How Do I Use A Fairway Woods?

By Norman Stanley

A common problem for golfers is the correct use of the fairway woods. Many amateur players try to lift the ball into the air rather than let the loft of the club do it.

Tip one; let the club do it's job. Engineers and very clever people design these clubs to perform a set of particular actions, getting the golf ball airborne is one of them.

Fairway woods are incredibly useful clubs performing a variety of tasks from the obvious like hitting the ball from the fairway to driving off the tee, from getting you out of the cabbage to chipping from the edge of the green.

Learn to swing your fairway woods and you will have a useful ally in your golf game.

For this article we shall concentrate on the most common aspect of the fairway wood and that is the second shot from the fairway into, and hopefully onto, the green.

Visualise this; the club will sweep the ball from the turf without taking a divot. A slight bruising of the grass is all that you want, the club face will connect with the ball at the bottom of its arc, the lofted face will cause the ball to rise into the air and fly down the fairway.

Set up to the ball in the manner of your driver with a stance slightly wider than your shoulders, this gives you a firm basis for your swing. Your spine will will be tilted slightly to the right to accomodate the fact that your right hand is lower down on the club.

The ball is played from just inside your left heel and so your sternum or breastbone will be behind the ball by a couple of inches.You can check this initial positioning in a mirror at home so it becomes natural on the course.

To begin the swing take the club back close to the ground. Practice the move by placing another ball a few inches behind your target ball and pushing it away with your club head. The swing arc is wide and fairly shallow and tempo is all important. Start practising at half speed to achieve the right technique.

The down swing will return low and wide, the club head will brush the grass and be fully at the bottom of its arc when it impacts the ball. Remember, no divots. If you are taking a divot it means the club is striking the ball on the downward direction, this will cause it to pop up violently losing forward momentum or you will scud it into the ground. Neither of which is desirable.

Develop a sense of hitting the ball down the fairway, not up into the air. After impact allow your arms to extend through the shot along the target line. This should help keep the club square at impact meaning a straighter, more accurate shot.

As mentioned earlier in the article tempo or timing is crucial to consistency with the fairway wood so practice sweeping the grass without the pressure of hitting a ball and even hum a little tune which helps you swing rythmically. It can become the most natural of movements. Good luck and good golf to you.