Best Fairway Woods 2024: Buyer's Guide and things you need to know

GolfMagic reveals everything you need to know about the best fairway woods in 2024.

Best Fairway Woods 2024
Best Fairway Woods 2024

Whether you're trying to reach a par-5 in two or you need a fairway finder off the tee, the right fairway woods can add valuable versatility to your golf bag. 

With all the biggest brands in golf offering a wide variety of fairway woods to suit different swing speeds, tastes and budgets, we've selected the best of the bunch to help you decide which one you should spend your hard-earned cash on.

We've tested the newest models from PXG, Callaway, TaylorMade, and Cobra, as well as the 2023 models from PING and Titleist, which we believe still provide outstanding levels of performance.

READ OUR FULL TESTING PROCESS HERE

Our mission, as always, is to help you get the most out of your game and shoot lower scores at a price that is right for you.

To whet your appetite for our best fairway woods test 2024 below, here's a quick look at GolfMagic Editor Alex Lodge's average numbers with each of the fairway woods tested. 

Best Fairway Woods 2024: Buyer's Guide and things you need to know

While the majority of brands promise added distance and forgiveness on top of improved looks, only a handful of them truly deliver it all. 

Let's take a look at the best fairway woods of 2024, starting with what we consider the best of the bunch: 

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Fairway Wood

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Fairway Wood

Key Features: 

  • Ai Smart Face: designed to optimise launch and spin, creating sweet spots across the face
  • Stronger Carbon Chassis: 24g of total weight has been repositioned throughout the head. 12g is placed low-forward to enhance launch and spin, and 12g rearward for increased forgiveness
  • Tungsten Speed Cartridge: allows weight to be pushed low and forward to lower the CG for increased distance 
  • Adjustable Hosel: gives players additional control to dial in loft and shot shape.

Price: £379

 

 

Pros:

  • One of the longest fairway woods of 2024
  • Very easy to hit off the tee and fairway
  • Ai Smart Face provides excellent forgiveness

Cons:

  • Sole design might not suit the eye of a traditional golfer

Our favourite fairway wood of 2024, the Paradym Ai Smoke Max, is an outstanding all-rounder that provided ample distance and excellent levels of forgiveness during testing.

One of the longest fairways of 2024, the Paradym Ai Smoke Max, truly delivers on the promise of being sweeter from every spot. 

Thanks to the newly designed Ai Smart Face, this fairway wood does a remarkable job of retaining speed and spin from across the face, allowing it to be a potent weapon from both the tee and the fairway. 

A tasteful carbon crown and smokey sole design may divide opinion, but the performance it delivers can't be called into question. 

One of our favourite characteristics of this fairway wood is its ability to launch the ball high while keeping spin rates low. 

This allowed us to max out our distance while also getting the ball to land softly and be receptive on the greens. 

Overall, this fairway wood is the one to beat in 2024 and rightfully sits at the top of our list of the best fairway woods of the year. 

READ OUR FULL CALLAWAY PARADYM AI SMOKE MAX FAIRWAY WOOD REVIEW

Cobra Darkspeed X Fairway Wood

Cobra Darkspeed X Fairway Wood

Key Features:

  • A.I designed H.O.T Face: features an optimised variable thickness pattern that delivers more efficient speed & spin across the clubface
  • Lightweight carbon crown: improves weight distribution to position the CG lower and further back, creating a more playable clubhead
  • PWRSHELL insert and PWR BRIDGE weighting: create a more flexible face and sole to maximise launch and ball speed.

Price: £279

 

 

Pros:

  • Longest fairway wood of 2024
  • Outstanding looks
  • Low spinning ball flight

Cons:

  • There are more forgiving fairway woods on the market

The longest fairway wood of 2024, and arguably the best looking too, Cobra's Darkspeed X is an absolute diamond of a club. 

The stealthy black-on-black design looks absolutely fantastic sitting behind the ball, and as soon as you hit it, you will understand why Cobra chose to incorporate speed into the name. This fairway wood is an absolute rocket. 

The triangular head shape and shallow head from top to bottom, allow this club to sit flush to the ground, providing not only excellent visuals at address, but also fantastic turf interaction. 

The PWR Bridge weighting and Ai-designed H.O.T face combine to deliver exceptional speed from across the face, which we believe will really appeal to players who want to eke out as much distance as possible from their fairway woods. 

Coming in at £279, this fairway wood is also one of the cheapest on this list, ensuring you get plenty of bang for your buck.

If we had to pick one negative about this club, it would be that it doesn't offer quite the same level of forgiveness that other woods on this list deliver. 

Our bad shots were noticeably worse than those of the TaylorMade Qi10 or Paradym Ai Smoke.

