There’s no shot more feared for the beginner golfer than hitting a driver off the deck, but here’s the thing, you don’t have to fear it anymore.
In recent years with the advent of new technology and golfing manufacturers spending vast amounts on research and development, fairway woods have come a long way from years past. Materials, shaft, clubface and lofts have progressed so far that even the newest beginner to the sport can comfortably hit a fairway wood.
Technology has made the game easier and much more enjoyable for the beginner golfer. Fairway woods have played a significant role in that. Whether out of the rough, in the middle of the fairway or even in a bunker, fairway woods can be used in multiple ways.
In this beginner guide, I’ll take a deep dive into everything fairway wood. From the materials used all the way to the design quality, with one specific goal in mind; helping you choose the right fairway woods for your game.
Let’s get started!
What Exactly Is A Fairway Wood?
- 1 What Exactly Is A Fairway Wood?
- 2 Ready To Buy; Hang On A Second
- 3 Timing Is Everything; When To Use A Fairway Wood
- 4 Hybrid, Fairway or Both
- 5 Which Fairway Woods Should I Carry?
- 6 Adjustable Weighting
- 7 Final Round
On the face of it, you’d be forgiven for thinking fairway woods are simply smaller versions of the driver, and to some extent, you’d be correct, but there are some subtle differences in characteristics that separate the two.
- Fairway woods typically have much smaller clubheads in the range of 140cc to 180cc than drivers, which have much larger heads, generally over 440cc.
- Compared to a driver, a fairway wood has a much shallower face with a lower centre of gravity.
- The soles of most fairway woods have been specifically designed to make it easier to hit from tough lies such as the rough or out of a divot or bunker.
One of the primary reasons fairway woods are excellent for beginners is they are much easier to hit than a traditional 2 or 3 iron. Unless you’re a professional golfer or a low handicapper, hitting long irons is one of the most difficult shots in the game.
The fairway wood simplifies this part of the game for the beginner, instilling confidence and making the game enjoyable.
Ready To Buy; Hang On A Second
There are some critical factors to consider before you go spending absurd amounts of money on a set of fairway woods. By answering these questions, you’ll not only choose the right fairway woods for you, but you might even save some money doing so.
Are you Ditching your Long Irons?
Are you ditching your long irons is a critical question because your answer directly correlates to the fairway wood you’ll be selecting. Many beginners and high handicappers struggle with hitting long irons and make the change to fairway woods.
- Your traditional five wood would replace your three iron
- Your seven wood would replace your four iron and
- Your nine wood might replace your six iron.
Again, it’s important to note; these metrics are only a general “guide.” It would be best if you still headed to the driving range to calculate your distances with each of these clubs.
- Big Bertha B-21 is our easiest to launch fairway wood that’s designed to give you more distance any way you swing it.
- A shallower face, progressive lengths, and an oversized Bertha shape promote consistent contact and smooth turf interaction.
- We’ve added offset to reduce slices and promote distance-enhancing draws.
- Our advanced A.I. design promotes fast ball speeds across an expansive area of the face while Jailbreak bars connect the crown and sole to increase stiffness and promote even more speed.
- Features a completely new RCH shaft, designed by Callaway to specifically enhance the Big Bertha offering, with an Active Tip Flag section for easy launch.
Dual-Purpose; Fairway and Tee Box?
Would you like to hit your new fairway woods off the tee box? In this sense, a fairway wood can be an excellent alternative, particularly for a beginner who may be struggling with the driver off the tee. A well-executed stripe from the tee can still result in a solid 230-yard shot.
Long Par 5s in Two?
Have you ever dreamed of lining up for a ten-foot putt for eagle? Well, with the correct fairway woods, that seemingly out-of-reach eagle putt might well be in your grasp.
Fairway woods such as the 3 and 4 woods have a shallower clubface; this provides enough distance for you to reach the par 5’s in two, while still playing off tight areas.
Can you imagine ripping a three wood from 230 yards out and sinking the ten-footer for eagle; you’d be the talk of the clubhouse.
Big or Small Pockets?
Are you willing to spend exorbitant amounts on a set of fairway woods, or are you, like most people and limited by a budget?
As we all know, golf can be a pretty expensive game, and as with most things, you get what you pay for. However, if you shop around, take your time and consult with your local golf pro, you can still pick up a reasonably priced set of fairway woods that are perfect for you.
Some fairway sets can put you back thousands, so make certain you are 100% sure that the set you’re buying is the right one for you.
Regular or Tour?
Ok, you’ve been playing for about a year now, and your handicap has improved, but let’s face it, you’re still a long way from pro status and probably need some help off the deck.
Adjustable fairway woods are an excellent way to improve your game and provide you with several options that you might not have had in the past.
By adjusting the loft, lie, and angle of the clubface, you can set your fairway woods up to meet your needs precisely. You will need a club-fitter or your local pro to make the adjustments, but it’s well worth the time and expense. Just be sure not to change the settings too much, as this can affect your swing dynamics in the long run.
In reality, though, most high handicappers and beginners are much better off selecting fairway woods that provide larger faces for a bigger sweet spot.
Timing Is Everything; When To Use A Fairway Wood
The answer to this question is only limited by your imagination; Ok, and perhaps your skill level. Still, once you become confident with the fairway wood, they really can be used in a multitude of ways.
