🥇 Tips and Instructions to hit Golf Fairway Woods off the Ground or Tee

Hit fairway woods off the deck tee

Hitting a fairway wood, is not easy for many golfers, especially for beginners and mid-handicappers. You can hit fairway woods in many situations, including off the tees and from the ground. We will look in to the some of the questions that many golfers encounter on the golf course. The following topics will be discussed, to improve your fairway wood accuracy.

Hit the ball off the deck with golf fairway woods

Summary – to hit the ball off the deck with golf fairway woods

  • Lie of the ball – Asses the lie of the ball. For cleaner lies, use fairway woods. For tighter lies, try hybrids or irons.
  • Swing speed – To hit a 3 wood off the ground, it requires a certain swing speed. For slower swing speed, it’s better to use a 5 or 7 woods.
  • Default ball position – in line with the shirt logo. But try varying it, to see any positive difference.
  • Stance – Feet are wider, maximum shoulder wide.  This will increase stability.
  • Swing – nice and relaxed. A 70-80% swing is recommended.
  • Impact – You could either sweep the ball off the floor or have a slightly downward angle of attack for high spinning shots.

Let’s check how to hit fairway woods from the fairway grass or the rough and do approach shots into the hole. What are the key pieces you need to focus in set up and in swing? When to hit fairway woods? How to judge risk reward when hitting fairway woods? What set up adjustments you make? What in swing adjustments do you need to make? What is the goal with this club? 

Set-up to hit off the ground

hit fairway woods off ground

So, we are going to take our setup position and we will go through the set-up adjustments needed for this club. You will notice 2 noticeable difference with your fairway woods. Number one and the most important step is ball position. For irons shots, it should be the shirt logo. For fairway woods we are going to want the ball all to be a little bit more forward. It should be in between iron ball position and driver ball position. Using a 3 wood, the shirt logo would be about as far back we would put the ball. Shirt logo will probably a good starting point. But if that doesn’t give a good performance and you hit it really good with the ball a bit farther back then that’s fine, do that. Do what works. But try the shirt logo first.

Stance to hit off ground

For irons our feet will be closer, and you would be closer to the golf ball. With three wood we are widening our feet as our clubs get longer. As a club get longer, we want your feet to get wider, for more stability. If we are hitting a 3 or 5 wood, the intended target is pretty far. The stance can help with pressure shifts and to hit the ball a little bit farther.

So, feet are a little bit wider. Ball position in line with the shirt logo. And that’s a really good set up. 

Swing to hit off the ground

fairway woods swing sequence

Let’s check the in-swing process with the 3 wood and 5 wood. Whatever is the normal swing you are working on, is going to apply here. You are not doing a different swing with your fairway woods.  Maybe you have a feel or two that works really well with this specific shot. When we are getting the ball off the ground, we are trying to have a solid contact. So, depending upon your swing pattern, you might feel something different to try. You are doing the same things instead of major adjustments. And you are experimenting where the ball position and feel should be, to give you the best results.   

The differences between Woods, driver and iron at impact

Here are some of the main differences between driver, fairway woods and the irons, when club head impacts the ball.

  • Driver: the angle of attack is positive. You hit up on the ball, to get maximum distance.
  • Fairway woods: the angle of attack is around zero or slightly negative. Ideally you sweep the ball off the floor.
  • Irons: the angle of attack is negative. You hit down on the ball, to get good compression

When to hit the fairway woods off the turf? Risk reward

Hitting the ball off the grass turf compared to the tee, the risk is far too great relative to the reward. The odds of you hitting a fairway wood offline and getting into trouble, adding shots is high. Let’s say you are 250 yards away. On a par four and you are on the fairway. You are going to hit a 3 wood towards the green. Maybe there are a couple trees and bunkers on the way. If you hit a perfect shot, you will be in front of the green. Alternatively, you can hit a 5 wood or 7 wood. Now we are around 50 yards out in the middle of the fairway. Versus we hit our 3 wood out of bounds and making a bogey or worse, on that hole.

The stats say that the closer you get to the hole, the better your odds of a lower score. You hit it as close as possible.  But we also know that we could be making a double or triple bogey. When in doubt, you could pull out a more lofted fairway wood and use it. Make sure that you practice it enough, so that you have a predictable go-to pattern.

