Best Fairway Woods for Mid Handicappers 2024 (My Top Picks)

Your golf experts: Jordan Fuller & John Marshall.
Updated March 14, 2024. This article was thoroughly audited by multiple golf experts and coaches for its accuracy. You can read more about our rigorous testing protocol here.

The best fairway woods for mid handicappers all share the ability to improve your golf game through a combination of power, forgiveness, accuracy, and easy launch.

If you find a distance gap between your driver and hybrids that could use help, any of these eight fairway woods can help you increase ball speed, improve your shot dispersion, and provide you with a precise shotmaking weapon on the tee box.

In this review of the best fairway woods for mid handicap golfers, we’ll deep dive into what makes these vitally important clubs work so well for your game.

Sources researched
18
Sources researched
Customer reviews
13,927
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
27
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested
Product Name
Best All-Around Fairway Wood
Best Distance Fairway Wood
Best Lightweight Fairway Wood
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Our Grade
Our Rating: 98/100
Our Rating: 97/100
Our Rating: 95/100
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TaylorMade Golf Qi10 Fairway 3 Wood Regular Left Handed
Callaway Golf Paradym AI Smoke Max Fairway Wood (Right Hand, Tensei 65G, 3 Wood, Regular)
Cobra Golf DARKSPEED X Fairway
Feat 1
Loft: 15-24°
Loft: 15-27°
Loft: 15-21°
2
Lie: 58.5°-60°
Lie: 56°-59°
Lie: 56.7°-58.2°
3
Shaft Length: 41.25”-43.25”
Shaft Length: 41.25”-43.25”
Shaft Length: 42”-43”
5
Swing Weight: D3
Swing Weight: D2
Swing Weight: D1, D1.5
Best All-Around Fairway Wood
Product Name
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Our Grade
Our Rating: 98/100
Thumbnail
TaylorMade Golf Qi10 Fairway 3 Wood Regular Left Handed
Feat 1
Loft: 15-24°
2
Lie: 58.5°-60°
3
Shaft Length: 41.25”-43.25”
5
Swing Weight: D3
Custom Button
Best Distance Fairway Wood
Our Ranking
Ranked #2
Our Grade
Our Rating: 97/100
Thumbnail
Callaway Golf Paradym AI Smoke Max Fairway Wood (Right Hand, Tensei 65G, 3 Wood, Regular)
Feat 1
Loft: 15-27°
2
Lie: 56°-59°
3
Shaft Length: 41.25”-43.25”
5
Swing Weight: D2
Custom Button
Best Lightweight Fairway Wood
Product Name
Our Ranking
Ranked #3
Our Grade
Our Rating: 95/100
Thumbnail
Cobra Golf DARKSPEED X Fairway
Feat 1
Loft: 15-21°
2
Lie: 56.7°-58.2°
3
Shaft Length: 42”-43”
5
Swing Weight: D1, D1.5
Custom Button

Last updated on 2024-06-14. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Best Fairway Woods for Mid Handicappers 2024

TaylorMade Qi10 Fairway Wood

Best Fairway Woods for Mid Handicappers

TaylorMade Golf Qi10 Fairway 3 Wood Regular Left Handed
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Specifications

  • Loft: 15°, 16.5°, 18°, 21°, 24°
  • Lie: 58.5°-60°
  • Shaft Length: 41.25”-43.25”
  • Swing Weight: D3
  • Shaft Type: Fujikura Ventus TR Blue FW 5 (A, Regular, Stiff)
  • Grip Type: Golf Pride Z-Grip – 52-gram
  • Price: $349.99

Pros

  • Exceptional turf interaction
  • Outstanding forgiveness
  • Easy, high launch

Cons

  • No adjustable features
  • Higher price point

TaylorMade’s new Qi10 Fairway Wood offers a dynamic assortment of features to help mid-handicappers.

From stability to high flight that translates into far-reaching distance, I love how the Qi10 Fairway provides reliable performance for golfers wanting to get their handicap into the single digits.

The 190cc head size offers a nice footprint for using off the tee box, and with its tight dispersion, the 3-wood gives mid handicappers the opportunity to hit the fairway when dealing with a tight chute.

Although I wish there were a few adjustable features with the Qi10, I believe the club’s quality shines through behind the fixed hosel and lack of sliding weight.

For mid-handicappers who need more consistency, the Qi10 Fairway’s design helps create that predictable flight that opens up the long-range game and helps lower scores.

Delivering modern results in a traditional package, the Qi10 Fairway Wood offers a dependable and versatile weapon from the tee box and short grass.

