Best Fairway Woods Reviewed For 2021
***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 know our top choices for 2021, here they are:
Best Overall – TaylorMade SIM Max
Best Fairway Woods For Beginners and High Handicappers – Tour Edge Exotics EXS 220
Best Fairway Woods For Mid and Low Handicappers – Callaway Mavrik
Best Fairway Woods For Seniors – Cobra King SpeedZone Big Tour
Best Fairway Woods For Women – Callaway Mavrik Max W
Best 3 Wood – TaylorMade SIM Max
Best 5 Wood – TaylorMade SIM Max
Most Forgiving – Tour Edge Exotics EXS 220
Most Affordable – Tour Edge HL4 O/S
To get more in depth on how these fairway woods faired against the competition for a particular category or any other fairway wood review, just click on the articles below:
The fairway wood market is one of the strangest in golf.
They are not as popular as drivers while hybrids are kind of the new rage.
At the same time, fairway woods benefit from all of the technology that goes into driver design and they serve a much different purpose than hybrids as well.
They are great off the tee when your driver is not working and even better when you want to reach a par-5 in 2.
The funny thing is that players are more likely to make a huge investment in their driver and much less willing to do so for a high end 3 or 5 wood.
This article will describe and rate some of the Best Fairway Woods out there, and we hope to convince you that they are a vital part of a good golfer’s bag.
TaylorMade SIM Max
When it comes to drivers and fairway woods, you can count on TaylorMade to be at or near the top of most lists.
The SIM Max woods are long, straight, forgiving, accurate, consistent, and easy to hit. The “Twist Face” technology makes them one of the most forgiving fairway woods on this list while the ultra-thin, strong steel face make it one of the longest. It is this combination of length and forgiveness that make these our top fairway woods. In addition, the “V” sole design interacts with the turf extremely well off the deck, and if your driver is not working one day, they are great off of the tee as well. Even within the framework of a long and forgiving club, you also get great control. The club is very light which adds to the speed, and the launch angle is top notch. Other than the price of these woods, there is really not much that you can say negative about them.
- The Twist Face technology is one thing that really sets these clubs apart in terms of forgiveness and sending even your mishits straight.
- Uses much of the same technology that the TaylorMade SIM driver series does.
- Very long and straight off the tee.
- Tested in a wind tunnel to ensure it is one of the most aerodynamic clubs out there.
- The ultra low center of gravity gives you a great launch angle.
- The speed pocket adds forgiveness on low face mishits and gives some added flexibility and clubhead speed.
- The club is very accurate and produces a very low spin rate.
- It looks great standing over the ball and inspires confidence for a great shot.
- Great feel and sound gives you immediate feedback on every shot.
- These are expensive clubs.
- Built more for highly skilled players to reap the benefits offered.
Cobra King SpeedZone Big Tour
Some of the longest hitters on tour use Cobra King SpeedZone clubs and there is a reason why.
These clubs are fast, they are long, and they are forgiving. Not to mention they fall at one of the best price points for a high end wood on the market. The SpeedZone Big Tour fairway woods use the same basic technology that you find in the driver…The driver that the longest player, Bryson DeChambeau uses. With the visible dual baffler rail technology, the club launches high, cuts through the turf, and has one of the largest sweet spots out there. The CNC milled face produces a lot of ball speed, a lot of feel, and a huge sweet spot. The club is designed for speed, and speed is the name of the game on tour and with weekend warriors.
- Maximum ball speed possible without being an illegal club.
- The hollow split rails create a huge sweet spot for optimal distance even on mishits.
- CNC milled face creates a huge sweet spot and great energy transfer.
- A lot of loft and shaft flex options available.
- Looks as good at setup as it performs during the swing.
- The baffler rails reduce drag and cuts through the turf as well as any fairway woods out there.
- Not as expensive as some of the other higher end clubs.
- Weighted in the back at the bottom of the club to produce great launch angles.
- Distance, distance, and more distance.
- A very low spin option that keeps the ball straighter and more accurate.
- Not as easy to shape shots because of the low spin.
- Focus on speed takes away some of the control you find in other clubs.
The technology involved in the Callaway Mavrik line of golf clubs is second to none.
In fact, the top 5 fairway woods on this list really come down more to personal preference than a huge difference in quality. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that was used to create the Mavrik allows Callaway to test thousands of different iterations of one club without ever creating a prototype. That means rather than taking days to test one club, it takes hours to test thousands. What they came up with is “Flash Face” technology that gives each club a different and specific face architecture created to be as forgiving and as long as possible. If you like the higher lofted woods, you can find pretty much any loft you want with the Mavrik line. On top of all of that, they look great at setup and are very easy to align no matter where you are on the course.
- The most technologically advanced and customizable fairway woods out there.
- The jailbreak technology is something that other manufacturers are still trying to keep up with in terms of speed and distance in a wood.
- With the Mavrik Max and Sub-Zero, there is something for every skill level.
