If you are a high handicapper or beginner golfer, a fairway wood can feel like a critical club in the bag. You are struggling to keep up with how far your friends hit their Driver; you are left with well over 200 yards into every green, and most times, even when you do hit the Driver well, it’s not in the best lie.
We have all been there.
The truth is, a fairway wood can be a great club to get you back down the fairway and close to the green, but it can also be a difficult club to hit. For years people were using extremely low lofted, low profile three woods to try and hurry the ball down the fairway as far as they possibly could.
What we have learned now is that higher launching, larger headed clubs with very low centers of gravity are much more effective.
There are some great fairway woods for high handicappers and beginners. We will give you our favorite picks and some tips for making sure you get the best club for your golf game.
Our Best Fairway Woods For High Handicappers & Beginners in 2020
Best Overall Fairway Woods for Beginners: Cobra Speedback F9 Fairway
If you follow all things golf, you will know that the F9 is not the latest release from Cobra. The Speedback F9 fairway was put out by Cobra in 2019, and it is one of their best fairway woods of all time. This club is not only easy to hit, but it is long.
The Speedback is an adjustable fairway coming in a 3/4 wood, 5/6 wood, and a 7/8 wood. This is one of the things that makes us love this line of fairway woods for high handicappers and beginners.
As your game improves, you can change the settings on this club to match what you need at the time. If the launch on the three wood setting is just too low for you to hit it accurately, change it to a four wood! Simple as that, don’t need to go out and buy another fairway wood.
Another positive about the F9 Speedback is the Cobra Connect technology. Not only can you adjust the settings on this club, but then you can log into your phone and track how those settings affect your shot.
The Cobra technology allows golfers to keep a close eye on the distance they hit each ball. Next time you are 175 yards from the green, you will know which club you need to hit. It’s like having a caddie in your pocket.
As far as distance and forgiveness are concerned, this club will compete with the longest and more forgiving clubs on the market.
Many lower handicap players are using the F9 Speedback as well because of its incredible feel and low dispersion rates even on off-center hits. If you are a high handicap or beginner golfer who plans to improve and lower their scores, this is an incredible option you can keep for many years.
Originally priced at quite high, this club has now dropped considerably in price. Available in a black/yellow or black/grey color finish to appeal to even more golfers. High-quality Fujikura shafts are featured in these fairway woods.
Alternative #1: Callaway Mavrik Max Fairway Wood
Callaway is always going to be a top club when it comes to beginners and high handicappers. Their high level of artificial intelligence and technology that they add to their clubs makes them a perfect option for those looking for an easy to hit club.
The new Callaway Mavrik Max Fairway is an easy to hit club that helps players to get the ball down the fairway, even on off-center hits. The Mavrik Max Fairway wood has a huge club head. Typically speaking, high handicapper players do best with a large club offset clubhead.
If you struggle with ball speed and swing speed, this light design will help to increase both.
The Mavrik fairway woods feature the Flash Face technology that the Epic Flash Driver had in 2019. The clubface is exceptionally responsive, and you will quickly notice an increase in distance from whatever you are currently playing.
The Rogue fairway woods that Callaway released in 2019 were both forgiving and long, but people didn’t love the feel and sound. Those things have been updated on the Mavrik.
Even though we believe that the Mavrik is one of the best fairway woods for a beginner or high handicapper, it is also a great club as your handicap lowers. The Mavrik is going to end up being one of the top fairway woods in [curentyear].
Read our Callaway Mavrik Fairway Woods review.
Alternative #2: Cobra F Max Airspeed Fairway
Yes, we gave Cobra another top spot. What can we say? When it comes to fairway woods for beginners, they just know what they are doing!
The brand new F Max Airspeed is an extraordinarily light and forgiving option just released in January of 2020.
The Airspeed Fairway wood has back heel weighting to lower the center of gravity and help the ball get up in the air quicker and higher. Once again, Cobra saved weight in the shaft, grip, and clubhead to make this one of the lightest fairway woods out there.
For beginners and high handicappers with fast swing speeds, the F9 Cobra will likely be a better choice than the Airspeed. If, however you struggle to get the swing speed, you need to hit fairway woods solid this is a perfect option for you.
Best Option on a Budget: TaylorMade M2
The TaylorMade M2 Fairway Woods were released in 2017. Even though they are several years old, you can still find some around. The M series golf clubs that TaylorMade produced are some of the best clubs in the history of TaylorMade.
The M2 fairway wood is not nearly as large as some of the newer options like the Mavrik or the SIM. It has a lower profile look that some players might enjoy. Benefits for beginners in this club include speed pocket technology and a low center of gravity.
The M2 was the first TaylorMade wood to use the Inverted Core technology to make the sweet spot as large as it could be. Off-center hits in today’s golf world are much different than an off-center hit with a hickory shaft!
The M2 currently retails for a really low price if you can find it in your specifications.
Best Option for Very Low Price: Pinemeadow PGX Offset Fairway Woods
The Pinemeadow PGX Offset Fairway Woods is by no means a top of the line name brand club. This is a budget club, yet it has some excellent results and feedback from beginners.
The PGX Fairway features an offset design to help straighten out that slice that all beginners struggle with. This fairway wood is available from a three wood down to a fifteen wood, so if you find success with these woods, you can fill your entire bag with them!
If you are a powerful person with fast swing speed, this club will not work for you. However, if you are looking for a simple, easy to hit fairway wood that gets the job done, this PGX can be found for less than any other option out there.
We love this option for a person that is deciding whether or not this game is for them. Pick up a PGX wood and maybe an iron and head to the range a few times. You won’t break the bank, and you may find that this fairway wood ends up keeping a spot in your bag.
