***If you’re looking for the most recent reviews for 2021 gear, we will be updating this page in the summer after we’ve had a chance to review them!
If you’re in a hurry and just want to find the Best Fairway Woods for Beginners and High Handicappers in 2020, then we recommend the Tour Edge Exotics EXS 220.
Sitting in the fairway on a par 5 after hitting a great drive opens up the door for a great scoring opportunity. If you’re confident with your 3 wood, you’re probably thinking, if I hit my 3 wood solid, I can get on in two and 2 putt for a birdie.
On the flip side, are you coming up to your ball and immediately thinking I’m hitting an iron to lay up because there’s absolutely no chance I’ll ever hit my 3 wood close!
Or maybe the driver has been letting you down lately and you just need to keep your tee shot in play or maybe you’re playing smart to leave yourself an approach shot with a distance you’re comfortable with.
Whatever the case may be, having a fairway wood you can trust is great option to have!
In this article we want to help you consider a few things and also review a few clubs so that you can select the best fairway wood for beginners and high handicappers.
In this article, we’re going to be reviewing the following fairway woods:
- TaylorMade SIM Max
- Callaway Mavrik Max
- Cobra King SpeedZone Big Tour
- Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo
- Tour Edge Exotics EXS 220
To see our other top clubs for beginners and high handicappers in 2020, check out this article: Best Golf Clubs for Beginners and High Handicappers in 2020!
Why Should I Buy A Fairway Wood?
A fairway wood is a good option when you need it to fill the gap. For example, say you’re in the fairway or very light rough but your too far out for a long iron hybrid to hit the green and you still want to get as close as possible. The fairway wood is a great option since a driver off the deck is probably not in your wheelhouse yet (or it isn’t for most amateurs!).
Another option where a fairway wood makes sense is off the tee box when the “Big Dog”, aka driver, is too much club or it’s just been flat out letting you down lately. Let’s be honest it’s always the clubs fault, not the golfers!
If you been having a tendency to hit a nasty slice or duck hook with your driver but you still need to get the ball out a good distance, then a fairway wood can make sense.
Or maybe it’s a really short par 4 and hitting a driver might leave you an approach shot distance you’re not too good at, say 70 yards. It may make sense to hit a fairway wood and leave you a 100 yards out for the perfect wedge distance you have dialed in.
To be completely honest though, for a beginner or someone with a high handicap, a fairway wood is probably the least essential club in your bag. For most of you, it might make more sense to bypass the 3 wood and invest it in a hybrid or a better driver. For those of you that insist on getting a fairway wood, here are some things to consider.
What To Consider When Choosing The Best Fairway Wood for Beginners and High Handicappers
Low and Away CG
CG or center of gravity is very common term thrown around when it comes to golf club design. Now we could go into a whole dissertation about what it is and how it works but for the sake of simplicity and your sanity we won’t.
Here’s the cliff notes version of what you need to know, the lower (closer to the sole or bottom of the club) and farther (away from the club face) it is, the easier it will be to get the ball into the air.
This is especially important for beginners and high handicappers because one of the most difficult things for them to achieve is getting enough height on the lower lofted clubs.
And generally speaking (and yes there is a balance), the more height you can get, the farther the ball will travel.
Finally, throw in the fact that you might be hitting this from the fairway (without the added help of a golf tee) you can see how having a low CG will help you get the ball in the air easier.
As with any other club, the most difficult thing to do is consistently hit the sweet spot. Even if you’re off by a centimeter or two, it can have huge impacts on the distance and ball flight.
Another science concept that helps minimize the side effect of missing the sweet spot is something called MOI or moment of inertia. This is another very common term thrown around golf especially when it comes to putters (insert link here).
As with putters, the concept is the same. So to make it as simple as possible, a high MOI reduces the amount of club head twisting at impact and the less club head twists, the more energy is transferred to the ball, and the more energy transferred to the ball, the farther the ball will travel.
Now since a fairway wood will probably be the 2nd longest club in your bag (next to your driver), the more difficult it will be to hit the sweet spot and therefore more forgiveness is something very important for beginners.
More Shaft Flex
The shaft flex plays a significant factor on creating the ideal upward angle at which the ball leaves the clubface on impact (launch angle).
Too much flex and your ball may go too high or too far left (right handed golfer). Too little flex and your ball is going too low or too far right (right handed golfer). Whatever the case may be with you, you’re robbing yourself of distance and accuracy.
Not to beat a dead horse but since beginners and high handicappers normally have slower swing speeds, having more shaft flex will generally help create the ideal launch angle and get the maximum distance from your shots.
Loft and Adjustability
The standard fairway woods are a 3 and 5 wood but there are also 7 and 9 woods as well. The standard lofts for these clubs normally have the following ranges:
- 3 Wood – 14 to 16 degrees
- 5 Wood – 17 to 19 degrees
- 7 Wood – 20 to 22 degrees
- 9 Wood – 23 to 25 degrees
What loft you select for your fairway woods really depends on what’s the application. For example, if you’re going to be using your 3 wood to primarily hit tee shots, then maybe a lower lofted 14 degree 3 wood makes sense. If you’re going to use your 3 wood primarily from the fairway or light rough, then maybe a 16 degree 3 wood is better. Finally, if you feel it’s going to be used for both, then something like a 15 degree 3 wood could be the best option.
