Expert Picks: The 7 Best Fairway Woods for High Handicappers

Published on 11/14/2023 · 8 min readGolf Experts Sara DeMarco and Michael Leonard break down everything you need to know about the bes fairway woods recommended for high-handicap golfers.
Sara DeMarco, Golf Expert
Michael Leonard, Golf Expert
By Curated Experts Sara DeMarco and Michael Leonard

Finding the right fairway woods that match your swing speed and skill level can make golf so much easier. The right fairway wood(s) can help with tee shots on narrow holes, your approach shot on a long par 4, improve off-center hits with better turf interaction, and give you a lot more confidence.

But it's easy to feel overwhelmed with the massive selection of fairway woods. As someone who's been playing for 25 years and writing about golf products since 2017, I want to help.

Today, I'll simplify the process so you can buy with confidence. I know firsthand that the right 3-, 5-, or even 7-wood can make a big difference in your long game.

7 Best Fairway Woods for High Handicap Golfers

Here are my picks for the best fairway woods for high-handicap players.

1. Callaway Paradym X

Callaway created an incredible lineup of drivers and fairway woods with the Paradym series. The Paradym fairway woods are a big improvement from the Callaway Mavrik Max or the Rogue Max fairway wood. Mainly because they are adjustable and produce faster ball speeds.

I’ve played with the Paradym Triple Diamond driver and 3W in 2023 and can’t rave about them enough. The Triple Diamond is meant for more advanced, lower-handicap golfers as it is less forgiving without a draw bias, but the Paradym X works well for high handicappers thanks to its larger design. It’s the most forgiving fairway wood in the Paradym lineup and offers high launch plus a slight draw bias. If you’re someone who needs help straightening out your ball flight, this fairway wood can definitely do it.

What makes it so dependable for higher handicappers is its “batwing technology." This was designed using AI and stiffens the body of the club to promote more ball speed (which equals more distance). Callaway claims these woods are up to seven yards longer than the Rogue ST Max series.

The forged carbon on the sole also allows for higher moment of inertia (MOI), meaning it’s more forgiving to help with mishits. The 25-gram, high-density tungsten also helps push the center of gravity (CG) low and forward for more spin, higher launch, and longer distance. Paired with the two stock shafts and multiple weight options, this is one of my top picks.

2. Titleist TSR1

Titleist makes some amazing golf clubs. From putters to woods, they have something for everyone. If you’re a high handicapper, I’d suggest going with the TSR1 fairway wood, as it’s the most forgiving option. The TSR2 and TSR3 are solid fairway woods but smaller and not nearly as forgiving with mishits as the TSR1.

In terms of appearance, it’s one of the best-looking fairway woods on this list. The all-black design is a common theme among Titleist woods and should inspire a ton of confidence with its clean look at address position. These clubs are easy to line up and hopefully find the sweet spot more often.

The TSR1 has a low CG, which helps improve forgiveness and optimize launch. It also has improved adjustability using the SureFit adjustable CG track system, which allows you to fine-tune the club perfectly for your ideal launch and trajectory in one of five positions.

3. Wilson Dynapower

Wilson is a great brand for higher handicappers as they’re ultra forgiving and lower priced than most on this list. The Wilson Dynapower fairway woods have rear weighting to help promote a higher launch even with slower swing speeds, while the variable face thickness helps increase ball speeds for longer distances.

This forgiving fairway wood comes with a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Red RDX shaft in A, R, or S flex. All shafts are between 53-63 grams, which is ideal for higher handicappers. I love the Lamkin Crossline 360 grip that comes with it, too.

My only issue with these fairway woods is that they don’t offer a draw bias version like TaylorMade or Callaway. However, the club has a ton of MOI, making it one of the most forgiving fairway woods.

4. TaylorMade Stealth 2 HD

TaylorMade has another option for high handicappers in their Stealth HD model. The “HD” stands for “high draw,” as the club is designed for a higher launch than the standard model. It also has a draw bias to help straighten out a slice.

This TaylorMade Stealth fairway wood is described as a “cheat code” for golf since it’s their most forgiving model yet. The 3W head is more than 200cc, which should help your confidence a ton compared to their Stealth or Stealth Plus model.

