How Do I Use Fairway Woods?

By Patrick Cameron
You can cover a lot more ground with a fairway wood on those long par 4's and 5's.
You can cover a lot more ground with a fairway wood on those long par 4's and 5's.

Fairway woods and hybrid clubs can give you extra distance you wouldn't be able to get from a long iron. With the club loft of a fairway wood relatively less than that of a long iron, people tend to think that you need to hit the ball on the upswing to achieve the rise you want. The truth is, you can hit a fairway wood, from a level, across-plane swing, make solid contact and the ball will rise just through the natural loft of the club.

Take a few practice swings. Practice sweeping the club head along the grass as you draw back and then sweep back through the impact zone. With a fairway wood, you want a fairly shallow swing as opposed to the steep angle of an iron where you are making impact coming down.

Step up to address the ball. You want the ball 2 or 3 inches to the inside of your lead foot. You don't want to make impact with the ball at descent like you would with an iron, or on the upswing, as you would with a driver. The whole idea is to make impact by sweeping across for a level hit. Level your shoulders, keep your spine is straight and distribute your weight evenly.

Spread your stance a little wider than you would with an iron. A wider stance will give you a more stable base and a better opportunity to deliver impact and put additional power behind the wood.

Choke up an inch on the club. The objective isn't to hit the ball as hard as you can. Allow the club to do the work for you.

Start your backswing and allow the club to sweep along the fairway grass. From your practice strokes, this should feel fairly comfortable.

Create impact by, once again, allowing your club to sweep across the grass as you go forward to make contact and then up into your follow-through.

Drive your weight and momentum through the ball and at the target, using your non-lead shoulder.

About the Author

Patrick Cameron is a freelance writer with 10 years of diverse experience in consumer goods branding, promotions and retail communications. He works out of his home in Denver, Colo. He received his Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from the University of Minnesota.

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