With the advent of the hybrid clubs fewer and fewer golfers are playing the 3-wood or 5-wood from the fairway these days. I don’t blame them really; I have a 2-hybrid (16 degrees) that I use for the second shot most times on the par fives. I am usually left with a short pitch for my third shot leaving me a birdie putt. That is all I can ask for on most days.
However, on some days when I am swinging well and the ball carries long I may find myself inside 235 yards for my second. That’s when I begin thinking about pulling out the 3-wood and going for it in two.
The odd thing is that, on my home course, the two par fives on the front side require two different ball flights for this same club. The fourth green is downhill with a small opening in the front where you could run a ball onto the green. The ninth green is elevated and requires a high shot to get it to stop. Same club in my hand but I need two different ball flights depending on the hole.
Have you ever wanted to reach a par five in two? You’ll need courage, confidence and to know how to fly the ball high or low.
Below are the five tips to fairway wood swing and then the adjustments to fly it high or keep it low.
The High Fairway Wood Swing
Place the ball back – Most duffers play the fairway wood too far forward in their stance. This is not a tee shot so you do not want to hit up on the ball. Moving it back will promote the proper angle of approach.
Sweep the ball – The clubhead should pass through the hitting area nearly parallel to the ground. You do not want to take a divot on the shot. The clubhead should just disturb the grass in the impact area.
Use a descending blow – The clubhead should pass through the impact area with just the slightest downward trajectory. This will create the proper backspin on the ball you will need to control the shot.
Weight transfer – The success of this swing is determined largely by the transition. Once the club reaches the top of the backswing, start the downswing by shifting your weight from the back leg to the front leg. That weight transfer is vital for the club to bottom out at the ball.
Swing through the shot – Stay committed to the shot. Swing within yourself to a full finish. Avoid the tendency to over swing or to lift the ball into the air with the club. Make your best balanced swing and take what the swing and club will give you.
Now that you have the swing down, you should take note of the adjustments you will need to make in order to flight the ball either high or low. Generally speaking those adjustments should be to your stance or set up rather than altering your swing. Stance adjustments using the same swing will produce the desired far more often than if you attempt change something in your swing.
The High Fairway Wood Shot
For the high shot adjust your set up from that mentioned above by moving the ball a bit forward and holding your hands lower (closer to the ground) at address. Tilt your spine away from your target placing a bit more weight on the back foot. Swing as outlined above. The set up will add loft to the club and the ball will fly higher and land softer.
The Low Fairway Wood Shot
To play a shot with a lower, creating a more piercing trajectory, just reverse the directions above for creating a high shot. The ball should be positioned a bit farther back similar to where you would play a long iron shot. Lean the shaft forward a bit creating a forward press to de-loft the club. You weight should be more on the front leg. This set up combined with the swing discussed above will keep the ball down for the low running shot.
Don’t dismiss the fairway wood shot too quickly. I know they are among the longer clubs in your bag and are therefore more difficult to hit properly. Under the right conditions this shot could well give you a attempt at eagle with an almost certain birdie. You are a full stroke better off than the alternative lay up strategy.
Let the fairway wood shot save you that lay up shot. Because we all know that every shot counts, except those you don’t have to take.