The Inverted Cone Technology is what makes this club such an attractive choice for higher handicappers. The TaylorMade team tweaked it so the face is thinner to maximize ball speed for longer distances — even if you hit it off the toe or heel.

There are two downsides to this club, though: There is no adjustable hosel and only one stock shaft. The 3-, 5-, or 7-wood all come with a Golf Pride Z-Grip Plus 2.

5. Cobra AeroJet Max

The new Aerojet Max is a big upgrade from the Cobra LTDx Max from 2022. These fairway woods have a tuneable draw bias and more stability to help out on the tee or from the fairway.

These woods have PWR-BRIDGE weighting to position the center of gravity low on the face for faster ball speeds. They also have two adjustable weights and adjustable loft features for maximum customization. Additionally, their carbon crown adds more forgiveness and high launch, which is ideal for higher handicappers. They also have two lightweight stock shaft choices to fit different types of swings.

6. Cleveland Launcher XL Halo

Cleveland doesn’t have a huge selection of fairway woods, but they have an exceptional pick for higher handicappers — especially if you’re on a budget. The XL HALO woods are easy to launch off the deck or act as a fairway finder off the tee. It's a huge improvement from the Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo fairway woods in recent years as it’s lighter and more forgiving.

It’s a huge clubhead, the biggest design yet from Cleveland. This makes it very forgiving, high launching, and extremely long. If you struggle with a driver and need a 3W to help you find the short grass, this fairway wood can get the job done.

It also has Gliderail Technology — twin rails along the sole of the club to keep the face square through impact. Even if you have some gnarly lies in the rough, this club can help you out.

You can also choose the Accuracy Build, where Cleveland makes the club a half-inch shorter without counterbalancing. This makes it easier to control and minimize big misses that can happen with fairway woods.

7. Callaway Big Bertha

Callaway made this list twice, as their Big Bertha is ideal for higher handicaps who need help limiting their slice. These woods are even more forgiving than the Callaway Paradym X and cheaper too.

If you want an easy launch, fast ball speeds — thanks to the Jailbreak Technology — and more accuracy at a discount, these are hard to beat. These woods are adjustable (in the 3- and 5-wood), have multiple stock shaft options, and are one of the best deals in golf. Not to mention, they have a Heavenwood (21 degrees), 7W, and 9W as well.

Comparing Fairway Woods

Photo by Photoongraphy

I’m confident that all seven of these clubs can help your long game out. But how do you decide? Consider these factors:

  • Size of clubhead: One of the main factors when picking fairway woods is the size of the clubhead. Higher handicappers need a larger head as it makes the club more forgiving (high MOI) and generally higher launching. Mid- to lower-handicap golfers prefer a smaller head, losing some forgiveness but gaining shot-shaping abilities.
  • Adjustability features: Most fairway woods on this list have adjustability features to change the lie angle and loft — but not all. If you’re the type of player who likes to tinker with equipment and/or are trending toward a mid-handicapper, I’d suggest getting an adjustable wood. Also, some brands (like Callaway) offer adjustability only in the 3- or 5-wood, not higher-lofted fairway woods.
  • Shaft: Don’t forget to compare fairway woods based on the different stock graphite shafts. The right shaft can make a big difference in distance, trajectory, and accuracy. Lighter shafts are the best choice for slower swing speeds and can help add distance for beginners.
  • Price: Lastly, price is always a big factor, and that varies a lot, from $180 to $350. If you want to save money, opting for an older version, such as the TaylorMade Sim Max or Rogue fairway wood, can also help save a few dollars.

Choose the Right Fairway Wood for You

All seven of these fairway woods can help your long game and hopefully find the sweet spot more often.

As you become a mid-handicap or better, you might need a low-spin fairway wood. Playing the right golf gear is so important, whether you’re a high handicap or a scratch golfer with faster swing speeds.

When it comes to choosing the right golf ball, adding in some hybrids, or playing forgiving fairway woods like the ones mentioned above, contact a Curated Golf Expert today to answer any of your questions and help you make the right decision.

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