Ready for the Course: How to Buy Fairway Woods

Need to add some distance to your game? Fairway woods can be the right addition to your bag.

June 23, 2023

Adding the right fairway woods to your golf bag can help you cover some major distance on the course.


Many players use their fairway wood off the tee for control or from the fairway for long approach shots. Fairway woods can be a solid choice from a good lie in the rough. You can consider using a 3-wood as a driver on a par-3 hole or as the second club on a par-5.


But first you need to find the fairway woods best suited for you. Pro Tips is here to help walk you through the process.




Fairway woods have the largest head in your golf bag next to the driver. When purchasing your fairway woods, consider the clubhead material:

  • Steel: This is a popular material for fairway wood clubheads. Steel tends to be forgiving and is often lower priced than the other options.
  • Titanium: This material is half the weight of steel. Titanium’s light weight allows the center of gravity to move to the back of the head. This can help the ball launch while providing maximum distance and tighter shot dispersion.
  • Composite: Multi-material clubs combine modern materials, like carbon, steel and titanium. Composite materials help produce better launch and consistency on off-center hits.



You can categorize fairway woods by their lofts. The higher the fairway wood number, the higher the loft. For example, a 3-wood will have less loft than a 5-wood, and so on. More loft will lead to a higher trajectory of the ball and a shorter carry distance.

  • The 3- and 4-wood are the lowest of the lofts. These are the clubs that can be an alternative to your driver and can provide better control off the tee. For 3-woods, 13-16.5 degrees of loft is the most common and versatile fairway wood option that can be used off the tee and the turf. There’s also a wide array of adjustability in loft, weight and models that focus on forgiveness, draw bias and low spin. 
  • The 5- and 7-woods are best for when you need to get the ball in the air and off the fairway. For 5-woods, 17-19 degrees of loft can provide the best gapping option between your 3-wood and long irons/hybrids. Additional loft and spin can generate optimal launch conditions to inspire more confidence from longer yardages.  
  • Anything over a 9-wood is considered a high-lofted fairway wood (20 degrees and higher). High-lofted fairway woods can be easier to hit than long irons and launch higher than hybrids, making them optimal for approaches to the green. 7-woods have 20-21 degrees of loft and can replace 3 and 4 irons/hybrids. 9-woods have 24-25 degrees of loft and can replace 4 and 5 irons/hybrids. 



Fairway woods provide a distance and trajectory transition from your driver to hybrids or long irons. Woods are manufactured with progressive lengths. The 3-wood is the longest fairway wood and is usually between 43 to 42 inches. The 5-wood (42 to 41 inches) and the 7-wood (41-40 inches) follow. Length specifications will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.




Fairway woods typically come with graphite shafts. They are usually the same weight or slightly heavier than the matching driver shaft. The flex of the shaft can include senior, women’s, regular, stiff and extra stiff.




You will find fairway woods with a variety of features to help customize your club:

  • Many fairway woods, including the new Callaway Paradym, come with the ability to alter the loft with an adjustable hosel for more fine-tuning.
  • Other fairway woods allow you to adjust the face angle. You can switch between open and closed. Altering the face angle can affect ball flight and help players correct swinging flaws, such as slices or hooks.
  • Some come with moveable weight, an adjustability feature also popular in drivers. This allows you to move the center of gravity of the club for optimal trajectory.



For optimal consistency and accuracy, you should have your clubs customized to your body and swing by a certified fitter. The certified fitters at DICK’S Sporting Goods can help you find the right fairway woods and tailor them to benefit your game. They can help match your swing with the optimal loft angle, lie angle, shaft type, shaft length and grip size.


By adding the right fairway woods to your bag, you will be ready to cover more ground as you make your way to the green.

Need help getting fitted? Online Scheduling is available in select markets. Schedule now or call your local store for more details.