed hosel
  • No adjustability
  • Somewhat pricey

While TaylorMade has stuck with much of their leading technologies with the M6, they have added a twist. In fact, they call it Twist Face. The purpose of this design technology is that the face’s curvature minimizes the negative impact of off-center hits. It also reduces sidespin. The result is greater forgiveness and straighter shots.

As you’ll see with the M4, TaylorMade has several technological and design features to make it not only a long-hitting fairway wood but also highly forgiving. This new technology has made the M6 even more beneficial to high handicap golfers.

They have kept it simple as there is still no adjustability. This should not put you off as there are so many game-enhancing technologies that, for most golfers, nothing more is needed. Many high handicappers are not entirely sure how to adjust correctly, which just complicates matters and, in some cases, can do more harm than good.

So, let’s run through what the M6 has that we are familiar with from the M4. They still have the legendary Speed Pocket but have improved it further with a center of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). This fits better and reduces sole drag for better contact even when your lie is poor. They have made additional improvements to the sole design with more toe and heel curve. This allows you to get under the ball with less effort for an easier launch.

The rest of the technology is similar to the concepts used on the M4, with a few minor tweaks and improvements. We would consider this the best fairway wood for high handicappers with good overall abilities. 

2. TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood — Most Forgiving Fairway Wood

Pros:

  • Highly forgiving
  • Great feel
  • Good distance on off-center hits
  • Lifts the ball off the ground nicely
  • Useful from tough lies
  • Good sound

Cons:

  • No adjustability
  • Not ideal for faster swingers

If you want distance and forgiveness from your fairway woods like most high handicappers, then the TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood could well be the answer. It delivers both in buckets. It also allows for an easy launch, something else that always comes in handy.

TaylorMade invests heavily in research and development and has some of the leading club technologies. The Speed Pocket on the M4 Fairway Wood, the same as they employ in their top drivers, does what it says it does – delivers speed. This results in better distance. 

Better still, the speed pocket is not restricted to a small sweet spot in the center of the face. It covers the entire clubface. This means greater forgiveness. Balls struck off-center will still travel far and relatively straight. Forgiveness is a major blessing to high handicappers and allows them to strike the ball with greater confidence for better results.

The face is Ni-CO C300 steel alloy and is thin yet strong. This improves forgiveness across the face while also increasing energy transfer for speed and distance. These technologies are complemented by the other famous TaylorMade feature, the Inverted Cone. This sits inside the face and delivers greater speed on off-center hits. Again, this makes the M4 ultra-forgiving. 

The weight mass pads have been split, increasing the MOI and improving perimeter weight distribution. The sole design is optimized for an easier launch. TaylorMade’s GeoCoustic design improves sole strength while also giving a pleasing sound. The fluted hosel does a lot for the feel of the M4 and improves the sound and feedback.

This popular and highly rated fairway wood is a leading choice for high handicappers looking for forgiveness and distance. We would call this one of the best 3 woods for high handicappers. 

3. Callaway Golf Rogue Fairway Wood — Most Versatile Fairway Wood

Pros:

  • Jailbreak Technology
  • Ultra-fast and long
  • Versatile
  • Easy to launch
  • Low spin
  • Aerodynamic design

Cons:

  • Somewhat pricey
  • No hosel or CG adjustability

Another fairway wood that is well-liked and popular with beginners is the Callaway Golf Men’s Rogue Fairway Wood. Callaway is no stranger to technology and has impressive design features that make this a decent choice.

The standout feature has to be the Callaway Jailbreak Technology. It consists of two titanium bars that connect the sole and crown. This keeps them together and increases energy transfer to the ball. Meaning you will get more speed and a greater distance.

It also lowers the spin and allows for a piercing launch. Jailbreak technology combines well with the super-thin 455 steel face. Callaway has also used Face Cup technology. The results are high-speed shots that deliver good distance.

Thanks largely to the ultra-light Triaxial Carbon Crown, Callaway saved weight which was moved to the edges of the club. Weight has been optimized to create a high MOI and a low CG. This further adds to the launch and speed. The lightweight and aerodynamic design of this fairway wood allow for higher club speeds, which will mean higher ball speeds and more distance.

