Ready for the Course: How to Buy Fairway Woods

Master your shot from the fairway with industry-leading fairway woods.

Fairway woods have a smaller profile design than that of the driver and are used for better control off the tee or added distance from the fairway. They are great to use on on par 5 and long par 4 holes as well.

Material & Design

Fairway woods are about a third the size of drivers and have lower profiles (face heights). They feature higher lofts that aid in trajectory from fairway lies. Many players use their fairway wood off the tee for control or from the fairway for second shots on par 5 or long approaches on par 4.

When purchasing your fairway wood, consider the clubhead material:

  • Steel: Steel is the most popular material for fairway wood heads
  • Titanium is half the weight of steel. This material’s light weight allows equipment manufacturers to engineer a center of gravity in the back of the head, helping launch the ball early, provide maximum distance and reduce twisting on off-center hits
  • Composite: Multi-material clubs combine modern materials, like carbon, steel and titanium. Like titanium heads, composite materials help produce better launch and consistency on off-center hits


Men’s fairway woods are usually designated as No. 3 wood (13-15 degree lofts), No. 5 wood (17-19 degree lofts), and No. 7 wood (20 to 22 degree lofts). Women’s fairway woods usually will have a higher loft than men’s models. Specifications will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.


Fairway woods provide a distance and trajectory transition from the driver to the hybrids or long irons. Woods are manufactured with progressive lengths, with the No. 3 wood being the longest fairway wood (usually 43 to 42 inches), the No.5 wood (42 to 41 inches) and the No. 7 wood (41-40 inches). Length specifications will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Shaft Options

Fairway woods typically come with graphite shafts. They are usually the same weight or slightly heavier than the matching driver shaft. Fairway wood shafts are manufactured as R, men’s regular, S, men’s stiff, or X, men’s extra stiff.