Dan Box
By Dan Box

If playing well is the most difficult thing about golf, then second has to be filtering through all of the thousands of equipment options out there to find what works best for you.

Best Fairways 2024

Fairway woods are one of those clubs that you can either love or hate, and once you find one that you like, it's hard to part ways. I know this all too well, as the the face on my trusty TaylorMade M2 Fairway Wood cracked just a few weeks ago and now I've got to find a replacement for the club that has been in my bag for nearly seven years.

There are so many different options out there, it's hard to know where to start.

Georgina wanted to make life a little bit easier for you, so she pulled together the biggest fairway wood releases of 2024 and put them head to head to see which is best...

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Fairway Wood

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Fairway Wood

Kicking things off is Callaway's Paradym Ai Smoke Max, which follows on from last year's Paradym range and uses an all-new Ai Smart Face to optimise performance across the face.

A Carbon Chassis has also been used which saves 24g of weight - 12g of this has been moved low and forward in the head for enhanced launch and spin, whilst 12g has been moved to the back for increased forgiveness.

Cobra Darkspeed X Fairway Wood

Cobra Darkspeed X Fairway Wood

Cobra's new Darkspeed line features a stealthy black finish and the X is the middle of the three models, offering a combination of distance, ball speed and forgiveness.

An 8g fixed weight at the back of the head raises MOI and aids a high launch, whilst Cobra's Pwr-Bridge and Pwrshell technologies moved the CG further forward for faster ball speeds.

TaylorMade Qi10 Fairway Wood

TaylorMade Qi10 Fairway Wood

Plenty of TaylorMade's existing wood technology has survived the switch to the new Qi10 line, including the V-Steel sole which aids turf interaction, and the Speed Pocket behind the face which improves strikes that are from the bottom of the head.

There's also a new optimised face design, as well as an Infinity Crown which has saved weight to be moved lower in the head, for more forgiveness.

Best for looks and feel?

Cobra Darkspeed X. We'd already crowned Cobra's Darkspeed X Driver as our best looking of 2024, and the fairway wood is simply an extension of that.

The simple, dark matte finish is different to anything we have seen so far this year and whilst this finish does make it look a little more compact, the feel and ball flight was easily the winner in this category.

Most forgiving?

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max. This was the best fairway that Georgina tested based on left-to-right dispersion both using the GC Hawk and out of the course, whilst the poorer strikes also seemed to be performing better too. No matter where you strike it on the face, there's still going to be a good level of forgiveness.

Maybe AI is our friend after all...

Best for distance?

Cobra Darkspeed X. It was a close call between the Qi10 and the Darkspeed X, but the Cobra just pipped it slightly in terms of carry and total distance, whilst the ball speeds were even getting up towards Georgina's driver numbers.

Best value for money?

There's only one winner here, and it's the Darkspeed X again. At an RRP of £279, it's significantly cheaper than both the Callaway (£379) and TaylorMade (£309) fairways. Whilst it may sound crazy to think that nearly £300 for a single fairway wood is good value for money, unfortunately that is the world we live in these days.

The Verdict

Whilst there was a clear winner during Georgina's test, it is important to mention that all three of the fairways in this article are excellent products, and as always it is worth you testing them out for yourself before you come to any decisions.

What works well for one person may not work for someone else, so getting on a launch monitor and receiving a proper fitting is always what we'd recommend.

The Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max is excellent if you're looking for more forgiveness from your fairway woods. It flew nice and straight, and the performance was great even on mis-hits which should fill lots of golfers with confidence.

The TaylorMade Qi10 Fairway has a slightly larger footprint than the other two fairway woods which some golfers may prefer as it gives them more confidence at address. It also performed very well in terms of distance, and at £309 it's still pretty good value for money (despite the lack of hosel adjustability that only the Tour Qi10 model will give you).

Georgina's clear winner was the Cobra Darkspeed X, which was the best looking club in the range, with excellent distance and value for money along with pretty good forgiveness levels too. All in all, a fantastic option for anyone who is seeking a new fairway wood.

If you enjoyed this, you may also like:

New Golf Drivers 2024: Everything You Need To Know

Ping G430 Max Fairway Wood Review


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