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The 6 Best Fairway Woods of 2016

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There are few things more rewarding on a golf course than blasting a tee shot with a 3 wood almost as far as your driver, or giving it all you’ve got and reaching the green from long range. Maybe that’s why we always find ourselves obsessing over fairway woods at GolfWRX, pounding pyramids of balls until we’ve think we’ve found the one. Then it’s off to the course, where we hope the magic happens.

It’s been an awesome summer of golf for our team, and we couldn’t let the calendar switch to September without sharing some of the insight we’ve gathered about this year’s fairway woods. So here it is, our staff’s list of the six best fairway woods of 2016, along with a little insight on why we think they’re exceptional.

Ping G

  • Price: $269.99
  • Lofts: 15, 17.5, 20.5
  • Head Size: 169 cubic centimeters (3 wood)

Ping’s G fairway woods aren’t the longest fairway woods on this list, but what they lack in pure horsepower they make up for in ease of use and consistency. Compared to the G30 fairway woods, Ping gave its new fairway woods a shallower head shape that makes shots easy to elevate, especially from lies that aren’t ideal.

If you’re a high-spin player, you might want to look elsewhere, as you might balloon the G more than others on this list due to its rearward center of gravity (CG) position. But if you’re looking for big forgiveness, or struggling to hit your fairway woods high enough to be effective, the G could be your new secret weapon.

Cobra King F6

  • Price: $239 (now $179)
  • Lofts: 3-4 wood (13-16 degrees), 5-6 wood (17-20 degrees), 7-8 wood (21-24 degrees)
  • Head Size: 181 cubic centimeters (3 wood)

On GolfWRX, the majority of the buzz about Cobra clubs revolves around Rickie Fowler’s blades and the company’s better-player drivers. It’s well deserved, but Cobra doesn’t get enough credit for the exceptional clubs it makes for mid-to-high handicappers.

The King F6 fairway wood is one of those clubs. It measures a big 181cc, which makes it a great off-the-tee option. It’s also impressively forgiving, and great at killing the spin that causes faders and slicers to lose distance. Cobra’s three-degree adjustable hosel and two swappable sole weights (one heavy, one light) also give golfers the ability to tweak loft, lie angle and CG position to dial in the best ball flight for their game.

TaylorMade M1

  • Price: $299.99
  • Lofts: 15, 17, 19
  • Head Size: 150 cubic centimeters

In an apples-to-apples test, shots hit with TaylorMade’s M1 fairway woods aren’t going finish as far down the range as ones hit with the company’s M2 fairway woods. The M1 can do several things the M2 fairway woods can’t, however, which could make it a better option for many golfers — particularly gear heads with special needs.

The M1 is arguably golf’s most adjustable fairway wood, with a Front Track that houses two slidable 15-gram weights. The weights allow golfers to add more draw or fade bias to the club, or make the club slightly more consistent by splitting the weights. And unlike the M2, M1 fairway woods also have an adjustable hosel, which allows golfers to adjust the loft as low as 13 degrees (in the 15-degree head), as well as fine tune lie and face angle.

While both fairway woods employ TaylorMade’s Carbon Composite Crown to move weight lower in the club head, the M1 has a slightly smaller club head (150cc) that will appeal to better players.

Callaway XR 16 Pro

  • Price: $249.99
  • Lofts: 14, 16, 18
  • Head Size: 150 cubic centimeters (3 wood)

No fairway wood legacy is currently stronger in the golf equipment world than Callaway’s. The company has been a leader in fairway wood performance since it launched its X Hot fairway woods with Face Cup technology in 2013.

The XR 16 Pro is the lowest-spinning Callaway fairway wood of 2016, merging its hottest-yet Face Cup construction with an aerodynamic club shape that offers excellent versatility from a variety of lies. While the XR 16 Pro targets a relatively small group of golfers — those who generally hit the center of the club face and enjoy a little extra workability — it will be much appreciated by members of that very picky (and very vocal) crowd.

Callaway XR 16

  • Price: $249.99
  • Lofts: 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25
  • Head Size: 175 cubic centimeters (3 wood)

Callaway’s XR 16 fairway wood can fit a wide variety of golfers thanks to its ability to create highly efficient launch conditions regardless of where a golfer contacts shots on the face. So whether you’re trying to win The Masters (like Danny Willett did with a pair of XR 16 fairway woods) or just win a few bucks off your buddies, the XR 16 can likely help your game.

