Fairway woods and hybrids are important clubs for longer shots on longer courses when your long irons just can’t reach. I believe it is essential to add at least one, maybe two higher lofted fairway woods or hybrids in your bag. Fairway woods and hybrids are generally easier to hit and more forgiving than your long irons. The benefit to hitting these fairway woods and hybrids over your long irons is that they tend to get the ball up in the air much easier.
Fundamentals for success with your fairway woods and hybrids
- The ball should be positioned forward of center in your stance. Having the ball forward of center will help you get a wider and more shallow angle of attack. A wider or shallower angle of attack can help you hit the shots with high flying, soft landing shots that will stop closer to where they land on the green. Just like an iron there should be a descending angle of approach with the club hitting the ball first then making a divot slightly after the ball.
- Make sure to stay down and through the shots and avoid trying to lift the shot into the air. When a ball lies on the turf it is important to make a divot down and through the shot. Many people try to hit fairway woods like their drivers and that doesn’t work unless their ball is sitting up in fluffy grass. Most of the time the ball is tight to the turf or even slightly below the grass. This makes it absolutely necessary to go down after the ball and trap the ball through the turf.
- Your hands should be slightly leading through the shot. This should help you make more solid contact and again encourage you to hit down and through the shots. If your hands get too far behind the shots you may chunk some shots or even top them. With your hands slightly leading through the shot you will be more likely to hit the sweet spot or the middle of the clubface.
- Make sure to finish your swing with these clubs. Finish higher and around to encourage swinging through ball. You do not want to punch too many shots with your fairway woods or hybrids. These clubs are longer and they function better if swung with more freedom and less of a punching or stabbing motion.
I believe that hybrids are here to stay. Embrace the concept and find two complimentary lofts to add to your bag. If you are a stronger player with more club head speed, you may want your longer fairway club to be 17 -19 degrees with an additional club at about 21-23 degrees. If you don’t generate a lot of club head speed in your swing, it would be wise to get clubs with a little more loft. I suggest a club with 21-22 degrees for your longer club and 26-28 degrees for your additional fairway wood. This will enable you to get the ball up into the air much quicker.
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