The low CG is further enhanced by Internal Standing Wave technology. The CG is precisely and optimally positioned for low spin and solid high launches.

It is also an extremely versatile fairway wood, so while it will benefit beginners, it will still work well for players with faster swing speeds.

4. Cleveland Golf Launcher HB Fairway Wood — Best on Distance

Pros:

  • Easy to launch
  • Large head
  • Good forgiveness
  • Affordable
  • Light
  • Optimized weighting

Cons:

  • Some find the sound a bit hollow
  • The silver crown line can give the impression of an open face, although it is square

While high handicappers need many things from their fairway woods, launch is a big issue for many golfers. Cleveland set out to make that aspect much easier for golfers while making the club highly forgiving at the same time.

Again, this fairway wood is not adjustable, but most mid to high handicappers will find it to launch effectively and give them good distance and forgiveness. Remember that this keeps the cost and weight down, which are beneficial.

Cleveland has employed a HiBore Crown, which is lower and lighter. They have Flex-Fins that promote distance by compressing as the ball is struck. This is particularly useful when the ball is struck on the toe or heel. The cup face improves COR across the face resulting in higher speed and greater distance.

A quality and lightweight Miyazaki C. Kua Shaft is used. It is available in regular, stiff, or senior. The club is well made, and quality materials are used throughout. There is nothing spectacular about the appearance, but most people find it a sleek and good-looking club. Many people, however, find that the silver line on the crown gives the appearance of an open face even when it is square.

This is a fairly basic but effective fairway wood if you want forgiveness and a good launch without compromising distance. It is a popular choice and well-liked by most that have used it.

5. Pinemeadow PGX Offset Golf Fairway Wood — Best-Budget Fairway Wood

Pros:

  • Outstanding value for money
  • Offset design
  • Anti-slice technology
  • Graphite shaft

Cons:

  • Not the most durable club
  • Distance will not be as good as top-end clubs

If you want a decent fairway wood but are on a tight budget, the Pinemeadow PGX Offset Golf Fairway Wood is certainly worth a look. Despite the really good price, this club has a lot going for it.

The offset design makes it easier for high handicappers to keep the face square at impact. This will help you play your shots more accurately and with good distance.

If you, like many high handicappers, suffer from the dreaded slice, the anti-slice technology on this fairway wood should help. One has a choice of 7 lofts to find the ideal options to optimize your swing speed and style. Pinemeadow designed the PGX Offset Golf Fairway Wood to be forgiving, and most users found that to be the case.

It comes with a free headcover for protection in your bag. Most people like the look of the fairway wood; however, some may not like the bright green detailing. The matte black finish ensures there is no sun glare at address.

There are many positive reviews about this fairway wood, and it offers really good value for the money. You can’t expect it to perform like the top-of-the-range fairway woods, but it does a good job for the price.

Pinemeadow is an established company and has been going for many years. They make a wide range of clubs and golf equipment at an affordable price.

6. TaylorMade SiM Max 2 Fairway Wood — Best Top-tier Club for High Handicappers

Pros:

  • 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 

Cons:

  • 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. 

7. PXG 2021 0211 Fairway Wood — Best Golf Club in the Middle Price Range

Pros:

  • Easy to swing
  • Forgiving
  • Reasonable price
  • Feels solid on impact
  • Available for women
  • Launches easily

Cons:

  • You get what you pay for
  • Not a particularly attractive club
  • Issues with workability

First, we’d like to take the time to highlight how women can use this fairway wood for high handicappers as well. You can use any model for women, but choose the right shaft for your swing speed. PXG has a shaft available for the ladies—look for the L shaft. 

Players from all skill levels, including handicappers, can use this club. The club strikes a good balance in forgiveness, distance, and ball speed. 

The PXG 0211 has a large profile and a rounded face design that the manufacturers intended to help with consistent contact. You can adjust the hosel of the club. This feature allows golfers to adjust their loft for a better launch angle and spin rate. You can correct it if the ball height is too high or too low off the tee.

However, we must take the time to say that you do get what you pay for. Since this fairway wood costs less, the quality will be less, and we didn’t find it a particularly attractive club compared to the others on this list. 

