What is a mid handicapper?
We consider a mid handicapper to be between a ten and a 20 handicap. You can have a round where you come real close to breaking eighty and one where you don’t know why you even took up this nasty game.
The mid handicapper needs their fairway wood off a few tees, on a long par four here and there, and to get as close to the green as possible on a par 5.
Luckily the majority of golf manufacturers put out several options for players in this range. Finding the right mix of distance, forgiveness, and feel is critical for the mid handicappers.
In this review of the best fairway woods for mid handicappers, we will break down not just the best options out there but what to look for to specifically help your game.
Our Best Fairway Woods for Mid Handicappers in 2020
Best Overall Fairway Wood for Mid Handicappers: Callaway Mavrik Fairway Woods
The Mavrik fairway woods are the latest release from Callaway. They are the update of the Rogue fairway woods from 2019 that performed very well. Callaway added some great features to these, making them both longer and better feeling.
Using Artificial Intelligence and the flash face technology, this is the longest fairway wood Callaway has ever released. Available in a standard model, Mavrik Sub Zero (the players option) and the Mavrik Max, this club comes in a model that will help any player better their long game.
The difference between the Mavrik and Mavrik Max in the fairway woods is mostly the size of the club head. The Max also has two adjustable weights to help you if you need something more draw-biased.
Both models feature a low center of gravity and the ability to launch the ball quite high.
The Mavrik is a new model and available in many different custom shafts. The stock shafts available in these clubs are the Project X Evenflow or the UST Helium Black.
The Helium shaft is going to be lighter and higher launching. If you need to keep the ball flight down and have a faster swing speed, Project X will be the better choice.
These fairway woods retail for a fair and standard opening price. If you end up liking them, you can fill a good portion of your bag with them as they are available in a three-wood down to an 11 wood!
In the last several years, Callaway has released its Flash Face technology, face cup technology, and jailbreak technology. This is the first time they have combined them all to make an incredible fairway wood for mid handicappers.
Read our Callaway Mavrik Fairway Woods review.
Alternative #1: Cobra Speedzone 2020 Fairway Woods
The Cobra Speedzone fairway is the update of the Speedback woods that were released in 2019. The Speedzone comes in three models. The standard Speedzone, the Speedzone Tour, and the Speedzone Big Tour Fairway.
As a mid handicapper, we recommend staying away from the Speedzone Tour as this model is built for the lower handicap player.
The good news is that the Speedzone Big Tour is very similar, but because of the size, it offers more forgiveness. The Big Tour is a high launching and low spinning fairway perfect for players looking for maximum distance.
The Standard Speedzone model focuses on distance and forgiveness. All models come with the CNC milled face that Cobra introduced last year.
All of the Speedzone Fairways are adjustable and come in the 3/4, 5/6, and 7/8 lofts. Another fantastic benefit of the Speedzone is the Cobra Connect technology that helps you keep track of your distances and accuracy.
A sensor in the grip will track your shots for you. This is a fantastic option on an adjustable loft club so you can get some feedback as to how you are hitting it.
Thes brand new fairway woods retail for a very fair value. This is great considering all the technology packed into this club.
Alternative #2: Srixon Z F85
Perhaps one of the most underrated companies in golf at the moment is Srixon. Srixon has made great strides in the last few years when it comes to both performance and feel.
The ZF85 fairway has a low center of gravity to help with the increased launch angle. Featuring a carbon crown, this lightweight club is easy to swing fast and hit well down the fairway.
The ZF85 has a great look to it, more of a classic design with a large sweet spot. Our favorite option in this club is the 3+ model. With the increased forgiveness and large sweet spot, this is a great club for a mid handicapper that is looking to get those par fives in two.
We love that Srizon keeps things simple and the price fair. These fairway woods retail for a bit less than other models.
If you are looking for a great setup that will last you for years to come (and gives you some options off the tee), look for a 3+ and a five wood combo.
Best for Fixing a Slice: TaylorMade M6 D Type
If you are fighting a slice on your three and five wood, do not worry, you are not alone. The longer the clubs get, the lower the loft gets.
It can be challenging to keep the ball straight.
Companies like TaylorMade know this about mid handicappers, and they work to help you straighten your shots out without having to change your swing at all!
The M6 Fairway wood is a model that was released last year but is by no means old technology. The M6 is one of the best fairway woods that TaylorMade ever released. The D Type comes with a slightly closed clubface to help players eliminate the slice.
Best for Distance: TaylorMade SIM MAX Fairway
We all know that TaylorMade puts out some of the best fairway woods for mid handicappers year after year. This year we felt like the SIM MAX is one of the longest options available.
