1 Posture keys
As golf coaches, we often find ourselves talking about posture. It is one of these inescapable fundamentals that lie at the heart of good golf and is an essential component for how to hit 3 wood off the ground. Set a strong athletic posture and then maintain it during the swing and you’ll be a solid ball striker with every club in the bag. However, the problems that stem from a poor posture are most readily seen in the fairway wood game, you can read more about this in our beginners guide to fairway wood play. If your spine angle is rounded and scrunched up your rotation, swing path and strike will all be affected. To set a good posture, try standing upright with the club out in front of you. Then flex your knees and importantly tilt your upper body over the ball by bending at the hips. Keep your back as straight as possible. In the right position your weight will be over the balls of your feet. During the swing itself, simply concentrate on maintaining this posture from address to impact.
2 Ball position check
The other fundamental to great fairway wood play is pay close attention to is ball position. Set it forwards in your stance – just inside your left heel. This encourages a shallower angle of attack than with your irons and will ensure you deliver loft on the club through impact. Take the time to check your ball position as it can easily change without you realising.
3 Setting the angle
A good fairway wood strike requires the perfect angle of attack. As I mentioned, we are looking for the club to attack the ball on a shallow path – with the sole of the club ‘brushing’ the ground through impact. You can do this by pre-setting the right position at address. Place 55% of your weight on your back foot at address and tilt your shoulders so your left is slightly higher than your right (opposite rules apply for left handers). This encourages the sweeping action you are looking for to hit great fairway wood shots. A great drill is to hit some shots with the ball teed up a fraction – this will prevent you from chopping down on the ball and encourage the sweeping strike you are looking for.
4 Shift, don’t hang
The biggest killer when it comes to consistent fairway wood strikes is when players lean back through impact. Knowing that you need to find a shallow angle of attack and a sweeping strike, this can be a natural reaction. However, the adjustments you’ve made at set up are enough and further manipulating the swing will cause huge problems. A great drill is to place the base of your golf bag where the ball would be at address. This creates a point of resistance for you to check your impact position. As you shift your weight into your left side through impact, the shaft of the club should lean slightly forward as you can see here. Despite the fact that you are looking for a sweeping strike – this fundamental rule to good ball striking still applies. There are other great fairway wood drills to try but this one will ensure you don’t fall foul of the most common fault with fairway wood play.
Andrew’s Fairway Wood Checklist
– Set a strong, athletic posture and maintain it
– Place the ball forward in your stance
– Set 55% of your weight on your right side
– Do not hang back through impact