How to avoid topping the ball with fairway woods?

fairway woods correct ball impact

Summary - to avoid topping the ball with fairway woods

  • Swing easy and relaxed. Avoid hitting as hard as possible. Instead go for a 70 to 80 percent swing.
  • The angle of attack is around zero or slightly negative. Ideally you sweep the ball off the floor.
  • Let your arms stretch out to avoid buckling or chicken wings
  • Have proper weight transfer. We want to feel our weight shift to the back leg in the backswing and then on our front leg in the follow through.

We want to help you stop topping your fairway woods. A lot of people have the problem of topping their 3 woods. You typically hit a 3 wood, to try and make up for mistake or you are trying to get to a par five in two shots. Let’s say you had a bad tee shot, but still got over 250 yards to the green. So, what do you do? 

In this situation, you may try to hit a 3 wood as hard as you can, to get on to the green in two shots or very close to the green. When you try to hit hard, you throw the club as hard as you can at the ball.  Your arms tighten, when the golf club is coming down and through. Your muscles contract and start to buckle. Eventually the grip on the golf club falls behind the club head. Typically, if you are trying to hit it as hard as you can with your arms, you are not using your body. You get stuck on your back foot. The leading edge of the golf club is not going to get underneath the ball. So this is the cause of a topped 3 wood shot.

Let your arms stretch out

Ideally, we need to be in a situation where we are letting our arms stretch out, as we hit the ball. Also, the arm stretching out fully after we’ve hit the shot. This will stop them from buckling. So, with arms stretching out, the grip is not going to fall behind the club head. Also, we want to try and use our body to hit the golf ball. 

Swing easy and relaxed

We are going to swing easy and relaxed. Swing around 70 to 80 percent. Just by swinging easy, the arms stops from being totally locked up. Stop trying to hit the golf ball as hard as you can. Do some practice swings at about 50 percent. We want to feel our weight shift to the back leg in the backswing and then on our front leg, in the follow through.

Have proper weight transfer

Next step we want to try, is feel our weight shifting when we are hitting the shots. In backswing we feel our weight load into the back leg and then we are going to unload to the front leg. We are not going to hang back and top the ball. We want to feel the weight load back and then end up on our front leg after we hit the shot. 

Should you hit a 3, 4, 5 or 7 fairway wood?

better golf fairway woods choice

Most golfers struggle for consistency with 3 woods. They feel that the loft on the 5 wood would give a bit more consistency, but also accuracy. It could be more beneficial to use a 5 wood rather than 3 wood. These are all about shots from the floor and tees. A 3 wood doesn’t have a lot of loft on the club face, perhaps around 15 degrees.  With 5 wood, straight away you can see more club face. The face looks a lot more inviting than the 3 wood, with loft around 21 degrees. 

Certainly, for many golfers, when you have more loft on the club, you may feel more comfortable behind the ball, hitting the ball high with more control. Club head speed is slightly higher in 3 wood, due to the longer shaft. This can translate in to longer carry and roll. 

When the golf course is wet, then you may get less roll with a 3 wood. During dry conditions you will get more roll out of a 3 wood. So with softer fairway condition, use a 5 wood as it gives you almost equal distance, but with better consistency.

fairway woods forgiveness

It requires a certain swing speed to hit a 3 wood off the ground. Not everybody is going to swing at the same club head speed. So it’s certainly worth putting a bit more loft on the fairway woods, to get more distance and accuracy. For slower swing speed, its better to use a 5 wood or even a 7 wood. Your priority is getting shots in play.

Hitting fairway woods off the tees

hit fairway woods off tees

Summary - to Hit fairway woods off the tees

  • Decide on the type of shot that suits that particular hole. You want a regular shot off the tee for maximum distance? Or a high spinning safety shot for tight fairways?
  • For regular shots, ball position inside lead foot, a third of the golf ball would be above the top edge and hit it slightly on the way up, like a driver.
  • For high spinning safety shots, ball position in line with the logo, tee the ball as low as possible, lean the shaft forward a little and hit the ball slightly down, like an iron.

Here we will discuss how to hit a fairway wood off the tee. There are 2 types of shots that you might want to try. Both can be really useful off the tee. First one is just your regular shot. Second, a safety shot that’s particularly useful on a tight hole.

