The PGA Tour’s return to the mainland is always a signal to me. A signal that pro golf in the new year is in full swing.
The Bob Hope has long been one of my favorite stops on Tour. The weather, the courses, the glitterati who have graced the event, they all stir my emotions as I’m taken back to the golden age of Hollywood.
While many things remain the same, one thing certainly is different from the events back in the day. Unlike yesteryear, the lion’s share of the field nowadays propels the ball so far it makes holes like the 16th at the PGA West’s Stadium course routinely within reach of everybody in the field.
Indeed, tournament-winner Si Woo Kim hit two glorious fairway-metal shots onto the par-5 green over the weekend. Both led to two-putt birdies that helped seal the title.
While hitting fairway woods can seem daunting at times, it’s easier than you think. Here are a few things Kim does that you can learn from.
1. Get a lofted fairway wood
A number of the game’s best are adding an extra fairway wood to the bag. Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa and Joaquin Niemann all carry 7-woods, and Kim has a 5-wood alongside the 3-wood in his makeup. (Kim used the 5-wood for his second shot in the third round and the 3-wood in the final round.)
Adding more loft to your fairway metals will make life a whole lot easier. They are naturally easier to elevate and the shorter shaft makes it easier to hit the ball consistently solid. To that end, a more lofted fairway-metal shot will approach from a higher apex, so the angle of descent will be steeper, making it easier to stop the ball on the greens. And contrary to popular belief, you will not sacrifice very much distance at all.
Give it a try, you are likely to be pleasantly surprised.
2. Get the correct ball position
It’s commonplace for golfers to play the fairway wood shot from too far back in their stance. Whereas that seems like a security blanket, as it lulls the golfer into thinking that it will negate the chances of hitting the shot fat, it actually does exactly the opposite.
A ball position that is too far back in the stance promotes a steeper angle of attack and a less lofted clubface. Both of these elements are in opposition to what the fairway wood requires and the golfer’s athletic reaction is to stand up, stall rotation and force a weakened flip of the wrists through contact.
Don’t make that error! Move the ball forward in your stance. For right-handers, somewhere under your heart would suffice. This will allow you to move forward, yet still stay behind the ball in the downswing. The end result is a better angle of attack and more speed at the correct time.
3. “Bounce” the club off the ground
The rounded sole of a fairway metal is designed to bounce off the ground as it passes through impact. This is advantageous, but precious few golfers actually employ the sole of the club correctly.
As you address the shot, remind yourself that the club is unlikely to dig into the ground and you can go ahead and strike the turf aggressively. Instead of hanging back in an effort to lift the ball into the air, strike the ground (in fact try and make a small divot) and allow the loft to lift the ball.
Need more help? Get a fairway-wood fitting from the experts at our sister company, True Spec Golf.