The new V Steel sole helps to improve turf interaction so much that it just makes the hit cleaner and longer. When playing from a tight lie, it can be challenging to hit fairway woods perfectly clean. The V Steel helps give you that confidence you need out of tight or difficult lies.
Perfect option to consider not just for a fairway wood to use off the tee but a long fairway shot into green as well.
TaylorMade used a C300 ultra-strong steel face on this fairway. Manufacturers have played around with different face material for the last several years. This face seems to provide some explosive distance for golfers of all levels.
One of the best things this fairway wood has to offer is the twist face technology. TaylorMade uses this on many of their clubs to give off-center hits the distance that they need.
Hitting the club slightly off-center can result in distance lost in upwards of twenty, thirty, forty yards. This can be a real problem for golfers already struggling with getting the length they need.
When you look for the best fairway wood for the distance, you always need to keep forgiveness in mind. A ball hit a long way in the wrong direction will not help your game or the house of the people living off the side of the 7th fairway!
The Sim Max retails for the same as the Mavrik as it is a new release. Players looking for custom shafts still have the ability with this club, but the stock shafts are great as well.
The stock shaft available in several flexes is the Fujikura Ventus Blue. Although the Ventus Blue is a new option for golfers, the Fujikura company is one of the best shaft manufacturers out there.
Read our TaylorMade SIM MAX Fairway Woods review.
Best Low Price Fairway Woods for Mid-Handicappers: Callaway Steelhead XR Fairway
The Callaway Steelhead XR fairway wood for mid handicappers is one of the best options if you are looking to keep the cost down.
These fairway woods retail for a very low price and can be found (depending on the specs you need) in several different configurations.
The XR series is known for having medium to long-distance but providing golfers with a ton of forgiveness. This is a club that is designed to be easy to help and help you improve your game.
That is why we especially like the 3 wood for middle handicap players who can struggle to keep a 3 wood straight.
Callaway used their face cup technology on this fairway, and they haven’t stopped using it since! The Rogue and the Mavrik series that followed the XR still use the Face Cup technology for forgiveness.
Choosing a fairway wood that was the inspiration of the design for the new technology that gives you plenty of distance and ball speed for a low price, this is a great option.
What to Look for In a Fairway Wood for a Mid Handicap Golfer?
Choosing a fairway wood can be difficult because of all the fantastic options on the market. There are a few key things that Mid Handicappers want to consider when choosing a club.
Players vs. Game Improvement
If your handicap is on the lower end of the mid handicap range, you may want to consider going for a players type fairway wood.
The difference will be less forgiveness but a slightly better feel. If you’re going to be able to work the ball left to right or right to left with your fairway woods, you will need some great feel.
If you have been putting more time into your game and you think that you are on the brink of being a single-digit handicap, it might make sense to look at something like the Cobra Speedzone Tour.
For players right in the middle of the mid handicap range, do not be afraid to go with a game improvement club. Long shots off of a tight fairway lie are not easy to hit, and even highly skilled golfers can struggle with these types of shots. Take the extra distance, take the forgiveness, and make that easy par!
Club Head Size
As technology increases, it seems like companies have a harder time packing that all into a compact clubhead. If your fairway woods are several years old, chances are when you upgrade; the clubhead is going to be quite a bit larger.
It may be worth testing a few of these out in person, seeing how much your ball speed is increased and making sure the look is what you are wanting. Keep in mind that if you can put up with that slightly larger look to a fairway wood, you will be gaining some forgiveness as well.
Traditionally woods for mid handicappers are made with a stock shaft that works well for increasing both distance and launch. Many of the models we recommended are still being made custom, so you do have that option to purchase custom woods.
One thing that I think is worth keeping in mind is that when manufacturers put out their best fairway woods, they test them with the stock shafts. Ball speed, dispersion rate, distance all of that is calculated based on the stock shaft. If you go with something custom, make sure it is something you were fitted for.
As a general rule of thumb, if you hit the ball too high, choose a heavier shaft. If you struggle to get fairway woods up in the air, go with a lighter shaft with a low kick point.
If you continually hit the ball to the left, you likely need a stiffer shaft. The same goes for a person that consistently hits the ball right; choosing a weaker shaft can help straighten things out.
Some players will play Regular Steel in their irons and go with stiff graphite in their woods and fairways. If you are someone that struggles to release the stiff shafted driver, go with the regular shaft in the 3 wood.
With so many fantastic fairway wood options for mid handicappers, it can be hard to decide as to which one is the best for your game.
The Callaway Mavrik fairway wood stands out as a leader in ball speed, distance, and forgiveness. It is a new release, so the price is still going to be higher, but it will drop in time, and this is a club that you will keep in your bag for years to come.
The combination of technologies that Callaway has as part of their lineup do help them stand out as a leader year after year.