The best of the best! We roundup the most forgiving fairway woods that have been released for the 2023 season.
For high-handicap golfers, choosing the right fairway wood can make a big difference in their game. In 2023, there are several top brands offering fairway woods with features that cater specifically to high-handicap golfers.
In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the best fairway woods for high-handicap golfers, including the Wilson Dynapwr fairway wood, TaylorMade Stealth 2 HD fairway wood, Ping G430 Max fairway wood, and Cobra Aerojet Max fairway wood.
Each of these fairway woods is designed to provide greater forgiveness, distance, and accuracy for high-handicap golfers, helping them improve their game and gain confidence on the course.
Best fairway woods for high handicappers 2023
Wilson Dynapwr Fairway Wood
I hit the 3 wood 228 yards carry with wind removed, which isn’t too bad but to be honest with over 150mph ball speed I’d have liked to have seen a bit more.
Wilson have designed the Dynapwr fairway using artificial intelligence to calculate the variable thickness in the face to provide maximum speed and spin from all strike locations. It also features a weight on the rear of the sole which drags back the centre of gravity to increase MOI.
The result of this tech is an extremely forgiving fairway wood. I made sure to hit plenty of shots from a wide variety of face locations and none of the shots were unplayable. Wilson have done a brilliant job building a fairway wood that players can actually use and rely on.
- Classic shape
- Ball speeds remained high on miss-hits
- Plenty of spin to keep the ball in the air
- Great price
- Not the longest fairway wood
- Not adjustable
- RELATED: Read our full Wilson Dynapwr Fairway Wood review
Right-handed lofts: 15°, 18°, 21°
Featured shafts: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Red
More information: Wilson Website
TaylorMade Stealth 2 HD Fairway Wood
It is quite a big departure from previous TaylorMade fairway woods, that 200cc head is definitely bigger than we are used to seeing, and is ultra high MOI, as opposed to low spin. The therefore larger and more low-profile sole helps the club hug the ground at address and makes it easier to achieve a high launch.
It is a pleasure to keep flicking ball after ball away. It just seems effortless. Stealth HD has the highest MOI of any TaylorMade fairway wood and this really comes into play off the deck where it is super easy to flight shot after shot.
I don’t really want to stop hitting this club. It is super flattering. I am a pretty competent fairway wood player but this is so easy to use I can see it helping people who struggle with lofted woods from the deck.
I think this will HD 3 Wood will bring new players to TaylorMade, whose perception may have been that their tendency is to build super powerful, low spinning metals. Here is a club that is as easy to use as anything out there.
- Properly easy to fly high
- Extremely forgiving so great for mid handicappers too
- More great acoustics
- Love the looks
- Low profile head isn’t as confidence inspiring on tee shots
- RELATED: Read our full TaylorMade Stealth 2 HD Fairway Wood review
Lofts: 16°, 19° & 22°
Shafts: Fujikura Speeder NX Red
More information: TaylorMade Website
Ping G430 Max Fairway Wood
The first thing I am looking for in a 3-wood is depth of face, and this sits really tight behind the ball. I instantly feel like this is something I am going to be able to launch easily due to the relatively low profile face. This suits me as someone who is primarily looking for a second shot club.
As with the driver the acoustics are hugely improved here. Ping say it is down to that carbon crown. Regardless of the reason they sound so sweet.
This is a massive tick in the box for me as in recent years this has been a negative for Ping versus some of the other manufacturers who have nailed their acoustics. This is well and truly put to bed throughout the G430 range of metals.
The max fairways prove themselves to be super versatile out on the course, I hit multiple tee shots and am able to flight it both ways. This gives it the edge over some of the lower spinning or draw biased products which tend to favour a right and left shape respectively. I actually like if off the tee, the flight is more penetrating than I am expecting and it is giving up nothing to other fairway metals.
- Really versatile
- Super forgiving
- Massively improved acoustics
- Great shaft options
- Not the longest fairway on test
- RELATED: Read our full Ping G430 Max Fairway Wood review
Right-handed lofts: 3 (15), 5 (19) 7 (22)
Shafts: ALTA CB Black 55 / 65 / 70 or ALTA QUICK 35 /75 or Ping Tour 2.0 Chrome 65 / 75 / 85 or Ping Tour 2.0 Black 65 / 75 or Project x HZDRUS Smoke Red RDX 50 / 60 / 70 or Mitsubusi KAI’Li White 60 / 70
More information: Ping website
Cobra Aerojet Max Fairway Wood
I think this tech achieves what it sets out to do. There are marked performance differences across the range from Max via this base product to LS, but the ball speeds throughout are tremendous. The hottest iteration is certainly the LS, but for me, there were some compromises in launch and workability.