The most obvious, as the name suggests, is using them out of the fairway. Fairway woods are also perfect for those shorter par-4s and come in handy when you have to shape the ball left or right. Approaching a long par five is also made much easier with a 3 or 4 wood, which means you can leave that temperamental three iron firmly in the bag.
You may have also seen fairway woods used in and around the greens. Many pros use them on tightly mown areas and the rough surrounding the green.
As mentioned, the sole on the fairway wood is designed to slide without digging in, making them the ideal choice for beginners who may not have confidence around the greens with the wedge.
Degree Or Not Degree
The number of different lofts available on the market today can make it incredibly difficult and honestly outright confusing.
Seeking advice from your local golf pro would go a long way in alleviating that confusion and getting you one step closer to selecting the right lofts. The other way to analyze which lofts and fairway woods you need are to head to the driving range and work out the gaps in the distance in your game.
Hybrid, Fairway or Both
You may have heard of the “hybrid club” or even seen one of your playing partners using one.
Due to their versatility, hybrids have become increasingly popular with beginners in recent years. The hybrid, however, does make it more challenging to get the ball up quicker when compared to, say, a 5 or 7 wood.
Answering the question of whether you need a hybrid or not is actually relatively straightforward.
Set aside some time to test out both the hybrid and your fairways woods to see which one best suits you. In most cases, you’ll find that using a combination of hybrid and fairway woods offers the best solution to fill any gaps you might have in your game.
- Multi-Material Construction. A larger 190cc head design features precision weighting and strategic CG placement for explosive distance, enhanced forgivness and high launch.
- New V Steel Design. An updated V Steel design redistributes weight to enhance forgiveness while maintaining low CG properties. A depressed heel and toe minimize sole area, adding to V Steel's turf interaction and versatility benefits.
- C300 Steel Twist Face. High-strength C300 steel allows for a strong fast face engineered for explosive ball speeds, paired with Twist Face technology to overcome inherent golfer tendencies on miss-hits for straighter shots.
- Thru-Slot Speed Pocket. Thru-Slot Speed Pocket provides increased face flexibility, preservation of ball speed and distance, especially on low face strikes.
Which Fairway Woods Should I Carry?
Ok, we’ve gone over quite a bit of information regarding how to choose the right set of fairway woods, but now it’s time to look at which specific woods you should carry in your bag.
The answer to this question is two-fold; first, what type of golf courses do you generally play, and secondly, what is the current level of your golf game.
Let’s say you tend to play “links-style” courses that are wide open and windy. These style courses lend themselves to keeping the ball low and playing what we refer to as a knock-down shot, perfect for long irons. On the other hand, if you play “resort-style courses” that favor the ball coming in high and soft, you want to carry as many woods as you can.
The wind also plays a significant factor in what type of fairway woods you need to carry. Fairway woods are specifically designed to get the ball in the air as quickly as possible compared to long irons. So, although long irons are challenging to play, they are very handy in windy conditions as they keep the ball flight nice and low.
To be safe, I would recommend that you carry at least a three and five wood in your bag at all times. By doing so, you should be able to get yourself out of most tricky situations.
With today’s technology, players can fully adjust their clubs, including fairway woods.
By adjusting small screws in the hosel connected to the shaft and clubhead, the loft of the fairway woods can be fully adjusted. Generally speaking, you can adjust your fairway woods by four or five degrees either way. One crucial factor to remember is that by changing the loft, the club’s lie is also affected; this will impact your ball flight.
As a beginner, you will need the help of a club-fitter or your local pro to guide you through the process of choosing the correct fairway woods.
The Angle Of The Clubface
When referring to the angle of a clubface, it simply means the angle of the clubface as it sits when addressing the ball.
There are generally three types of clubface angles:
- Open and
Square refers to the clubface sitting perpendicular; open is when the clubface is directed away from you, and closed refers to the clubface facing toward you. The closed clubface is ideal for players who slice the ball, while the open clubface is perfect for players who struggle with a draw or the dreaded “snap-hook.”
- High quality Soft Synthetic Leather with fur lining, super waterproof, thick, offer great protection for your golf club;
- Design with USA Stars and Stripes Embroidery, fairway wood cover is with adjustable Number tag: 3,4,5,7,X;
- Fit fairway wood club;
- Package including 2pcs fairway wood covers;
- If any question or problem about our product, please feel free to contact us.
Adjustable weighting allows you to move or adjust the weight of the clubhead.
Adjustable weighting is typically found in drivers; however, this technology has started to filter down into the fairways woods. By adjusting where the weight sits, you alter the club’s balance, indirectly impacting ball flight.
With the help of a professional, you can make adjustments that increase or decrease ball flight which has a knock-on effect on your distance and control. Be careful, though, not to play around with the settings too much, as it can put your game into a real spin.
Selecting the correct fairway woods is not as easy as you may think. Without the help of a professional, the task of doing so could be almost impossible.
I would highly recommend that you seek advice from a qualified club fitter or your local PGA professional to help when it comes time to select the right clubs for you.
Answering essential questions also play a crucial role in the process.
Questions such as:
- Are you replacing your long irons?
- Do you intend to hit off the tee?
- What is your budget?
- Do you want standard or tour spec and
- Do you want to reach par 5s in two?
I’m confident, though, that if you follow the steps that I have outlined and detailed in this article, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the right fairway clubs for you.