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What is a fairway wood?

A fairway wood golf club is designed for longer shots out of the fairway or short rough, as well as accuracy off the tee when a driver is unsuitable. This club is needed to reach long par 5s in two or split a tight fairway to set up a reasonable approach shot. Woods are generally easier to control than drivers and more forgiving than long irons, making them essential for the vast majority of golfers. The components of fairway woods vary widely, allowing golfers to choose what best suits their individual game. The loft of the club affects the trajectory of the shot, with different lofts ranging from 13-27 degrees. Shafts come in a variety of flexes and are normally graphite to allow forgiveness and workability. All these variables together create a unique experience that results in improved course management and lower scores on the card.

What are the different types of woods?

Each wood offers benefits for different types of playstyles and players. The two standard fairway woods that are most familiar to the golfing community are the 3 and 5 woods. Golfers can also take advantage of alternative woods including 3+ wood, 7 wood, 9 wood, 11 wood and the heavenwood.

  • 3 Woods (15 degrees): offer the longest distances and are great for tee shots or long second shots when you need extra yardage
  • 5 Woods (18 degrees): have a slightly smaller club head and are more versatile than 3 woods, making them easier to get airborne to hold the green on second shots
  • Heavenwoods (20 degrees): provide balanced performance and an easier launch off tight lies than a long iron
  • 7 Woods (21 degrees): provide a good balance between distance and control
  • 9 Woods (24 degrees): are designed for even higher trajectories and increased forgiveness
  • 11 Woods (27 degrees): add extreme loft and are a specialty club that golfers of all skill levels can take advantage of

No matter which one you choose, the different types of fairway woods provide unique benefits to dial-in your golf game.

Do you need a fairway wood in your golf bag?

Although having a fairway wood is not required, you will find most golfers will carry at least one in their bag. Typically, there are one or two woods in the standard golf club set up. With that being said, it is not uncommon for golfers to substitute a fairway wood for a hybrid golf club of equivalent loft, or even a low-lofted long iron to better cover distance gaps. Ultimately, club selection will be determined by player preference, so it is important to try out the different options to find the best arrangement.

How to choose the right fairway wood

Fairway woods can set you up for success in a number of situations, but before adding a new wood to your bag, you should always consider your skill level, power and accuracy. A reputable fitter can also help you choose which loft and shaft flex will best suit your swing speed and playstyle.

Now that you've learned about what goes into buying a fairway wood and the decisions that are in play, it's time to pick the one that's best for you. 

Whether you're looking to buy a new or pre-owned fairway wood, Callaway offers a wide selection of golf clubs, guaranteed to fit any play style. For more help, check out our online fairway wood selector tool for expert recommendations to improve your game.