READ OUR FULL COBRA DARKSPEED X FAIRWAY WOOD REVIEW

TaylorMade Qi10 Fairway Wood

TaylorMade Qi10 Fairway Wood

Key Features: 

  • Thru Slot Sped Pocket: boosts speed on low face shot
  • V Steel sole: improves turf interaction and versatility
  • Internal mass pads: designed for balanced performance, weight has been split between low-forward and low-back to produce a hot trajectory with ample forgiveness
  • Infinity Crown: provides a clean, uninterrupted view at address while simultaneously optimising performance

Price: £309

 

 

Pros:

  • Looks excellent at address
  • Most forgiving flagship fairway wood of 2024
  • Very easy to hit

Cons:

  • No notable cons
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An outstanding all-rounder, TaylorMade's Qi10 fairway wood takes the crown for being our most forgiving flagship fairway wood of 2024. 

Featuring a stunning carbon infinity crown, this wood looks outstanding down at address, and the performance it offers is just as impressive. 

The sensation we experienced at impact was very smooth, and time and time again, we found the head remaining very stable throughout the entire swing. 

There is an appropriate amount of feedback felt from poor strikes, but nothing we would consider to be unpleasant. 

The solid feel is partnered nicely with a satisfying crack at impact, which really emphasises the ping off the face that you experience. 

What we enjoyed most about this club was how solid and stable it remained through impact. This level of stability allowed us to hit consistently good shots from the fairway and tee, making it an excellent tool to improve your accuracy.

While forgiveness is certainly the Qi10's key selling point, it's by no means a slouch and as you can tell from the table above, it packs some serious heat under the hood.

Overall, the Qi10 is a fantastic fairway wood that's well worth your consideration in 2024. 

READ OUR FULL TAYLORMADE QI10 FAIRWAY WOOD REVIEW 

Best Fairway Woods 2024: Buyer's Guide and things you need to know

Titleist TSR2 Fairway Wood

Key Features:

  • Active Recoil Channel: flexes at impact to maximise ball speed and distance while maintaining forgiveness.
  • Variable Thickness Face Insert: designed to enhance ball speed and forgiveness across the entire face.
  • Adjustable SureFit Hosel: allows for loft and lie angle adjustments, enabling customisation to match your swing characteristics and desired ball flight.

Price: £289

VIEW DEAL at American Golf

Pros:

  • The best looking fairway wood we've tested
  • Powerful feel at impact
  • Lower CG produces a lovely high ball flight

Cons

  • Definitely more forgiving fairway woods on the market

As good-looking as it is potent, the TSR2 was one of the best-performing fairway woods in 2023, and it's still firmly one of our favourites this year, too.

Producing a towering ball flight and excellent distance numbers through the air, this fairway wood is certainly well suited to players wanting to maximise distance with their woods. 

Sat behind the ball, the TSR2's head is one of the more refined designs on the market, and due to the smaller head size, it's perhaps less confidence-inspiring than other woods on this list.

With that being said, we found this wood incredibly easy to launch from a variety of lies, and it also produces a high ball flight, which makes it an excellent tool for attacking par-5s.

The feel of this wood is also incredibly crisp, and the sound that matches it is equally as pleasing. 

While ball speed, distance and looks were all big plus points for this wood, it did offer slightly less forgiveness than other models we have tested. 

 Ball speed was nicely retained across the whole face, but the smaller head size did result in dispersion that was bettered by its competitors.

Best Fairway Woods 2024: Buyer's Guide and things you need to know

PING G430 Max Fairway Wood

  • Carbonfly Wrap Technologya lightweight composite material that covers the crown and wraps into the heel/toe sections of the skirt; this lighter structure dramatically saves 10g of weight and lowers the centre of gravity position for more ball speed performance
  • FaceWrap Technology: variable-thickness, high-strength maraging steel face wraps into the sole and crown of the stainless steel head, generating more flexing for faster ball speed and a higher launch for greater distance
  • Variable Role Radius with Spinsistency: improves performance across the face (especially on thin shots) by reducing spin to increase ball speed from the maraging steel face
  • Tungsten Sole Weight: features a tungsten back weight that further expands perimeter weighting to ensure even more forgiveness for increased confidence in the tee box or on the fairway
  • Trajectory Tuning 2.0 Hosel: adjusts to eight different positions to customise your trajectory for maximum distance and accuracy

Price: £329

VIEW DEAL at American Golf

Pros: 

  • Incredible forgiveness time and time again
  • Very easy to hit off the deck 
  • Far nicer sound than the G425
  • Confidence inspiring look behind the ball

Cons

  • Quite hard to flight down, but a custom fitting will help

The entire PING G430 range of fairway woods performed excellently in testing, but our favourite of the bunch was the PING G430 Max. One of the easiest three woods we've ever had the pleasure of hitting, it's biggest strength is its consistent forgiveness. 

Having admittedly hit some squiffy shots during testing, we were amazed at how often the G430 Max would manage to not only retain distance but also keep the ball flight high and relatively straight. 

One thing we particularly liked was that, due to the shallow profile of the club face, it sits fairly flush with the ground, which visually makes hitting it off the deck much less intimidating. 

We also noticed that the G430 Max was the best fairway wood we tested for hitting out of the first cut of rough.

Suited for players of all handicaps, the added forgiveness on offer makes it an ideal fit for high handicappers in search of assistance from both the tee and the fairway.

