Best Game-Improvement Fairway Woods of 2015 (Updated)

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.

The great thing about these fairway woods is that because of their age, you can typically find them at very low prices, even in new condition.

Considerations

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.

What are game-improvement fairway woods?

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.

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.


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
Less than $90 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
Around $75 on eBayStrengths:
• 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
Less than $60 on eBay (used)Strengths:
• 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
Less than $100 on eBayStrengths:
• 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
$80 or less on eBay with free shipping optionsStrengths:
• 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
Around $120 on eBay (new)Strengths:
• 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
$130 or less 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

Titleist 915F Fairway Wood

Prices & Where To Buy Online

You can get the Titleist 915F for less than $90 on eBay.

Overview & Features

See the relevant section in my full 915F fairway wood review for details.

Ratings

The 915F fairway wood 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)

Callaway XR Fairway Wood

Prices & Where To Buy Online

Right now, the 2015 XR is readily available on eBay for roughly $75. Also check out the stock on CGPO.

Overview & Features

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

Forged Hyper Speed Face Cup

This next-generation Face Cup is light, 36% thinner, and increases ball speeds all across the face for more distance on both on solid strikes and mishits.

Internal Standing Wave

A re-engineered Internal Standing Wave moves the center of gravity (CG) low and forward (20% lower) and results in lower spin (200 rpm less) and increased ball speeds.

Redesigned Head Shape

A flatter leading edge, higher toe and shallower face than the previous model X2 Hot is 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.

Stock Info

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 here.

Ratings

The XR fairway wood has average customer ratings of 4.8/5 on Amazon, 4.9/5 on Global Golf, 4.4/5 (89% recommended) on the DSG website, 4.7/5 (97% recommended) on Callaway Golf Pre-Owned, 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

PING G25 Fairway Wood

Prices & Where To Buy Online

You can get the G25 very cheap on eBay (less than $60). Also check the stock on Global Golf.

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 mass 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.

Stock Info

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.

Ratings

The G25 fairway wood has average customer ratings of 4.9/5 on Global Golf, 4.9/5 (100% recommended) on the DSG 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

Callaway Big Bertha V Series Fairway Wood

Prices & Where To Buy Online

You can get the Big Bertha V Series wood for less than $100 on eBay.

Overview & Features

The Big Bertha V Series fairway wood, labelled “our fastest, most friendly Bertha fairway wood” by Callaway, is designed for maximum distance and forgiveness.

Technologies and features include:

Speed-Optimized Technology

This consists of an advanced aerodynamic clubhead design and lightweight shaft, which promotes greater clubhead speed and hence greater ball speed and distance.

Hyper-Speed Face

This delivers increased ball speeds at every impact point for more distance and better mishit forgiveness.

High-Launch Design

This helps slower swingers and those with low flights get the ball up in the air for much better distance.

Modern Warbird Soleplate

The soleplate has an updated design that allows for excellent versatility and added forgiveness.

Stock Info

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 this page.

Ratings

The Big Bertha V Series fairway wood has average customer ratings of 4.9/5 on Amazon, 4.9/5 on Global Golf, 4.8/5 (96% recommended) on Golfsmith, 5/5 on the DSG website, and 4.9/5 (96% recommended) on Callaway Golf Pre-Owned.

My rating: 4.7/5


5. Cobra Fly-Z Fairway Wood

Cobra Fly-Z Fairway Wood

Prices & Where To Buy Online

You can typically get the Fly-Z for less than $80 on eBay. The prices have come down quite a bit.

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.

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.

Low & Back CG

A low and back center of gravity 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.

Stock Info

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 Cobra website.

Ratings

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 DSG website and 4.8/5 on Global Golf.

My rating: 4.6/5


6. TaylorMade Aeroburner Fairway Wood

TaylorMade Aeroburner Fairway Wood

Prices & Where To Buy Online

You can get the Aeroburner fairway wood for around $120 (new) on eBay, and even cheaper on Global Golf.

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:

Drag-Reducing Design

An advanced aerodynamic shape with a shallow face, raised center crown and new hosel fin (the “aero hosel”) are all designed to reduce drag and thus increase clubhead speed through the ball.

Speed Pocket

An “open-channel Speed Pocket” 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.

Stock Info

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.

Ratings

The Aeroburner fairway wood has average customer ratings of 4.5/5 on Amazon, 4.8/5 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 DSG website.

My rating: 4.6/5


7. Nike Vapor Speed Fairway Wood

Nike Vapor Speed Fairway Wood

Prices & Where To Buy Online

You can get the Vapor Speed fairway wood for $100 or less on eBay, depending on the condition and other factors.

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 stability/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.

Stock Info

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.

Ratings

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


Conclusion

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 $80 or less, something like the PING G25 fairway wood would be an excellent choice. However, none of the fairway woods listed are expensive now.

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

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


Have you tried any of these game-improvement fairway woods? Are you looking for an older and cheaper model? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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