Choosing the right fairway wood is an important decision for any golfer, but perhaps even more so for senior golfers. As we age, inevitably the swing speed begins to naturally slow down.
Fairway woods can be some of the most difficult clubs to hit in your bag. This is especially true from the fairway, where good clubhead speed is required to launch the ball from the turf.
Luckily, manufacturers are using modern technology to develop fairway woods with attributes specifically designed to help every type of golfer. Senior golfers typically need to look for fairway woods with high launch, lighter club heads and maximum forgiveness.
In this article we will review the best fairway woods for senior golfers in 2021.
Table of Contents
- 1. Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo
- 2. Callaway Big Bertha B21
- 3. TaylorMade SIM2 Max
- 4. PING G425 MAX
- 5. Callaway Epic Max
- 6. Cobra Radspeed
- 7. Wilson Staff D9
- What should senior golfers look for in a fairway wood?
1. Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo
Distance: 90 | Feel: 90 | Forgiveness: 95 | Look: 90
Best for a high launching ball flight
The Launcher HB Turbo is one of the easiest launching fairway woods available, which makes it ideal for senior golfers that are lacking some swing speed. This has been made possible, in part, thanks to the HiBore Crown, which is designed to move the CG position lower in the clubhead. The lower CG position optimises the launch angle and adds forgiveness. A Turbocharged Cup Face with variable thickness increased the COR value over the entire clubface for maximum ball speeds even on mishits.
An ultralight hosel sacrifices adjustability in favor of redistributing weight for improved forgiveness. The stock shaft for the Launcher HB Turbo is a lightweight counterbalanced Miyazaki C. Kua. This shaft allows for increased clubhead weight for improved MOI and better clubhead and ball speed.
2. Callaway Big Bertha B21
Distance: 95 | Feel: 90 | Forgiveness: 95 | Look: 90
Best for seniors struggling with a slice
Big Bertha is perhaps a Callaway range better known for its classic big hitting and forgiving drivers in years gone by. The B21 fairway woods channel some of that inspiration, but use the latest Callaway technology. An oversized Bertha shape combined with progressive lengths and a shallower clubface ensures a high launching and easy to hit profile. A noticeable offset has been added to promote a drawing ball flight for greater distance, whilst also helping senior golfers combat the dreaded slice.
Callaway has recently become renowned for its A.I. designed technology and the Big Bertha B21 features the latest Flash Face SS21. This increases ball speeds across the face, allowing for improved distance retention even on mishits. Jailbreak bars are also featured to help promote speed and stability through the golf ball.
3. TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Distance: 95 | Feel: 95 | Forgiveness: 95 | Look: 100
Best for a range of handicaps
TaylorMade had one of the most successful and popular fairway woods of 2020 with the SIM Max. They have now upgraded this model with a slight shift in CG placement for higher MOI, creating better launch properties and improved forgiveness. The clubhead size has also increased slightly to 190cc, which should help inspire more confidence over the ball. These changes from the SIM Max are fairly marginal, however TaylorMade have kept the retail price exactly the same.
The reintroduced V Steel design improves turf interaction, whilst the renowned Twist Face technology ensures mishits are not overly punished. Thru-Slot Speed Pocket technology still remains from previous models, which maintains high ball speeds across the clubface. TaylorMade SIM2 models are likely to remain one of the most popular fairway woods of 2021 and it is easy to see why. They are long, forgiving, consistent and they look great as well.
4. PING G425 MAX
Distance: 90 | Feel: 90 | Forgiveness: 100 | Look: 95
Best for forgiveness on mishits
PING are well known for producing forgiving golf clubs, whilst retaining many of the characteristics favored by lower handicappers as well. The G425 MAX fairway wood is another club that fits this mould. This is possibly the most forgiving fairway wood on the market in 2021, but could equally find itself in the bag of Tour Staff players.
An immediately noticeable change from the previous G410 models is the removal of the turbulators. This creates a much cleaner appearance that is likely to appeal to far more golfers. They have also added a 3 dot alignment aid on the crown to help for easy set-up over the ball. A Trajectory Tuning 2.0 system also offers easy adjustability with 8 different set-ups to choose between.
A new maraging steel Facewrap clubface has significantly improved ball speed from previous PING models. Also new is Spinsistency, a word PING uses to describe the consistent spin performance across the entire clubface. This new technology combines to produce a fairway wood that travels further and launches higher. Tungsten sole weighting is used to increase the MOI to give the renowned PING forgiveness.
