Fairway woods

What is the definition of Fairway woods in Golf?

Fairway woods are an essential category of golf clubs that fall within the woods category, alongside the driver. They are specifically designed to have a smaller head and shorter shaft than drivers, while maintaining the appearance of a wood with a round-type head. These clubs are intended for use either off the tee or from far away in the fairway or rough, with lofts ranging from 13 to 22 degrees.

These versatile clubs typically have a low center of gravity and a graphite shaft, making them lighter and contributing to a more penetrating yet arcing ball flight. Additionally, there has been a rise in popularity of hybrid clubs, which combine the best features of both fairway woods and irons. Selecting the right mix of fairway woods and hybrids depends on the type of player you are and your preferences when on the course.

Key Takeaways

  • Fairway woods are a distinct category of golf clubs designed for use off the tee or from far distances in the fairway or rough.
  • They feature smaller heads and shorter shafts than drivers, with lofts between 13 and 22 degrees for versatility and various shot options.
  • Golfers should consider their playing style and preferences when determining a mix of fairway woods and hybrids in their golf bag.

Understanding Fairway Woods

Fairway woods are a category of golf clubs found within the woods category, alongside the driver. These clubs have a smaller head and a shorter shaft than the driver, while still maintaining the general appearance of a wood with a larger round-type head, as opposed to irons.

A fairway wood has a loft between 13 and 22 degrees and is designed for use off the tee and at a distance in the rough or fairway. Typically, these clubs feature a graphite shaft, making them lighter and allowing for a low center of gravity. Golfers use fairway woods to gain more control from a tight tee and achieve a more penetrating yet arcing ball flight.

In comparison to the driver (the 1-wood), fairway woods are the higher-numbered woods in a player’s golf set. They are primarily used for longer shots off the fairway. However, in certain situations, if a shorter distance shot, or “layup” shot, is required off the tee, a fairway wood can be used instead of a driver.

When choosing a fairway wood, keep in mind that the shafts are very similar to those of drivers, with the only difference being the length, as fairway wood shafts are shorter. Golfers should select a fairway wood that complements their playing style, preferences, and skill level, allowing them to enhance their overall performance on the course.

Types of Fairway Woods

Fairway woods are a type of golf club designed for distance and accuracy on the fairway. They typically have a larger club head than irons, but smaller than drivers, and a shallower face providing a lower center of gravity that helps launch the ball into the air.

There are various types of fairway woods available, each with different loft angles and lengths. The most common fairway woods are the 3-wood and the 5-wood, but other options such as 7-wood, 9-wood, and 11-wood also exist to cater for different golfer preferences and needs.

3-Wood (15 degrees): The 3-wood has the lowest loft among fairway woods, offering the longest distance. It is ideal for tee shots or long second shots when extra yardage is needed. These woods generally have a shaft length between 42 and 43 inches.

5-Wood (42-41 inches): The 5-wood has a slightly higher loft than the 3-wood and is shorter in length, usually measuring between 41 and 42 inches. It offers a good balance between distance and control for golfers, making it a popular choice for a variety of situations on the course.

7-Wood (41-40 inches): With a higher loft and shorter length than the 5-wood (between 40 and 41 inches), the 7-wood is designed for players who need more height on their shots. It can help golfers achieve better control and precision, particularly when hitting from difficult lies or over obstacles.

In addition to these standard fairway woods, some manufacturers like Callaway, Ping, and TaylorMade also offer alternative options such as the 3+ wood, 9-wood, 11-wood, and heavenwood. These clubs are designed to cater to specific golfer needs, providing a wide range of options to enhance their game.

Fairway woods typically come with lightweight graphite shafts, which increase swing speed and help add yardage to shots. Golfers should consider the available types of fairway woods and their specific characteristics to determine the best fit for their individual swing and style of play.

Features of Fairway Woods

Fairway woods are an essential part of a golfer’s arsenal, designed to provide both distance and control on shots off the tee or from the fairway. They typically have a loft of between 13 and 22 degrees, allowing for a high, arcing trajectory that helps the golfer achieve maximum distance.