- The leading edge is one of the best at cutting through the turf and making solid contact with the ball.
- The design is made for an easy and high launch.
- AI technology allows each club to be made to precise specifications.
- 7 different lofts available from a 3-wood to an 11-wood.
- Very long and very straight.
- A huge sweet spot makes these fairway woods good for any skill level.
- They feel great in your hands and sound great at impact.
- On the expensive side.
TaylorMade SIM Max D
The TaylorMade SIM Max D is similar to the SIM Max that was described above in terms of technology.
You will find the Twist Face technology for forgiveness, the speed pocket and ultra-thin steel face for more distance and speed. It also has a very low center of gravity and the “V” sole design so that it is easier to make solid contact and launch the ball at a pretty high angle. All of these things are similar, but the biggest difference is that the SIM Max D fairway woods are made more for higher handicappers and beginners. First of all, while the head is the same size, the face is noticeably larger. It is also weighted and setup for a draw. The SIM Max D is the highest launching and highest spinning club in the SIM family.
- All of the benefits and features mentioned in the SIM Max woods with a few features specifically aimed at high handicappers and beginners.
- The largest face in the SIM family makes it easier to hit and gives it a larger sweet spot.
- The MOI on this club is higher than the other SIM woods.
- The inertia generator is heavier and provides a higher launch.
- It is a noticeably bigger club than the other SIM woods.
- Not really ideal for better golfers.
- One of the more expensive fairway woods on the list.
Callaway Mavrik Max W
We cannot say enough about the AI technology that goes into many of Callaway’s golf clubs in 2020 including the Mavrik Max W.
These fairway woods use that same technology to create an extremely forgiving club that is long and easy to hit. The launch angle is high and the clubs are just really easy to hit. If forgiveness is the most important feature you are looking for in a fairway wood, the Mavrik Max W should be a strong consideration, but there are a lot of other reasons to like the club as well. It is long, does not produce a lot of spin, and as mentioned before you get a great launch. The only real negative to this club is the price point.
- One of the most forgiving fairway woods of 2020.
- A very high launch angle.
- Plays very well out of tough lies.
- A simple design to look down on at address that instills confidence.
- Increased ball speed and distance.
- Options include a 3, 5, 7, Heavenwood, 9, and 11-wood, pretty much any fairway wood loft you could want.
- A single fixed weight in the sole for improved balance and a lower center of gravity.
- Adjustable weighting.
- A great option off of the tee if your driver is not working that day. It is also easier to shape and more consistent than a driver.
- Another expensive option, one of the most expensive women’s fairway woods out there.
- Some people may not like how big the oversized head is on the turf.
Tour Edge Exotics EXS 220
This club is loaded with the same technology that you find in higher end drivers and woods which makes the Tour Edge Exotics EXS 220 a long and forgiving fairway wood.
The focus of these woods is forgiveness and launch making it one of the better options in terms of ease and consistency and this is the reason that it is our pick for most forgiving fairway wood. On top of that, the MOI of this club is extremely high so that there are very few mishits and a very straight ball flight. The diamond face technology boasts 44 different thick and thin diamond shapes or mini trampolines behind the face of the club. The ball jumps off of these diamonds quickly and they give you much better distance on off center hits. A great value for a really good and forgiving fairway wood, especially for higher handicappers or someone looking for a good wood at a great price.
- The diamond face produces great ball speed and even better forgiveness. Even mishits travel far and straight.
- The SlipStream sole features wider speed channels and better turf interaction.
- 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.
- There is a focus in this club 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.
- Multiple loft options.
- It does not provide the extra distance that you get from some of the clubs further up the list.
- Not as many loft or shaft options as some of the other choices.
Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo
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 ball flies off of the ground quickly and with ease and produces a high and long ball flight with very little spin. Cleveland has always been more known for their wedges, but they are making strides in other clubs as well, and the Launcher HB Turbo is a great example of that. It is a really high performing club at a great price.
- Cleveland focused on getting the ball off the turf high and quickly and the ball kind of jumps off the face of the club.
- Sets up really well for moderate and slower swing speeds.
- 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.
- A club that can launch the ball from almost any terrain.
- Inexpensive for the features offered.
- Produces a straight and true ball flight.
- Not as many loft options or customizations available as some other fairway woods.
- Not as long or consistent as some of the higher end woods.
- Not everyone wants or needs a draw bias in their club.
Wilson Launch Pad
The Wilson Launch Pad fairway woods do not have all of the bells and whistles of the others on this list, but they do add some distance and are some of the most consistent fairway woods out there.
They are very lightweight for great control and there are a lot of shaft flexes and options from which to choose. These clubs perform well from different lies and they are great when your driver is not as accurate as you need it to be as well. It is offset and weighted for a draw bias which is great for the vast majority of golfers out there, and for the price it is a very formidable club. It also features very impressive feel and high energy transfer from face to ball.
- Adds some pretty significant length compared to many options.