The differences between golf Driver and Fairway wood off the tee

Fairway wood shaft is a little bit shorter; it makes a lot of difference compared to a driver. You may get more club head speed with a driver, but it is difficult to hit flush on the ball. Secondly, anytime you are hitting a club with more aloft, your ability to curve the ball is reduced. You will not curve the ball as much, when you have more loft.

Hit regular shot off the tee

Let’s deal with the regular shot off the tee first.  We need a strategy, as we stand on the tee box. There may be some bunkers out there, or water. Some hazards could be in reach of the driver but not with the fairway wood. This would be a good instance where might we hit a fairway wood off the tee. We might use a fairway wood off the tee just because it’s easier to get out there. More reliable and consistent to get in play.

Let’s have a closer look on how to tee it up for a generic shot. So, in all regular shots with fairway woods off the tee, we try to treat it as though it was a driver. We want more of a driver ball placement inside of the left foot. Like a driver we want to catch it on the upswing. Without hitting the ground. Hit that ball in the center. About a third of the golf ball should be above the top edge of the club head. That allows us to hit on the up and solid.

Hit safety shot off the tee

Safety shot is the easiest shot to hit on a tight hole and to be sure that you are going to stay in play. You play the ball back in stance a little bit, maybe an inch and a half. Tee the ball as low as you can, that there is no space under the ball. By playing it a little bit further back and teeing the ball down, we are going to have to lean the shaft forward and go down and hit the ball. Flight of the ball will be bit lower, when we squeeze down on it more. This will also produce a little bit more backspin and it will help to hold that ball online. It’s more of a low stinger, with more backspin and the ball doesn’t get up in the air. You will lose a little bit of distance, but it can be a very good shot to have in your arsenal.

Should yo hit fairway woods off the rough?

hit fairway woods off rough

Summary - hitting fairway woods off the rough

  • Assess the lie of the ball first.
  • In deep rough, avoid hitting the 3 wood. It’s better to get a wedge, to get back in play. Swing steeper, hit down firm and get the ball pop up and back in the fairway
  • If you are strong enough, you can also use mid or shorter irons, to hit down on the ball and get back in play.
  • If the ball is sitting up or teed on the grass, then you can hit the ball with your fairway wood, just like you are hitting it off the deck or tee.

You may have a tough time hitting fairway woods, out of rough. Fairway woods doesn’t have a lot of loft as it is. And when you are hitting it from the rough, the long grass grabs your club face and turns it down and de-lofts it even more.

First step you need to do is to assess your ball lie. Check how bad it is. If the ball is in deep rough, avoid fairway woods.  Maybe use a wedge to get back in play. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a little bit of distance to get that extra loft and play it safe. The big step is to get it back in play and get it back in the fairway. So, depending how strong you are and how deep that rough is, your best bet is probably to go down to a mid or shorter irons. Let’s say we use a 7 iron, your goal here is to swing a little bit steeper, hit down firm and hopefully get this ball the pop up and back in the fairway, without too much loss of distance.  It’s simple and it works.

3 common mistakes hitting your fairway woods

  1. Trying to crush it off the floor, ending up topping the ball : You should try to swing easy and relaxed, about 75 % of your swing speed. Use your body more, not just the arms.
  2. Choosing a 3 wood, instead of more lofted 5 or a 7 wood : The loft is your friend. It is easier to get the ball up in the air with 5 or a 7 wood, than a 3 wood.
  3. Wrong set up and body alignment, causing hooks and slices : The ball position in line with your shirt logo and the body properly aligned, parallel to the target line. If you are too open, it may cause slicing and too closed, it may cause hooking of ball.

Distance Yardage chart for Golf Fairway Woods

Below we have compiled a distance chart for the different fairway woods. The yardage or distance for each clubs varies between players of different skill levels and swing speeds.  

Note! This is just a rough estimate of the co-relation between your swing speed and the distance. Obviously the distance varies between different club manufactures. The loft and lie angle on a 3 wood from Ping could be different to that of Callaway. The loft and lie angle influences how much distance you may get out of a club. We advice you to get fitted at the local golf shop for more accurate distances.

ClubSwingSpeed   
#65mph|Yards80mph|Yards95mph|Yards105mph|Yards
3 wood184200224240
4 wood174190214230
5 wood164180204220
7 wood154170194210
9 wood144160184200

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