Best Game-Improvement Fairway Woods of 2015

by | February 19, 2016

Best Game-Improvement Fairway Woods of 2015 (Reviews)

The following is a review of several highly rated golf game-improvement fairway woods from reputable brands such as Titleist, TaylorMade, Callaway, Nike, PING and others, with terrific value per dollar and released for the 2015 golf season or any year prior.

Scroll down to view the comparison chart! 

Below the comparison chart that compares the prices, features, pros and cons, I will list the fairway woods according to my personal rating from highest to lowest and talk about their features, benefits and overall reception.

Any reviews of game-improvement fairway woods listed here that exist on Golfstead will be linked to in the appropriate sections.

Be aware that the fairway woods that follow are game-improvement fairway woods, which typically have larger asymmetrical heads and larger faces. They normally excel in the distance and forgiveness departments, making them ideal for high handicappers, but lack when it comes to feel and shot workability.

If you prefer a more compact head with more workability and better sound/feel, you should look at some available better-player fairway wood options. Reviews and discussions of these other types of fairway woods will eventually be posted to Golfstead if they haven’t been already.

Please note that exact prices depend on shaft material, shaft flex, standard loft and other factors and are subject to change. Specifications for the fairway wood, stock shafts and stock grips can be found in the provided individual reviews or on the manufacturer’s official website.

Want to view larger images of any of these fairway woods?  Click on the pictures in the chart and navigate the listings or the photos on the left-hand side!

FAIRWAY WOODPRICE IN USD (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSESAVERAGE CUSTOMER RATING (ROUNDED TO THE NEAREST TENTH)MY RATING
1. Titleist 915F

Full Review

Titleist 915F Fairway Wood
Around $210 on eBayStrengths:
• a certain improvement over Titleist’s 913F fairway wood
• excellent forgiveness
• distance results are fantastic, particularly when ball flight is optimized
• premium feel (with comfortable mis-hit feedback) and sound is among the best in the industry
• extensive stock shaft selection and loft options allow every golfer to personalize their experience

Weaknesses:
• a bit on the expensive side
5/54.9/5
2. Callaway XR

Callaway XR Fairway Wood
$159.95 + free shipping on AmazonStrengths:
• shallow face design makes the ball easy to get up in the air
• stock Project X LZ shaft is excellent
• great distance and forgiveness
• great sound and feel
• good hit feedback
• a great all-around performer
• awesome value for price

Weaknesses:
• no adjustability
• could have a little more mishit forgiveness
4.7/54.8/5
3. PING G25

PING G25 Fairway Wood
Around $130 on eBayStrengths:
• excellent distance that can compete with the big boys
• excellent forgiveness
• solid strikes feel stable and powerful
• very playable out of both fairway and rough
• accurate and reliable
• easy to get good height on shots
• straight and piercing ball flight

Weaknesses:
• lack of adjustability makes tweaking ball flight difficult
• some golfers would like a more compact head with more workability
4.9/54.8/5
4. Callaway Big Bertha V Series

Callaway Big Bertha V Series Fairway Wood
$99.99 + free shipping on AmazonStrengths:
• easy to hit and get up in the air
• ball flight is very reliable and repeatable
• mishits sacrifice little ball speed and direction
• light weight and compact head makes for great playability out of a variety of lies
• solid consistent feel throughout the swing and at impact
• sharp look

Weaknesses:
• a little too light for some people
• look isn't for everyone
• glare from glossy crown can be distracting at address
• lack of adjustability makes a fitting important for those who want a fine-tuned ball flight
4.9/54.7/5
5. Cobra Fly-Z

Cobra Fly-Z Fairway Wood
$134.41 + free shipping on AmazonStrengths:
• a solid all-around performer
• versatile
• loft adjustability and SmartPad correction is a nice touch
• cool aesthetic
• excellent distance and forgiveness
• easy to get the ball up in the air and land it softly

Weaknesses:
• some find the clubhead to be too heavy for comfort
• some find it to not be particularly playable from the rough or from uneven lies
4.7/54.6/5
6. TaylorMade Aeroburner

TaylorMade Aeroburner Fairway Wood
$129.99 + free shipping on AmazonStrengths:
• easy to hit off the deck
• slight draw bias is good for faders who want a straighter shot
• reduced drag makes for great feel throughout the swing
• a bomber with great direction and distance preservation on off-center hits
• performs well off the tee, off the deck and from trouble lies

Weaknesses:
• too lightweight for some golfers
• no adjustability
• look and colour scheme isn't for everyone
• draw bias at address can take some getting used to
4.6/54.6/5
7. Nike Vapor Speed

Nike Vapor Speed Fairway Wood
Around $140 on eBayStrengths:
• impressive workability for a game-improvement wood
• consistent and reliable shot-to-shot
• playable out of just about any lie you will face
• helps those with low ball flights get the height and distance they're looking for
• distance potential is immense

Weaknesses:
• could be more forgiving on moderate mis-hits
• mis-hits feel a little harsh for some people's tastes
• fluorescent look with swoosh won't appeal to all
4.8/54.6/5

1. Titleist 915F Fairway Wood

Check out Golfstead’s full review of the 915F fairway wood here!