You still pay more for the PXG 0211 than what you do for the Pinemeadow PGX, but we do think that this one offers a better value in the middle-priced territory. Even if you don’t consistently strike in the center with the club face, the launch angle and the ball speed stay steady.  

8. Vixa V12 Fairway Wood Golf Club —  Best Launching Fairway Club

Pros:

  • Available for men and women
  • Dependable and accurate long shots
  • Attractive club
  • Great launch
  • Performs well as a driver
  • Not a terrible price for a golf club
  • Legal for tournament play

Cons:

  • Requires a relatively flat fairway for consistency
  • Cheap shaft
  • Not the best weight distribution

Another club on the list available for both men and women, the Vixa V12, was engineered for mid-to-high handicappers. The club hits the ball long and straight off the turf, and it has a high-thin face with a low center of gravity. This was meant to help you launch the ball higher due to its lower spinning shots. 

Autopilot markets this club as a fairway wood, but some argue that you could use it as a driver. We wouldn’t recommend its use for that, however. The issue with that is that it won’t strike the same distance as true drivers, even if it does deliver a better distance than other fairway woods. 

Troy Klongerbo, from US Golf TV, even said that the V12 didn’t deliver the same distance as his driver, but he still liked its launch. 

The golfers who hit their shots with a downward blow may like the V12. Because they put this club through intensive heat treatment, it’s a highly durable club. We also like this club’s smooth gliding sole. You get a high launch off any deck, and they optimized it for turf interaction. Having this reduces its friction and ensures a clean strike off the tee. All of the factors combine as well to give you better distance. 

We like how easily this one launches the club off the deck. However, you may want to simply forget about trying to get the maximum distance out of it and use it for the fairway. 

Verdict – What’s the Best Fairway Wood for High Handicappers?

That should give some insight into what to look for in a fairway wood and what some of the leading options are. While we reviewed only leading options, the TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood is our top pick. It has pretty much everything the high handicapper needs in a fairway wood.

This versatile fairway wood is easy to launch and extremely forgiving. It has good distance even when you do not strike the ball perfectly. The feel and sound are good and it is useful when you have a poor lie.

This information should help you make an informed decision. Take a look at your needs and your skill level and then consider the options to find the one that will work best for you.

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 a couple of quick recommendations. First, we’d recommend the TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX Women’s Fairway. You can buy it in four configurations, and it features the same technology found in the men’s clubs. We’d recommend this as the best choice, but we wouldn’t recommend it as the least expensive. We recommend the Callaway Women’s XR 16 Fairway Wood if you want a more budget-focused option. 

Read More: Check out our in-depth article, 5 of the Best Women’s Golf Clubs on the Market in 2022.

How To Select a Fairway Wood As a High Handicapper

There are a few important aspects to consider when selecting a fairway wood.

Forgiveness

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 a sacrifice in 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

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 promotes 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 give some thought to your needs and your swing speed.

Distance

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.

Adjustability

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.

Shaft

The shaft is also important. Be sure you get the correct length for your height. A lighter shaft should allow you to get faster clubhead 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.

Budget

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. 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.

Fairway Woods FAQs

What Is the Best Three Wood for High Handicapper?

The TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood performs the best in this category. This club can save you a stroke or two. The forgiveness and accuracy set this one closer to the top of the list. The M4 is the most forgiving 3 wood for high handicapper. 

Which Fairway Wood Is Most Forgiving?

You may want to check out the M4 Fairway Wood here because it delivers great distance and speed with abundant forgiveness for high handicappers. This fairway wood ranks more forgiving than the TaylorMade M1 or the M2. We would also call the M4 the best 3 wood for high handicapper. The M4 surpasses the others in forgiveness because it preserves ball speed across the face, especially on the low face. The directional forgiveness is also real and measurable because of the Twist Face Technology, which was meant to give the fairway wood a greater level of forgiveness. 

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 2022.” 

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 high handicapper would be the Callaway Epic Max. 

What Is the Easiest Fairway Wood To Hit?

The Cleveland Golf Launcher HB would make the best choice as the easiest fairway wood to hit. It 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?

Your greatest benefit for high handicappers on the fairway wood is the shallower faces. This design keeps the center of gravity lower 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. 

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