Best Fairway Woods for Beginners (High Handicappers) 2018: Complete Guide

If you’re a beginner or a high handicapper, (if you’re senior read best fairway woods for seniors instead) the best fairway wood for you to use for your game of golf should be one that allows you to make long-distance shots with ease. To make you decide faster as to which fairway wood to buy, three that are currently available in the market for beginners and high handicappers have been pitted against each other until only one comes out as the champion.

If you want to take another step towards lowering your scores then you might want to invest in a rangefinder. It doesn’t have to break the bank – read our budget rangefinders article to see what are the best affordable rangefinders on the market.

What Makes a Golf Club a Fairway Wood?

When making long-distance shots, a wood golf club is typically used to do so, but not every wood is the same.

  • Woods are divided into two classes, namely drivers and fairway woods.
  • Fairway woods have a number from 2 up to 15 stamped on the bottom of their heads to make them more easily identifiable.
  • The number 1 is designated only for drivers as they have the lowest loft ranging from 7 to 12 degrees.
  • The higher the fairway wood number, the higher the number of degrees of loft that it has and the shorter its shaft length is.
  • Most golfers use fairway woods that are engraved with odd numbers starting from 3 upwards.
  • The most commonly used fairway woods are the 3-wood and 5-wood with higher-numbered ones only used occasionally.
 

When Should a Beginner or High Handicapper Use a Fairway Wood?

After making your opening stroke from the teeing ground of a par-5 hole using a driver, the ball is most likely to cover a distance of at least 275 yards or less and land on the fairway of the hole where you’re supposed to shoot it.

  • As you drive your cart from the teeing ground to the fairway where your ball is, you might initially be tempted to use your driver again for your second stroke.
  • While you can technically strike the ball from the fairway with a driver, you might not want to pull off such a specialized shot which is why you might want to stick to using a fairway wood instead as the name itself suggests.
  • You can also use a fairway wood instead of a driver to make your opening stroke from the teeing ground or take a shot that’s supposed to avoid hazards along the fairway itself.

What Should Beginners and High Handicappers Look Out for When Buying a Fairway Wood?

You might find some question marks above your head though if you aren’t that well-versed yet in buying the right fairway wood, especially when you consider the fact that not all fairway woods are made with beginners and high handicappers in mind. To help you choose which fairway wood to buy, here are some features that you should check first before checking out one from some sports shop and taking it out to the golf course.

Head material

The head of a fairway wood is constructed out of steel, titanium, or a composite alloy.

  • Most fairway woods have heads made of steel since they aren’t required to be as large as that of a driver.
  • On the other hand, some fairway woods have slightly larger titanium heads that are thin enough to provide high hits and forgiveness.
  • To make less expensive fairway woods, some golf club manufacturers have started adding carbon and tungsten onto titanium heads.

Face depth

The fairway wood head’s face depth refers merely to its height, not its actual thickness.

  • You should go for a deep-faced fairway wood if you plan on using one for your opening shot from the teeing ground instead of a driver.
  • On the other hand, you should choose a shallow-faced fairway wood if you plan to hit a ball that landed on the fairway itself.

Shaft material

No other type of golf club places more importance on the stuff that its shaft is made of than fairway wood.

  • Graphite is the most common material used to make fairway wood shafts as it offers more ball height and distance to cover.
  • As a beginner or high handicapper, you would want to steer clear of fairway woods with steel shafts.

Loft

In the language of golf, loft refers to the angle formed between two lines – one running down the shaft of a club and the other running down the top portion of its head – once they intersect.

  • Fairway woods have a higher loft compared to drivers.
  • The 3-wood has a loft of 15 to 18 degrees, while the 5-wood has a loft of 20 to 22 degrees.
  • The higher the loft that a fairway wood has, the higher the ball goes up in the air once struck but the shorter the distance it will travel.

Which Fairway Wood Should a Beginner or High Handicapper Buy in 2018?

Choosing the right fairway wood can become overwhelming, especially for those starting out with golf or suffering from a high handicap. As a result, three fairway woods for beginners and high handicappers are featured below for you to decide which one you should snag.