A key characteristic of fairway woods is their flatter clubface, which positions the sweet spot closer to the ground. This feature enables the golfer to make solid contact with the ball while using a lower tee position compared to a driver. Additionally, fairway woods often have a shorter and stiffer shaft than a driver, providing more control and accuracy on shots.

The design of fairway woods also incorporates a low center of gravity (CG), often achieved by using a graphite shaft instead of a steel one. This lower CG makes the club lighter and allows for a more penetrating ball flight, which helps to increase distance on shots.

Another advantage of fairway woods is their versatility. Many golfers use them not only from the tee but also for long approach shots from the fairway or rough, ensuring greater control and precision on these crucial shots. It is common for golf sets to include a 3-wood, as it is one of the most popular fairway woods, although more advanced players may incorporate additional fairway woods for an increased range of shot options.

In summary, the features of fairway woods, including their flatter clubface, shorter and stiffer shaft, low center of gravity, and versatility in shot selection, make them an important part of a golfer’s set. These clubs provide distance and control, ensuring that golfers have the tools to navigate the course effectively.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Fairway Woods


The loft is an essential factor to consider when choosing a fairway wood. It refers to the face angle of the club in relation to the ground. Most commonly, lofts of fairway woods range between 15 and 21 degrees. For example, a 3-wood loft is typically close to 15 degrees but can be adjustable depending on the club’s design.

Shaft Length

Another crucial aspect of selecting a fairway wood is its shaft length. The length affects the overall swing speed and accuracy of the shot. Opt for shaft lengths that complement your playing style and are comfortable to use. It’s advisable to try out different lengths to find the optimal fit for your golf game.


The material used in the construction of fairway woods also plays a significant role in performance. Common materials include:

  • Stainless steel: The most popular choice, offering durability and affordability.
  • Titanium: Lightweight and more forgiving, enhancing clubhead speed and distance.
  • Carbon composite: Known for its lightness and vibration-dampening qualities, delivering an enhanced feel.

Each material has its own unique characteristics, so consider which one is best suited for your game and budget.


Finding the right flex for a fairway wood depends on the player’s swing speed. A good rule of thumb is the faster the clubhead speed, the stiffer the flex should be. Generally, if your swing speed is between 80 and 95 mph, opt for a regular flex. Experiment with other flexes as necessary to find the most suitable one for your swing.

Overall, it’s essential to weigh all these factors and select fairway woods which genuinely suit your game and preferences.

Benefits of Using Fairway Woods

Fairway woods are a versatile and essential type of golf club that offers various advantages on the golf course. These clubs, which have a loft between 13 and 22 degrees, are designed for use off the tee as well as from a distance in the rough or fairway.

One significant benefit of using fairway woods is the additional control they provide from tight tee shots. Compared to drivers, fairway woods typically have a smaller clubhead and shorter shaft, allowing for easier manipulation and more precise shot-making. As a result, golfers can confidently navigate narrower fairways or avoid hazards more easily.

Another advantage is the ability to achieve greater distance from the fairway or rough. Due to their low center of gravity and graphite shaft, these clubs produce a more penetrating yet arcing ball flight, allowing for improved carry and roll. This combination of distance and control can be especially useful for long par-4s and par-5s, where reaching the green in fewer strokes is crucial.

For golfers who struggle with hitting drivers consistently, a strong 3-wood can serve as an effective alternative. With a slightly higher loft of 13-14.5 degrees, these clubs can still generate the desired distance while providing increased accuracy and forgiveness.

Lastly, fairway woods are well-suited for shots from the rough or uneven lies. Their clubhead design allows for better contact with the ball, resulting in cleaner shots and improved chances of reaching the green. This advantage can significantly impact a golfer’s ability to recover and get back into position on a hole.

In summary, the benefits of using fairway woods include better control from tight tee shots, increased distance off the fairway or rough, the potential for an alternative to drivers when needed, and improved success from challenging lies. These advantages make fairway woods a valuable tool in any golfer’s bag.

Golf Techniques with Fairway Woods

Taking the Shot

Fairway woods are a versatile category of clubs within the woods category, smaller in head size and shorter in shaft length compared to drivers. They are designed for long approach shots from the fairway or even off the tee as a more accurate alternative to a driver. When taking a shot, remember to align your body and feet correctly, and play the ball in line with your front foot. Maintain a smooth tempo, taking care not to overswing, since it might affect your shot accuracy and consistency.

