Top Instructional Tips on Fairway Woods
If you are like me, you have had your struggles with your fairway woods at some point in your career. I have tinkered with a dozen different woods, but always seem to wind back with the same three wood that I have used since I was thirteen years old… an old Orlimar TriMetal. Although I was able to stick with the same three wood for so long, I have had my troubles with both tee shots and in the fairway. During this section, I will cover the top tips for your fairway woods. I realize there are hundreds of different options these days for fairway woods, and every club manufacturer claims that theirs is the best thing since sliced bread… but honestly, it all has to do with your swing to see the results you desire.
First thing is first when looking at the fairway woods, ball placement. Although I have preached in the previous articles about keeping everything near the middle of your stance; that is not the case with the fairway woods. You will want to push the ball forward in your stance, which allows for you to hit down on the ball more… allowing for the loft of the club to do its job. The ideal placement is somewhere between where you put your long irons and where you put your driver. I highly recommend placing the ball just inside the front foot, which has been very successful for me throughout all my years.
The next important thing to look at is your alignment with your shoulders. Yes, this is important with any club in the bag, but it is even more important with the fairway woods. When you open the shoulders or even close them a bit, it causes a world of trouble with your downswing, and can also prevent you from hitting the ball with solid contact. When the shoulders are in fact squared up, this will ensure you are making the proper contact with the ball at impact. To test this out, simply set up for your normal shot. Before taking your swing, simply pull up your club and place it across your shoulders. The club should be pointing right down the target line, which means you are good to go. If it is not lined up correctly, make the proper adjustments prior to hitting the shot.
The biggest fault many golfers have when using the fairway woods, is trying to swing them like they do their driver. This is a very common mistake, which makes sense considering you do have a wood in your hand. What I want you to be thinking before hitting your fairway woods… is irons. Yes, I want you to think 5 iron when you are approaching the three wood. There is no need to go at this club any differently than you do with your long irons, which can cause all sorts of issues with contact if not approached correctly. Think of it this way, the long iron and fairway woods don’t have too many differences when you are looking at the swing for both. The only difference is the ball position in your stance, which we have already covered. Think long irons, think smooth, swing away. There really are no drills for this, it is all mental, as most of golf is. Keep the long iron mindset for your fairway woods and you will be ready to roll.
In all, the fairway woods are not difficult to master. You just need to get your setup down, and have the correct mentality when approaching the shot. I have seen so many golfers go at their three woods like they are swinging a driver, and it is painful to watch. Usually the results are varied, and the majority of the time the ball is actually shorter than if they would have swung with more control. You don’t need to swing like you are hitting a driver, to see the distance and control you are looking for. Just think Corey Pavin, the guy swung so smooth and effortless every single time he stepped to the ball. This is the exact approach I want you to have. My challenge to you is this: Go to the range, and really dedicate a bag of balls to only your fairway woods. Prior to hitting the woods, hit a 5 iron or 4 iron if you have one. Remember the swing you use for these irons, and take the exact same approach to your fairway woods, except move the ball forward a bit. Truly invest the time to ensure you are comfortable swinging the fairway woods like your irons, and after just one bag of balls, you will be ready to go. Take to the course, and enjoy.