Check my hands-on TaylorMade Qi10 Fairway Wood Review


Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Fairway Wood

Best Distance Fairway Woods for Mid Handicappers

Callaway Golf Paradym AI Smoke Max Fairway Wood (Right Hand, Tensei 65G, 3 Wood, Regular)
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Specifications

  • Loft: 15°, 16.5°, 18°, 21°, 24°, 27°
  • Lie: 56°, 56.5°, 57°, 58°, 59°
  • Shaft Length: 41.25”-43.25”
  • Flex: Light, Regular, Stiff, X-Stiff
  • Swing Weight: D2
  • Shaft Type: Project X Cypher 2.0 40g (Light) 50g (Light, Reg),  MCA Tensei AV Blue 60g (Reg, Stiff), 70g (Stiff, X-Stiff)
  • Grip Type: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 – 50-gram
  • Price: $349.99

Pros

  • Soaring ball flight with power
  • Sturdy and strong construction
  • Forgiving with a lightweight feel

Cons

  • No adjustable weighting
  • Higher price point

Callaway’s versatile and muscular Paradym Ai Smoke Fairway Wood signals another quantum leap in performance for mid-handicappers.

Building off last year’s impressive Paradym, the new Paradym Ai Smoke offers the same sturdy build with more customization to help create a sophisticated ball flight that finds your target more frequently.

The fairway wood utilizes AI to create the Ai Smart Face. The new technology produced a forgiving face that kept my ball speed very high, even when I hit the golf ball toward the toe.

Along with forgiveness, the club carries 24 grams of additional weight, placed low in the sole to increase ball height and extend carry.

Off the tee box, the Paradym Ai Smoke Fairway produced tight dispersion with moderate rollout, something I really didn’t expect too much from a 3-wood.

Although I didn’t use this club much for entry shots into the green, the high ball flight does carry a steep landing angle to help you hold the green.

Made for mid handicappers that need more distance and accuracy from their fairway wood, the Paradym Ai Smoke Fairway produces some of the prettiest ball flight you’ll ever see from a secondary wood.

Read my full Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Fairway Review


Cobra Darkspeed X Fairway Wood

Best Lightweight Fairway Woods for Mid Handicappers

Cobra Golf DARKSPEED X Fairway
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Specifications

  • Loft: 15°, 16.5°, 18°, 21°
  • Lie: 56.7°-58.2°
  • Shaft Length: 42”-43”
  • Flex: Regular, Stiff
  • Swing Weight: D1, D1.5
  • Shaft Type: UST LIN-Q M40X Blue 6 (Reg, Stiff, X-Stiff), UST LIN-Q M40X Red 5 (A)
  • Grip Type: Lamkin Crossline Black/Silver
  • Price: $329.99

Pros

  • Looks amazing with an all black color scheme
  • Balanced but fiercely powerful
  • High ball flight with extended carry

Cons

  • No sliding weight
  • Slightly smaller in stature than competitors

Cobra’s brisk DarkSpeed X Fairway Wood offers all of the company’s famous hallmarks, making it a golf club that mid-handicappers should strongly consider carrying in their golf bag if they want improved all-around performance.

Built for speed, the DarkSpeed X Fairway includes Cobra’s patented H.O.T Face and PWRSHELL insert, making it very forgiving without sacrificing an inch of distance.

If you are in the market for a fairway wood that delivers versatility and workability, the DarkSpeed X offers both.

I loved this club’s performance off the deck. The premium turf interaction smoothly moves the clubhead through the grass for ball-first contact that lifts the golf ball easily into the air with maximum ball speed.

I also found that I could easily create fades and draws with the adjustable loft sleeve.

Cobra makes excellent golf clubs, and the lightweight but dangerous DarkSpeed X fairway certainly ranks among the best the company has ever produced.

Read my honest Cobra DarkSpeed Fairway Woods Review


Srixon ZX Mk II Fairway Wood

Best Value Fairway Woods for Mid Handicappers

2023 Srixon ZX Mk II Fairway Wood
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Specifications

  • Loft: 15°, 18°, 21°
  • Lie: 57°-58°
  • Shaft Length: 42”-43”
  • Flex: Regular, Stiff
  • Swing Weight: D2, D3
  • Shaft Type:
  • Project X HZRDUS Smoke Red RDX 50/60, Grip Type: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360
  • Price: $279.99

Pros

  • Very affordable price point
  • Delivers consistent performance
  • Low CG helps boost ball height

Cons

  • No adjustability
  • Rather plain fairway wood

Srixon’s outstanding ZX Mk II Fairway Wood provides a very forgiving hitting area with a springy energy that produces top-tier ball speed.

