The fairway is part of a golf course, close to the tee. A fairway provides golfers with the easiest surface for hitting the ball.
A golf course fairway is distinguished by its short, even grass and location between the tee and the green. It's a fairly simple area from which to hit the ball. Another meaning of fairway shares this easy, effortless quality: a regular, well-known course that a ship takes through the water. In the 1580s, fairway was used to mean "navigational channel of a river," and it gained the golfing sense at the end of the 19th century.