How I Hit Fairway Woods

Now that we have dumped long irons for good, the new bad boys in our bag are fairway woods. I couldn’t hit those off the ground, either, so when hybrid irons came along, I switched and that made a huge difference in my long-distance game.

But still, I took fairway woods to be a challenge because they can’t be THAT hard. Turns out they are.

So I went to YouTube and looked at a lot of videos about how to hit fairway woods and tried the tricks. No luck.

The next step was to figure it out myself, which I love to do, because I usually come up with something I haven’t heard before that works.

I thought, where are the hard parts?

The first hard part is that the club is so much longer than irons are. When we swing one we don’t feel the connection between our hands and the clubhead, which makes us worry about even being able to get the clubhead on the ball.

The problem is that your hands are on the wrong part of the handle. You have to be holding the club at its balance point. Then you will feel clubhead in your hands even though is is over three feet away from them.

Second hard part: the loft of my irons gives me great confidence that I can get the clubface under the ball. It seems all we can do with the FW is bounce it off the ground behind the ball and get nothing much out of the shot.

We still have to be hitting down somewhat, to get the ball first-ground second impact. You do that by thinking of where you want the clubhead to hit the ground, not behind the ball or at the ball, but a bit in front of it.

And of course, your hands must be leading the clubhead.

There is a one last thing, though, which should go without saying.* Use your standard golf swing. Do not think you have to do something different to get the ball in the air or hit the ball a long way.

Use your standard swing with your standard tempo and your standard rhythm and let the club do what it was designed to do.

Maybe fairway woods aren’t part of your game. You prefer hybrid irons and you don’t even have a fairway wood. No matter.

You have to have a decent swing to be able to hit a decent fairway wood shot off the ground. It’s worth learning to hit this club for this reason alone. It will improve everything else.


*I wish I had a dollar for every time somebody says, “It should go without saying…” and then says it anyway.

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