Pros Teaching Joes: Leona Maguire’s keys to hitting fairway woods that soar

No matter which tees you play, developing a good relationship with your fairway woods is an important part of the game.

Even though I’m in full tee-it-forward mode these days, I find that fairway woods still comprise a good percentage of my shots — especially now that I carry a 7-wood.

There’s only one problem: Fairway woods can be a difficult clubs to master. My misses tend to be thin shots or drop-kicks — never a fun feeling when you’re already a fair distance from the hole, and likely have a hazard of some kind to clear en route to the green.

That’s why I enlisted Leona Maguire for some guidance. The 28-year-old Irishwoman knows a thing or two about solid shots, having just claimed her second career victory on the LPGA Tour on Sunday at the Meijer LPGA Classic in Michigan.

Maguire gave me four simple keys to focus on to ensure I hit a high, soaring shot with my fairway woods every time.

How to hit high, soaring fairway woods, according to Leona Maguire

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1. Let the club’s loft do the work

“The biggest thing with this club, it has so much loft, I don’t have to help it in the air,” Maguire said.

2. Move the ball slightly forward

Maguire recommended using a neutral setup, with the ball positioned slightly forward in the stance.

“Then I’m just able to swing it normally like I would with any of the woods,” she said. “And it just pops right in the air for me, which is nice.”

I’ll say!

Maguire made it look so easy. I decided to give it a go myself, and invited Maguire to roast me.

The shot was okay — not my best, not a complete hack. It was solid but a bit snipey, something that may have ended up in a bunker. It certainly lacked the gorgeous, soaring trajectory of Maguire’s.

“The tendency with those woods is, we kind of lean back and try to scoop it up into the air, try to help it up,” Maguire said. “But actually the club has enough loft that you don’t have to do that.”

3. Stand closer to the ball

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Maguire thought I was standing a bit too far away from the ball, so she encouraged me to scoot a tad closer.

4. Drop the hands

Because I was standing a bit far from the ball, I was also reaching — another no-no. Maguire suggested dropping my hands a bit, which happened naturally when I stood the correct distance from the ball.

I addressed the ball as Maguire told me to, and wouldn’t you know it: I smoked it! Amazing!!

The trajectory was high, just like I wanted.

“One and done,” Maguire said with a laugh. “I think that’s enough for my teaching.”

My sudden improvement was unsurprising for Maguire, though.

“Little tweaks to your setup, then you have to make manipulations throughout your swing,” she said. “It might be a little awkward to start, but it actually should be a lot more natural and comfortable position.”

Well hey, when you’re spot on, you’re spot on. Maguire clearly knows what she’s talking about, and hopefully you can benefit from her instruction the same way I did. For more from Maguire, check out the full video of our lesson above, and for more tips from the game’s best, check out our entire collection of Pros Teaching Joes videos. Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on