Best Fairway Woods 2017

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Best Fairway Woods 2017: We bring you our top 10 fairway woods of 2017 - tried and tested as part of our biggest ever golf club equipment guide, Top Gear.

From the TaylorMade M2 fairway woods to the Ping G and the Callaway GBB Epic, the latest generation of fairway woods come with a variety of shape, loft, spin and adjustability to help perfectly fit your game. 

In our biggest ever equipment test we reviewed hundreds of golf clubs, and when it came to selecting the best fairway woods of 2017, these were our top 10 on the market right now.


TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood - £229

Lofts: 3/15, 3HL/16.5, 5/18, 5HL/21, 7HLL/24
Stock Shaft: TM REAX
Adjustable Hosel: No 

Tech:

Everything from last year's TaylorMade M2 fairway wood has been improved, which is why it was an unquestionable inclusion in to our best fairway woods of 2017. The carbon crown has been reduced to six layers, there's a longer and more flexible speed pocket and a light fluted hosel all to increase ball speed and forgiveness. 

TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood

Verdict: 

The TaylorMade M2 fairway wood is really pimped for distance and forgiveness in the hand of the club golfer. Both amateurs found it a much better fit than the M1, so it's no surprise it delivered the longest carry - a full 12 yards further than the average.

TaylorMade says a 16.5 degree 3-wood suits more golfers than a 15 degree model, so we tested them both. Our data shows a rise of 1.8 degrees in launch angle, 600rpm increase in backspin and a carry distance drop of eight yards by switching to 16.5 degrees (3HL). We'd say eight yards is a decent trade-off, as 16.5 deg is easier to launch off the deck - particularly with a modern ball that spins less. 

Best Fairway Woods 2017: Watch our TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood review below  

Bottom Line: 

One of the very best fairway woods available in 2017 - so it's no surprise Rory McIlroy is using it. The TaylorMade M2 fairway wood it more forgiving and playable for the club golfer over the TaylorMade M1 and it's also £50 cheaper. Spend that £50 on a dozen TP5 golf balls and you've got a great combination.  


Ping G Fairway Wood - £220

Lofts: 3/14, 5/17.5, 7/20.5 plus degrees Stretch
Stock Shaft: Alta 65 High Balance Point
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +/-1 degree

Tech: 

Ping have redesigned the leading edge of the their G fairway’s to get more face under the ball at impact making it easier to get shots airborne. There’s also a Carpenter 455 Steel face to increase ball speeds, and a special treatment increases friction to lower spin. Crown Turbulators improve aerodynamic efficiency.

Ping G Fairway Wood

Verdict:

All three testers agreed the Ping G fairway wood has got a really good profile sat behind the ball on the fairway. The shape gets a lot of face below the ball’s centre and the shallow profile and mid-size head really help inspire confidence, without being too big to put off more confident golfers.

Performance wise as with the rest of Ping’s G range the fairway is really solid. It isn't the longest fairway wood on the market in 2017 but with just 3.9 mph ball speed drop-off between nailed shots and miss-hits its a really stable golf club and will deliver a very consistent performance on the golf course.  

Best Fairway Woods 2017: Watch our Ping G Fairway Wood review below  

Bottom line:

In our book fairway’s need to be really versatile clubs. You primarily need to launch them off the fairway but you’ll also need to fall back on them for tight tee shots, we reckon the Ping G fairway wood can do a very solid job from both situations.


TaylorMade M1 Fairway Wood - £279

Lofts: 3/15, 3HL/17, 5/19
Stock Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage TiNi
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +/-2 degrees

Tech:

The 2017 TaylorMade M1 Fairway Wood has 25g sliding sole weight on the lets you dial in a draw fade or neutral bias to allow you to hit the shot shape you desire.

The M1 also has an open channel speed pocket and a Ni-Co C300 face, which TaylorMade say can deliver more ball speed and forgiveness from larger areas of the face. A six-layer carbon crown saves weight for a lower centre of gravity and there’s new sole and heel shaping all of which TaylorMade say makes the new M1 8 yards longer than the original. 