The Max is definitely easy to launch but retains thorough ball speeds. The Aerojet is a good compromise but leans more towards the LS as it produces a really powerful flight from the standard 15-degree head.
It feels really versatile, able to pick up of downhill and tight lies but also a club that you can dial up and open your shoulders with when required. I feel like you could step on it and get more out of it if the situation required it
I keep coming back to those looks, I mean, how classic do you want to be? The alignment is so pure you can just see the grooves and are able to match them up with the simple Cobra symbol on the crown.
- A thing of beauty
- Super forgiving
- Easy to square up
- Still with the fat grips…
- Not as powerful as LS or Aerojet
- RELATED: Read our full Cobra Aerojet Max Fairway Wood review
Right-handed lofts: 15.5 3 Wood / 18.5 5 Wood / 21.5 7 Wood
Shafts: KAI’LI Blue 60 S or UST Helium Nanocore (4F2 Lite 5F3 Reg)
More information: Cobra website
Best Fairway Woods for High Handicappers 2023
For high-handicap golfers, the right fairway wood can make a significant difference in their game. With top brands like Wilson, TaylorMade, Ping, and Cobra offering fairway woods specifically designed for high-handicap golfers, there are plenty of options to consider in 2023.
With features like greater forgiveness, improved aerodynamics, and adjustable weighting, these fairway woods can help high-handicap golfers achieve greater distance and accuracy on the course. Consider your own preferences and skill level to determine which fairway wood is the right fit for you, and get ready to enjoy improved performance and greater confidence on the course.
How do we test fairway woods?
At National Club Golfer, we are passionate about producing accurate and thorough reviews and making sure our testing process is rigorous so we get a good understanding of how each club performs.
Each iron is hit with Pro V1 golf balls to allow us to collect launch monitor data with our in-house TrackMan and FlightScope. After this it is time to head out onto the golf course and test the clubs in practice and competition play. We do test them at a variety of golf clubs in our base of Yorkshire.
What is important when buying a fairway wood?
When buying a new fairway wood it is important to know what you want from that club to help you improve.
Most people are looking for more distance, each model is optimised for different things. Depending on your swing and your impact conditions, you may not actually hit the model that is advertised as the longest, the furthest. So if you want more distance, it is always worth giving different models a hit before you make a decision.
For most golfers, especially high handicappers, something that is more forgiving is going to yield the best performance. Most forgiving golf fairway woods have a slightly bigger club head with perimeter weighting for high MOI, which means a bigger sweet spot and off-center hits still perform well. They also have a center of gravity that is further back to help players get more height on their ball flight.
Do you want something that is draw bias? There are so many models out there to help with slice correction, it would be silly not to take a look if you see your ball disappearing into the right trees too often. A closed face and draw bias weighting can get you hitting straighter shots in no time at all.
Don’t forget about the shaft, either. Getting the correct shaft can help dial in your spin and launch angle and can also give you some extra distance. Having a club fitting or trying different options with your local pro can really improve the performance of your new fairway.
What handicap are forgiving fairway woods best suited for?
These types of fairway woods are ideal if you’re an inconsistent ball striker or struggle to get your fairway woods shots in the air. These clubs are not necessarily for high-handicap golfers, as fairway woods can be real hit-and-miss for golfers of all levels. Generally, the most forgiving fairway woods have a shallow face design which may not be ideal for golfers who use the fairway from the tee often.
They are also great for players with slower swing speeds as they can help golfers hit the ball with a higher launch, which these golfers can struggle with, especially in three woods.
What brand produces the most forgiving fairway wood?
All of the products in this most forgiving fairway woods 2023 article are picked from the brands that offer the most forgiving fairways.
Do any pros use forgiving fairway woods on tour?
Contrary to popular belief, PGA & DP World tour players do often play a forgiving fairway wood. This will vary from player to player as golfers want different things from their fairway woods, but if you check out Hannah’s what’s in the bag pieces, you will see forgiving fairway woods in there.
Tour players will often have two fairway woods in the bag, one low spin model that they might use as a backup club from the tee and another more forgiving model that will launch higher and land softer, more used for second shots into par 5s. Tour players consider small details like turf interaction and larger vs smaller head designs to manipulate the ball flight to what’s required. Amateur players should also think more about this and have a proper custom fitting!
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