5 Tips for Hitting Fairway Woods & Hybrids
Tips to Hitting Hybrid Clubs & Fairway Woods with Confidence & Ease
One of the most difficult shots you’ll ever have to play is the fairway wood off the ground. The most difficult of all woods to hit is the 3 wood. In this short guide you will learn how to hit your woods and hybrids with confidence, how to stop topping fairway woods, the reason why you’re having trouble hitting this shot, and what you’ll have to do to fix it.
The Average Fairway Wood / Hybrid Club Problem
The usual issue with a fairway wood shot I see with many of my readers is the habit of topping the ball, or hitting it low and thin off to the right. Obviously these types of shots will leave you a fair distance from the hole, and more often than not, in some deep trouble of the grassy kind.
When is it Necessary to Use Fairway Woods / Hybrids?
Before we delve into the how, it’s important to learn the when. There are 3 common situations when people look to use the fairway wood. Maybe you’ve come across them yourself:
- You’ve hit the first shot off the tee short on a PAR 5 and you’re looking to recover
- You’re looking to get to the green in 2.
- You’re trying to get close to the green on a PAR 5
Your thought here is, I need to recover, and in order to do that, I must hit a wood to regain lost yards. Wrong! If you don’t regularly hit a decent shot with your fairway wood on the range, then don’t try it on the course.
It may in fact be the wrong choice of club for the situation anyway, as you could be better off hitting a 5 iron than a short iron onto the green on your PAR 5, instead of trying to hit it in one and being left with an awkward pitch.
I’m not saying never attempt a wood / hybrid shot ever, all I’m saying is, until you’ve reached a certain level of consistency in your fairway wood & hybrid shots, you shouldn’t be attempting them on the course. Get some good practice on the range; build up your confidence in hitting shots with your woods or hybrid clubs first.
Why do you Miss-hit your Hybrid Clubs / Woods?
There are 2 main reasons why you could be miss-hitting your fairway woods / hybrids.
- You’re trying to smash the ball – This is perhaps the most common reason. In an effort to smash the ball, your muscles become tense and your body rises slightly. This then causes you to lift your arms in the downswing, and causes the shaft of the wood / hybrid to lag behind the club-head. This then leads to the club-head rising early in the follow through.
- You’re hanging right – If you hit the club with your arms a lot, you’re not using your lower body effectively. This causes you to put too much weight on your back foot through impact, which leads to a severe incline on your downswing.
How to Stop Topping Fairway Woods / Hybrids?
Here are 5 tips on hitting fairway woods and hybrids with confidence:
- Make a full rotation – Hitting a solid shot with either your hybrid club or fairway wood, requires you to make a full rotation of the torso and upper body, whilst making sure you’re not overturning the hips. It’s inevitable though, as you age, you’re flexibility gradually declines. Don’t let it affect you. It can be solved with a few simple stretches. Whilst standing, raise your wood / hybrid above your head and hold it with your hand shoulder width apart. Now, bend your back ever so slightly forward and begin to rotate using your torso, turning your shoulders 45 degrees. For more info on golf fitness, be sure to visit our golf fitness section.
- Take a proper set-up – Hitting longer clubs such as woods, the ball position, stance, and posture are a little different. To make sure your posture is correct, flex your knees and stick your behind out a bit. Your back should be slightly forward (enough to feel comfortable) and your spine should be straight and perpendicular to the shaft of your club. Your arms should now feel natural and in position, without feeling as though you need to stretch for the ball.
- Correct ball position – Hitting you woods / hybrids requires a different ball position to that of your pitching wedge. Here the ball is in the middle of your stance. To hit a fairway wood or hybrid, your ball needs to be a little closer to your target. Place the ball so it’s on the line of your left eye, just on the inside of your left heel. This allows you to stretch your arms and take a much wider swing than you would normally.
- Wide swing – The short iron swing is different to that of the fairway wood / hybrid swing. In the essence that the short iron requires a short swing with a rather steep swing plain. Whereas the longer clubs such as the hybrid or wood require a longer, wider swing plain or arc if you like.
- Stretch your arms – All you have to do to make great contact with your fairway woods is to allow your arms to stretch out as you hit the shot. As the arms get longer, the club will make a wider arc plus the shaft will not lean severely behind the ball at impact.
Hitting fairway woods / hybrid clubs is a lot easier than you think. Making an effort to get that extra distance could be the issue. Take a relaxed wide arc swing until you start to connect correctly. Often the harder you try to hit the more you begin to duff your shots. Take it easy is what I’m trying to say here.
Also, practice is essential. If you can’t hit your woods / hybrids off the course, then don’t hit them on the course. Practice, practice, practice! If a situation calls for a wood / hybrid, choose an iron for the time being. You will improve in time, just take the tips I’ve outlined in this article and it will be sooner rather than later. Take your time and you will stop topping fairway woods.