Compared to the XR 16 Pro, the XR 16 is larger, more forgiving and slightly higher-spinning, although golfers will likely see more consistent spin rates and higher average ball speeds from the XR 16 due to its higher moment of inertia (MOI). Like the XR Pro 16, it also adds Callaway’s latest Face Cup, aerodynamic features, and a smart sole design that plays well in light rough.

TaylorMade M2

  • Price: $249.99
  • Lofts: 15, 16.5, 18, 21, 24
  • Head Size: 156 cubic centimeters (3 wood)

Head to head, there may be no longer fairway wood on the market than TaylorMade’s M2, which has the dual benefit of offering the most distance and best forgiveness of TaylorMade’s current line of fairway woods.

The trick to the M2 is the combination of its Carbon Composite Crown, which pushes weight low and deep in the club head, along with its revamped Speed Pocket — a slot in the sole of the club that allows the face to flex more for a higher launch angle, reduced spin and increased consistency on off-center hits.

If you’re looking to hit a fairway wood as far as humanly possible, a properly fit M2 is likely the way to go.

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52 Comments

52 Comments

  1. Eye4golf

    Aug 22, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    I purchased a TM Jetspeed prototype head and put it on a Xcaliber fairway shaft, the low comp ball flys of the face. Nothing better all total under $100. I always like the component custom route, most OEM shafts are not high quality

  2. Jack Conger PGA Professional

    Aug 20, 2016 at 5:07 am

    Comment to Curt. It is interesting that I did not read 1 comment till after I posted my. Read yours, then starting reading others. HUM!! Maybe there is something to this club. Others feel the same way. Oh, by the way. I pay half price to use this club. Other companies would give me theirs for Free. Think about that.

  3. Jack Conger PGA Professional

    Aug 20, 2016 at 5:02 am

    I have playing with a Tour Edge Exoctic fairway wood since late 2004. Change this model every 2 to 3 years. This fairway wood by far is the best in the busneiss. Nothing out distances it. Must and Has to be listed as a Top fairway wood. We all know why the others are listed. Exoctics is the Best. Not listed is a crime.

  4. nnnnnnnnnnnn

    Aug 20, 2016 at 3:46 am

    Wow! What a surprise! 2 Taylormade, and 2 Callaway at the top. Well done boys, you’ve earned your bunce yet again.

  5. Curt

    Aug 19, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Is it just me or does it seem like Tour Edge employees are dropping anonymous comments promoting their fw’s???

    • Geoff

      Aug 19, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      and 911 was a hoax and Kennedy was assassinated by the CIA right???

    • Resale

      Aug 22, 2016 at 12:14 am

      Tour Edge Exotics are the worst clubs around. Expensive and zero real value (and believe me you will want to sell it right after your purchase).

      • Tony Lynam

        Aug 22, 2016 at 3:28 pm

        I have the CB2 still in my bag, three other 3 woods could not unseat it.

  6. Dave

    Aug 19, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Where’s my Nike,oh ya forgot sure glad I have one .

  7. Sometimes a Smizzle

    Aug 19, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Still rocking my 3 deep. I love this thing. And it goes farther then any of these. Less forgiving because it travels farther.

  8. Clay

    Aug 19, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    The m2 looks too closed at address, sounds like crap, feels like crap. If you need reviews of additional clubs let me know.

  9. DJ

    Aug 19, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Callaway Alpha 816 diamana white board

  10. Jim Carey

    Aug 19, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Exotics are the longest fairway woods I have ever used but are hard to turn left or right just go very straight. Problem sometimes yes 80% of the time no.

    • Dale Doback

      Aug 19, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      did you upgrade the shaft in your exotic fairway because i just tested the new ex9 long looking for a new fairway and wasn’t even close to the longest. I didn’t know what to expect from the ex9 tour but i figured the ex9 long would be a great fairway from the tee box. I was disappointed to find out it went the same distance as the Titleist 915F with much less control than the Titleist which is known for control but surprisingly long on distance. Callaway 816 Alpha fairway and the M2 both destroyed the Exotic line by 10 yards so I am going with the 816 with equally high ball speeds and an optimally lower spin rate. I used to play exotics exclusively but my last was the XCG6. Back in the day Tour Edge was longer because they had much faster ball speeds but that is not the case anymore. High backspin rates seem to be Tour Edges Kryptonite.