5. Callaway Epic Max
Distance: 95 | Feel: 95 | Forgiveness: 95 | Look: 100
Best overall fairway wood for senior golfers
Callaway have included all their ball speed enhancing technology in the Epic Max, but within an oversized clubhead for high launching forgiveness. Jailbreak Velocity Blades and Flash Face SS21 are both A.I. designed for producing high ball speeds across the clubface. New Jailbreak Blades allow more flexion in the face cup, which results in more stability and distance regardless of where you strike the ball. Callaway have updated their Flash Face technology to add even more consistency of spin and speed.
The larger clubhead also has a shallow face to promote an easy launch, meaning the Epic Max is a fairway wood that should inspire any golfer with confidence. Two tunable sole weights allow you to be able to either prioritise forgiveness or lower spin. This is a useful feature for adjusting the ball flight depending on your preference or conditions. Overall, the Epic Max is a fairway wood that should appeal to every type of senior golfer.
6. Cobra Radspeed
Distance: 100 | Feel: 95 | Forgiveness: 90 | Look: 95
Best for ball speed and distance
Cobra have designed the new Radspeed range to maximize distance, whilst maintaining high levels of forgiveness. They have definitely succeeded as the Radspeed is one of the longest fairway woods available on the market. Front-based Radial Weighting keeps the spin rate low, whilst an optimal CG placement retains high launching forgiveness.
The Radspeed features a CNC milled infinity edge clubface designed to retain ball speeds on a larger area. Hollow Split Rails are designed to increase sole flexion for improved ball speeds, whilst also improving turf interaction for greater versatility. A thinner carbon fiber has been used to create a lightweight and flexible crown for further improved ball speeds.
It is clear to see the emphasis Cobra have placed on ball speed, but it is still easy to launch and has plenty of forgiveness to appeal to senior golfers looking to add a few extra yards. There are four different models to choose from, but seniors struggling with a slice should try out the Radspeed Draw.
7. Wilson Staff D9
Distance: 90 | Feel: 95 | Forgiveness: 95 | Look: 90
Best value for money
Wilson might not be the most fashionable manufacturer on this list, but their golf clubs are often incredibly underrated. The D9 fairway woods produce performance to rival the other models on this list and they are excellent for slower swing speeds, perfect for senior golfers. At a lower price than any other fairway woods on this list, it represents exceptional value.
The D9 is the first time Wilson has used Variable Face Technology. This is designed to maintain high ball speeds and a high ball flight even on off-centre strikes. The clubhead itself has been carefully shaped and weighted to maximize clubhead and ball speed. A milled clubface using Carpenter Custom 455 steel, which has also been used by Titleist, ensures a smooth feel and further enhanced ball speed.
What should senior golfers look for in a fairway wood?
Manufacturers have combined different design traits and modern technology to build fairwood woods specifically designed to suit certain types of golfers.
Senior golfers stereotypically have slower swing speeds. Therefore, they should look for lightweight fairway woods, with slightly more offset and a higher launch angle loft. These clubs are likely to improve clubhead speed, whilst adding more forgiveness for mishits.
Higher handicap senior golfers should look for similar traits as mentioned above, whilst prioritising maximum forgiveness. Usually mishitting the golf ball more regularly, high handicappers need a larger clubhead with low CG placement to help create additional support for off-centre strikes.
Senior golfers that have a lower handicap can sacrifice some forgiveness in order to improve the workability and control of the fairway wood. Even low handicap seniors tend to have relatively slow swing speeds though, so retaining higher launching qualities is important.
There are three different options of clubhead material currently being used in modern fairways woods. Each has positives and negatives, so the choice is largely personal preference.
The most common choice for manufacturing fairway woods. Steel is a strong and forgiving metal that is comparatively inexpensive.
Mainly used with drivers and on the clubfaces of fairway woods and hybrid, titanium is both lightweight and durable. However, some manufacturers have now started experimenting with using Titanium to make fairways woods. TaylorMade and Mizuno have both released 2021 models made from titanium that have achieved positive reviews from golfers. A more expensive material, these fairway woods are also some of the most expensive on the market.