- A very tight shot dispersion in testing which speaks to the club’s consistency.
- Another ball focused on launch with a draw bias which is great for the majority of beginners and high handicappers.
- Difficult to hit the ball right, even for the best of slicers.
- Made for golfers with low to moderate swing speeds.
- Produce good distance and a very consistent ball flight.
- Straight from the deck and the tee.
- Good fairway woods for a good price.
- You can find the Tour Edge Exotics for the same price, and it is a better overall club.
- Sound, feel, and feedback leave some to be desired.
- Not as forgiving as the higher end clubs on this list.
Tour Edge HL4 O/S
When adjustability is not important to you and all of the specs and bells and whistles do not produce results, the Tour Edge HL4 O/S has a welcomed simplicity to it.
The club has a hot face that produces high end ball speed, variable face thickness for greater performance on off-center strikes, and a rear sole weight that lowers the center of gravity and promotes a high launch. Here is the kicker…You can find these fairway woods for less than $100 in a lot of places. It is a very long and very forgiving club, especially for the price. If you are just starting out and want a club that you can learn on and that will perform well without spending a lot of money, the HL4 O/S may be for you. There is an offset model and a standard model depending on your swing. The power channel just below the club face adds some explosive distance and great forgiveness so that you can swing hard and still hit straight.
- A lot of features that add forgiveness to the club.
- Exactly the features that most beginners need at a price they can afford.
- You can choose the standard or offset model.
- A very long and straight ball flight.
- With a very low center of gravity it is an easy club to launch.
- The Cup Face Technology and variable face thickness give the club both distance and forgiveness.
- It has a great and confidence inspiring look at setup.
- Easily the lowest priced option on this list.
- Not really for seasoned golfers.
- If you want something more than a beginning type club that will help improve your game, this is probably not what you are looking for.
What are the most important features in a fairway wood?
The thing that most people want when searching for a fairway wood, regardless of skill level, is distance. People want their fairway woods to get them out of trouble, substitute for a driver off the tee, and give them a chance to reach the green on a long hole. Features that add distance like ultra thin faces, lightweight design, and low spin are things to look for if distance is what you want.
After distance, forgiveness is usually the next thing golfers look for in a fairway wood. A club can provide as much distance as it wants, if the sweet spot is too small to hit consistently then you will never reap the benefits of a long club. Find a club with high MOI, big sweet spots, and technology that helps to ensure that even off center shots go straight.
What we mean here is that a club is easy to hit. That often means that the launch angle is high and it is easy to get off the ground or that the club looks good at setup and instills confidence in the player. There are some clubs that just provide effortless distance and are just easy to hit. While there are no specific features that make this happen for all players, you know it when you feel it.
The launch angle is a combination of many different features. A low center of gravity, a good leading front edge, and a higher loft are all things that add to the launch angle and ability to get the ball off the ground. Especially for higher handicappers and beginners, you want a club that launches high and is easy to get off the ground.
There is a fine line between saving money and getting an inferior product. Sometimes you can find an earlier model that is brand new or a new club that is lightly used, but it is important to decide prior to shopping how much you are willing to spend and if you can find the features you want for that price. There are some really good and less expensive options, but like for most things you pay for what you get.
Should I just get hybrids?
The short answer to this question is a resounding “no.” Hybrids are important in today’s game, and we believe that almost every single amateur out there should carry at least one if not more hybrids in their bag. However, fairway woods play a huge role in today’s game as well. As courses get longer and fairways get skinnier, your 3-wood is a great replacement off the tee. Having clubs, like fairway woods, that allow you to swing through the ball rather than down at the ball are vital for higher handicappers. Even the look and feel of a fairway wood is important to have at your fingertips when needed. Hybrids are very versatile in their use, and they are especially great at replacing long irons. At the same time, fairway woods have just as many uses and are a vital part of the game of golf.
How do I choose the best fairway wood for my game?
Our suggestion is that if you do not know your game very well right now, find something that does not cost as much to begin with. Whether it be a used club or just fairway woods that are less expensive, you have to learn your swing before you can choose the right fairway wood for your game. Once you figure that out, it is a matter of figuring out which features would help your game the most and choosing the fairway wood whose features most closely match your needs.
Should I buy the newest fairway wood on the market?
Sometimes yes and sometimes no. We would strongly recommend doing some research prior to purchasing a new fairway wood. In many cases, the previous year’s model is just as good as the new, and you can find them at deeply discounted rates. There are times, however, that the newest fairway wood has some new features that would make it worth the price of purchasing new.
Final Thoughts on The Best Fairway Woods Reviews
Fairway woods are an important part of every golfer’s game and you should spend time researching and finding out which club suits your swing the best.
At some point, it seems like fairway woods took a backseat in importance to almost every other club in the bag.
Golfers pour time and money into finding the right driver and they get fitted for irons and putters.
Hopefully this list and description of the best fairway woods will help you understand the role a good set of woods can play in your game and you will choose your clubs accordingly.