Best Option for Distance: TaylorMade SIM Max Fairway
Is distance the name of the game for you?
You are not alone. Many beginners feel like distance from the fairway and off the tee could change their game completely. As you progress in this game and your handicap lowers, you will see that although distance matters short game will win out for scoring.
In the meantime, when you need to fulfill the desire for the long ball, this TaylorMade SIM Max is the perfect fairway wood for you.
With this club, TaylorMade incorporated all of their most recent distance technology and combined that with the old V Steel bottom. The V Steel bottom is used for getting through even the most difficult lies.
The SIM MAX is available in a standard model and a D type. The D type is the traditional draw face that TaylorMade has done in the past.
The clubhead is slightly offset, and the clubface is closed to help straighten the ball out. We know you were looking for pure distance, but a ball hit straight will travel much further than a club that tails off at the end.
The clubface is a high strength C300 steel that gives the ball an extra distance boost the second its hit. The SIM MAX D is available in the 16, 19, and 22-degree option and retails for a mid to high price as it is a brand new release.
Read our TaylorMade SIM MAX Fairway Woods review.
What to Look for When Purchasing the Best Fairway Woods For High Handicappers and Beginners
Now that we gave you some incredible information on the best fairway woods out there, how do you know which one is right for you?
Here is some excellent information on how to make sure you pick the best fairway wood for your game.
Especially if you are a beginner, the startup costs to becoming a golfer can be quite high. When you think about a fairway wood costing between $150-$300, it seems manageable, but then think about buying two or three of these.
Our best advice if you are trying to keep the price down is to purchase a solid 5 wood that you love. A five wood is generally a bit easier to hit than a three wood, and although it won’t fly as far, it will get you started and out there with what you need.
Purchasing a set of beginner fairway woods for less than a lunch (those cheap no-name brand options) may work for a little while. As you improve and start to play more golf, you will outgrow those clubs rather quickly. So mostly what we are trying to say is quality over quantity.
A question that we have been asked several times is: Do I need the 3, 5, and 7 wood. The answer is no.
Many players only carry a five wood with them. In the last few years, three woods have been made much more comfortable to hit, but before that, unless you had very high swing speeds, a three wood could get you into more trouble than you needed.
Yes, a three wood will offer golfers more distance than a five wood, but like we have said in the past, what good is the distance in the wrong direction. Hitting a ball off the fairway can be much more complicated than off a tee, so when purchasing fairway woods, you need to consider the fairway shots just as much as the tee shots.
Think about your current golf game. How many times in a round would you use a 3 wood, a 5 wood a 7 wood?
If you think you might use that seven wood one time in the round, don’t purchase one just to start. If you feel you struggle with your Driver so much, you will use a three wood off of every tee, then go with only that three wood for now.
Even better, go with an adjustable 3/4 wood in case you start hitting that Driver great.
In the end, only you will know what you need to complete your golf bag but don’t for a second think that you need to have all the woods in there, better players will tell you an extra wedge is more important than an extra fairway wood.
Forgiveness and Distance
All modern fairway woods at the game improvement and super game improvement level are going to offer a great deal of forgiveness.
There are, however, several keywords you can look at for when shopping for a club that will specifically help you hit it longer and more accurate.
- Center of Gravity: you will want a club that features a low center of gravity placed towards the back of the clubhead
- Large Speed Spot: this will help with shots that miss the center of the clubface slightly
- Carbon Fiber Crown: many of the most forgiving fairway woods feature this lightweight carbon fiber crow
- Offset Club Head: an offset clubhead helps to square the clubface at impact and help get rid of a slice
- Lightweight shafts help you to swing the club faster, produce more club head speed and increase overall distance
- Draw Bias or Draw Type: draw type clubs will give you a slightly closed clubface to help hit the ball straighter, straighter shots go further
- Off Center Hits: look for a club that provides forgiveness on off center hits (similar to TaylorMade Twist Face Technology)
Not all fairway woods for high handicappers are going to be adjustable. Some will have the ability to change the loft; others will have the ability to open and close the clubface.
Buying an adjustable club can be an excellent idea for a high handicapper because your golf swing is bound to change from time to time. There will be times when you struggle with a hook and other times when you tend to slice it.
The option for an adjustable club head can help you hit the ball a little closer to the fairway when your golf game is struggling.
Choosing the correct shaft for your game can be difficult as a beginner. Sometimes when you start, you have to reign in your swing speed; other times, you must work on increasing it. It can be hard to decide the correct shaft option, but there are a few general guidelines to use.
If you are older (than 60) and just starting the game, you are likely going to want a senior shaft. The shaft will be lighter and more flexible than other options, but it will help you to release the club and hit the ball straight. Anytime you try and force something with a club that is too stiff for you, expect to see less than stellar results.
There is a common misconception among beginners that if you are hitting a slice, you must need a stiffer shaft. The truth is that most times, you need a stiffer shaft if you are hitting a hook.
If you are hitting a seven iron around 150 yards or less, then Regular flex fairway woods will work out just fine.
If you are hitting a seven iron more than 160 yards, you should be swinging with a stiff shaft. Luckily when it comes to fairway woods, the decision into which shaft to use is quite a bit easier because you are just choosing between flex, not steel, or graphite. Beginners fairway woods (and all fairway woods for that matter) should be a graphite shaft.
Cobra stole the show when it came to the best golf clubs for beginner golfers. Players looking to get distance, get the ball up in the air, and get some forgiveness from those off-center hits will find a great fit with Cobra.
The F9 Speedback, although 2019 model, offers golfers of all levels some incredible feel and results.
With great adjustability, increased distance from previous models, and better turf interaction, there is not a beginner golfer reading this that won’t benefit from a Cobra fairway wood in their golf bag.