A regulation set of golf clubs can contain a maximum of 14 clubs. If you are a beginner having little or no prior experience in the fine old sport of golf, take a few minutes to let that number sink in. Remember, we are not talking about 14 clubs that look and feel similar.
All these clubs have their own unique features and nuances, specific contexts of use and different degrees of difficulty.
Beginners are advised to steer clear of certain clubs early on to avoid getting overwhelmed by the complexity. And fairway woods are certainly one of those, along with the specialized wedges and maybe the longer irons.
So it begs the question: is it really advisable for beginners to go out and buy a fairway wood (or two) for themselves?
Well, that depends on a fair few factors. We will get in to those factors in detail in the next section, after which we will give a detailed review of some of the best fairway woods for beginners and high handicappers. Our shortlist includes:
Best Fairway Woods For Beginners & High Handicappers
When To Buy A Fairway Wood As A Beginner?
For starters, if you are taking your first few steps on a golf course, you would be well advised to stay away from fairway woods, at least for the time being. If you are getting your hands on your first set of clubs, you would again be well advised to stay away from fairway woods.
These are the longest of all golf clubs. Beginners usually find it harder to make good contact with the ball when using fairway woods.
So your best option in these early stages would be to try the shorter hybrid clubs when you require distance shots. Hybrids are a cross between a long iron (usually a 3,4 or 5 iron) and a fairway wood. They are easier for novices to hit the ball with. Use hybrids early on from the tee and the fairway. Once you start getting consistent drives and shots with hybrids, try your hand at a driver, or a 3-5 wood.
But then again, not all of us are created equally or in the same mold. Some golfers will find the longer clubs easier to handle when compared to the short ones.
So the best option would be to borrow a couple of hybrids and a couple of fairway woods, have a swing or two with both and choose the ones you are more comfortable with.
Why Should Beginners And High Handicappers Use Fairway Woods?
Granted, fairway woods are not the easiest clubs to live with. But nothing good comes easy in life, nor in golf. Fairway woods exist for a purpose, well, more than one in fact.
They are pretty good at doing several different things on a golf course and knowing how to handle one effectively will improve your chances of lowering your handicap.
Long story short, if you want to improve your golf, especially the long game, you will eventually have to learn how to wield a fairway wood.
So, What Is So Special About Fairway Woods?
They are designed to hit hard and get the ball to travel hundreds of yards. They have long shafts and hard voluminous clubheads to deliver maximum force to the ball. They also have the lowest loft angles in all golf clubs.
A loft angle of a club determines how high the the ball will be launched in the air. Fairway woods are designed in such a way to give the ball flatter trajectories, helping them cover more distance effectively.
You use them either from the tee or on the fairway, hence the name fairway wood. Even your driver is basically a fairway wood with the longest shaft and lowest loft angle. And the driver is also another club beginners are often advised to steer clear of from early on.
Though beginners are advised to choose hybrids over woods and drivers, fairway woods will perform better than hybrids in most situations where distance is the main focus.
Commonly found fairway woods are 3 and 5 woods (the driver is essentially a 1 wood). If you are on longer holes (par 4 and above), they can be used to hit from the fairway or the rough for the second shot.
Or you can use them effectively as an alternative to the driver if you are willing to sacrifice some distance, especially on par 3 holes.
For instance, if you feel that you will overshoot your targeted area if you use a driver, then you might want to try that tee with a 3 wood or a 5 wood, depending on the target distance.
And fairway woods can even hit from the rough, which gives them an added advantage over drivers. In several instances, a sensible option might even be to discard your driver from the set and pack a decent 3 or 5 wood for tees as well as long shots on the turf.
And they are also viable alternatives for long irons, to get easy approach shots into the green with minimal effort.
