How to hit your fairway wood like a pro
8 Professionals Contributed
Fairway Wood Hitting
I think the fear from hitting the fairway wood stems from amateurs using too little loft to hit the ball in the air. Too often I meet students that think they must hit a 3 wood because it will go further. This is simply not the case as it is a product of launch conditions. I use the example frequently of a jumbo jet and a small plane. The jumbo jet takes lots of speed to get off the ground where the small plane takes significantly less speed. This is the same with fairway woods. The lower the loft, the more ball speed needed to lift it into the air. This includes how much energy I am to transfer from the club to the golf ball.
The second part is that you need to scrape the grass when hitting a fairway wood. Many students feel the need to pick the ball off the ground with this club which is simply not the case.
Fairway wood fear
For most of us, the fairway wood can present a challenge. With its long length and lack of loft, it certainly is one of the most difficult club to hit.
I advise my students to make sure the ball position is forward enough in one’s stance. Then put your hands a bit forward as well, to make sure that we don’t “bottom out” before the ball in our arc. This allows for ball-first contact.
Many players can also be helped by choosing the proper club. A five-wood can be easier to get airborne, owing to its less length and more loft. And choosing one with the ability to adjust loft a bit stronger can negate most of the distance loss from 5- to 3-wood.
Finally, and here is the tough part: PRACTICE it. Most of us practice that which we are good at. So if fairway woods are vexing, we tend to not work on them. This leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy of “I know I’m going to hit this club poorly” when on the course. Guess what?! You’re right!
Making the most of your practice/rehearsal time with these difficult clubs makes them way easier to hit in real time.
Weight transfer into ball is your best bet
The length of the club combined with the ball forward in the stance requires good timing for good contact.
You must rotate and shift your balance to the forward foot to time the strike at the ball. The tendency is to hang back which causes the club to ground out behind the ball creating chunks and thin shots. Transfer your weight while finishing will help your contact and direction.
Grass is a Small Tee
Hitting a fairway wood is probably the most difficult thing to do from a fairway lie in golf. The lack of loft and narrow margin of attack angle make it easy to miss hit due to thin or heavy shots.
First, think of that ball sitting on a short tee made of grass. There is a little cushion there.
Second, find the bottom part of your swing and position the ball just before it. Be very specific here – -there isn’t much room for error.
Third, use as much loft as you can!! I see way too many mid and high handicap players trying to get 3-wood into the air (trying to lift the ball) when they could have more success with a 5-wood. I carry both and only use the 3-wood when 5-wood doesn’t work for that shot. The ration of 5’s to 3’s is probably 4 to 1 for me.
Loosen your grip
Unless you have a great lie forget trying to hit a 3 fairway wood. Use a heavenwood or a 7 fairway wood. The most important thing to work on to correct the problem is to make absolutely sure you are not gripping the club too tightly and that your shoulders are relaxed and not scrunched as so many amateurs are. These two important things will allow gravity to assist the lowering of the clug during the forward motion and get you properly to the bottom of your swing circle.
Nip the Turf
To make better consistent contact with fairway metals off the turf try and nip the turf. Practice sweeping the grass and hitting the ball at the bottom of your swing arc. Ball position is important as well. make sure your ball is positioned where your club bottoms out. This will help you nip the turf appropriately and avoid divots and topping the ball
Fully Turn Your Chest
When golfers get tight they shorten their turn. So make sure you fully turn your chest on the backswing and your chance of good impact increases
40 Year Class A PGA Teaching Professional 23 Year Master Club Fitter and Club Builder Performance Fitter for Competition
PGA Tour Superstore - East Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, CA
It’s All in your Mind
Fear is not real, stop practicing fear ! Danger is real , and you are not in danger hitting your 3 wood! .
Put the ball a smidge more forward in your stance, angle your spine a smidge to your trail side , and swing !