TaylorMade M1 Fairway Wood

Our verdict:

Take nothing away from the TaylorMade M1 fairway wood, it was an absolutely top performer in our test, so long as it was in the hands of our pro tester. Its head is 25cc smaller (150cc) than the TaylorMade M2 fairway wood and as much as that makes for a super cute little head sat behind the ball, it does means slightly less forgiveness than the M2.

In the hands of our pro tester the M1 produced the joint fastest ball speed average (with the M2 at 158mph) and a carry distance a single yard behind the longest (The TaylorMade M2 fairway wood was 256yards). 

Best Fairway Woods 2017: Watch our TaylorMade M1 Fairway Wood review below  

Bottom line:

The split between our pro and amateur testers on the TaylorMade M1 and TaylorMade M2 fairways highlights the direction lots of club golfers should head in. The M1 is great so long as you’re a confident reasonably proficient golfer and you’re game doesn’t need absolute forgiveness.


Callaway GBB Epic Fairway Wood - £279

Lofts: 3+/14, 3/14, 5/18, H'wood/20.5, 7/21, 9/24 
Stock Shaft: Project X HZRDUS, Fujikura Pro, Diamana M+ Green, Aldila Rogue Max
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
How much loft change: -1/+2 degree

Tech:

The Callaway Epic fairway woods don’t have the same Jailbreak technology as the drivers but Callaway still reckon they’re still significantly better. An ultra-lightweight crown repositions weight to increase forgiveness, and a new 4th generation cup face improves ball speeds while the heads shaping and speed step tech improve aerodynamics.

Callaway Epic Fairway Wood

Our verdict:

Our Top Gear testing has proven how effective Callaway’s “jailbreak” tech is at improving and protecting ball speeds on their Epic drivers. But don’t be fooled into thinking the Epic fairways boast of the same tech…they don’t.

That doesn’t mean though they’re any slouch when it comes to power. Callaway’s crack team of R&D boffins are still figuring out if “jailbreak” works on a fairway wood, but until they have trust us the Epic fairways are already seriously good. A ball speed 2mph quicker and carry distance 10 yards further than our test average in any bodies book is seriously impressive, and right up there with the very best.    

Best Fairway Woods 2017: Watch our Callaway Epic Fairway Wood review below  

Bottom line:

The Callaway Epic fairway woods head at 179cc is a bit bigger (20cc) than the Callaway Epic Sub Zero fairway so we reckon it’s a much friendlier fit for lots of club golfers. If you’re comparing the Epic to the TaylorMade M2 and wondering where the extra cost comes from, it’s all to do with Epic’s adjustable hosel which you don’t get on the M2.


Titleist 917 F2 Fairway Wood - £280

Lofts: 13.5, 15, 16.5, 18, 21
Stock Shaft: Aldila Rogue Max, Fujikura Speeder Pro TS 84, Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 70 / Red 60
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +1.5/ 0.75

Tech:

Titleist’s SureFit sole weight in the Titleist 917 fairway wood allows the center of gravity to be positioned in either a draw, fade or neutral position to tailor shot bias to your game. A forgiving larger profile delivers all-round playability with slightly more spin and higher launch than Titleist’s 917 F3, while an active recoil channel in the sole and variable thickness face insert preserve ball speeds when shots are hit off-centre.

Titleist 917 F2 Fairway Wood  

Our verdict:

We reckon for anyone lucky enough to be a Titleist staff player you’d have no absolutely difficulty working 14 of the brands clubs into your bag, as they’re very solid across the board.

As much as our testers liked the Titleist 917 Fairway Wood and thought it was very easy to launch off the deck, we can’t hide how it’s the most expensive fairway we tested. So it’s only fair to expect the F2 to produce some pretty impressive numbers to justify the price tag.

Carrying shots 5 yards further than the test average from a slower ball speed was a sound performance, but an average of 7 yards less carry than the longest on test, means for us it’s not quite top of the pile of best fairway woods in 2017.  

