How to hit fairway woods and hybrids
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

In this video and article, Tour Coach Liam James offers some insight into how to hit fairway woods and hybrids to help your game at the top end of the bag

How To Hit Fairway Woods And Hybrids

With irons, you’re looking for a descending blow with a lot of weight shifting towards the target. With your driver, you are looking for more of an upward hit. So where do fairway woods and hybrids fit in? Let's take a look!

With woods, you’re not looking to hit down on the ball and some key set-up changes will help you find the right angle of attack. Because of the low loft, many golfers are guilty of making changes as they swing to ‘help’ get the ball up. That’s the last thing you should do.

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Ball position is very important. Many golfers have the ball too far back in the stance so there’s not enough loft at impact. With fairway woods, make sure you have the ball just inside your left heel, which is far enough forward to help shallow out the angle of attack out a little.

The second thing is that you need a nice wide base, so your stance should be shoulder-width or a fraction more. Too narrow here and you’re going to get too much weight towards the left foot. Your weight distribution at address should be evenly balanced between your feet – think 50/50.

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Finally, if you get ball position and weight distribution right, you should find that your shirt buttons sit a little behind your belt buckle. This angle or tilt in your upper body and shoulders will help shallow out the angle of attack and get the golf ball launching up in the air.

Bruise the grass

For most fairway wood shots, you shouldn’t be creating much of a divot. Think of it more in terms of the club just bruising the top of the grass through impact.

Hybrids

Hybrids and utility irons have become very popular at the long end of the bag as their design makes them easier to hit than long irons. With a hybrid, the ball won’t be as far forward as with a fairway wood – more like a mid- to long-iron, so about one-and-a-half balls inside your left heel depending on loft. Despite their mini-wood head style, I would definitely recommend treating them much more like an iron than a wood when it comes to set-up and execution.

Because the shaft is a little longer than in an iron, my advice would be to grip down half-an-inch to an inch to make you more comfortable and get it feeling more like an iron at set-up. This will also give you more control. The design of the club with its deeper head allows the centre of gravity to sit much further from the face, and it is this that makes the hybrid so much easier to launch than the equivalent long iron.

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Playing it more like an iron means you shouldn’t be afraid to hit the ground at impact and take a little divot – the head design with its broad sole helps to prevent the club from digging in. When the ball is sitting down a little in the rough, grip down a little bit more and narrow your stance a fraction. Making the club a little bit shorter will help you to hit down a little more, which is what you need from this kind of lie.

Added versatility

The design of a hybrid makes it a more viable option from certain grades of rough than a long iron as the clubhead will glide through the turf more easily.

Neil Tappin
Neil Tappin

Neil has worked for Golf Monthly for over 15-years. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. Neil is currently a 2-handicap golfer who has played the game for as long as he can remember. In his role at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: Titleist TSi3 Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X