Here we are going to look at the correct start position and swing to use when playing 3 wood shots from the fairway.
This is a really good shot for women golfers to master because it provides a lot of distance and therefore makes playing longer holes much easier.
Looking at the basic start position for a 3 wood from the fairway, set the club face next to the golf ball so that the club face is aiming at your target. Place your feet together and ensure that your feet are parallel to the club face. You can set your distance from the ball at this point, by checking you have a hand span gap between the end of the handle of the club and your legs - just make sure your weight is in the middle of your feet as you set this gap, preventing it from moving on to either your toes or heels. Set your feet shoulder width apart, you want to create a really solid, firm base to make this swing from, so get your feet as wide as your shoulders and this will create a base for your swing that provides a firm, balanced support for the movement.
The correct ball position is crucial with this shot. A 3 wood has relatively little loft on the club face, only 13-15 degrees of angle to get the ball into the air, so playing the ball in the correct position is vital to achieve the correct trajectory for the ball flight. You need to play the ball about one inch inside your left heel. This will place the ball at the bottom of the club head's arc and allow you to present the club face back to the ball with all of it's available loft, to strike the ball. Create good posture by tilting forwards from your hips whilst maintaining a straight back and keep your weight even between your right and left foot. Hands want to be opposite the inside of your left thigh and now you have created a great set up position to start your swing from.
Swinging a 3 wood requires a sweeping action through impact, where the club head brushes the ground under the ball but does not dig in at all. The club head wants to sweep the ball off the turf so to ensure that you create the best angle for the club head to do this, work on rotating your upper body to the right whilst maintaining your leg and head position. Start the club away from the ball, low to the floor and hinge the wrists at the end of the takeaway. You should achieve a position at hip height where the club head is as high as your hands and the club shaft is parallel to the target line, pointing directly away from the target to the right.
Continue to hinge your wrists and turn your upper body so that at chest height you have created an L shape look to the swing. Your left arm is straight but the club shaft is close to a right angle with the left arm. The shaft is leaning back so that it points at the target line. Continue from here to rotate your upper body as much as you can to 90 degrees right of your start position. This really good shoulder turn will generate a lot of power for you but will only work if you maintain your head position and keep your left heel on the ground to keep your hip position at 45 degrees rotated right of your start position.
If you swing back and lift your left heel up from the ground, your head will move to your right and your centre of gravity will shift too much to the right. This will now make it very difficult for you to achieve a consistent connection with the ball as the club head will reach it's lowest point opposite your centre of gravity which is now too much over to the right. The club head will be at it's lowest point before the ball and will then be swinging upwards when striking the ball, hitting the top of it. For a good connection and to create maximum power, keep your left heel on the ground and maintain your head position.
From this backswing position, you can now rotate the lower body back towards the ball and then target whilst swinging the club head down to the ball. On the backswing, you turn your upper body and then lower body but you reverse this on your downswing. Turn your knees and hips towards the target to initiate your downswing movement and the club will follow this movement, with the shoulders rotating last. Swing through the shot, transferring your weight on to your left side as you do and into a follow through position where 90% of your weight is on your left foot. Allow your right heel to lift from the floor and your right shoe laces to rotate towards the target. Your upper body will have rotated around to the left of the target and the club will finish wrapped around the back of your neck, above your shoulders in a horizontal position.
Work on maintaining your balance throughout the swing.