How To Hit A 3-Wood Off The Fairway

Golf coach and former Ryder Cup player Peter Dawson shares his simple tips on how to hit a 3-wood off the fairway

Former Ryder Cup player Peter Dawson demonstrating how to hit a 3-wood off the fairway

It's no secret that a 3-wood is one of the most difficult clubs in the bag to hit, especially off a tight lie on the fairway. That is, unless your name is Henrik Stenson. And while it might not be a shot you encounter regularly, having the confidence to take it on when the situation calls for it can do wonders for your score. 

In the video and article below, former Ryder Cup player Peter Dawson shares his simple tips that will help you get the most out of your fairway woods.

Like everything, it's essential to make sure you have the fundamentals right and aren't falling into the traps that make an already difficult shot that much harder. More often than not, amateurs are guilty of trying to help the ball into the air, which is a recipe for disaster.

Don't lean back

You've got to be confident to hit this shot - it's not for the faint-hearted. But as well as that, you've got to believe in the loft you've got in your hands. If you do the right things and make good contact, the ball will launch nicely. It also helps to take advantage of the technology available in the most forgiving fairway woods

Leaning back through impact will only lead to a succession of mishits

You’ll see a lot of club golfers stand back through impact, with the weight remaining on the back foot as they try to lift the ball up and away. This will have entirely the opposite effect.

Instead, you must convince yourself there’s ample loft on the club and almost chase after the ball through impact and into the follow-through. Try some half swings to begin with, so it's easier to keep your weight nice and centred, and on the way through, really feel the extension through the shot with the lower and upper body driving in unison.

Slowly progress into fuller shots but try and retain the same feeling so you don't fall back into old habits.

Go down the grip

Another idea for those struggling with how to hit a 3-wood off the ground is to experiment with going down the grip slightly. What this does is bring the ball a little closer for added control and will help you swing the club on a slightly more vertical plane approaching impact.

Go down the grip slightly for extra control and more consistent strikes

The reason this can aid golfers in their quest for a 3-wood game is that it makes the club feel a little more iron-like and therefore, it's familiar and easier to hit consistently. It's one of the reasons why the best golf hybrid clubs have become so popular. In this case, the sacrifice in yards is well worth it.

Set-up keys

Good posture is essential, so stay tall at address. Set-up and finding the perfect ball position consistently are vital, too. As with all woods on normal shots, the ball should be just inside the heel of your front foot. Many golfers place it too far back in their stance thinking this will ensure clean contact.

The ball position should be just inside your front heel

Related: Best fairway woods

It doesn’t – it needs a sweeping action, which you will only achieve with the ball in the optimal position at address. It's something that's so easy to practise and therefore so commonly neglected by club golfers.

If you focus on these things, and dedicate some time to it, you can turn the 3-wood into a real scoring club.

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