Best Fairway Woods 2017: Watch our Titleist 917 F2 Fairway Wood review below     

Bottom line:

As you’d expect it's a very solid fairway wood from Titleist. From top to bottom it’s really simple and unfussy which slightly better golfers often prefer. If you’re going to pay this much for a fairway wood make sure you get properly fitted - and Titleist offer an excellent shaft choice at no extra cost. 


Callaway XR 16 Fairway Wood - £189

Lofts: 3+/14, 3/15, 4/17, 5/19, 7/21, 9/23, 11/25 
Stock Shaft: Fujikura Speeder Evolution 565
Adjustable Hosel: No

Tech:

A bigger footprint has allowed Callaway’s engineers to create their highest MOI, low centre of gravity and highest COR (spring face) fairway wood. There’s a thin crown, hotter Hyper Speed Cup Face on the Callaway XR 16 fairway and a more aerodynamic head shape for ultimate ball speed. 

Callaway XR 16 Fairway wood

Our verdict:

Callaway promise aerodynamics with the XR 16 and it certainly delivered by posting the joint highest average club speed and two of the three quickest single club speeds of all the fairway’s tested.

We really liked the laser pattern that Callaway use to highlight the centre of the face, it focuses attention brilliantly behind the ball. The XR 16 isn’t only quick either, with just 3.5mph of drop off between centre and off centre strikes - and it’s got to be said its also very stable and forgiving too.

The head sits really square at address and we reckon the size delivers a great blend of versatility from different situations and good playability thanks to its stability. 

Best Fairway Woods 2017: Watch our Callaway XR 16 Fairway Wood review below  

Bottom line:

All in all the Callaway XR 16 is very good fairway wood, with a face depth that’s just as useful from the tee as it is the fairway. Thanks to the forgiveness you don’t need to be the worlds best ball striker to get a decent performance from such a well-engineered head - which is why it makes our top 10 fairway woods of 2017.


Cobra F7 Fairway Wood - £189

Lofts: 3-4/ 13-16, 5-6/ 17-20, 7-8/ 21-24
Stock Shaft: Fujikura Pro 65
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
How much loft change: 3 degrees (with three draw settings)

Tech:

The Cobra King F7 fairway wood’s Baffler sole rails get deeper or shallower depending on the loft to improve turf interaction from any lie. Two sole weights (20g & 3g) can be interchanged to create either a higher forgiving shot to maximise carry distance or a lower spinning more penetrating flight for maximum power. A 475 stainless steel face insert maximises face flex to increase ball speeds and carry distance.  

Cobra King F7 Fairway Wood  

Our verdict:

Our testers unanimously agreed Cobra’s F7 driver and hybrid offer very strong performance and represent a sound value for money investment this year, but the decision wasn’t quite so straight forward on the matching Cobra F7 fairway though.

Our test pro wasn’t sold on the squashed wide head as he felt its size was a bit clumsy for hitting shots off closely mown turf, and the head had a tendency to fall a little closed at address. BUT both amateurs thought the head was an excellent blend of size and forgiveness, reckoning club golfers would be buoyed by the shallow wide design particularly if hitting from the tee.

Switching the 20g sole weight to the front port made a negligible difference (250rpm of spin) without really affecting the overall launch or carry distance.

Best Fairway Woods 2017: Watch our Cobra F7 Fairway Wood review below  

Bottom line:

We reckon lots of club golfers would welcome the Cobra F7 fairway wood into their bag as for amateurs it’s a really good design - which is why it made our top 10 best fairway woods for 2017.

Baffler rails have been around since the 70’s and whilst we can’t prove they help you get shots airborne, they do mean lots of mass is located very low in the head. With Rickie Fowler having a baffler specifically made to flight shots higher into Augusta’s par 5’s, it says there is at least some proof in the pudding.