Price and where to buy online new: Around $210 on eBay (see chart for link)Titleist 915F Fairway Wood

Overview/Features: See the “What are the features?” section of the full 915F fairway wood review (link above) for details.

Reception: The 915F fairway woods has very high customer ratings — 5/5 average on Amazon, 4.9/5 on Global Golf (those reviews are here), 5/5 (100% recommended) on Golfsmith, and countless other positive in-depth critic reviews. People who have used the 915F have lauded it for its adjustability, great forgiveness, competitive length off the tee, impressive playability and satisfying impact feel. It’s a fairway metal that is good at everything and has no prominent weaknesses.

My rating: 4.9/5

2. Callaway XR Fairway Wood (2015)

Price and where to buy online new: $159.95 on Amazon (see chart for link)

Overview/Features: The XR fairway wood is designed for “outrageous ball speeds” and superb forgiveness from a large sweet spot. Features and technologies include:

  • a light, thin (36% thinner), next-generation Forged Hyper Speed Face Cup that increases ball speeds all across the face for more distance on both on solid strikes and mishits.Callaway XR Fairway Wood
  • a re-engineered Internal Standing Wave that moves the center of gravity (CG) low and forward (20% lower) and results in lower spin (200 rpm less) and increased ball speeds.
  • a redesigned head shape: a flatter leading edge, higher toe and shallower face than the previous model X2 Hot, designed for players who mostly play from the fairway.

The XR fairway wood has a 173cc asymmetric profile with a matte black crown and raised chevron alignment aid. The Project X LZ 50 Blue Fwy stock shaft, which “produces maximum shaft load during the downswing for greater energy transfer to the ball”, is available in light, regular, stiff and extra-stiff (custom only) flexes. The standard lofts available are 15°, 17°, 19°, 21° (custom), 23° and 25°. Full information on the features and specifications of the fairway wood/stock shafts/stock grips can be found on the Callaway Golf Preowned website.

Reception: The XR fairway wood has average customer ratings of 4.8/5 on Amazon (those customer reviews can be read here), 5/5 on Global Golf, 4.4/5 (89% recommended) on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website, 4.7/5 (91% recommended) on Callaway’s official website and 4.7/5 (93% recommended) on Golfsmith. Reviewers have praised the fairway wood for its great low-spin distance (especially for slower swingers who need some lift in their shots), ease of use, directional forgiveness, crisp impact feel and good feedback. In terms of negatives, it could be more forgiving, and there’s no built-in adjustability for those who aren’t satisfied with their ball flight.

My rating: 4.8/5

3. PING G25 Fairway Wood

Price and where to buy online new: Around $130 on eBay (see chart for link)

Overview/Features: The G25, with its low-profile forgiving design and 17-4 stainless steel head, has a variable-thickness face that creates an efficient energy transfer for greater ball speeds. The PING G25 Fairway Woodmass is concentrated low with a CG that is positioned low and back — this allows for a high launch with increased forgiveness (MOI), especially on shots struck low on the face (a common mis-hit location). The G25 fairway wood has a traditional profile with a charcoal, non-glare matte finish, and it features a large, clear chevron symbol on the crown for easy alignment. The loft/wood selections available are 3 (15°), 4 (16.5°), 5 (18°), and 7 (21°). A full overview of features and technologies, along with specifications of the fairway wood, shafts and grips, can be found on PING’s official website.

Reception: The G25 fairway wood has average customer ratings of 4.9/5 on Global Golf, 4.9/5 (100% recommended) on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website and 4.9/5 (100% recommended) on Golfsmith; it also has numerous positive in-depth critic reviews.

