The most consistent 3-woods of 2024, according to robot testing

taylormade qi10 max fairway wood

TaylorMade's Qi10 Max fairway wood earned high marks on off-center strikes during robot testing.

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

For most weekend golfers, the driver is the most-used club off the tee by a wide margin. Boasting the largest profile and plenty of distance, it can be a total game-changer, provided you’re playing something that’s built to enhance your strengths and mitigate common misses.

But what happens when the driver misbehaves? As much as we’d all like to be able to work on those issues on the course, it pays to have a reliable secondary option off the tee. And possibly from the fairway.

This is where a consistent 3-wood can be a godsend.

For the latest round of robotic testing with Golf Laboratories’ swing robot, we put 2024 3-woods under a microscope to see how they performed at 95 mph. More specifically, how each performed on heel and toe misses. Let’s go to the numbers.

(How we calculate: Each 15-degree 3-wood is tested using a 3-point face mapping. We hit 6 balls out of the toe and heel and then compared the data to the geometric center.)


TaylorMade Qi10 Max | 7.6 yards of distance dropoff between geometric center and the other mishit locations

TaylorMade Qi10 Max Custom Fairway Wood

Introducing the Qi10 Max fairway. Experience TaylorMade speed with Qi10 forgiveness…off the tee and off the deck. EFFORTLESS PERFORMANCE The Qi10 Max Fairway boasts an ultra-high MOI construction. Internal mass pads are positioned for maximum forgiveness with weight moved to the extreme low back, making this fairway TaylorMade’s easiest to hit in the line.   NEW INFINITY CARBON CROWN An Infinity Crown provides a clean, uninterrupted view at address while also optimizing performance.
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Insights: Saw almost no distance loss on heel strikes at 0.8 yards. To put that number into perspective, almost every 3-wood tested had a carry distance loss delta between 10-15 yards on the same heel miss. Toe strikes lost 14.4 yards, which was closer to the mean. An excellent option if you live in the heel.

Cobra Darkspeed LS | 8.4 yards

Cobra DarkSpeed LS Custom Fairway Wood

The LS model features our first ever Titanium fairway construction for driver-like performance in a refined clubhead shape tailored for precise shot shaping. TOUR INSPIRED SHAPING Subdued clubhead styling inspires a Tour-validated look and feel at address. TITANIUM CONSTRUCTION A multi-material construction blends a lightweight 8-1-1 Titanium body and face, and a carbon crown to improve weight distribution for more distance.
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Insights: A reverse of the Qi10 Max with a small carry loss delta of just 2.7 yards on toe strikes. Only one other fairway wood (Ping G430 LST) came within 3 yards of Cobra’s toe strike number. Lost 14 yards on heel strikes, placing it within the middle of the pack.

PXG 0311 Black Ops | 9.9 yards

PXG 0311 Black Ops Custom Fairway Wood

High-Strength Carbon Fiber Crown Crown made entirely from high-grade carbon fiber. This lightweight material saves mass in the crown, allowing it to be redistributed low and to the perimeter of the clubhead for optimal CG and addedforgiveness. Supported Weight Structure Innovative supported weight structure that delivers unbelievable sound and feel. High-Speed, Squared Face PXG 0311 Black Ops Fairways present a proprietary stainless steel face engineered to position the CG low for high launch, optimal spin performance, and insanely fast ball speeds.
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Insights: One of the more consistent fairway woods to undergo testing. The carry loss delta between heel and toe was less than 2 yards, meaning you could miss it off the heel or toe and see similar distance numbers. Toe misses saw carry distance drop by 9 yards, while heel strikes recorded a respectable carry delta at 10.8 yards.

Cobra Darkspeed Max | 10 yards

Cobra DarkSpeed Max Custom Fairway Wood

The MAX model features tunable draw-bias and unrivaled stability to inspire maximum confidence from the fairway or off the tee. MORE LAUNCH. MORE BALL SPEED. The PWRSHELL insert and suspended weight PWR-BRIDGE design create a more flexible face and sole to maximize launch and ball speed. SPEED & SPIN OPTIMIZATION An A.I. designed H.O.T. Face features an optimized variable thickness pattern that delivers more efficient speed & spin across the clubface.
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Insights: While not as consistent as the PXG, Cobra’s Max model also saw tighter carry loss deltas across the heel and toe areas. Toe strikes drop distance by 7.7 yards — one of six fairway woods to record a single-digit number — compared to 12.7 yards on heel misses. Fairway wood lives up to the Max name.

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond | 10.9 yards

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke TD Custom Fairway Wood

Ai SMOKE TD FAIRWAY The new Paradym Ai Smoke fairway represents a quantum leap forward in Callaway’s Ai journey. This new family of fairway woods feature the most sophisticated face in Callaway history, the Ai Smart Face. Breakthrough Fairway Performance Powered by Ai Smart Face™ Ai Smoke fairway woods utilize Ai Smart Face; a breakthrough technology in face design that utilizes thousands of actual player swings. Every Ai Smart Face is designed to optimize launch and spin, creating sweet spots across the face. Workable Shape and Penetrating Ball Flight The Triple Diamond fairway wood will benefit golfers who want to work the ball, and typically have faster swing speeds for a penetrating ball flight with lower spin.
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Insights: One of two low-spin offerings to make the list. Saw Max-esque carry loss deltas on heel and toe strikes, an impressive feat for a fairway wood designed with a more forward center of gravity. Toe strikes ended up near the middle of the pack at 13.4 yards compared to 8.3 yards of distance loss out of the heel. Triple Diamond was one of only three 3-woods to record a single-digit number in the heel quadrant.

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Unleash your full golfing potential with brand-agnostic, precision club fitting.

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