Woods are typically easier to hit from a fairway than a comparable iron, because a wood is a more forgiving club. Left-handed PGA Tour pro Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters champion, notes that even many professional golfers prefer hitting fairway woods to long irons. The fundamentals of hitting fairway woods are no different, whether you’re a righty or a lefty. The proper swings are merely mirror images of each other.
Set up properly. Canadian PGA pro Jason Wyatt suggests stepping up to the ball with your feet close together and the ball in mid-stance. Take a small step forward with your right foot, then a larger step backward with your left foot, to play the ball off the inside of your right heel.
Make sure to use the proper club with the correct loft. Noted swing coach Butch Harmon recommends using 3-woods with 15 or 16 degrees of loft when you’re hitting from the fairway. Weir suggests that golfers who tend to hit low shots should use a 7-wood or 9-wood “to help you get the ball up into the air.” Conversely, players who tend to hit the ball high should select a less-lofted 4-wood or 5-wood.
Maintain the same rhythm on the backswing and downswing when you’re using a fairway wood, advises PGA pro Eric Johnson.
Sweep the ball off the fairway. Tiger Woods advises players to use “a shallow angle of attack” to strike the ball squarely. Harmon, however, advises golfers to hit a bit down on the ball, trusting the club’s loft to get the ball into the air. Even though conventional wisdom advises players to sweep the ball off the fairway when swinging a wood, Harmon says players shouldn’t worry about taking a slight divot on the target side of the ball.