To lower your score you must have confidence in the fairway woods. Most courses have four par 5s with 500 yards being the average distance. Therefore, the second shot is simply to get closer to the green and in position to hit a short iron on the green. With the second shot usually being over 200 yards, the go to club for the average golfer will be a fairway wood. Like all clubs, confidence and expertise in use only comes from practice. Here are a few tips to improve ball strikes with the fairway woods.
Set up with the ball slightly forward in the stance
Ball position is critical when hitting fairway woods. The ball should be approximately 3 inches inside your left heel. Or stated another way, the ball should be placed about half way between the driver position and the middle of your stance. When considering the swing arc, the slightly forward ball position allows the club head to strike the ball at the bottom of the arc. The descending angle of the fairway wood will strike the ball then take a shallow divot indicating a proper ball strike.
Take a Shallow Divot
Taking a shallow divot is indication that the club head was traveling downward toward the ball before impact. The divot should be shallow, not as deep as striking the ball with an iron. In addition to revealing the club head was in a downward arc prior to the ball strike, the divot also reveals the body was traveling forward at and after the strike. Pure fairway wood shots are executed when the weight is on the front foot prior to the ball strike.
Don’t Hang Back
As with all ball strikes, weight must be on the front foot prior to impact. Shifting weight forward when hitting a fairway wood is a little more difficult. Since the fairway woods are longer clubs and the swing is flatter, the tendency is to help the ball get up by slightly lifting the club. Trying to lift the ball is a mistake and usually results in topping the ball and dribbling it down the fairway. Getting to the front foot prior the strike will enable you to hit down with the fairway wood allowing the loft built into the club to project the ball up and forward as designed.
Find A Swing Aid to Assist
Occasionally we need a little assistance with our swing. Golf lessons are readily available, but sometimes the use of a swing aid can correct or at least improve the swing flaw. There are swing aids on the market that were developed to fix almost any swing flaw, but most golf instructors will agree that shifting weight to the front foot prior to the ball strike is the number one problem! And just as significant, many of the golfers who do not shift weight properly are not even aware that improper weight shift is why they cannot strike the ball solidly!!
Getting to the front foot prior to striking the ball is difficult for many golfers. If you have trouble getting forward try using a swing aid that will give you instant feed back that weight has shifting forward prior to the ball strike. Having the “feel” of weight forward with auditory confirmation will help establish muscle memory to shift weight forward more consistently with fewer swing thoughts.