5 Tips to Help You Hit a Fairway Wood

Louis Pringle
Jul 28, 2022
8 minutes
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Most golfers have a love-hate relationship with their fairway wood. On the one hand, it can help them with accuracy off the tee when they’re struggling with their driver. On the other, some golfers won’t even dare take the club out of their bag. Time to change that!

Even if you’re a beginner golfer and whether you want to know how to hit a 3, 5, 7 or even 11 wood, hitting your fairway wood shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Rather, you should think of your fairway wood as a safety tool when you’re struggling with accuracy and as a secret weapon on par-5s. Check out this guide to gain confidence in your fairway wood skills and learn how to hit fairway woods consistently.

In this guide you’ll learn about:

  • 5 easy tips to hit your fairway wood better
  • How to use your club, body and surroundings to your advantage
  • How you can put these fairway wood tips into action

1. Ball positioning with your fairway wood

Just like with any other golf club, ball position is key at address when you’re hitting a fairway wood. With a fairway wood, you’ll want to place the ball about an inch behind you would normally set it for a driver.

With a driver, you place the ball so far up in your stance because you’re trying to hit the ball in an upwards direction with the driver.

As for your fairway wood, while you’re also trying to get this ball in the air, moving it back in your stance will allow you to properly compress the golf ball at impact to send it flying.

If you’re looking to fiddle around with your ball flight, you can move your ball a touch forward or back in your swing. Moving it back is more likely to produce a low-flighted trajectory and moving it forward will send it a bit higher in the air.

How to position your ball with your fairway wood:

  • Move the ball backwards in your stance to make it more suitable to the natural motion of your swing. Most golfers align their teed-up ball with the big toe of their lead foot when hitting their driver. Most also tend to move the ball back an inch as well as set it on a tee at ground height for fairway wood strikes.

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2. Use the loft of your fairway wood to your advantage

Unlike drivers, there’s a wide variety of loft angles when it comes to fairway woods, which is why many golfers choose to carry more than one in their golf bag.

The most common fairway wood is the 3-wood which usually sports a clubface angled at 15 degrees, which is slightly higher than the highest loft angle found on drivers. However, there are fairway woods out there with an even higher loft angle.

Dustin Johnson notably used a 7-wood to capture his green jacket in 2020. The club allowed him to project the ball higher in the air while still getting it to stop relatively quickly once it hits the ground.

Johnson, a pro golfer, realized that he wasn’t getting enough air under his fairway wood strikes, so he opted for a club with a higher loft angle. Does that ring a bell to you? Have you been looking for ways to send your ball in the air when you hit a fairway wood? Well, try to go with a higher lofted club!

How to use loft to your advantage:

  • Adjust the loft of your favourite fairway wood at a higher angle with an adjustable tool. This will allow you to project the ball in the air with ease.
  • Add another fairway wood to your club set so that you have some higher lofted options when it comes to fairway woods.
  • Trade and upgrade your old fairway with a brand-new or pre-loved fairway wood that is more fitting to your loft needs. You’ll be able to complete both your trade-in and your purchase in one single transaction. This way you’ll never be stuck without a fairway wood in the bag.

Trade-In and Upgrade Your Fairway Wood

3. Use the ground to your advantage on your fairway wood strikes

One of the biggest challenges of hitting a fairway wood is hitting the ball right off the ground with the larger clubhead of a fairway wood.

Much like any other golf club, your goal is to compress the golf ball at impact to send it flying. The same goes with your fairway wood and the best way to do so is to use the ground as a launch pad.

Whenever you’re hitting a fairway wood off a tee, you’re looking for a sweeping swing that will pick the ball off the tee. When you’re hitting your fairway wood off the ground, you’re instead trying to press the ball into the ground so that it pops out with high velocity.

Eventually, you’ll gain more abilities with your fairway wood, and you’ll be able to move the ball around in your stance to create ball flight adjusted to your needs.

How to use the ground to your advantage:

  • Avoid trying to pick the ball off the ground when you hit your fairway wood. Instead, you should try to press the golf ball into the ground and compress it as you complete your swing. Though, off the tee, you should look to sweep the ball down the fairway.

Read More | Learn How to Hit the Ball at The Right Angle

4. Decide if you need a tee or not with your fairway wood

As we just mentioned, you might want to set your ball up on a tee when you’re standing on the tee box. Arguments can be made for both strategies when it comes to amateur golfers, but the truth is you should go with what feels best for you.

Most pros will tell you to set the ball up on a tee when you’re using a fairway wood, but those same pros have the needed speed and experience to strike the ball in a sweeping motion.

For most beginner golfers who are trying to learn how to hit a fairway wood, sweeping the club is one of the harder motions to learn. The vast majority will have a steep swing that will likely hit the ball too high up on the clubface of their fairway wood, which can ultimately incur damages to it.

If you’re able to hit a golf ball on a tee with a fairway wood, then you’ll get to choose whatever option works best for you. Hitting with the tee will give your strike a higher spin rate, which comes in handy when you need to be accurate.

How to decide if you need a tee:

  • Adjust your need for a tee based on the shot you need to execute on this hole. If you need a precise strike with a limited roll-out, use the tee. If you have a steep swing and struggle to sweep the ball, let the ball free on the ground.

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5. Stabilize your base for a stronger fairway wood swing

We touched upon this in our most recent driver tips guide where we discussed the importance of a strong base for a solid drive. This is just as true with your fairway wood.

Having a strong base when you’re hitting a fairway wood will not only produce more distance on your strikes but will also help with your accuracy.

While this is certainly useful to find the fairway off the tee, it’s even more satisfying when you can hit the green in two because you can hit the ball far with your fairway wood.

Minor tweaks to your positioning over the golf ball with your fairway wood can turn you into a much better striker of the ball without needing to ever hit the gym.

How to stabilize your stance:

  • Widen your stance to create a stronger base for your swing. While it should be just like your driver’s stance, widening your stance might help you out a bit since fairway woods are shorter.
  • Open the angle of your lead foot for an easier transition through the swing and more stability on your front foot at the end of it.

Read More | 5 Exercises That’ll Help Strengthen Your Golf Swing

With the advice highlighted in this guide, you should be able to add these five tips to your arsenal next time you pull out your fairway wood during a round. Keep in mind that some of these changes are minor and won’t need that much adaptation, but others will require more adaptation.

If you’ve got most of these basic tips handled already and you’ve got complete control over your fairway wood, we strongly suggest you check our best driver drills to take your game to the next level with your driver in hand.

Until next time,

The Golf Avenue team

Further reading

Need help on how to hit a golf driver? Here’s 5 easy tips to guide you on your swing stance, grip, posture and choosing a driver to give you consistent hits.

Struggling with your irons? Here's our beginner's guide on how to practice your iron shots and swing with some easy iron drills and tips for high handicappers.