Matteo Manassero Fairway Wood Tips
For many players, amateur and professional, finding the perfect fairway wood is a difficult challenge. Unlike many of the other clubs in your bag, your fairway wood needs to fulfil a whole host of different roles from a second driving option to opening up par 5s in two. Being able to launch it high and long whilst also having a technique that allows you to take yardage off the shot is essential. If you can find the right club and can adjust your technique for different shots, you’ll hit it so many times.
Set a solid base
With a fairway wood you need the backspin created by good clubhead speed through impact so that you can launch it up into the air. So to make an athletic swing that doesn’t kill your control, it is important to have a solid base at address. My ball position is forward and my core muscles are engaged. This will help me make a powerful turn without losing control. When you are hitting your fairway wood off the tee, the essential technique is the same. One mistake that sometimes gets made is to tee the ball up too high – you should peg it down so you don’t hit the ball too high on the face and lose distance. If you can set an athletic stance at address, you’ll be able to swing through to, and hold, a balanced finish. Do this consistently and you’ll strike the ball sweetly more often than not.
For a normal fairway wood shot, whether you are hitting it off the ground or off the tee, you’ll want a high launch. For that, a shallower angle of clubhead attack is important. I think with a fairway wood that the swing plane needs to be slightly in-to-out, this means that you can get the ball up without hitting down too much. If you come out-to-in, you won’t find the flight you need so think about this the next time you are practising your fairway wood game. The difference between these two positions might seem relatively small but the effect on the flight is quite big.
My driver carries 270 yards in flat calm conditions and a normal 3 wood from the fairway carries 235-240 yards with no wind. Then my hybrid carries 220 yards. This shows how important it is to be able to launch it further and knock it down if you need to. If you can find a 3-wood that you feel comfortable doing this with, then you’ll have more flexibility at the bottom end your set.
As I have already said, a good 3-wood has to be versatile and cover a range of different distances. That’s why I always think it’s a good idea to be able to hit a punched 3-wood that goes a little shorter and flies lower than usual. I’ll start by gripping down the club a little bit and the ball will go back in my stance. For me the main swing thought here is to have the feeling that my hands are moving low and to the left after I have struck the ball, holding off the release a little bit. With the ball further back in my stance, I am naturally hitting more down than for a normal shot, I may well take a small divot for this shot. This will knock the flight down and you’ll cut it a little bit which also takes off a bit of distance.
The ball is set a little bit further back in my stance than normal, my hands are also further down the grip. This means my angle of attack is steeper and there is less loft on the club at impact but I also need to try and keep the spin off so the flight stays low. I do this by holding the release of my wrists for a fraction.