How To Hit A 3-Wood Off The Tee - Simple Tips

In this video, PGA pro Ben Emerson shares his simple tips on how to get the most out of your 3-wood off the tee

PGA pro Ben Emerson demonstrating how to hit a 3-wood off the tee
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

It’s one of the hardest clubs in the bag to hit but mastering it can give you a real advantage over your competition. Despite the performance packed into the best drivers nowadays, we all have to endure days when it misbehaves, so having a reliable go-to shot can be the difference between winning and losing. In the video and article below, PGA pro Ben Emerson shares his top tips on how to hit a 3-wood off the tee...

One of the biggest problems when amateurs try to hit a 3-wood is that they have the ball teed up way too high, almost mimicking what they do with the driver. While it might seem like this should make it easier to hit in theory, the reality is very different. 

If you tee it up too high, this encourages you to shift your weight onto your trail side in an attempt to sweep the ball away. Unfortunately, what then happens is the weight stays on the back foot and you end up trying to hit up on the ball too much, which changes your spine angle. This makes it hard to strike it with any consistency and can leave some in need of an over the top golf swing drill to get rid of their slice.

It’s so important to understand that you don’t need to do this when hitting a fairway wood. Ideally, you want to imagine you’re setting it up in the perfect lie from the fairway, with the ball on a very small tee. 

PGA pro Ben Emerson demonstrating the perfect tee height for hitting a 3-wood

Ben demonstrating the perfect tee height (left) versus one that will lead to a loss of distance and accuracy (right)

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

From there, I want you to feel like you’re not trying to hit up on it as you would with a driver. Instead, with the way the best fairway woods are designed, you actually want to hit it with a slight descending blow to get the ball to go into the air.

To do that, many of you will have to alter your ball position. When it comes to the 3-wood vs the driver, instead of the ball being in line with your lead heel, move it back roughly two golf balls towards the middle of your stance.

PGA pro Ben Emerson demonstrating the difference in address positions between a driver and a 3-wood

Move the ball further back in your stance with a 3-wood compared to a driver, as Ben demonstrates above

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Assuming you've mastered how wide your stance should be, you also want to split your weight evenly between your left and right side. Some of you would even benefit from feeling like there is a little more weight on your lead side to start with. 

But far more important than that, if you are going to go onto your back foot, you have got to make sure you get your weight off your trail side coming through impact to get energy going towards the target. A really simple way to work on this is to focus on swinging through to the finish with a nice tempo and holding the pose.

Next time you go to the range, put this simple idea into practice and, over time, it'll help you add this extremely handy shot to your arsenal.

Ben Emerson
Top 50 Coach

Location: Sand Martins GC 

Ben’s modern approach to golf coaching has seen him become one of the most sought-after coaches in the country and teaches none other than Robbie Williams. His honest, modern and fun style of coaching has help thousands of golfers of all ages and abilities and he has been coaching for over 20 years.

Advice for practice:

Start with slow, small swings. If you can’t do it small and slowly there is not a hope in hell of doing it at full speed with a full swing! In other sports such as rugby or martial arts they slow learn new moves/plays before making them at full speed. 

Teaching philosophy: 

‘Why guess when you can access’ Ever new student goes through a full TPI movement screen, 3D motion capture and pressure plate analysis as well as TrackMan and 2D video analysis. Coaching is based on facts and not guess work. 

Most common problem:

A lack of clubface understanding and awareness. I get golfers to aim the clubface directly at the target and get them to make a slow swings and deliver the club to the ball with an open face, then repeat the same thing again but with a closed face, followed by one at the target. Giving them full awareness based on feelings errors to find a happy middle ground.