My rating: 4.8/5

4. Callaway Big Bertha V Series Fairway Wood

Price and where to buy online new: $99.99 on Amazon (see chart for link)

Overview/Features: The Big Bertha V Series fairway wood, labelled “our fastest, most friendly Bertha fairway” by Callaway, is designed for maximum distance and forgiveness. Technologies and features include:

  • speed-optimized technology, consisting of an advanced aerodynamic clubhead design and lightweight shaft — this promotes greater clubhead speed and hence greater ball speed and distance.Callaway Big Bertha V Series Fairway Wood
  • hyper-speed face that delivers increased ball speeds at every impact point for more distance and better mishit forgiveness.
  • high-launch design that helps slower swingers and those with low flights get the ball up in the air for much better distance.
  • modern Warbird soleplate with an updated design that allows excellent versatility and added forgiveness.

The Big Bertha V Series fairway wood has a traditional no-frills profile with a glossy black crown and white chevron alignment aid. The head is made of Carpenter 455 and 17-4 stainless steel. The stock shaft is the graphite MRC 2nd Generation Bassara E-Series. The special “Heavenwood” option, with a 20.5° loft and 43-inch shaft, provides a unique combination of distance, versatility and control and is ideal for golfers who struggle to get lower-lofted fairway wood shots up in the air. Full information on the features and specifications of the fairway wood, along with the stock shafts and grips, can be found on the Callaway Golf Preowned website.

Reception: The Big Bertha V Series fairway wood has average customer ratings of 4.9/5 on Amazon, 5/5 on Global Golf, 4.8/5 (96% recommended) on Golfsmith, 5/5 on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website and 4.9/5 (96% recommended) on Callaway’s official website.

My rating: 4.7/5

5. Cobra Fly-Z Fairway Wood

Price and where to buy online new: $134.41 on Amazon (see chart for link)

Overview/Features: The Fly-Z fairway wood is designed with optimal forgiveness in mind. Features and technologies include:

  • Speed Channel Face. The larger and thinner face, made possible thanks to a high-strength steel face insert, allows for more face flex and thus more ball speed. This works in tandem with the specially formulated E9 sweet zone shape which preserves ball speed on mishits.Cobra Fly-Z Fairway Wood
  • MyFly8 with SmartPad technology. The MyFly8 allows for eight different loft/trajectory settings (13°-16° for 3W-4W and 17°-20° for 5W-7W), adjusted using a torque wrench. The SmartPad, which rests on the sole, keeps the clubface square at address no matter which loft setting is active.
  • a low and back center of gravity (CG) that delivers a higher MOI (for increased ball speed preserving mishit forgiveness) and a higher trajectory.

The Fly-Z fairway wood has a rather low-profile look that sets up behind the ball nicely. The 3-4 and 5-7 woods have head volumes of 181.6cc and 158.5cc, respectively. The stock shaft is the graphite Matrix VLCT SP (available in X, S, R, Lite flexes), and the stock grip is the Cobra Lamkin Rel 360. Full specifications and details of the fairway wood/shafts/grips can be found on the official Cobra website.

Reception: At the time of writing, the Fly-Z fairway wood has average customer ratings of 4.4/5 on Amazon, 4.7/5 (100% recommended) on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website and 5/5 (100% recommended) on Golfsmith.

My rating: 4.6/5

6. TaylorMade Aeroburner Fairway Wood

Price and where to buy online new: $129.99 on Amazon (see chart for link)

Overview/Features: The Aeroburner fairway wood, labelled “made of speed: fairway woods that provide driver-like launch conditions” by TaylorMade, is designed to deliver maximum distance with generous forgiveness and a low spin rate. Technologies and features include:

  • an advanced aerodynamic shape with a shallow face, raised center crown and new hosel fin (the “aero hosel”), all designed to reduce drag and thus increase clubhead speed through the ball.TaylorMade Aeroburner Fairway Wood
  • an “open-channel Speed Pocket” that reduces spin and increases face flex, leading to faster ball speeds all across the face and an effectively larger sweet spot. A flexible insert prevents dirt and debris from getting trapped in the Speed Pocket.

The available stock shafts are the Matrix Speed RUL-Z 60 (X, S, R, M), Matrix Ozik White Tie 70X4 (X, S, M) and Matrix Speed RUL-Z 50 (L). The available stock grips are the TM Speed Grip, Lamkin UTX TP and WINN Speed Ladies. Full specifications and details of the fairway wood/shafts/grips can be found on the official TaylorMade website.

Reception: The Aeroburner fairway wood has average customer ratings of 4.5/5 on Amazon, 4.7/5 on Global Golf, 4.4/5 (80% recommended) on Golfsmith, 4.6/5 (100% recommended) on the TaylorMade website and 4.8/5 (97% recommended) on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website.

