Imagine this: You’ve just batted a straight shot from the par 5 tee box and you’re about to hit a second shot. You draw a 4 or 5 iron to get closer to the green. You might be wondering how great it would be to hit the green on the second shot or be close enough to get your birdie shot.
This is where your fairway forests come into play. A well-hit fairway wood can increase the distance to your fairway hits, giving you better scoring opportunities. We’ve broken down what you need to do to learn how to hit fairway woods better. Grab your 3 or 5 wood, grab a bucket of balls and head to your training ground and let’s learn!
Here’s everything you need to know about how to hit the forest on the fairway:
The position of the ball in your stance when setting up your shot will determine how well you hit the ball. Recall the position of your ball when you hit the iron or the driver. With the driver, the ball is placed far forward in your stance as the goal is to hit the ball. With your irons, the ball is centered in your stance to encourage hitting the ball.
When you hit wood in the fairway, the ball should be slightly forward. Hitting wood in the fairway is almost a combination of an iron strike and a driver strike. Keeping the ball slightly forward in your stance will allow you to hit the ball.
Remember that fairway wood is one of the longer clubs in your bag. When swinging, a stick like wood in the track will take more time to rotate around the ball. Keeping the ball forward in your stance will give your club enough time to get back on the ball.
With the ball slightly forward in your stance, it’s important to widen your stance enough to provide more stability and a shallower swing. Remember that although our swing may be shallower, we still need to focus on hitting the ball.
Thinking of a shallow swing, it will be easier to think of its opposite. If you try a steep swing, your arms and club will have a top-to-bottom trajectory, causing you to naturally lift your body to avoid hitting fat. This will lead to overcompensation and puncture of the ball. A shallow swing will allow you to bring the club from your upswing to the point where your downswing is slightly more from right to left.
Know the lie
Before you take the fairway wood out of your bag, take a moment to assess the position of your ball. If the position of the ball is too much, you should choose a hybrid or a long shot iron. When you’re dealing with more lies, your shot will need more loft.
To determine if there is a high number of lies for your shot, take out your stick and bring its face in line with the ball. If you see the stick’s face naturally pointing to the left or right, that’s a good indication that you’re dealing with a lot of lies.
The golden rule when deciding to hit woods in a fairway is that the more lies you have, the more likely you should be using an iron or hybrid stick. The purpose of hitting the woods in the fairway is to get closer to the green faster. It is equally important to know when to refrain from using wood in the fairway.
Shoulders and upper body
To hit wood well in the fairway, you need to focus on making contact with the ball before it hits the ground. There are two techniques you can use to hit wood in the fairway to ensure firm contact with the ball:
- Lower the leading arm slightly to encourage first contact with the ball. If you don’t drop your main arm, you may find yourself hitting the ball thinly or overhead.
- The square arms parallel to the ball will encourage a swing path that is shallow enough that you can hit the ball for solid contact. If you open one of your arms, your downswing will be steeper.
Drills to help hit Fairway Forest
Now that you know the basics of hitting wood on the fairway, let’s look at some exercises you can try at the shooting range. Our goal with these drills is to get more and more comfortable as you hit wood in the fairway.
- The first exercise is simple. Make a few test swings and watch where the bottom of the fairway wood touches the ground. Once you become familiar with where the stick hits the ground, you can make adjustments accordingly. The goal is for the club not to fall to the ground too early, but also not too late. Start introducing the ball into your training swings and start visualizing contact with the ball just before it hits the ground.
- This next exercise is known as T-Peg Drill. This builds on the first exercise, making sure the wood in the fairway hits the ground at the right time. You’ll start by taking the jersey out of the bag and sticking it into the ground 1.5 inches in front of the ball. Then get ready to shoot and focus on trying to knock the tee off the ground. This exercise will also help you take a shallower swing while hitting the ball. If you are not slipping on the tee during this exercise, try making adjustments based on the basics discussed above.
- An exercise to help you avoid lifting your body away from the ball is known as calf puller. The purpose of this exercise is to help you keep your hands in front of the club head when making contact with the ball. If the club head hits the ball before your hands pass it, you are throwing the club. You will lose most of your swing power when throwing the club. To perform this exercise, swing slowly and pretend your ankles are scraping the ground as you downswing. As you practice this exercise, you will notice that your body stays closer to the ground and the ball instead of rising up. Practical swings for this exercise will seem exaggerated. When you finally take a practice shot, use this form at normal speed with less overkill. You should notice that your hands are passing the ball before the clubhead touches the ball. Your body should not be lifting, but rather being closer to the ball through the swing.
The distance you can get with a well-struck fairway wood can greatly improve your score on the golf course. As long as you know the proper ball placement, stance, and swing pattern, you can take fairway wood out of your bag and hit it confidently. Try practicing hitting the woods on the fairway from the ground in the training ground and develop the right habits for these hits.
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