For most golfers, hitting a 3 wood off the fairway is a scary proposition! But the reality is that hitting a fairway wood is no different than any other club in the bag except for the driver – and even that is debatable.
The key to solid fairway wood strikes is to HIT DOWN on the ball exactly as you would an iron.
Take a look at this video of me hitting down on a 13 degree titleist fairway metal below. You will note that I’m hitting down on the ball as I take a divot in front of the ball, and the ball comes out very low.
Also note the ball position – it’s in the same place I would hit a pitching wedge. Most people don’t understand ball position, so let’s talk about it. How to hit 3 wood off the deck.
Ball position can vary from shot to shot if you want to alter the shape or trajectory. BUT for a stock shot, the ball should always be in the same place from front to back.
That’s because, all things considered equal, the bottom of the divot ideally will always bottom out at the widest point in the downswing, which is a line straight down from the middle of the left shoulder socket for right handed golfers.
Now, you can easily alter this position through any number of movements, but if you have a natural release of the club – ie. you’re not casting, flipping, etc. – and you have good swing mechanics, the divot will bottom out here every time.
When I do my RST golf clinics, this is one of the key fundamentals I demonstrate to my students.
I start swinging the club back and forth with my left arm only. Without fail, my divot bottoms out in exactly the same place every single time as long as I don’t alter it.
Think of it as a grandfather clock and a pendulum. Your left shoulder is the pivot point, and the club is the pendulum. As long as the pivot point is fixed in space, the club bottoms out in the same place, and solid contact is a certainty.
Now, it should be said that the right arm coming onto the club to take its grip can and does move the bottom of the arc back slightly as the the two pivot points counter balance each other, but if you properly release the club with the right hand, the amount is not overly significant.
So, long story short, if you want to start smashing 3 woods off the deck and start reaching those long par 5s in two, you need hit down on the ball to ensure solid contact, and you need to put the ball in the proper position.
If you don’t know what that is, check out this article and video on proper golf ball position at setup.