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Hit Fairway Woods Like a Pro: Proven Tips & Drills for Amazing Shots

Fairway woods are often thought of as the alternative to a driver on the tee box. However, they work for a lot more than just this.

Fairway woods are capable of traveling long distances from tight fairway lies. They also are a good club selection when playing a long par 3.

If your fairway wood shots are not ideal it’s likely because of the length and loft of the club as well as your technique. Fairway woods are longer than irons and there are a few adjustments worth making when you want to hit them well.

I’ll share some of my best tips for hitting fairway woods and some very effective golf drills for doing so.

Hitting Fairway Woods (Key Takeaways)

If you don’t have time to read through all of our tips and drills for hitting fairway woods, here are the most important ones to remember.

  • Your ball position should be forward in your stance, more forward for the lower lofted fairway woods.
  • Sweep the grass with the fairway woods so that you can maximize distance; when you hit down on the ball too much, you may struggle with the ball flight.
  • Lead wrist should be flat at impact to control the clubface.
  • Give yourself a stable base of support when hitting fairway woods; these clubs are longer and require a bit more speed and precision as you swing through the ball.
Take a 2-minute Quiz and Step Up Your Game!

1. What do you want to improve in your full swing?

Tips and Techniques for Hitting Fairway Woods Like a Pro

1. Get Your Ball Position Right

Here’s a great way to think of fairway wood ball position: not quite a driver, not quite an iron.

You’ll have to put the ball somewhere between where you would put an iron and where you would put a driver in your stance. Finding this spot will help you get cleaner contact.

You may have to use a little trial and error here. Also, keep in mind that the lower lofted fairway woods (3 and 4 woods) will be played slightly further up than the higher lofted fairway woods.

Start with the ball just inside your lead heel with the 3 wood, slowly work the ball position back about a half inch at a time until you find the sweet spot.

correct golf ball position at address

It should take 3 or 4 swings, and you can do this with a little tee in the ground so you can just focus on ball position.

2. Keep a Stable Base of Support

A fairway wood is longer than standard, so try to take a slightly wider stance. The wider stance will give you a stable base of support and help you generate some speed.

Again, not quite as wide as the driver but wider than the iron.

3. Give the Transition Time

Again, the fairway wood is longer than a traditional golf iron, so you must give yourself some time to accommodate this.

If your transition from backswing to downswing is too quick, the club will get thrown off the path.

The best way to think of this is to feel the backswing being more extended and even slower than usual. It won’t impact your ability to strike the ball with plenty of speed. Most great golfers have a 3:1 tempo.

It takes them three counts to swing back and one to swing through.

Take a 2-minute Quiz and Step Up Your Game!

1. What do you want to improve in your full swing?

4. Sweep vs. Dig

You may take a slight divot with a fairway wood.

However, to maximize your distance and accuracy, the angle of attack for the fairway wood must be a little shallower.

You’ll want to think of this as more of a sweeping motion than a digging motion that you make with your golf irons.

As long as you transfer your weight through the golf ball, it will rise in the air without issues.

5. Delay the Wrist Hinge

To generate more power with the fairway wood you will need width in your golf swing.

If you are a player who tends to hinge the golf club right away, you may want to consider delaying that a bit.

The problem with an early hinge is that it can cause more extension in the lead wrist. This extension opens the clubface and leaves you looking for ways to square things up.

Instead, wait until the club gets closer to the top of your backswing and then feel that hinge.

From the top, you can now work on squaring things and rotating your body through the golf ball.

6. Flat Wrist at Impact

Cupping your wrist as you swing through the golf ball can cause problems with the fairway wood.

This is where golfers top the ball or hit it to the right. The goal is to have a flat or even slightly flexed wrist if you want to maximize power.

The best way to do this (we learned after analyzing 1,000,000 swings) is to feel the wrist being flat at the top and then use your body to accelerate forward from there.

wrist position at the top of the backswing and hackmotion app

This video will help you learn how to set the wrists in the right place.

HackMotion can help alert you of any issues and make it easier to see why you struggle with your wrist position.

7. Tee It Up to Gain Confidence

One of the most common issues amateur golfers have with their fairway woods is a lack of confidence.

If you aren’t confident about the club in your hand, you may slow down through impact and struggle to make solid contact.

Tee the ball up a little to gain confidence.

You can put the ball on a short tee while at the practice range and work on some of the abovementioned fundamentals. When you feel like you have it down, lower the tee and hit from the ground.

8. Get to a Full and Complete Finish Position

Longer clubs with lower lofts, like the fairway wood, require more speed to hit the ball well and get it up off the ground.

If you are slowing down as you approach the ball, this won’t happen. Instead, take a full swing, transfer your weight and finish with your body facing the target.

Take practice swings like this and then continue to work on your regular shots until you can get to this position.

Take a 2-minute Quiz and Step Up Your Game!

1. What do you want to improve in your full swing?

Drills to Help You Hit a Fairway Wood

If you still struggle with how to hit fairway woods, here are two more drills to try.

Even great ball strikers will work on drills like this from time to time to ensure their game is headed in the right direction.

Drop and Lift Drill

If you are having a hard time getting that feeling down of what it takes to transfer from backswing to downswing, then the drop and lift drill is a great option to try.

This is a very unique drill that will also work as kind of a stretch. Mr. Short Game shows you how to do this drill 5-10 times, and then put the club back in your hand to test out its effectiveness.

Brush the Ground Drill

Just as in chipping, one of the more important concepts for golfers working on hitting their fairway woods is to brush the ground.

Brushing the ground makes it easier to get clean contact and launch the golf ball.

This drill has you taking some half swings and really feeling what it takes to brush the ground.

Do this with your fairway wood until you can consistently strike the ball by brushing the ground.

Final Thoughts

The long game between the hybrid and the driver is often a weak spot for amateur golfers. Hitting fairway woods off the deck can take a bit of work.

If you get your wrist angle correct, sweep the grass, and transition your weight through the ball, your chance of a great shot is much higher.

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Brittany Olizarowicz
written by Britt Olizarowicz

Britt Olizarowicz is a golf professional who has played the game for more than 30 years. In addition to loving the game of golf, Britt has a degree in math education and loves analyzing data and using it to improve her game and the games of those around her. If you want actionable tips on how to improve your golf swing and become a better player, read her guides.