Beginners Guide To Fairway Wood Play

Golf Monthly Top 25 coach Paul Foston has some fairway wood tips to help you hit greens from long range.

fairway wood beginners guide

Golf Monthly Top 25 coach Paul Foston has created a beginners guide to fairway wood play to help you hit longer straight shots from the fairway.

For many players, amateur and professional, finding the perfect fairway wood is a difficult challenge.

Unlike many of the other clubs in your bag, your fairway wood needs to fulfil a whole host of different roles from a second driving option to helping you to reach some of the longer hole on the course from the short stuff. It is a unique area within our beginners golf guide as the requirements are so varied!

Golf Swing Tips

Being able to launch it high and long from a whole range of positions makes this one of the most demanding clubs in the game to get right and that's why I have put together this beginners guide to fairway wood play.

If you can find the right club and can adjust your technique for different shots, you’ll hit it so many times.

These fairway wood tips will help you if you lack confidence when hitting woods and you typically struggle to strike it consistently from long range.

When hitting a fairway wood off the ground, most problems occur for two reasons. The first is that players do not maintain their body position through the swing.

When players set up to the ball, they are setting a posture that should be maintained throughout the backswing, at impact and during the follow-through. Keeping this spine angle constant is absolutely essential as it will help create the correct swing path and contact.

I see a lot of golfers rise up when swinging in an effort to help get the ball airborne (especially when hitting straighter faced clubs), often resulting in a topped shot.

If you can maintain the angle of your spine throughout the swing you will produce a much cleaner contact.

The other problem comes when players swing too hard at the ball to get the ball up in the air. Try to maintain your normal rhythm and you will produce far better results, and often more distance due to the quality of strike.

For a normal fairway wood shot, whether you are hitting it off the ground or off the tee, you’ll want a high launch.

For that, a shallower angle of clubhead attack is important and for that it is crucial to set the ball forward in your stance - an inch or so inside your left heel is good. I think with a fairway wood that the swing plane needs to be slightly in-to-out, this means that you can get the ball up without hitting down too much.

If you come out-to-in, you won’t find the flight you need so think about this the next time you are practising your fairway wood game.


Thomas Patrick Clarke
Sports Digital Editor

Tom Clarke joined Golf Monthly as a sub editor in 2009 being promoted to content editor in 2012 and then senior content editor in 2014, before becoming Sports Digital Editor for the Sport Vertical within Future in 2022. Tom currently looks after all the digital products that Golf Monthly produce including Strategy and Content Planning for the website and social media - Tom also assists the Cycling, Football, Rugby and Marine titles at Future. Tom plays off 16 and lists Augusta National (name drop), Old Head and Le Touessrok as the favourite courses he has played. Tom is an avid viewer of all golf content with a particularly in depth knowledge of the pro tour.