My rating: 4.6/5

7. Nike Vapor Speed Fairway Wood

Price and where to buy online new: Around $140 on eBay (see chart for link)

Overview/Features: The Vapor Speed fairway wood features a high-speed cavity-back design and blends the following key technologies:

  • FlyBeam structure (stabilizes the chassis for increased ball speed) with a Covert Cavity Back design which redistributes weight towards the heel and toe for increased Nike Vapor Speed Fairway Woodstability/MOI/forgiveness
  • a re-engineered Compression Channel which runs the entire length of the sole and contributes to faster ball speeds at more spots on the face

The FlyBeam structure, Compression Channel and NexCOR face combine to stabilize the chassis and improve ball speeds. The center of gravity (CG) is low — this promotes higher launch for longer carry and softer landings when needed. The available stock shaft, the Mitsubishi Fubuki Z 60, contributes to a higher launch and lower spin. The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Wrap 2G.

Reception: The Vapor Speed fairway wood has average customer ratings of 5/5 on Amazon, 4.5/5 on Global Golf, 4.8/5 on Golfsmith and 5/5 (100% recommended) on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website.

My rating: 4.6/5


Because most of these fairway woods have succeeding models currently on the market, their prices have been cut substantially; this is great for those who want to get in on the action without paying a premium for the latest club.

If you’re a beginner or intermediate golfer and are on a tight budget of $140 or less, something like the Callaway Big Bertha V Series or PING G25 fairway wood would be an excellent choice; although, none of the fairway woods listed are particularly expensive.

Like most things, which fairway wood is best for you depends on your individual priorities, preferences and budget.

You can get all of the fairway woods mentioned above used at even lower prices through .

Best of luck shopping for your game-improvement fairway wood!

Any thoughts or questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll get back to you!


Images courtesy of:  Amazon

10 thoughts on “Best Game-Improvement Fairway Woods of 2015

  1. Maria

    Hi,

    It seems all of the versions you mentioned are highly rated. Sounds like they help your game a lot, especially on the distance shots. It was helpful how you laid out the various brands – I kind of like the price of the Ping compared to its benefits.

    I will definitely refer this to my golf friends as well because they are always looking for that edge.

    Thanks!

    Maria

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Glad you found it helpful, Maria, and yes, be sure to send them over!

      Reply
  2. Eric

    Very helpful comparison of good fairway woods. I like how you have it set up with the chart, the information was quite easy to find. I like the Titleist 915F because it seems like the best for my golfing experience level which happens to be very little. I went to the driving range once and wasn’t able to hit my fairway wood very well. I’m sure with a high quality club like the Titleist 915F I will be able to smoke the golf ball into oblivion, right? Haha. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Thanks for the comment. There’s no guarantees, but I’m sure if you play with the settings on the adjustable hosel you’ll be able to find a ball flight that you really like. No two people will have an identical experience with the 915F (or any club for that matter), but it does on the average give golfers tremendous success which is why it’s at the top of my list.

      Reply
  3. Miles

    Paul, this is a very thorough review of quality fairway woods with lots of powerful information that would be useful in making purchasing decisions. I wonder if it was your intent to include a link to the product in each of your images? Perhaps, it was my error and I did not see the link.

    I will definitely keep this bookmarked for future reference when I look into upgrading my bag. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Thanks Miles. Yes, each of the images in the comparison chart are linked. You should be able to see the links, but if you don’t, just let me know and I’ll look into it.

      Reply
  4. Tina Adams

    Wow, there are some very nice clubs. This has been very helpful for me. I love how much information is provided on each club and that there is a very clear pic of each. I like to golf once in a while and I am a short woman, can these clubs be customized at all, or are they a standard buy?

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Tina,

      Glad you found the article helpful. For most of these fairway wood you can choose between several standard lofts (in this case, 3W, 4W, etc.), shaft models and shafts flexes (in addition to the hand of course). Beyond that (if you want to change the length, for example), you can go to your local golf shop to get custom-fitted or get fitted by the manufacturer. Before doing something like that I would first look to see if the model in question has a women’s variant, which many do, including the ladies Callaway XR.

      Reply
  5. Boogi918

    Not much of a golfer, but I can play. It is very peaceful. I most definitely love being out on the driving range.

    It came to my attention while with some buddies of mine that I have somewhat of a natural golfing talent and I’m not going to lie its so much fun. Now I have to just get myself geared to play the sport full out. The gear and all that. I am gonna be taking a good look at this article as well as most of the other “best” guides that you have posted.

    I can see since the last time I have went to a golf course the clubs look so hi-tech. Good review, very helpful and informative.

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Glad you found this helpful. I appreciate the comment. Wood technology has certainly come a long ways since the old days of hardwood heads. Good luck with your research and do let me know if you need help with anything.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *