Learning how to properly hit fairway woods can give your game a big boost. While it’s true that these are some of the least used clubs in the bag, there are scenarios when you need them in the worst way—either to have a chance at an eagle or to save par from wayward drive. Mechanics and practice are the keys to learning how to hit fairway woods.
If you are just learning how to hit fairway woods, here are some helpful tips to get you started.
Tip 1: Do not confuse these clubs with your irons. While the distance is often comparable, the swing mechanics are not. When you play your long irons, you often want to take a big divot. That is not the case with these fairway woods.
Tip 2: Unless you are planning to play a fade or a draw, always line your feet up with the target, about shoulder-width apart. Play the ball a little forward, just about in line with your left foot (for right handed golfers). Keep your arms extended and your spine straight, allowing a little bit of knee flex.
Tip 3: If you are playing out of the rough, tap the club head behind the ball (without touching the ball) to tamp down some of the grass between the head and the ball. This is legal as long as you do not make contact with the ball itself.
Tip 4: When learning how to hit fairway woods, remember to keep your forward arm as straight as possible during your swing. Turn your hips as you go through the backswing and downswing to generate power. Keep your head down and your eyes on the ball.
Tip 5: Resist the temptation to scoop the ball off the ground. Your job is to hit the ball cleanly, and the loft of the club will do the rest. Also, resist the common urge to hit the ball too hard. Many golfers, especially those just learning how to hit fairway woods, are inclined to smack the ball with maximum force, but this can be a big mistake.
The better option is to make a smooth, controlled movement that stays on the right swing path. This is the best way to get the ball up, off, and on target.
Tip 6: There are times when you may think the fairway wood is the right club to use, but stop and consider the situation before you grab one out of your bag.
If you are in the trees and a long way from the green, consider using an iron to get back into play, rather than trying to make the green. One of the keys to learning how to hit fairway woods is knowing when to use them. Using one of these specialty clubs when you should be using something else can cause more trouble than you might think.
Tip 7: The only way to understand these clubs is to take them to the practice range and put them into use. You need to know what distance you can get from each one, and become proficient in striking the ball cleanly. Practice is the only way to achieve this. And don’t forget to practice hitting out of sand traps whenever you have the opportunity.
One thing is certain: if you learn how to hit fairway woods properly, your game will improve and your scores will be lower. These clubs can be powerful tools when you need them.