Probably the easiest fairway wood to hit out of all tested, the only thing to slightly let the club down was distance. While it's not especially short, compared to the Cobra Darkppeed  X there is certainly room for improvement.

READ OUR FULL PING G430 FAIRWAY WOOD REVIEW

Best Fairway Woods 2024: Buyer's Guide and things you need to know

PXG Black Ops Fairway Wood

  • High-strength stainless steel face: 12.5% thinner and more flexible than the 0311 Gen 6
  • Carbon fibre crown: saves mass, allowing it to be redistributed low and to the club's perimeter for optimal CG positioning
  • Precision weighting technology: allows spin and bias settings to be adjusted
  • Squared face design: shifts perimeter skirt more vertical to boost forgiveness and deliver faster ball speeds

Price: £319.99

Pros:

  • Performance levels across the board matched up well with the biggest brands on the market
  • Black and silver design oozes sophistication
  • Excellent level of adjustability

Cons:

  • Metallic sound at impact may take some getting used to

Another very impressive fairway wood from the class of 2024, PXG's Black Ops, is a formidable tool that delivered outstanding levels of speed and distance during testing. 

The wood features adjustable weighting, which allows weight to be tactically positioned to achieve ideal performance, while the carbon crown also allows weight to be redistributed to the head's perimeter for optimal CG positioning. 

Combined with a variable thickness face to optimise ball speeds, this design has been carefully calibrated to maximise performance. 

In terms of aesthetics, PXG has remained consistent with its traditional black, white and silver colour palette across the crown and sole, resulting in a very sophisticated overall design. 

While distance and speed are certainly where this wood excels, its only small weakness is the level of forgiveness it provides when compared to its competitors. 

READ OUR FULL PXG BLACK OPS FAIRWAY WOOD REVIEW

Things you need to consider when buying a new fairway wood

1. Club Head Size

Fairway woods come in a variety of different head sizes, with each suiting a different type of player and skill level. More compact woods tend to suit players who prefer to shape the ball, and a smaller profile behind the ball can often be considered more aesthetically pleasing,

Larger heads tend to offer increased forgiveness with a more confidence-inspiring look at address. 

Size matters, so be sure to find a head size that fits your game but also your eye.

2. Loft 

Loft refers to the angle of the face in relation to the vertical, and it's a key consideration when purchasing a new fairway wood, with the majority of brands offering a range that typically includes 3, 5 and 7 woods. Each will come with its own set of characteristics, so choosing the right one for your needs is vital. 

Ranging from a typical 3-wood loft of 15 degrees to 7-woods that come in around the 20-22 degree mark, the difference in distance and versatility on offer is broad. When choosing your fairway wood, it's always key to consider what type of shot you want to hit, as the loft will be of paramount importance to get the results you desire. 

A lower lofted club will produce a more piercing ball flight for more distance, while the increased loft of a 5 or 7-wood will help you get the ball airborne with greater ease, while typically landing a little softer at the same time. 

3. Adjustability

The two varieties of adjustability to consider when buying a fairway wood are weight and loft. 

Movable weights can be a handy tool to fine-tune both the centre of gravity and moment of inertia of your wood, with the PXG Black Ops being a perfect example of this. 

Moving weight forward in the club head will results in a more piercing ball flight and increased distance while adding weight to the back of the club will promote increased spin, higher launch and improved forgiveness.

Some clubs also offer weights that can be adjusted for ball shaping. Additional weight at the toe of a club will create more draw bias while moving weight closer to the heel will favour a fade. 

4. Shaft

Getting the correct shaft in your fairway wood is of equal importance to getting the right head. With a wide variety of weights and flexes available to suit different swing speeds, we highly recommend heading to your nearest fitting studio to ensure you have the correct setup to suit your swing. 

Using lighter, less stiff shafts will produce a higher, right-to-left biased ball flight, while heavier, stiff shafts will launch the ball lower with a higher tendency to shape the ball to the right.

Most manufacturers will offer drivers in regular (R), stiff (S) and extra stiff (XS) shaft flexes.

Other flexes include light or ladies flex (L), senior (A) and more extra stiff options (XXS, XXXS).

5. Shot Type

Fairway woods are versatile tools that can be used for a wide variety of different shot types. Whether you're looking for something to offer a little added accuracy off the tee, or a tool to help you reach long par-5s in two, the wide variety of fairway woods on the market can suit every golfers needs

3-wood: An ideal fall back for when the driver is misbehaving off the tee, with only a small drop off in distance it can often be a more accurate alternative for tight fairways and second shots into long par-5s.

5-wood: A higher launching, softer landing alternative to a long iron, 5-woods offer a larger club face which may benefit players who struggle to produce adequate ball-speed with a four or five iron.

7-wood: Becoming ever more popular on the PGA Tour, 7-woods offer excellent stopping power on greens thanks their high launch and increased spin. The large club head also provides plenty of forgiveness and makes them easy to hit from the tee, fairway or even the rough.

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