I really love how light, agile, and muscular this fairway wood performed on the range and the links. 

Much like the Qi10, the ZX Mk II Fairway also utilizes a fixed hosel to deliver consistent performance that you can rely upon, regardless of whether you primarily use the club off the tee box or from the fairway.

I found this fairway wood worked spectacularly off the tee box, delivering that tight dispersion I needed to hit more fairways, especially when I lost feel with my driver.

If you are a golfer who doesn’t want bells and whistles and just wants a fairway wood that works extremely well, I suggest you give the Srixon ZX Mk II your attention.

Not only is the club well-built, but it also won’t dent your wallet.


Ping G430 Max Fairway

Most Forgiving Fairway Woods For Mid Handicappers

Ping G430 Max Fairway Wood

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Specifications

  • Loft: 15°, 18°, 21°, 24°
  • Lie: 57°-58°
  • Shaft Length: 41.5”-43”
  • Flex: Regular, Stiff, Extra Stiff
  • Swing Weight: D1
  • Shaft Type: Ping Alta CB Black 65, Ping Tour 2.0 Chrome/Black 65/75, Mitsubishi Kai’li White 70, Project X HZRDUS Smoke Red RDX 60/70
  • Grip Type: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360
  • Price: $349.99

Pros

  • 8-position loft sleeve offers total customization
  • Long profile with forgiving sweet spot
  • Tungsten back weight provides low, deep CG

Cons

  • Unique Ping design is not for everyone
  • Does feel thin for golfers who want more heft

The Ping G430 Max Fairway offers an incredibly lightweight feel with staggering power for mid handicappers who want more muscle from their long-range game. 

Most of all, I love how this Ping fairway wood looks at address. Gone are the crown ribs of the G425 series, and instead, Ping has created a modern club head with a dot indicator to signal the center of the clubface.

The wood also sits more flat at address, helping me quickly find the proper stance for my ideal swing.

Ping also gave the G430 Max Fairway a loft sleeve, delivering eight unique positions that adjust loft and lie. I quickly found the right setting for my swing and began bombing golf balls down the fairway in very little turnaround time.

Overall, I feel the G430 Max Fairway delivers that unique Ping design with distance and ball speed that you can’t beat from any other club on the market.

Read my full Ping G430 Fairway Woods Review


Mizuno ST-Z 230 Fairway Wood

Best Fairway Woods for Mid Handicappers on a Budget

Mizuno Mizuno ST-Z 230 Fairway Metal | MP Single Wood | 15 Degrees (1500) | RH/GR/LL/Stiff
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Specifications

  • Loft: 15°, 18°, 21°
  • Lie: 58°-62°
  • Shaft Length: 42”-43”
  • Flex: Regular, Stiff
  • Swing Weight: D2
  • Shaft Type: Aldila Ascent Ultralite 40, UST LIN-Q Red 6, Mitsubishi Kai’li Blue 60
  • Grip Type: Lamkin Crossline Black/Silver
  • Price: $299.99

Pros

  • 4-position adjustable sleeve
  • Long profile with a large footprint
  • Very forgiving with high ball speeds

Cons

  • No adjustable weighting
  • Can feel a bit soft at impact

Mizuno continues to release well-made clubs at affordable prices, and their ST-Z 230 Fairway, which delivers tour-level performance, continues this tradition.

For mid handicappers, I feel the ST-Z 230 offers high MOI to keep the face stable and square through the impact zone.

If you are sitting in the fairway, that high MOI, coupled with the premium turf interaction, produces a high launch with extended carry.

The adjustable sleeve also helped me customize my preferred ball flight. Since I like a more penetrating flight, the sleeve offered side spin correction with the ability to adjust the loft.

This club has no sliding weight, but that’s okay because the Mizuno wood feels incredibly lightweight and sleek, helping me produce fast ball speed that I can see on the TrackMan.

For mid-handicappers looking to improve the fairway woods in their golf bag without overextending their wallets, the ST-Z 230 offers an outstanding feel and performance.