Ping G SF Tec Fairway Wood - £220

Lofts: 3/16, 5/19
Stock Shaft: Alta 65 High Balance Point
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +/-1 degree

Tech:

The Ping G SF-TEC fairway wood has all the same aerodynamic performance and carpenter steel face tech as Ping’s G fairway, but it has extra heel weighting, a lighter swingweight and higher lofts to help golfers who typically miss shots to the right. 

Ping G SF TEC Fairway Wood

Our verdict:

The head shape of the Ping G SF-Tec is wider and more squashed than Ping’s standard G fairway wood, which should help playability, and we’ve got to admit our data certainly supports the theory.

We saw a 2mph rise in club speed thanks to the lighter swing weight and a 500rpm increase in spin (which is partly down to the extra loft) which for golfers who struggle to launch fairways off the deck would mean increased carry distance. The head sits really square at address which in our opinion is absolutely key to getting the club into the very golfers hands who really need the game improving tech it delivers. 

Best Fairway Woods 2017: Watch our Ping G SF TEC Fairway Wood review below  

Bottom line:

We love how the Ping G SF-TEC Fairway doesn’t look like a “Game Improvement” club but Ping have stealthily snuck in some great game improving tech. If you struggle staying away from the right side of the golf course they’re well worth your attention.


Mizuno JPX 900 Fairway Wood - £279

Lofts: 3/15, 5/18, 7/21 
Stock Shaft: Fujikura Speeder Evolution 2
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +/-2 degrees

Our verdict:

Just like the Mizuno JPX 900 driver and hybrid the fairway wood has a really inviting head shape that just wants to be hit. We love how like the hybrid the painted crown finishes a couple of millimetres back from the top edge which gives the impression of the face being larger than it actually is.

Some club designers will argue constructing a sliding weight track through the centre of the head limits the clubs MOI potential and we’d have to agree to some extent, as we felt there were more forgiving models involved in our test. A 15g sliding weight is 10g lighter than TaylorMade’s M1 and because the weight track doesn’t allow moving the weight to the very back of the head it meant we saw little difference in launch angle, spin and carry switching the weight between the most forward and back positions.

Best Fairway Woods 2017: Watch our Mizuno JPX 900 Fairway Wood review below  

Bottom line:

The Mizuno JPX 900 is a really nice fairway wood that we reckon will perform at its best in the hands of mid to fast swing speed golfers. For us like the Mizuno JPX 900 driver and hybrid it’s test data was right on the test average. Which means it’s not quite the longest, but in the hands of a serious golfer and with the right set up its workable and versatile from both the fairway and tee.


Srixon Z F65 Fairway Wood - £229

Lofts: 3+/13.5, 3/15, 4/17, 5/19
Stock Shaft: Miyazaki Kaula Mizu 6
Adjustable Hosel: No 

Tech:

A new stepped crown design oon the Srixon Z F65 Fairway Wood lowers CG to promote higher launching shots with lower spin to help maximise carry distance. A new stretch cup face extends onto the sole and crown expanding the size of the sweet spot to promote higher ball speeds from a larger portion of the face.

Srixon F 65 Fairway Wood

Our verdict:

The Srixon Z F65 is a fairway wood that fits nicely into the lower, more penetrating ball flight category. The F65 was one of the lowest spinning fairways we tested so realistically it’s going to be more attractive to stronger golfers, who have no issue launching shots off the deck.

Our test pro liked the Srixon Z F65 fairway wood a lot, like most of Srixon’s clubs this year -even he thought the generous sized head looked more demanding to hit. A carry distance a single yard short of the very longest and a ball speed 1mph slower than the quickest means the F65 is more than capable of competing against the very best, in the right hands.  

Best Fairway Woods 2017: Watch our Srixon Z F65 Fairway Wood review below  

Bottom line:

We reckon the Srixon Z F65 Fairway Wood is more punishing on off centre hits than some of the competition, but we can’t take anything away from its powerful performance. If you only carry one fairway wood in your bag the 17deg 4 wood seems like an excellent option for use from the fairway and tee. 

To view the rest of the fairway woods we've reviewed in 2017, go to our ultimate golf club guide