Fairway wood heads that use a combination of materials are referred to as composite. In addition to steel and titanium, carbon and tungsten are commonly used. Tungsten will be used to add weight to specific areas of the clubhead to alter the CG placement. Carbon is a lighter material than steel and is used to save weight, commonly found on the crown.
What loft should you choose?
Choosing the appropriate loft is an important consideration before buying your new fairway wood. It is not quite as simple as just buying a 3 or 5 wood anymore. Not all manufacturers make fairway woods with the same lofts and some have specific high-lofted options. Some fairway woods will come with the ability to adjust the loft on the hosel, so it is worth considering if you want this option.
You should also know the average yardages of all your current clubs to help decide how far you want to hit your fairway wood. Some golfers choose to forego a 3 wood altogether in favour of an easier to hit 5 wood. However, you will not want to choose a 5 wood if the yardage overlaps with a strong (18 degree) hybrid or driving iron.
The best way to find out what loft to choose is by trying out a few different lofts of the same club. You can then get a clear idea of what will work best for you.
How many fairway woods should I have?
This will depend on how well you hit a fairway wood in comparison to a hybrid.
It is more common for senior golfers to favor a hybrid. Suited to a steeper, iron-like swing, hybrids are more forgiving, versatile and easier to hit from the ground. This is especially true for slower swing speeds. If this sounds like you, then one fairway wood between 15-17 degrees is likely to be the best option. You can then replace long irons with multiple hybrids.
This will not necessarily be correct of all senior golfers though. Golfers with a shallower approach to the golf ball will typically prefer a fairway wood. If this is you, then you can get multiple fairway woods to replace your longer irons. The Callaway Epic Max is available all the way down to an 11 wood.
What shaft should I get?
Golfers often take the shaft for granted, but it plays an important role in the overall performance of the golf club. Fairways woods typically come with a graphite shaft. Beyond that, you need to ensure you know what flexibility, weight, length and kick point will suit your swing. Ideally you will get a custom fitting (more on this below), but if this is not an option then it is important to know what you are looking for.
If you are significantly above or below average height then you should consider getting your clubs adjusted accordingly. Fairwood shafts are also typically longer than hybrids and long irons to produce more clubhead speed. If you want more accuracy and control, at the cost of a little distance, you could consider a slightly shorter shaft.
Even though fairway wood shafts are almost always graphite, the weight can still vary drastically between manufacturers and models. Senior golfers should favor lightweight shafts to improve clubhead speed. However, it is important to find the right weight to match your swing, so that you do not lose your control with a shaft that is too light.
This is perhaps the most important factor to know. You should choose your flexibility mainly based on your swing speed. Even though there are specific ‘senior’ golf shafts, that does not mean it will necessarily be the one most suitable to your swing speed.
Do I need adjustability?
Many modern fairway woods now come with hosel and weight adjustability that has been used in drivers for several years now. Some fairway woods have the ability to change the loft by up to 6 degrees as well as moving the lie and clubface angle.
Not all fairway woods have any adjustability though. Some models choose to save some weight and cost by excluding this option altogether. Manufacturers will always set the club up with what they consider optimal for performance.
Buying a fairway wood with adjustability gives you the ability to tweak the golf club to find a set-up that works best for you. Senior golfers could find use in changing their set-up as they age. Having the ability to add loft as swing speed gets slower can potentially prolong the lifespan of a fairway wood for a senior golfer.
Face angle is another adjustable element that is now fairly common in fairway woods. Golfers are maybe not as likely to use this adjustment, but it can be helpful if you sometimes struggle with a slice or hook.
Should I get custom fitted?
If a custom fitting is within your budget, then yes absolutely.
Fairway woods are difficult clubs to hit, so ensuring you get one optimized for your swing will be of huge benefit. You want to try out at least a few options to see the feel and performance of different models. This will give you more confidence in your purchase decision. A custom fit will ensure you have the correct club and shaft set-up as well.
Fairway woods can be a hard club to hit for any golfer, but this is especially true of golfers with slower swing speeds like seniors. However, there are so many excellent options available on the market with the high launching and forgiving qualities needed.
Senior golfers can range drastically in ability, covering any golfer from low handicappers to beginners. Therefore, there is no simple solution for finding the best fairway wood for all senior golfers. Hopefully though, this article has helped point you in the right direction about what fairway wood you want as well as highlighting some key factors to consider before making your final decision.