The 5 most consistent 2023 fairway woods, according to robot testing

Ping G430 MAX fairway wood on a golf course

Ping's G430 Max fairway wood allows you to hit it off the toe or heel and see similar carry distances.


If you’re like most weekend golfers, the driver sees more action off the tee than any other club in the bag. Boasting the largest sweetspot and potential for game-changing distance, it’s no surprise golfers lean heavily on the big stick.

But what happens when the driver misbehaves? In most cases, a 3-wood is the next club to get the call. As we learned from the latest round of robotic testing with Golf Laboratories’ swing robot, some 3-woods are designed to provide driver-like mishit protection across the entire face. Yes, that means the heel and toe.

If you’re in need of a strong secondary option off the tee but don’t possess consistent impact, these 5 options are worth consideration and further testing.

(Testing protocol: Each 15-degree fairway wood was tested with the swing-robot at 95 mph using the same stiff-flex shaft and attack angle. Golf balls were hit out of the geometric center, high-toe and low-heel to determine an average distance dropoff.)


1. Ping G430 Max (3.7 yards of distance dropoff between geometric center and high-toe/low-heel)

Ping G430 Max Custom Fairway Wood

Sizing up your approach into a long par 4, going for the par-5 in two, you want 100% confidence that your fairway wood will give you the solid contact, speed and higher ball flight to get you home. In the G430 fairways, we’ve developed Carbonfly Wrap to deliver more distance by positioning the CG closer to the force line to maximize ball speed, resulting in higher, longer carries. The PING G430 MAX Fairway Wood fits the widest range of golfers with four options (3W/15°, 5W/18°, 7W/21°, 9W/24°). CARBONFLY WRAP The lightweight composite crown wraps into the heel and toe sections of the skirt, creating weight savings of 10 grams which are reallocated to achieve the lower the CG and increase ball speed. The composite also plays a role in the pleasing sound. FACE WRAP TECHNOLOGY FaceWrap Technology, a variable-thickness, high-strength maraging steel face wraps into the sole and crown of the stainless steel head, generating more flexing for faster ball speed and higher launch for greater distance. SPINSISTENCY The variable roll radius of Spinsistency improves performance across the face (especially on thin shots) by reducing spin to increase ball speed from the maraging steel face. TUNGSTEN BACK WEIGHT A tungsten back weight extends the perimeter weighting to ensure maximum forgiveness. TRAJECTORY TUNING 2.0 Trajectory Tuning 2.0 provides eight hosel positions, adjusting for loft (+/- .5°) and lie (up to 3° flatter than std).
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2. TaylorMade Stealth 2 HD (4.3 yards)

TaylorMade Stealth 2 HD Custom Fairway Wood

OUR HIGHEST MOI FAIRWAY A radical departure from traditional TaylorMade fairway woods, Stealth 2 HD features a eye-catching high MOI design that visually stands out. It combines low CG projection with an ultra-high MOI to deliver off-the-charts performance. The oversized 200cc head features a low-profile design to increase confidence and playability for golfers of all skill levels. ADVANCED INVERTED CONE TECHNOLOGY Variable face thickness is engineered to maximize ball speed across the face while maintaining playability and performance in a Tour-inspired shape. EASY LAUNCH WITH DRAW BIAS A larger, low-profile sole helps the club hug the ground at address and makes it easier to achieve a high launch. Internal weighting encourages a draw-bias ball flight. V STEEL™ SOLE DESIGN This iconic TaylorMade technology stays true to its heritage by improving turf interaction and versatility ADVANCED LASER ALIGNMENT Providing visual contrast between face and crown, the laser etched aid is designed to highlight directional alignment for boosted confidence and accurate aim. THRU-SLOT SPEED POCKET Our flexible Speed Pocket™ design is engineered to maximize ball speeds and produce additional forgiveness on low-face strikes.
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3. Cobra Aerojet (4.4 yards)

Cobra Aerojet Custom Fairway Wood

The Aerojet fairway provides forgiveness and versatility for those that desire high launch with a touch of workability. PWR-BRIDGE WEIGHTING An innovative suspended bridge weight design enables unrestricted flexibility of the face and sole, and positions the CG low and forward to unleash faster ball speed. PWRSHELL WITH H.O.T FACE A forged PWRSHELL face insert maximizes flexibility for faster ball speed and higher launch. A H.O.T Face design uses artificial intelligence to create a variable thickness pattern that delivers more efficient speed and spin across the face. CARBON FIBER CROWN A carbon crown enables a lower CG for higher launch and added forgiveness. ADJUSTABLE LOFT An adjustable loft sleeve offers fine tuning of trajectory and spin. Each loft is adjustable up to +/- 1.5 from the printed loft on the head.
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4. Tour Edge E723 (4.9 yards)

