Fairway Wood Buying Guide 2023
Fairway woods are an essential part of every golfer’s club selection. They are designed for distance and can help you reach long holes when irons won’t work. Fairway woods can help you improve your scores. On the flip side, they can be harder to control compared with irons and hybrids so you’ll want to choose a fairway wood that works best to suit your skills and fill gaps in your set of golf clubs.
The majority of golfers still face the dilemma of whether to choose a fairway wood or a hybrid because the line between the two seems blurred. Others are undecided on the type of woods that can suit their skills, budget and other things an average golfer may want to achieve.
Even the most experienced golfers agree that choosing a suitable fairway wood is not easy. There are different loft options to consider, head materials to compare, shafts to look for, and different brands to choose from including Callaway, Titleist, TaylorMade, etc. and all are making wonderful clubs.
This guide is here to help solve the dilemma and help you make an informed choice when choosing your ideal fairway woods.
Why playing with the right fairway wood matters
Fairway woods are vital clubs in a golfer’s bag, and you should not go without them. Hitting with a fairway wood is easier than a driver as it boasts of more accuracy. They are used by both long hitters to hit a par 5 in two and short hitters that tend to use it more often on par 3’s or par 4’s.
You will also need them on windy conditions because they can provide low ball flight that cuts through the wind and helps you maintain distance. Fairway woods are also great for the ease in which they sweep across the grass, helping you make solid contact with the golf ball despite turf conditions.
There are a variety of circumstances when a player uses fairway woods. They can be used on long-shot approach on par-5s or long par-4s, off the tee on tight or shot par 4-s and finally from fairway bunkers.
Fairway woods work perfectly in getting the ball up or down, especially when playing in golf courses that expose you to struggle with wedges. The 2, 3 and 4 woods are great driver alternatives for those that need an easy hit.
Here is a summary of good reasons why you need to play with the right fairway wood:
- Helps you on the tee and from the fairway
- Helps you reach the green in 2 shots on par 5 holes
- Built to sweep the ball off the ground, more forgiving than irons
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Fairway Wood vs. Hybrid Differences and Uses
Hybrid golf clubs can be described as the younger brother to fairway woods because they haven’t been in the market as long as their counterpart has been. However, their popularity has grown immensely among golfers because of their shot-making capabilities. They are available in similar lofts as fairway woods.
The main differentiating factor between fairway woods and hybrid is that when a player uses a hybrid, it gets more difficult for them to hit long distances. Fairway woods feature a longer shaft and are more ideal for those who want to hit from the tee box or the fairway. They are more forgiving thanks to their larger heads.
Hybrids come with shorter shafts and ideal from the rough use for those who want more efficiency. Their small heads enable them to get to the ball on uneven or bad lies.
They both make the game fun and easier, and it’s not easy to differentiate between the two. The choice on which one to use depends on the distance you need to cover and the condition of the course.
What Are Adjustable Fairway Woods?
Golf players now have access to adjustable fairway woods that gives them the freedom to customize them to their liking. The adjustability of fairway woods is a modern concept that is increasingly becoming popular among manufacturers.
Pro golfers, as well as amateurs, are receiving this concept with open arms, and it has since become one of the features to look for when buying fairway woods.
Golfers keep changing their swings every day, and they need to adjust the clubs to meet the changes, and the adjustability of the clubs helps a lot. The following aspects of the wood can be adjusted to fit various swings.
Opting for fairways woods with adjustable lofts is the best decision any golfer can make. The loft is what determines how far the ball will go as it controls the trajectory. Changing of the loft changes the purpose of the club.
You can adjust the loft either up or down depending on what you plan to achieve and should go at least 5 degrees. Adjusting down means better hitting off the tee while adjusting up is for those who want to hit greens on par 5’s.
Adjusting the loft also changes the lie angle, which affects horizontal ball flight (left or right spin). The lie is the shaft angle at address in relation to the ground. Some manufacturers provide adjustable hosels to allow players to change the loft without affecting the lie.
You can also adjust the fairway wood to move the weights where you desire. Changing the weight affects the gravity of the club, which affects the forgiveness, distance and flight trajectory. Every golfer can customize the weight of the club to suit their skills and desires.
Most clubs come with a sheet to help you program the club to suit your ball flight trajectory needs.
Players can adjust the face angle to either closed (face towards the golfer’s direction) or open (faces away from the player). All these depend on the player’s preference. The open clubface is suitable for players that tend to hook the ball while closed is perfect for those that want to fix a slice or create draw spin.
What are Non-Adjustable Fairway Woods?
While adjustability has become the new norm in fairway woods, some players still prefer their clubs non-adjustable. According to the players and some manufacturers, just because the hosel of the club is adjustable doesn’t mean it’s better or worse than the one which is not.
What matters is whether the player’s game matches the club or not. The non-adjustable clubs tend to come with their weight in a neutral setting; hence players see no need to adjust.