Callaway XR 16 Fairway Wood


In 2016, Callaway Golf joined forces with aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing to put out its XR 16 line of woods.

  • One of the golf clubs included in Callaway Golf’s XR 16 line of woods is the Callaway XR 16 Fairway Wood.
  • Compared to the two other fairway woods also featured below, the Callaway XR 16 Fairway Wood is the closest you can come to owning something that Boeing had a hand with for cheap.

Pros

  • Unlike most fairway woods, the Callaway XR 16 Fairway Wood has a head that’s slightly larger that you can opt to replace your driver with it.
  • The Callaway XR 16 Fairway Wood has seven lofts, namely 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23 and 25 degrees.

Cons

  • The shots you’ll be making using the Callaway XR 16 Fairway Wood often end up straight which might not help you if you want your shots to have a bit of a curve to them.
  • The Callaway XR 16 Fairway Wood has a visual aid in the form of a small chevron embossed on the top portion of its head which is a bit difficult to see as both chevron and crown are colored black.

Adams Golf Tight Lies Fairway Wood


Initially launched sometime in the 1990’s, the Adams Golf Tight Lies Fairway Wood made a successful comeback in 2013 after its manufacturer was bought by the TaylorMade Golf Company the previous year.

  • The Adams Golf Tight Lies Fairway Wood was born out of an idea to make a club with an upside down head.
  • As its name indicates, the Adams Golf Tight Lies Fairway Wood is handy for making shots on less grassy spots in a fairway, or what is known in golf parlance as tight lies.

     

Pros

  • The Adams Golf Tight Lies Fairway Wood’s tri-sole design allows for multi-terrain use, again in keeping with its name.
  • The crown of the Adams Golf Tight Lies Fairway Wood’s head has an invisible slot on it that helps achieve higher ball speeds and increased forgiveness.

Cons

  • The Adams Golf Tight Lies Fairway Wood tends to poorly perform during opening shots from the teeing ground because of its shallow face.
  • There are only three lofts available for the Adams Golf Tight Lies Fairway Wood, namely 14, 16 and 19 degrees.

TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood


A slightly more affordable alternative to the M1, the TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood allows you to complete a par-5 hole in just two strokes without having to use any other wood.

  • The TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood is an excellent substitute for your driver as it provides increased ball speed with lower spin when you take your opening shot from the tee with it.
  • While not exactly one for accuracy, the TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood lets you cover a vast distance consistently.

Pros

  • The crown of the TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood head has a two-tone design that makes it a standout fairway wood.
  • You wouldn’t need to worry as well about distance and direction loss as the TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood offers maximum forgiveness whenever you mishit.

Cons

  • The TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood has only five lofts, namely 15, 16.5, 18, 21 and 24 degrees.
  • The sound produced upon impact of the TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood with the ball is too hollow compared to most other fairway woods.

Looking for new irons? Check out best irons for beginners if you’re a high handicapper and best irons for mid handicappers if you’re almost pro already.

So Which Fairway Wood Is Best for Beginners and High Handicappers Alike?

The TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood could’ve gone up to second place were it not for its hollow sound upon impact. As a result, only the Adams Golf Tight Lies Fairway Wood and Callaway XR 16 Fairway Wood were left to embark on a one-on-one battle, but the former’s insufficient loft options are a bit of a letdown considering that fairway woods are supposed to offer a lot more versatility compared to drivers.

Thus, the winner that emerged as the best fairway wood that beginners and high handicappers alike should use is no other than the Callaway XR 16 Fairway Wood.

Michael Richards

Hello there, I’m Michael and I am the person behind this website. I’ve been a golfing enthusiast for a decade now and created this website so that I could share my love for golf with like-minded people.

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  1. […] for a fairway wood? Read best fairway woods for high handicappers if you’re a beginner and best fairway woods for seniors if you’re in your second (or […]

  2. […] for a fairway wood? See best fairway woods for high handicappers if you’re a beginner and best fairway woods for seniors if you’re in your second (or […]

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