My Golf Instructor

Fairway Woods
Hiiting Fairway Woods Off The Deck

Hitting woods off the deck is challengingLearn to hit your woods off the deck

Like I said in the parent article on fairway woods, you either love them or you hate them. Because of their big, light heads with trampoline effect and larger sweet spots, some beginners and high handicappers love their fairway woods. This is not the case however, for the majority of players, especially when it comes to hitting a 3 wood and hitting it off the deck! I find also that those that love them, really aren't all that consistent with them, it's just that when they do connect they love to see how far the ball goes. While teeing it up makes things a lot easier, the problem for them lies in connecting consistently from off the ground.

So what makes fairway woods so difficult to hit from the ground. Well, obviously the ones with more loft like 7 woods and 9 woods are a lot easier to hit consistently. Loft is always your friend when it comes to hitting straighter shots. With loft you get backspin and the more the backspin, usually the less the side spin. So a low lofted driver for instance is going to have a worse result from a poor strike than one with more loft. That's also why we love our wedges. Although we all can at times, it's kind of hard to hit a pitching wedge off-line with a lot of side spin. 3 woods and 5 woods are usually where the trouble lies with fairway woods as the loft starts to decrease with these clubs.

Also, the length and lightness of fairway woods causes some to struggle. With all clubs, the longer the shaft, the more it is going to move around on you causing shifts in your swing plane. Having a light head which is hard to feel on top of that adds to inconsistency as you have a difficult time feeling where things are.

As with any shot in golf however, positioning and technique are the keys to success. If you know how to properly set up for fairway woods and how to approach them with your swing, you can gain consistency and rid yourself of thin, fat and sprayed shots.

Some things to consider when setting up to hit fairway woods are:

  • Weight Distrubution
  • Distance From Ball
  • Ball Position

Some things to consider while swinging fairway woods are:

  • Swing Plane
  • Angle of Attack
  • Weight Shift
  • Tempo

The Situation:

You have trouble with hitting fairway woods off the deck. Topped shots, fat shots and sprayed shots often result.

The Solution:

Your set up is an important part of getting on the track to success. Many people naturally stand far and reach for woods. This will only result in topping. Make sure you are standing the same distance as you do with all your other clubs. This should be consistent throughout your set up with the butt end of your grip being a fist or a fist and a thumb away from the top of your thighs. Position the ball forward of the center of your stance somewhere between where you would play an iron and a driver. Be careful not to play it too far up which is a common mistake and can result in you hitting behind the ball or topping it as you approach it too much on the upswing. Position your weight just slightly more on your back foot, but again in moderation. Many players hit behind or top shots simply because they started with too much lean on their back foot.

Your swing should really not change much from club to club but with fairway woods you'll want to pay close attention to a few things. Your swing plane because of the design of the club should be naturally flatter. Just be aware of this and be carefull to not get too steep. Swing with a smooth tempo. Rushing down with a fairway wood never results in a good shot. In fact, this is my number one thought. I try to feel like I'm in my swing forever. Make sure to transfer your weight to your front foot and hit down! I see too many golfers hanging back and swinging up on fairway woods. They do have loft built into them. Trust the loft to get the ball airborne and move through the ball swinging down. Many great players take divots with fairway woods. That's probably something you should practice to get into the habit of making a solid strike.

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
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