Golf clubs used for shots from the fairway. Woods today have metal heads like drivers, but the clubheads are smaller and the shafts shorter. Some golfers use a 3-wood for drives on shorter holes, as a fairway wood offers more accuracy at the expense of less driving range.
Higher-number woods are generally known as fairway woods and, as their name suggests, are designed for shots from off the turf of the fairway that still require long distance, such as the second shot of a par-5 or a long par-4 hole. They have two important features: a higher loft to lift the ball out of the turf and over low obstacles like hills, and a shallower face height which allows a player to hit a ball from the ground using the exact center of the club, providing greater distance for such shots. These two design features enable players to hit fairway woods off the ground with greater ease than modern deep-faced drivers. Fairway woods are also useful off the tee depending on the hole; players may for instance wish to play their tee shot short (known as “laying up”) due to a dogleg or a hazard in range of their driver, and will opt instead for their 3-wood. Fairway woods are typically made with a slightly shorter and stiffer shaft, a smaller clubhead and more loft than a driver or 2-wood.
While the most common modern clubset includes only one fairway wood, the 3-wood, woods are typically available from major brands in lofts up to a 9-wood. A 4-wood is sometimes seen instead of a 3-wood (to fine-tune range differences between a player’s driver and fairway wood), while a 5-wood is a common addition to the 3-wood for players who prefer fairway woods to long irons for play through the green. 7-woods are rarer in men’s clubs but more common in ladies’ and seniors’ sets, again as a substitute for lower-lofted irons which are difficult to hit well and whose low launch angle can be risky on a hilly or undulating fairway. Some custom clubmakers offer woods in lofts up to 55° (a “25-wood” equivalent to a sand wedge) these can be used to replace the entire standard set of irons with woods, for players who prefer the swing mechanics and behavior of woods to that of irons and wedges.