Best Fairway Woods 2024

Check out the best fairway woods on the market for distance, accuracy and forgiveness

Best Fairway Woods
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

The fairway wood can be one of the hardest slots to fill in your golf bag. We don’t hit them as much as irons, drivers, wedges and putters but when we do pull the headcover off, they really have to step up and perform. These clubs can be used all around the course; from the rough to those little bump and runs on the greens, they are a very useful club and it can pay off getting the right metal wood for your game. We also don’t tend to hit them as much in practice and it’s fair to say that golfers typically replace fairway woods less often than others clubs in the bag.

WATCH: We test and compare the best fairway woods on the market in 2024

The good news is that evolutions in multi-material construction and the use of A.I (artificial intelligence) in face design, means that the best fairway woods now deliver more distance and consistency off the tee. They are easier to pick up off the fairway, can be hit well out of rough and even used around the green from collar rough or mown aprons.

We tested all fairway woods on course, at the range and indoors using either a Foresight Sports GCQuad launch monitor or TrackMan with Titleist Pro V1x golf balls. Below, after thorough testing you’ll find our take on the best fairway woods currently on the market to help narrow your search and find the right fairway wood for you. Alternatively, you can really focus your efforts using our guides to the most forgiving fairway woods, the best fairway woods for mid handicappers and the best women's fairway woods.

The Quick List

Best Fairway Woods - Best 3 Woods and Best 5 Woods

Why you can trust Golf Monthly Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Top pick

PXG Black Ops Fairway Wood Review

(Image credit: Future)
A traditional shape with a multitude of adjustable options

Specifications

Lofts: 15°, 17°, 18°, 21°

Reasons to buy

+
Performs well from the tee and off the fairway
+
Sleek, modern design
+
Precision weighting technology provides customization

Reasons to avoid

-
Modern clubhead looks may not please purists

First up we have the PXG Black Ops fairway wood which we think nearly offers the perfect combination of performance and playability. Looks wise it offers some serious shelf appeal thanks to the black and silver tones sitting alongside the carbon fiber crown.

There are three weight ports that can be chosen individually when custom ordering your fairway wood, ensuring you are going to see the exact ball flight you desire. We actually ended up going with lighter weights, which does remove some forgiveness, but ultimately gave fast ball speeds, a strong ball flight and the correct amount of spin to maintain carry. The face itself has been made 12.5 percent thinner than the predecessors and when testing the Black Ops fairway wood, we noticed straight away how good these clubs felt off it. The sensation was springy and the numbers proved that.

This fairway performed just as well when struck off the deck as it did from a tee which is testament to how forgiving and easy this club is to use. We saw a high but forward-looking ball flight off the tee which we loved, yet it got the ball launching high when struck from the turf. Finally what we like most when it comes to the PXG Black Ops fairway wood is the simplicity of their only being one model too that can be tuned for different players.

Best for ball-strikers

Photo of Taylormade Qi10 tour fairway

(Image credit: Future)

Specifications

Lofts: 15º, 18º

Reasons to buy

+
Looks superb at address and in the bag
+
Provides good workability
+
Plenty of adjustability on offer

Reasons to avoid

-
Produces a louder sound and firmer feel that may not please all

Firstly, it's worth noting what separates the TaylorMade Qi10 Tour fairway from the other two models in the Qi10 in the family. As such the most obvious difference is the Tour has a more compact head compared to the other models, and there are various customization and adjustability features. This is to give the golfer more control and aid workability.

The same weight track we loved in the Stealth 2 plus remains and the Qi10 Tour fairway wood remains as the only model in the family to have an adjustable loft sleeve, which alters loft and lie angle. Obviously, this will be personal preference with how you set it up, but the weight track does a good job of altering the flight and trajectory. 

Overall though, the Qi10 Tour fairway has been created with the better player in mind, specifically those who have a high swing speed and want to keep spin and launch a touch lower.

Best wide appeal

Ping G430 MAX Fairway on the course

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
Stunning aesthetics and excellent playability

Specifications

Lofts: 15°, 18°, 21°, 24°
Stock shaft: Ping Alta CB Black 65
Left handed options: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional forgiveness
+
Versatile from different lies
+
Consistently fast ball speeds

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the easiest to flight low into the wind

An upgrade on the impressive G425 fairway wood, the G430 offers new visuals, enhanced feel and several new features that aim to make this a more reliable golf club. The first thing to note is Ping have implemented a stunning carbon matte finish on this club, implementing a new Carbonfly Wrap that is designed to save 10g of weight and lower the club's center of gravity. The new carbon finish also helps to reduce spin and increase ball speeds coming off the face. It gives the club a very premium look and that is combined with the fantastic green and white detailing on the sole of this club which adds to its smart look synonymous with some of the best Ping drivers.