Keep one thing in mind though, as a general rule, the lower the loft the harder it is to hit.
This leads to the 2nd aspect of adjustability. Many of the modern 3 woods today have the ability to adjust the loft with a simple turn of a torque wrench. This allows you to easily adjust your 15 degree 3 wood to maybe a 14 degree.
Finally, some models allow you to adjust the face angle as well to make them more draw, neutral, or fade biased for total customization.
As we mentioned earlier, in our opinion, the fairway wood is probably the least needed club in your bag but will probably be the 2nd or 3rd most expensive club in your bag next to your driver and putter. You can expect to shell out several hundreds of dollars on a single fairway wood.
An important question to ask yourself is should I invest in a new fairway wood or put money towards a better driver, putter, or set of wedges?
The good thing is that with modern golf technology, it makes the game much easier to hit good shots but the bad thing is that it’s expensive.
Now there’s a couple ways you can approach buying a fairway wood; buy new or buy used.
When you buy used you’ll definitely pay less but a drawback is that you won’t be getting the latest and greatest technology. Tough decision to make, we know!
The good news though is that there’s a large second hand market for used clubs so you’ll always be able to trade in that old fairway wood in the future.
Whatever way you decide to go, pick something that can fit within your budget.
Best Fairway Woods for Beginners and High Handicappers Reviewed
The TaylorMade SIM Max brought back their V-shaped sole design that looks great and helps the club interact with the turf more efficiently.
The focus is on control and launch which helps the ball get off the ground and fly straighter than ever before. TaylorMade continues to stand as an industry leader in drivers and woods, and the SIM Max line continues that trend.
- If you struggle with hitting your fairway woods off of the turf, then these clubs are for you.
- The club looks great at address and gives you confidence standing over your shot.
- The sound and feel is great and gives you instant feedback to know when you have really connected on a shot.
- The titanium face is strong and flexible which keeps ball speed high without sacrificing feel and accuracy.
- It is one of the most expensive clubs on the list.
- The club is made for more advanced golfers to get the most out of its features.
Callaway has brought its Artificial Intelligence (AI) and resulting Flash Face Technology to their fairway woods.
The release of the Mavrik Max driver was highly anticipated and equally successful, so it is only logical that they would turn that technology to their fairway woods as well. The result is a larger head, a more forgiving face, increased ball speed, and a better launch that previous Callaway offerings. This technology has the potential to be a game changer for years to come and Callaway is at the forefront of bringing it to the average player.
- Increased distance.
- A high launch and great control.
- A large sweet spot which provides forgiveness usually reserved for game improvement clubs.
- Interchangeable weighting system that provides a variety of launch angles and spin rates.
- Very easy to hit.
- Solid feel at impact.
- If you have a natural draw or hook this club may not help.
- It is a large club with a large head that not all players like in a fairway wood.
Offering 3, 5, and 7 woods with the same new technology found in Cobra’s drivers.
From a more forgiving face that still increases ball speed to a huge sweet spot that limits mishits, these fairway woods are top notch. There are also some options available for those who are more interested in a higher lofted iron or an actual fairway wood.
- Use similar technology to their drivers but cater it to the needs of a fairway wood.
- Forgiving without losing distance.
- At the very top end of producing ball speed without being an illegal club.
- Features a low center of gravity that increases launch angles and helps to get the ball off of the ground.
- Not as easy to control as some of its counterparts.
- Does not interact with the turf as well as smaller fairway woods and hybrids.
An aerodynamic design and feel draw your eyes to this club immediately.
It looks great at setup and performs as well as it looks. The Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo has a draw bias and produces a high launch which suits the game of many beginners and high handicappers. The weight, feel, and sound of the club are all contributing factors to its success and produce great confidence when the ball is struck.
- The focus is on the launch and that is what average golfers, beginners, and high handicappers need in a fairway wood.
- There is a fluidity to the club that comes from the weight in the head interacting with the high end graphite shaft.
- The turbocharged cup face produces great ball speed and subsequent distance.
- While maintaining launch and distance, the club is very straight and accurate and is setup with a draw bias that many players need.
- The price puts it out of reach for many beginners.
- Is better off of the turf than the tee if you are looking for more of an additional driving club.
A great value for a fairway wood that performs well off the turf and the tee.
This club is loaded with the technology of many upscale drivers and fairway woods but at a great price. The focus of this club is on launch and forgiveness which, coupled with the price, set this club up to be one of the best for beginners and high handicappers.
- One of the least expensive options if you shop around a little.
- The same technology found in many of its more expensive and better known counterparts.
- The focus of this club is on producing a higher launch, and it accomplishes this.
- The sweet spot is almost the whole face of the club which adds forgiveness and takes away the number of mishits.
- Does not produce the same ball speed and distance as some of the other clubs on the list.
- If you are looking for help off of the tee, this is not your choice.
Our Choice for Best Fairway Woods for Beginners and High Handicappers in 2020
Because of its combination of price and features, our choice for the best fairway woods for beginners and high handicappers is the Tour Edge Exotics EXS 220.
One of the hardest things for new golfers to do is get the ball off the ground and on a good flight path. The Tour Edge Exotics fairway woods gives a low center of gravity and a huge sweet spot so that it is both easier to make solid contact and get the ball into the air. The club also sets up for a straight ball flight which is what beginners need before they start to learn how to shape their shots.