Key Fundamentals:

  • Proper alignment of body and feet
  • Ball position: lined up with the front foot
  • Maintain a smooth tempo

Direction and Distance Control

Direction and distance control are crucial for fairway woods, as they can help players achieve more accurate and consistent shots. To ensure proper control, make sure to keep the rhythm of your swing consistent throughout the shot. Focus on a specific target while maintaining a steady grip pressure, avoiding any tension in the hands or wrists. This relaxed approach will allow for a natural, well-paced swing, ultimately leading to better control over direction and distance.

Tips for Controlling Direction and Distance:

  • Keep a steady grip pressure
  • Maintain a consistent swing rhythm
  • Focus on the target
  • Avoid any tension in your hands and wrists

TaylorMade is a well-known brand in the golf industry and has a history of producing fast and long fairway woods. The TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus Fairway is one of the top choices for golfers in 2023 due to its performance and quality.

Another prominent brand is Ping, with their G430 Max Fairway gaining popularity among golfers. Ping has a reputation for producing high-quality clubs that cater to a wide range of skill levels and golfer preferences.

Callaway is another leading brand in the golf industry, with their Paradym Fairway Wood being a top choice in 2023. This fairway wood offers excellent performance, and the brand consistently produces reliable and well-engineered products for golfers.

Cobra is known for their sleek designs and innovative technology in their golf clubs. The Cobra Aerojet LS Fairway offers an attractive profile and advanced features, making it a popular choice for many players.

Titleist is a respected brand with a history of producing high-quality golf clubs, and their TSR3 Fairway Wood is no exception. With its impressive performance and features, this club has quickly become popular among golfers.

Srixon’s ZX Mk II Fairway is also a top choice due to its performance and quality. Srixon is a growing brand that offers a diverse range of products for golf enthusiasts.

Lastly, Wilson is a brand offering fairway woods like the Wilson Launch Pad 2 that focus on forgiveness, making them an excellent choice for golfers seeking improved performance on mis-hits. The Launch Pad 2 is one of the top picks in the 2022 Most Wanted Fairway Wood test by MyGolfSpy.

In summary, the following popular brands offer fairway woods that golfers can consider for their game:

  • TaylorMade
  • Ping
  • Callaway
  • Cobra
  • Titleist
  • Srixon
  • Wilson

Each brand has its unique offerings that cater to different golfer preferences and skill levels, providing a range of options to choose from.

How to Take Care of Fairway Woods

Fairway woods are essential golf clubs designed for use off the tee or from far away in the fairway or rough. They typically have a loft between 13 and 22 degrees and feature a low center of gravity with a graphite shaft, enabling a powerful, arcing ball flight. To maintain optimal performance, proper care of these clubs is crucial.

First, it’s important to clean your fairway woods regularly. Use a soft-bristle brush or towel to remove dirt and debris from the clubface and grooves. This will improve contact with the ball and maintain the club’s performance. Additionally, wipe down the grips with a damp cloth and mild soap to remove oils and sweat that can cause the grip to deteriorate.

Another key aspect of fairway wood care is protecting the clubhead. Always use a headcover when the club is not in use to shield it from damage during transportation or storage. This can prevent dents, scratches, and other cosmetic damage that can negatively impact the club’s function.

Storing your fairway woods in a clean and dry environment is crucial for their longevity. Avoid leaving them in the trunk of your car or in areas with extreme temperatures, as this can cause the glue that holds the clubhead and shaft together to weaken, compromising the club’s performance. Store the clubs in a golf bag with dividers to keep them separated and prevent them from clashing together.

Periodically inspecting your fairway wood shafts is another essential maintenance task. Check for dents, scratches, or any signs of wear that may indicate a potential breakage. Additionally, examine the ferrule (the plastic ring located where the shaft meets the clubhead) for cracks or separation, which could affect the club’s alignment and performance.

By following these simple steps, you can prolong the lifespan of your fairway woods and ensure consistent performance on the golf course.