How To Hit Your Fairway Woods
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How often do you have the dilemma of hitting your Irons well, but not hitting your Driver or Fairway Woods well?
A Golfer said to me the other day that he needs to work specifically on his Fairway Woods. And I believe that if he did hit his fairway woods better, that his scores would improve dramatically. So the next step has to be - how do we work on his Fairway Woods?
Do we go to the practice facility and practice hitting his 5-wood over and over until he hits it better? Do we have him hit a few shots with his Fairway Wood, then go over a drill for him to practice for five or ten minutes, then go back to hitting with his 5 wood?
What’s the best way to practice a specific club like your Fairway Wood or your Driver or your 3-iron?
The Monkey will say for you to go practice that club and find out how to hit it. Though that maybe the reason why so many Golfers have 4, 5, 6 or more different swings. The single digit Player that’s happy and confident with their game - they have one swing.
The best Players in the world readily say that they swing their Driver just like they swing their Pitching Wedge or their 7-iron. They try to make the same swing regardless of what club is in their hands.
Now many Monkeys will say that’s impossible - “How can you make the same swing with your Pitching Wedge as you do with your Driver? I only hit my Pitching Wedge 110 yards, if I swing my Driver the same way, then I’ll only be hitting my Driver 110 yards!”
And fortunately for you, that’s not true!
Why can you swing those two clubs the same and yet see different distances? One reason is the different length of the clubs. Your Driver most likely is somewhere around 45 inches long, whereas your Pitching Wedge might be only 35 inches long. So one reason that your Driver will go longer is simply that it’s 10 inches (25.4 centimeters for my metric friends) longer than your pitching wedge, which allows it to build up more power in your swing. It’s just like the difference between hammers. If you had a sledge hammer that had a 12 inch handle and a sledge hammer that had a 22 inch handle - which sledge hammer would have more force when it hit an object?
What’s reason number two? Loft. As Tina Turner sang - “What’s Loft have to do with it?” Well your Driver might have 10 degrees of Loft and your Pitching Wedge might have 48 degrees of loft. What does this mean? It means that when you hit with your Pitching Wedge, that more than 53% of the force that your club is imparting onto the golf ball is making it go up and only 47% of the energy is making it go forward. When you hit a 10 degree Driver, only 11% of the force that your club is imparting onto the golf ball is making it go up and 89% of the energy is making it go forward.
So if you think about it, doesn’t it make sense that if you hit your Pitching Wedge about 120 yards; that when you hit your Driver well, it probably goes 240 yards. If you hit your Pitching Wedge 90 yards, you probably hit your Driver 180 yards. If you hit your Pitching Wedge 140 yards, you probably hit your Driver 280 yards. Think about your yardages for a second or two.
Taking into account that 47% of the energy of your Pitching Wedge and 89% of the energy of your Driver - almost double the amount - is being put into the ball going down the fairway, along with the extra 10 inches of shaft, allows your golf ball to go farther.
And some Monkeys will say - “Marc, this is obvious stuff. And who cares about these percentages?”
Well maybe this isn’t as obvious as you say it is, since if it’s so obvious, why do you still continually swing your Driver different than your Pitching Wedge. And the obvious answer is because you think you have to try to hit the ball with more power with your Driver - and you don’t! Trying to swing with too much power will throw off your “Pace of Swing” which will cause your timing to be different on every swing. And that will lead to many different compensations in your golf swing. And as you know - Compensation equals Inconsistency.
Just imagine how much better you could hit your Driver if you allowed yourself to swing exactly like you do with your pitching wedge or 7-iron - by just letting the longer club and less Loft do their magic. Just imagine how much of a relief it would be if you could stand on the first tee knowing that when you swing your Driver with the smoothness of your Pitching Wedge that two important things are going to happen: One - Your golf ball will go a very good distance (twice the distance of your pitching wedge) and stay in play (with similar accuracy of your pitching wedge since you’ll be eliminating compensations) and Two - Everybody will be so impressed with your smooth “Ernie Els like swing” that produced such a beautiful golf shot.
So that brings me back to the Golfer who believes he just needs to practice exclusively with his Fairway Woods.
Golf Made Simple improves your ballstriking by using your Pitching Wedge and other high lofted clubs in addition to your Driver and Fairway Woods so that we can develop good habits that will more easily be translated into hitting your Fairway Woods - and I can say by the experience of seeing it happen thousand’s of times, that you’ll almost immediately see better results with your Fairway Woods, your Long Irons, your Hybrids and your Driver.
