Fairway woods are the most under-appreciated clubs in the game. Hybrids have stolen a lot of thunder away from the fairway woods. This is because hybrids deliver longer distances and require less effort to do so.
There is debate between using fairways versus hybrids among professional and amateur golfers alike. For the traditional golfer, fairways have always been the right answer. If you’re just filling your bag for the first time, it’s easy to get bogged down in terminology. We’re here to explain to you what a fairway wood is and the degrees they come in.
What is a Fairway Wood?
Golfers use fairway woods on the fairway (hence the name). Easy to control, the clubs have high enough loft to pop the ball in the air without using a tee. Some manufacturers and players consider any “wood” a fairway wood. But this elite group generally includes the 3, 4, 5 and 7-woods. Depending on who you ask, the 7-wood is a mix between a fairway and a utility wood. For our purposes, we’ll consider a low-loft 7-wood a fairway.
Fairway Woods Degrees
Explaining the loft degrees on fairway woods’ loft degrees is tricky. First, you should know that there are strong and standard woods. A strong wood has a slightly lower loft than the standard wood of the same number. This results in a slightly lower, but longer shot than its regular counterpart.
Wood sizes also indicate relative length in the set. For example, a strong wood has a similar loft angle to the club just below it, with the same relative shaft length. This spells better control for many players.
In general, the fairway woods start with angles as low as 13 degrees and as high as 22 degrees. That’s if you include the 7-woods in the picture. You can expect the 3-wood to have a loft between 13 and 15 degrees. 5-woods will have lofts of 17 to 19 degrees. And 7-woods top out between 20 and 22 degrees. The other fairway wood, the 4-wood, fills the gap between the 3 and 5-woods with a loft angle between 16 and 18 degrees. But this club can be the hardest of the fairway woods to find.
Hybrids are the hottest thing out today. For most players, a golf bag isn’t complete without at least one fairway wood. One is often all you need, but choosing the right one is up to you. If you need more loft and less shaft, pick a 5 or 7. Otherwise, look at the 3 and 4. If you can’t decide, the 4-wood may be the best choice. It’s a middle option that combines the low loft of the 3-wood and the shorter shaft of the 5-wood. You’ll get a shallow, long shot you can control.