TaylorMade Stealth 2 Fairway

Best Distance for Mid Handicappers on a Budget

Taylormade Stealth 2 3 15 Fairway Wood Fujikura Ventus TR Red Flex R Right-Hand
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Specifications

  • Loft: 15-24°
  • Lie: 59°-60.5°
  • Shaft Length: 41.25”-43.25”
  • Head Size: 155cc-185cc
  • Swing Weight: D3

Pros

  • High, smooth launch with long distance
  • Long, low profile offers an extended sweet spot
  • Rounded sole delivers impressive turf interaction

Cons

  • No adjustable hosel or weighting to customize the shot shape

The TaylorMade Stealth 2 fairway wood is engineered to deliver low spin, high launch, and forgiveness for mid handicap golfers seeking more consistency and distance from the fairway and light rough.

Its carbon Twist Face provides a larger high-COR area across the face for solid ball speed and reduced spin on off-center strikes. 

In testing, I found that the Stealth 2 fairway showed impressive ball speed retention for shots struck flush and slightly towards the toe or heel. Off-center strikes carried deep with lower curve versus traditional fairway woods. 

My only complaint is how the fixed hosel limits customizable shotmaking from the tee and fairway.

The Stealth 2 fairway wood provides mid handicap players the ideal blend of easy launch, forgiveness for errant strikes, and low spin for maximum distance.

After extensive time testing it myself, I can say its well-rounded performance can help mid handicappers reach more greens in regulation and extend holes from the fairway.

Check my in-depth TaylorMade Stealth 2 Fairway Review


Cobra Aerojet Fairway Wood

Best Forgiveness for Mid Handicappers on a Budget

Cobra Golf Aerojet Fairway
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Specifications

  • Loft: 15-21°
  • Lie: 57°-58°
  • Shaft Length: 42”-43”
  • Head Size: 158cc-168cc
  • Swing Weight: D2.5

Pros

  • Lightweight feel delivers serious power
  • Adjustable hosel helps craft the ideal shot shape
  • Low profile provides easy lift at impact

Cons

  • Not as workable as other top-tier fairway woods

The Cobra Aerojet fairway wood is an excellent club for mid handicappers looking to add distance off the tee.

Its aerodynamic carbon crown design reduces drag and allows the club to glide through the air easily. 

The face is made with innovative technology that delivered a hot, springy feel at impact. The golf ball still seems to jump off the face, even on my off-center strikes. 

The adjustable hosel allowed me to tweak the loft and lie angle to optimize my launch conditions, extending carry and improving launch. 

While it doesn’t offer some other fairway woods’ workability, the Aerojet excelled at bombing drives off the tee and hitting towering second shots into par 5s.

If you tend to slice your fairway woods, the slight draw-biased design can also help straighten things out, making it a weapon off the tee box. 

Simply put, I found the Cobra Aerojet is an ideal fairway wood for players seeking effortless distance.

Check my in-depth Cobra Aerojet Fairway Wood Review


Callaway Paradym Fairway Wood

Best High Launch Fairway for Mid Handicappers on a Budget

Callaway Golf 2023 Paradym Fairway Wood (Left Hand, Ascent 50G Shaft, Regular Flex, 3 Wood)
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Specifications

  • Loft: 15-27°
  • Lie: 56°-59°
  • Shaft Length: 41.25”-43.25”
  • Head Size: 133cc-171cc
  • Swing Weight: D3

Pros

  • Solid, powerful feel and responsiveness
  • Penetrating flight with extended carry
  • Adjustable hosel provides customization options

Cons

  • Expensive price point but delivers exceptional distance

With its futuristic looks and innovative technology, the Callaway Paradym fairway wood is built for distance and forgiveness.

The clubhead is crafted from high-strength steel for impressive ball speeds, while the oversized profile inspires confidence at address. 

Paradym Fairway Woods also features Callaway’s renowned Jailbreak technology – two internal bars join the crown and sole for enhanced ball speed.

The carbon composite crown is remarkably light, shifting weight lower for a higher launch. 

I really enjoyed how the A.I.-aided design maximized ball speed on center and off-center strikes. The low profile helps reduce side spin, delivering a tighter dispersion.

A tungsten weight placed behind the face boosts launch angle and MOI for longer, straighter shots. 

Also worth noting is that with its premium stock shaft options, the Paradym Fairway Woods appeals to a wide range of players seeking excellent tech in their pursuit of effortless distance.