      • Josh

        Aug 19, 2016 at 3:25 pm

        Exotics XCG6 is the TRUTH! longest “old” 3 wood out there (then again I haven’t hit very many of the others, but I hit mine longer than the F6 3 wood I tried) and very straight.

        • Joey

          Aug 19, 2016 at 4:21 pm

          The fastest penetration off a face on record I was told from a 2ndswing store person was from a CB2. True story.

        • Dale Doback

          Aug 22, 2016 at 3:36 pm

          I guess I shouldn’t have made the claim that Exotics are not the longest fairway woods. My point is that they no longer have a higher ball speed advantage. when the original RBZ came out I tested it against the XCG6 which had a 6 mph faster ball speed. I repeated the test for a month before purchasing the XCG6 just to make sure since the RBZ was creating a lot of buzz. However, when the SLDR fairway came out I was surprised that it matched my XCG6 in distance even though the SLDR alway had ball speeds about 2 to 3 mph slower than the XCG6. When the Callaway XHOT was introduced it was consistently longer than the XCG6 due to lower spin and ball speeds that were only 1 to 2 mph slower. Today in my testing the Titleist 915, King LTD, M2, and 816 Alpha all reached the same ball speed as the new Exotic line. The distance difference today is going to come not from getting an Exotic head made from more expensive materials but from optimizing what the ball is doing from launch angle and spin rates. While the Callaway and Titleist fairways had better stock shafts than the Exotics I want to point out that the M2 destroyed Exotic line with a terrible cheap shaft that doesn’t come close to fitting me and produced horrible high spin numbers in the M2 driver when i tested it. The good news is that golfers don’t have to worry as much about one head design performing better than another but worry more about the fitting process and pick a head based on aesthetics.

    • Tony Lynam

      Aug 22, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Agree!

  11. Magnito

    Aug 19, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Was the Cobra King LTD in the test?

    • Greg

      Aug 19, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      I didn’t see it. Having hit the king Ltd 3 wood for most of year…and past most people’s drivers, it should be.

  12. mr b

    Aug 19, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    what happened to the mini driver/larger wood craze from a couple of years back?

    • Jim

      Aug 19, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      Same as ALL TM’s “Brilliant” & “no seriously – we really mean it this time – BEST WE’VE EVER MADE” stuff. On sale @ Dick’s for 179.99…

      Concept is sound for certain folks thay struggle w/driver – or for a long hitter playing a shorter / tighter course

  13. Golfing Engineer

    Aug 19, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Marketing Hype Article, with no substance. The golf club articles (and the vast majority of club testing) written today are simply regurgitating a company’s marketing effort.

    Real testing is shown with raw data, not charts, showing launch angles, spin rates, ball speeds for on center and off center hits. We will evaluate the data. Charts showing yardage gains without units shown on the graph are deceptive. Plus actual lofts used must be measured, not just what is printed on the sole. Ball speeds increase or decrease with loft changes. Ball speeds can only be compared for clubs with the same measured loft, not printed loft or club number on the sole.

    Consumers beware: 99% of the equipment articles are hype, not an objective maningful evaluation.

    • golfclubaddict

      Aug 19, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      The M2 fairway is far from hype. I hit most fairways every year. My previous favorites were the Tour Edge Exotics XCG-7 and XCG-7 Beta. M2 is just as long and more accurate.

      • Philip

        Aug 19, 2016 at 1:45 pm

        But are you using the same shaft in each? If not, one has to wonder how much of an improvement is related to the different club and how much is related to the different shaft. OEMs are not stupid, they get around the fact that there is likely not much of a measurable change year-to-year for the majority of golfers by constantly switching the stock shaft, which the majority of people go with.

    • Joe S

      Aug 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      YES! Totally agree. Data would very nice and I bet…would get more ‘clicks’.