Other Options to Consider When Buying a Fairway Wood
Club loft needs to fill distance gaps
Fairway woods feature different loft options. Players choose their desired option with consideration to the setup of their bag. The options include 3, 5, 7, 9, depending on what they intend to achieve and the distance gaps needing filled that other clubs can’t achieve.
For example, if the next longest club in your bag is a 4 iron that you hit 200 yards, you may need a 3 wood that you can use to hit shots 220 yards. Or you could get a 5 wood to hit 200 yards if you find it easier to hit than a 4 iron.
Fairway wood head design factors
The clubhead of fairway woods is a very important factor because this is the part that gets into contact with the golf ball. Players can go for a broad face to help launch the ball or shallower face to help hit from the rough and fairway.
The head designs also come with rounded edges that help players cut through the rough or flat edges that provide better hits from tight lies.
Material make up of woods
Fairway woods come in three different materials. Don’t get confused since they are called “woods” because wood is not one of the materials use in modern day fairway clubs. The material choices you choose will help to determine the feel of the clubface and these include the following:
Most manufacturers use steel for constructing the head of their fairway wood clubs. Steel mostly brings out a smaller, stronger and more forgiving head. Stainless steel is the most popular because they are inexpensive and easy to cast to form different shapes and sizes.
Titanium is also highly used in making fairway wood heads because they provide a high strength-to-weight ratio. This material is higher than steel, and the manufacturer can use it to make a larger clubhead that meets all the weight requirements.
Titanium clubs are highly durable, and even the strongest golfers can last long with these kinds of clubs. Clubs made using titanium are lightweight, strong and expensive. The best example of a fairway club made from titanium material is the TaylorMade’s SIM.
Composite clubs are made with a combination of different materials of either titanium with steel or carbon with steel. The combination brings out an ultra-lightweight, durable, and affordable fairway woods.
The lightweight nature of these clubs enables the manufacture to place the weight in the head’s perimeter for better off-center hits. Clubs made from composite materials also come at a premium price and the best example it the FT-I Squareway from Callaway.
Aluminum materials in fairway woods heads are affordable and ideal for beginners. However, aluminum materials call for thicker walls to prevent cracking or caving in, and this interferes with the ball speed.
Picking out the right shaft for your fairway wood
When shopping for the right fairway wood, you should never overlook the shaft because it’s a vital component of your club. Fairway woods aim to provide longer shafts that offer more distance but sacrifice the degree of control.
Every golfer has a different swing speed, and the shaft should fit this. If you’re a slow swinger, you should go for flexible shafts. Faster swingers should get stiffer shafts to match the speed and give better results.
Players should go look for professional shaft fitting services for fairway wood so that they can get a shaft that fits perfectly with their swing speed.
Picking out the right grip
Picking the right grip for your fairway wood is very important, as this is what enables your hands to control the ball. Unfortunately, most golfers only focus on the shaft, lofts, and other features, forgetting that all these won’t walk perfectly without a good grip.
You must understand that the grips can wear off very fast; hence, quality is important when choosing one. Many factors can determine the lifespan of your grip, including how you hold it, frequency of use and the weather conditions.
When choosing grip, also consider the firmness. Pro golfers often go for firmer grips that provide better torsion control suitable for those with high swing speed. A firmer grip also allows the player to grip lighter for reduced pressure and improved swing.
Good fairway grips are mostly standard sizes, but golfers can size down or up depending on what they deem suitable for their needs. To get a feel of a suitable grip for your needs, you should try getting a hold of different grip sizes and find out if you prefer thicker or thinner grips.
The cost of your fairway wood is an essential deciding factor when shopping for the best clubs. The current fairway woods come with more advanced features and incredible improvements that have hiked their prices with a huge margin.
If you’re planning to buy a new club, be prepared to spend a fortune. If you’re a new golfer, going for a second-hand fairway wood golf club will be a good idea. This is because you’re still at the trial stage, and you haven’t discovered your ideal club and going for one with a hefty price tag can be a big loss if you don’t end up liking it.
You can save the costs by option for the previous ranges, which gets a reduced price whenever the manufacturer releases a new version. Also, consider making your purchase during the festive seasons or as soon as a new club is released to the market because you’re likely to get good discounts at this time.
Best Fairway Woods of 2023
Choosing your best fairway wood club of 2023 is easy and fun if you’ve gone through the guide and understand all the requirements. If you’re ready to pick the best choice, you can never go wrong with these three main brands, namely; Titleist, Callaway, and TaylorMade.
Here are some of the best options for each brand.
Choosing a good fairway wood for your golfing doesn’t have to be stressful if you understand all the ins and outs of these clubs. The first step to making an informed choice is to understand the difference between a hybrid club and the fairway wood.
You also need to understand the loft options and whether you need some adjustability. Shafts, costs materials, grip, among other things, should not be overlooked either.
Once you understand all these factors and the role they play in your golfing skills, you can now head straight to the review section and make yourself the best fairway wood choice for some of the most reputable brands in the golf equipment industry.
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