The G430 also comes in a variety of lofts, ranging from a 3-wood all the way to a 9-wood, which means there's a lot of versatility on offer depending on the type of club you're looking to add to your bag. Combine that with Ping's Facewrap Technology, which is designed to provide a stable connection between sole and crown, as well as allow for more consistent ball speeds regardless of strike location, and you have a club which will appeal to a broad range of players.

During testing, thinly-struck shots popped up and flew just shy of a desired ball flight, a great sign that this club offers a lot of forgiveness. And on centered strikes, the G430 packed a lot of power, and we were very impressed with the distances we were getting both on the range and on the course. Ultimately, this is a very impressive club that combines a fantastic aesthetic with even better performance attributes, to produce what is one of the most forgiving fairway woods on the market.

Best high flight

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Fairway Wood Review

(Image credit: Future)

Specifications

Lofts: 15°, 16.5°, 18°, 20°, 21°, 24°, 27°

Reasons to buy

+
Produces a high, powerful ball flight
+
Extremely forgiving
+
Looks superb from every angle

Reasons to avoid

-
The more confident player may prefer a deeper face

After a particularly successful 2023 with the launch of the Paradym range, Callaway has now unveiled the Paradym Ai Smoke fairway woods which feature new and improved aesthetics. Starting with the Max, the standard head, the white and grey crushed carbon sole gives the product its ‘Smoke’ name, which is nicely highlighted in a bolt blue to really capture the attention of your playing partners. When in the sun, both the sole and the carbon crown come to life and look spectacular when this club is at address.

The Ai Smoke Max fairway was unbelievably forgiving when taken out for testing which we would imagine is largely due to the Ai Smart Face implemented within the entire Paradym Ai Smoke family. Data from thousands of golf shots has been taken and entered into Callaway's ‘super computer’ to create a face with multiple sweet spots for incredible consistency of ball flight and spin rates, regardless of strike location. The additional forgiveness within this club made it extremely easy to play out of the first cut of rough with it and still had the ball launching in a good window.

Given the looks and overall performance here, we think it will be hard to beat as an all-rounder this season. We think it should a contender for any golfer looking to upgrade their fairway woods during the course of the year.

Best feel

Cobra Darkspeed X Fairway Wood Review

(Image credit: Future)
A powerful fairway that delivers satisfying strikes off the face

Specifications

Lofts: 15º, 18º, 21º

Reasons to buy

+
Modern, sleek looking head
+
Plenty of launch and spin for those seeking carry
+
Solid levels of forgiveness

Reasons to avoid

-
Matte head can make the club appear a little small

In the latest Darkspeed range of fairway woods from Cobra, the X fairway wood is the 'standard' model out of the three released, and therefore is the model created with the majority of golfers in mind, seeking a neutral ball flight and upon testing it did exactly that.

The matte black head is a thing of beauty although it does make the head look a little more compact than other models out there. The Cobra X fairway wood produced a particularly high ball flight and one that will suit golfers looking to maximize their carry distance and stopping power into greens. The feel off the face was energetic very solid, while producing a fairly loud sound to match.

As such we would recommend the Cobra Darkspeed X to anyone who wants help producing a higher ball flight with plenty of spin from their fairway wood, using it more off the deck than from the tee.

Best adjustability

Titleist TSR3 Fairway Wood held aloft on the golf course

(Image credit: Future)
Fast off the face and greater adjustability settings

Specifications

Lofts: 13.5°, 15°, 16.5°, 18°
Stock shaft: Aldila Ascent Ultralight 35
Left handed options: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Full face grooves enhance alignment
+
Faster off the face than prior version
+
More adjustability to alter shot shape

Reasons to avoid

-
Weight track doesn't sit flush to the sole

Titleist have made significant changes to its TSR3 fairway wood, with the ARC (Active Recoil Channel) being removed for 2022. In its place, Titleist have reconfigured the way the hosel enters the clubhead and made significant weight savings. What's more, the sole plate has also been made thicker, which makes the centre of gravity lower and deeper - a key ingredient for fairway wood performance, especially from the deck.

It boasts a similar aesthetic to some of the best Titleist Drivers in the game right now. There is also the addition of the new SureFit CG weight track system that now has five positions instead of three, providing more adjustability for golfers seeking greater assistance in managing their ball flight and launch characteristics. It's not just the weighting system that has been improved, with the company introducing full face scorelines that undoubtedly make aligning the club face easier and makes it look more inviting to hit behind the ball.

Best simplicity