Check my in-depth Callaway Paradym Fairway Review


Cobra LTDx Fairway Wood

Best Lightweight Feel for Mid Handicappers on a Budget

Cobra Golf 2022 LTDX Men's Fairway Gloss Peacoat-Red
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Specifications

  • Loft: 15-21°
  • Lie: 58°-59.5°
  • Shaft Length: 42”-43”
  • Head Size: 153cc-162cc
  • Swing Weight: D1

Pros

  • Rear weight lowers CG for an explosive launch
  • Progressive rails move swiftly through turf for clean contact
  • Lightweight build increases swing speed

Cons

  • Compact head makes consistency tough at times

Cobra’s LTDx Fairway Wood offers similar characteristics to the company’s previous wood releases.

You’ll find all your favorites here, including the baffler rails along the sole that help guide the head through the turf.

Cobra’s longtime CNC Milled Face technology has been replaced with a proprietary H.O.T Forged Face design, improving ball speed across the entire face of these golf clubs.

The Cobra LTDx Fairway Woods is a marvelous wood for mid-handicappers looking to lower their golf scores. It offers exciting performance.

The LTDx also features an adjustable loft sleeve that helps dial the ideal shot shape for your game.

Check our full Cobra LTDx Fairway Wood Review


Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Fairway Woods

Construction

When evaluating the construction and design of a fairway wood, you need to look at all aspects of the club, from grip to shaft to the club head.

Since most golfers look immediately at the head, you’ll want to consider the size, shape, location of weighting or adjustable options, and of course, how the club feels in your hands.

Chances are high that if you like how the club looks and feels, you’ll appreciate how it hits the golf ball. As ridiculous as it may sound, finding clubs that instill confidence in your swing helps shave strokes.

While the club head is undoubtedly the most important aspect of the club’s performance, evaluating the quality of the grip and stock shaft also plays a huge part in how the club will work your game.

Most manufacturers offer custom shafts on the store’s site, allowing you to make changes on the fly when purchasing.

Head Sizes

Most golfers prefer a fairway wood to a hybrid because of its low profile and higher loft setting.

With the better ball speeds provided by the fairway wood, golfers can gain more distance, allowing them to attack the greens on long par 5s while finding the fairway with extended carry on tight par 4s.

The smaller head size also provides a lightweight feel, especially when compared to the larger head of a driver.

Mid handicappers can utilize fairway woods as a weapon from the fairway and as a new tool in hitting more fairways and playing conservatively when the golf course calls for restraint.

Loft Setting

The best fairway woods for mid handicappers utilize the loft setting to generate faster ball speeds and cover the gap left between driver and hybrids or an iron set.

Amateur golfers can typically get almost 85-90% of their average yardage with a 3 wood with a loft of 15 degrees on the face.

The best fairway woods for your golf bag are designed to provide ultra low spin along with the shallow loft that helps push distance while keeping the golf ball in a tight shot dispersion, much like you’d expect from an iron.

Price

The best fairway woods for mid handicappers typically run anywhere from $150-$350 in price.

For an established company’s latest 3 wood, for example, you should expect to pay at the upper tier of that cost, while the top fairway woods from last year will cost at the lower end of that pricing spectrum.


Frequently Asked Questions

What woods should a mid handicapper carry?

A mid handicapper should carry 3 wood and 5 wood to bridge the yardage gap between his hybrids and driver.

Not only are fairway woods incredibly easy to hit, but they also offer options to use on the tee box when facing a short par 4 or tight fairway landing.

What is the easiest fairway 3 wood to hit?

Due to its unique design and innovative technology, the Ping G425 Max Fairway Wood is the easiest fairway 3 wood to hit.

With a low profile and a long, forgiving sweet spot, it offers smooth shotmaking that produces the shot height and carries that mid handicappers need for their game.

What is the difference between a 3 wood and 5 wood?

The difference between a 3 wood and 5 wood comes from the loft of the face on each club.

A 3 wood typically carries a loft of 15-16 degrees, while a 5 wood offers a loft of anywhere between 20-22 degrees.


Conclusion

TaylorMade’s outstanding Qi10 Fairway Wood delivers all the bells and whistles that mid handicappers need to attack the golf course.

Great off-the-tee box, the Qi10 Fairway finds the short grass with tight dispersion and a penetrating flight that provides workability.

Although the fairway wood doesn’t have adjustable features, I found its consistency ranks the highest among its competitors. The long, low profile offers a forgiving hitting area that keeps off-center strikes along the target line with lightning-fast ball speed.

The rounded V-Steel sole also boosts turf interaction, providing clean ball-first contact, creating an easy launch that soars with outstanding carry.

Ideal for mid-high handicappers who need more stability in their long-range game, the TaylorMade Qi10 is the most exciting fairway wood for golfers who want to improve dramatically.

In case you still don’t know your handicap, check this article