    • Launch monitor

      Aug 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Golf engineering, you opinion is spot on about raw data etc…..there is one small problem though. That sort of information and testing is meaningless the ability of 98% of the golfers out there playing. These very same golfers do not have the attention span nor intellect to dive down into the different of 16.7 launch angle versus 19.9. All of these companies have done a tremendous job in creating a product for both weekend players and amateurs alike. These players are not buying a fairway would every year, more like 4-5 years and the techno nonsense that you subcribe to is meaningless dribble for 99% of the players out there. Start your own techno site and welcome the cricket sounds to it. WRX in one page, has done a great job pointing the consumer at 6 clubs it feels warrants a look at based upon its own testing. Im sure what is also a variable in that testing is look, sound and feel, those 3 alone instill confidence in the golfer not only to buy, but also to play with.

  14. Tim Ko

    Aug 19, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Shocked to not see Exotics on this list, I’m guessing Exotics didn’t send any to test?? Surprised the KING isn’t listed either

  15. John D.

    Aug 19, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I agree the m2 is a great club but how in the world is the CB PRO F2 or EX9 LONG 3 not on here….Exotics is still king of the fairway wood market in terms of performance because they are the only ones using Titanium Cup Faces! Cally uses steel, Ti>Steel.

    • Dale Doback

      Aug 22, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Tom Wishon has had a max COR steel fairway design for over three years. It doesn’t matter anymore if the face is steel or titanium as far as ball speed is concerned because OEMS are getting the max out of steel, the only advantage to titanium is its higher tinsel strength which can be made lighter to save weight so that discretionary weight can be used else where in the head.

  16. Tom

    Aug 19, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Exotics fairways outperform anything in 70% of fits I do.. Amazing that they aren’t on this list..

  17. John Krug

    Aug 19, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Why bother with fairway woods when hybrids are much easier to hit?

    • Dlygrisse

      Aug 19, 2016 at 11:45 am

      That’s your opinion, I have the opposite. Like fairways much more than hybrids. Give me a 7 wood all day long.

    • kolfpro

      Aug 19, 2016 at 11:47 am

      … because there are many players that don’t have problems with fairway woods.

      • John Krug

        Aug 20, 2016 at 7:52 am

        It depends on your age and strength. Apart from a 3 wood there is no reason for fairway woods. Probably 90 % of golfers can’t hit a 3 wood.

        • nigel butler

          Aug 26, 2016 at 7:14 pm

          um , rather rude of you.
          most golfers probably do not understand what happens when they swing a club but enjoy the crazzy game.
          well i never use hybrids as when compared to woods ping woods that is i prefer woods anyday..
          why use a hubrid when a three iron or five wood will do it..

          • Billy

            Sep 16, 2016 at 5:30 am

            Try the Ping G25 23 degree hybrid. A couple of years ago I wore out ebay buying every hybrid known to man until I found the G25. They all hooked off the course. I can draw, fade, CRUSH this thing. I call it The Hammer. For some reason the 23 is the sweet spot. I tried the 17 and it just wouldn’t fly as well.

    • birdy

      Aug 19, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      why bother hitting a 3 iron when a 7 iron is easier to hit

      • Christosterone

        Aug 19, 2016 at 3:19 pm

        Lol well played

      • Jim

        Aug 19, 2016 at 4:06 pm

        7 wood is a great club…unless you’re area’s predominantly flat n windy. Stronger players can blast a 3 hybrid out of rough, but many golfers get better results cutting through it with the extra loft in the 7, and off the fway, the lower lofted hybrids don’t land as soft on greens.

        I carried a Big Bertha 1 iron & a Cobra 7 wd with
        XX Penley shaf from 96-2000. 1 iron went 250-270, 7 wd went 225 from rough -240 from fway. No way I could hit my TZoid pro 4 iron 225 from rough! Didn’t carry 3 wd for years…

      • John Krug

        Aug 21, 2016 at 7:11 pm

        That is as logical as saying why not use a putter instead of a driver

    • Pvisser

      Aug 19, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      I hear ya, good or bad lie, a hybrid always works. Woods need to sweep the ball of grass so require a soft (er) lie. Read a nice article a while back with graphs and tables showing that on average woods go farther but with more dispersion than hybrids. Off the tee and soft lie I much prefer my 3w though.