Tour Edge Exotics E723 Custom Driver

“THIS ULTRA-PREMIUM FORGIVENESS DRIVER TAKES M.O.I. TO THE ABSOLUTE EXTREME, MAKING IT ONE OF THE MOST FORGIVING AND ACCURATE DRIVERS YOU CAN FIND.” FLIGHT TUNING SYSTEM / MOI+ The Flight Tuning System is weighting design on a sliding track features a 20-gram weight at the extreme trailing edge on the sole of the clubhead.Sliding the weight on the adjustable track allows for a +/- 10-yard heel and toe bias in directional flight. For example, if you were to slide the weight all the way to edge of the Fade position, your flight would adjust 10 yards to the right for a right-handed player, and vice versa for the Draw setting.The E723 Driver’s extreme low rearward CG position produces an extremely high MOI at a 5600 g/cm2 MOI, the highest MOI driver we have ever produced. This leads to increased stability at impact and tighter dispersion. It’s a 5% increase in MOI over the previous E design. 360° RIDGEBACK TECHNOLOGY Tour Edge engineers created a thinner, more refined Ridgeback activation for E723 with increased structural properties and 360-degree perimeter weighting. The Titanium Ridgeback spine running from the center of the face through the crown now wraps around the entire perimeter to frame the entire clubhead.The additional perimeter Titanium has boosted MOI significantly. This Ridgeback spine and now 360- degree activation acts as a brace for the entire clubhead to produce more power across the entire face, including the extreme perimeters.Adding Titanium to the perimeter, along with Ridgeback down the center, allows more support on off center hits to increase face deflection. The additional perimeter Titanium has boosted MOI significantly. This Ridgeback spine and now 360-degree activation acts as a brace for the entire clubhead to produce more power across the entire face, including the extreme perimeters.The E723 Ridgeback design is 15% thinner than the previous E722 model, while offering greater structural support properties.Ridgeback is designed to create superior feel at impact. The extra rigidity created by the brace through the crown produces a much stronger feel at impact when compared to a full carbon crown and results in a crisper and brighter feel at strike. QUAD CARBON TECH Tour Edge engineers replaced extra Titanium from the crown and sole by creating Quad Carbon Tech in four different areas of the clubhead. The E723 features 5% more carbon fiber than its previous iteration.The addition of Quad Carbon Tech saves considerable weight in the clubhead, allowing for the 360-degree Ridgeback design, an increase in MOI, greater face flex in the heel and toe areas so off- center hits achieve greater power.This weight savings has been re-purposed to the ideal location to help with creating optimal CG location. DIAMOND FACE VFT The new Diamond Face VFT is made up of diamond shapes of variable face thickness behind the face. There are 61 total diamond shapes featured on Diamond Face VFT, comprising seven different thicknesses in an interweaving pattern. The face thickness of the new Diamond Face VFT is thinner on the heel and toe on the E723 Driver.The mini trampolines that make-up Diamond Face VFT create faster ball speeds and an expanded sweet spot. The increase in Diamond Face coverage to the extreme heel and toe dramatically increases ball speed on off-center hits while also greatly aiding forgiveness on these strikes.
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5. Srixon ZX MKII (5.8 yards)

Srixon ZX MK II Custom Fairway Wood

Long game versatility is critical. ZX Mk II Fairway Woods carry as much power off the deck as they do off a tee, giving you ball speed and great distance wherever you need it. REBOUND FRAME Rebound Frame’s Dual Flex Zones focus more energy into the golf ball at impact, creating a purer energy transfer that instantaneously increases ball speed and distance on every strike. CANNON SOLE A dynamic, floating weight pad moves the weight right where you want it without reducing COR, optimizing launch while also allowing space for improved face flex and ball speed. Especially helpful for shots struck low. CARBON CROWN The 3-Wood and 3+-Wood use a strong but lightweight carbon crown instead of a metal crown, repositioning mass low and maximizing COR as well as pushing MOI up for increased forgiveness on every shot.
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Want to overhaul your bag for 2023? Find a fitting location near you at True Spec Golf.


Jonathan Wall Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at