And the sad part is that when we tell our Golfer that said he needed to work exclusively on his Fairway Woods that - we’ll be able help him to hit his Fairway Woods better by also practicing with his Pitching Wedge - I believe that he’ll say that’s not what he’s looking for.
And then I believe he’ll fall into the Monkey Trap by going to an Instructor that says that they’ll work exclusively with him on his Fairway Woods. And I believe if he works exclusively on his Fairway Woods and finds a Fairway Woods Swing, that his Iron Swing and Driver Swing would then suffer.
How often do you have the dilemma of hitting your Irons well, but not hitting your Driver or Fairway Woods well? Or hitting your Fairway Woods well, but you’re not able to hit your Irons or Driver well? This is because you worked so hard on finding a swing for a specific club and that swing most likely doesn’t translate into your other clubs.
The skill of an outstanding Golf Professional is to work with you to find your swing that allows you to swing the same with all your clubs, so that you don’t have to have a Driver Swing, a Fairway Wood Swing, a Long Iron Swing, a Mid-Iron Swing, a Short Iron Swing, a Hybrid Swing, etc., etc., etc.
The Monkey is trying to find a different swing for each club in their bag
The Player succeeds by just using one swing for all their clubs
Go ahead, be a Player!
Marc Solomon - Your Instructor For Life
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For instance, with the wedge your hands will be ahead of the clubface at contact, whereas with the driver they will be right above the clubface or slightly behind it. Also, with the driver your upper body will be tilted backwards more at contact. And these are just two of a number of differences.
Thus, great players can say whatever they want; it simply means that there's a disconnect between what they feel and reality.
As far as the body tilt – again Snails – the different positions of the body reflect the different ball positions.
Judge Snails – you should really think about what you write before you write it. You’re showing why they probably named this article Golf Tips are for Monkeys – I would say that you’re a "Monkey".
Is it the same swing if the ball is well above my feet, causing me to choke-up and swing on a much flatter plane? Another thing I could mention is that when you hit the driver, your hands are further from your body at address.
I think it depends on how one defines "different swing." The differences are subtle, but they exist.
The math is a little off on the driver vs wedge comparison, too much of a clubhead speed differential to base it all on the loft.
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The only other difference is I do hit the ball on the way up with my driver while I hit the ball just prior to the bottom of my swing with all other clubs. Both situations are predetermined during my setup.
With my driver, I tee the ball very high and slightly in front of my left foot. With this setup, the only way I can hit the ball is on the way up.
With my irons, hybrids, and fairway woods, I intentionally hit the ball and then hit the grass in front of the ball. This too is predetermined by my setup to the ball according to the club I am using. As long as I transfer my weight to my front foot as I downswing toward the ball, the club has to hit the turf in front of where the ball was at address.
Bottom Line....my SWING is the same for all clubs even though my setup differs slightly from short irons to long woods, including my driver.
have seen this advice before and it is wrong. Watch
any pro play, they do not swing these clubs
the same way.
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Why? Your left arm, from armpit to wrist is probably around 20 to 21 inches. That makes the total length of the driver fulcrum (driver + arm)approximately 65-66 inches while the total length of the pitching wedge fulcrum is approximately 55-56 inches. The difference between the two fulcrums is only about 18%.
If the driver hits the ball twice as far as a pitching wedge (100% more), where does the other 82% come from? Loft and maybe shaft performance.
I agree with Judge Smails. It all comes down to your definition of "different". Fundamentally you swing all your clubs the same: weight shift, good tempo, solid swing center, proper uncoil, etc, but to say that you "feel" the same swinging a PW and a driver is ridiculous.
Your swing thought WILL BE and SHOULD BE different. More wrist hinge early for the wedge, wider backswing with a driver; more stable lower body for the wedge (since you COULD turn more due to the narrow stance but you SHOULD not), 60-40% weight distribution at the takeaway for the driver, etc...
You might even have a perceptible swing plane shift with the driver (see Tiger) while it's much harder to see "dropping in the slot" with the wedge due to inherently different angle of the swing plane.
If you would hinge your wrists when hitting a driver like you do when hitting a wedge the ball would go nowhere.
I believe that this "one swing for all" fallacy is the biggest reason while weekend players can't hit long clubs. Just standing more upright and further away from the ball will not result in a required sweeping motion if your swing thought is the wedge swing thought (hit down sharp).
So yes and yes: the swing is the same for each club (fundamentally) except it's somewhat different in thought and practice :-)
Go by what works guys. Practice, practice, practice.
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