  18. John Duval

    Aug 19, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Disappointing, but predictable results coming from WRX. Corporate darlings Taylor Made and Callaway filling the top 4 spots. Any one of the current model year Exotics fairways outperform all of these. Especially the CB Pro f2.

    • Gary Sohosky

      Aug 19, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Exotics are the best by far. I’ve never hit anything that goes fartherr.

  19. Christosterone

    Aug 19, 2016 at 10:20 am

    “the best fairway woods of 2016”

    Stensons….

    • Great Comment

      Aug 19, 2016 at 11:35 am

      +1

    • mhendon

      Aug 19, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      Well of course that’s what happens when you make a deal with the Diablo!

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Equipment

Zozo Championship Tour Truck Report: Phil’s new driver and 2-wood, Tiger testing a new 3-wood

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Slower week than most at Sherwood but still a couple of nuggets—and who doesn’t love a Tiger/Phil equipment update?

Callaway

Phil Mickelson: After his (two drivers in the bag) win on the PGA Tour Champions, Lefty went full gearhead and continued to test not only the new Apex MB ’21 irons (6-PW) but also put a 47.5-inch Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero in the bag. The (low-lofted) 9-degree head, set now at 8 degrees (swing weight at D7) will be equipped with either a Project X HZURDUS Smoke Green 60 6.5 or a KBS TD 60G C5 TX.

In addition, Phil is bringing back the 2-wood having put a 43.5-inch, 12.5-degree “old school” X Hot 3 Deep. The idea with both is distance gain (non-shocker) for example on Tour there are a number of bunkers, forced carries at the 300+ clip and to be able to fly by those on command is a huge advantage. Dispersion will suffer a bit in this scenario, but that’s what the 2-wood is for. The new driver set up got Phil about 8 mph of additional ball speed and on avg a 310 carry. The 2 wood is to fill the larger gap created by the driver—this new fairway metal gives Phil about 280-285 carry.

Ping 

Tony Finau: Ping G425 LST (9 @7.5 Big-) with Diamana D+ 70TX tipped 1.5

Andrew Landry: Ping G425 LST (9 @8.75, flat) with Fujikura Ventus Blue 6X (46 Inches)

Joaquin Niemann: New Ping G425 7-wood (20.5 @20) in the bag with Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8X (20.5, 40.5 inches).

Titleist

Slow week, no major updates to report beyond Aaron Dill making 9,000 wedges for the players in early Augusta prep…

TaylorMade

Tiger Woods is testing a SIM Ti 3-wood with a Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana D+ 70 TX shaft. The 15-degree 3-wood is set at 14.25 and is on the upright setting. (42.5, D4, Golf Pride BCT 58R). Won’t know if it goes in play until tomorrow tee off…

 

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Whats in the Bag

Tiger Woods WITB 2020 Zozo Championship (new 3-wood?)

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  • We spotted Woods with a TaylorMade SIM 3-wood in his bag, along with the TaylorMade M5 he’s had in play for more than two years. We’re told it will be a game-time decision as to which one he puts in play.

Driver: TaylorMade SIM (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 60 TX

tiger woods witb

3-wood: TaylorMade M5 (15  @14.25 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Titanium (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 @18.25 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX

Irons: TaylorMade P7TW (3-PW)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 TW/MT Grind (56-12, 60-11)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron GSS Newport 2
Grip: Lamkin Deep-Etched cord

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord 58R

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B XS

 

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Equipment

GolfWRX Classifieds (10/21/20): Cameron cover, Ping Hoofer tour bag, SIM Rocket 3-wood

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Tourseeking – Rare Cameron Maiden America cover

There are rare, and then there are really rare covers and this falls squarely in the really rare category. It’s priced according but would make a great addition to any collection.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Rare Cameron cover

Member slalomdude – Ping Hoofer Tour bag

Were used to seeing rare and hard to find, but it’s not often Ping releases something that captures attention like this. The bag is new with tags and is being offered at a great deal!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Hoofer Tour 

Member awtryau89 – TaylorMade SIM Rocket 3-wood

This is truly one of the fastest little “rocket ship” fairway woods on the market, and this is your chance to get your hands on one for a great deal with a Graphite Design BB.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Rocket 3 wood 

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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