Nail Your Fairway Woods

January 15, 2008
Todd Anderson is director of instruction at Sea Island GC in St. Simons Island, GA.

1. Position it:

Set up with the ball just inside an imaginary line that stretches from your left heel to your left armpit. This ball position helps create the sense that you're setting up "behind" the ball at address and allows you to...

2. Sweep it:

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when hitting a fairway wood is to feel like you're picking up the club in your backswing and then hitting down on the ball through impact.

To avoid this mistake, sweep the clubhead along the ground to create extension in your backswing, until your natural hip and shoulder turn lifts it off the ground (instead of your arms). As you continue your backswing, concentrate on bringing your left arm over your right shoulder. This motion will help you swing the club around your body, rather than bringing it straight up and down. Once you do that, relax and...

3. Let the loft do it's job
The shallow path you established in your backswing puts the club into a position where you don't have to "help" the ball into the air—the loft on the clubface will do that for you. Once the ball is airborne, continue to sweep the club along the ground until your body naturally lifts the clubhead into your follow-through.