A Short Fairway Wood Buying Guide
- To hit from the tee, get a 3 wood
- For long distance fairway shots, again a 3 wood
- For shorter approach shots to the green, get a higher lofted wood: a 4,5, 7 or even a 9 wood if you can find one
Many manufacturers these days offer the following adjustable features on the newer models of fairway woods:
- Loft adjustments mean that a single club can often be used as a 3,4 or 5 wood by changing the loft angle
- Face angle is the angle of the clubface as it impacts the ball. Changing it affects the flight of the ball. Closing the clubface helps if you have trouble with slicing the ball often, while opening the clubface is helpful to avoid excessive hooks.
- Moveable weights are another advanced feature that can be tinkered to alter the flight of the ball.
Graphite shafts are the norm these days for fairway woods and you should always make sure that you are buying them as they have the best impact on swing speeds.
Lightweight titanium is often used to make the clubheads of fairway woods. But steel clubheads are the best material for woods. Composite clubhead are also common.
As a beginner, you should not worry too much about the choice of material and should look at the overall forgiveness of the clubhead instead.
Best Fairway Woods For Beginners Reviewed
These woods from Adams Blue Golf have an improved flex at clubface, better optimized Center of Gravity, and slimmer shafts to help beginners and handicappers launch the ball into air easily and more consistently.
This proprietary “Easy Launch” design system makes these woods more accessible and enjoyable for less experienced golfers. There are 3 options; the 3 wood (16 degree) 5 wood (18 degree) and 7 wood (21 degrees).
- Designed to get more height, makes these woods better on the fairway to negotiate hazards and light rough.
- The high forgiveness makes 3 and 5 wood excellent long distance options of the tee and on the fairway. The 7 wood is better than a 5 iron on approach shots.
- Not the best at getting long distance. Too less power when compared to some other clubs in the category.
A large contoured sole on this wood makes it a very comforting option having a tough time mastering fairway woods. The sole also makes it a fantastic option for shots on the fairway as well as the rough, and from all slopes and even tough lies.
Available in 15 lofted 3 wood and 19 lofted 5 wood options and a graphite shaft in eye catching red color.
- Equally capable from the tee and on the rough, a decent all rounder of a wood.
- Excellent feel and feedback from the shaft makes swinging this club a real pleasure
- The matte finish reduces glare on the course, while the red shaft offers striking good looks
- Not very good at launching ball into the air on a regular basis
- Not a good option for approach shots since some shots tend to get over-hit.
This wood has a 20g moveable weight and a lightweight plastic shell that can be interchanged to alter the center of gravity of the clubhead across two positions on the sole.
Moving weight to the back increases the spin and launch height, while moving it forwards reduces the same. The wood is available in a single adjustable loft condition, adjustable from 13 – 16 degrees (roughly between a 3 – 4 wood).
- The adjustable angle and weight features make this a very versatile club which can be retooled to face diverse conditions.
- Excellent forgiveness and accuracy, even when you mishit the shots. Great for beginners.
- The feel induces more confidence in golfers, making this a fantastic beginner’s wood.
- Best in class looks.
- The tinkering with features can be a distraction for less experienced players
- The performance on the fairway and rough is not as good as some of the other clubs
With a lower leading edge, this wood from Ping is optimized to perform better from the fairway and light to medium rough.
Ping has also shaved off a couple of grams from the crown to improve the Center of Gravity and Moment of Inertia, making this fairway wood a lot more forgiving.
These fairway woods are available in several adjustable loft configurations from 3 to 7 woods.
- Extremely easy to pick up and swing.
- Best in class in terms of accuracy and forgiveness.
- Covers longer distance than most other clubs.
- The lower profile of the clubhead makes it slightly harder to hit the balls from the tee.
Fairway woods are not the easiest class of golf clubs for beginners to pick up and swing. But game improvement designs do their fair share to tom mitigate the difficulty levels and make this class of clubs more accessible to beginners. Golf is after all a sport and a leisure activity.
And all players should be able to derive at least a modicum of enjoyment from it. Otherwise, what is the whole point in slogging it out in the sun on a courseway?
On that note, we think that the Adams Blue Fairway Wood is the pick of the lot, providing the best fairway wood experience for beginners and high handicappers alike.