January 2016 Newsletter

www.martinrathbone.co.uk – martin@martinrathbone.co.uk – 07958785326

How to hit those fairway woods!

It’s that time of year when we all struggle to get out on the golf course and it appears to be playing longer than ever, even longer than it did this time last year.

With that thought in mind let’s have a look at how to play those fairway woods that we’ve been avoiding all last summer.

Many amateurs struggle to hit their fairway woods solidly. They make the mistake of trying to “sweep” the ball off the ground like you do with drivers off the tee and sometimes even try to “lift” the ball in the air.  This action will often send the ball sculling along the ground or at best, result in a thin shot. Hybrid Clubs

With a few simple fundamentals, you can learn to hit good fairway wood shots.

One key to playing better fairway wood shots is to have an understanding of the angle of approach required, if you watch some of the TOUR players on TV you will notice that they still hit down on the ball and allow the loft of the wood to lift the shot in the air.

This angle of approach is not as steep as that of an iron but the club head still needs to be moving downwards when striking a fairway wood. If you can control this approach into impact then that is one of the keys to striking a solid fairway wood and watching it soaring in the air.

Listed below are some key things to check at the address position to help with that angle of approach:
Ball Position forward, just inside of your left heel.(RH Golfer)
Ball PositionAlthough different teachers may appear to contradict each other about ball position, virtually all teachers describe this position in the same way for this shot. This is important for the impact we are after and places the ball just before the swings lowest point of arc, this ball position will aid the club to strike down on the ball through the impact position.

2. Hand Position:Evan Hands

I see so many players that lean the shaft forward ahead of the ball with every club, and with this the hands sit almost outside their front leg, and I’ve even seen players do this with a putter, but it’s a definite no no with this shot. The hands should be in-line with the club head and with the correct ball position the handle of the club should be pointing at a position just left (RH Golfer) of the belly button. From face on it should look almost perpendicular to the club on the ground. This aids in promoting a downward blow to the ball whilst presenting the correct loft at impact.

3.Correct Shoulder Alignment – Square to target.
Evan DTL

The most common fault I see with amateur golfers is shoulder alignment and for RH golfers they almost always have them facing left of the target. This address position promotes a very steep angle into the ball causing all sorts of problems and is not really recommended for most people. By keeping the shoulders square or even slightly closed (Aimed a little right for RH Golfers) it will encourage a slightly flatter downswing and an improved approach into the ball for fairway woods.

4.Try To Take A Divot

Although you are playing the ball forward in your stance and attempting to make a flatter swing, you still need to hit slightly downward on the ball. Hopefully you will take a shallow divot just in front of the ball which informs you that the clubhead was traveling downwards when the ball was struck and the angle of approach was improved as well. Even if you take the ball cleanly the improvement in these positions will improve your ball flight and give you greater distance.

5. No Need To Rush

Evan Set UpAnother thing I see with most amateurs is the “I’m going to hit it as fast and hard as I can” method! They think that this will result in longer distance and better strikes but the opposite is true. Although it is fact that faster clubhead speed makes the ball go further there reaches a point where the body/timing is out of control causing those dreaded miss-hits. Always try to swing smoothly and within yourself, keep everything under control and use your natural speed. A good solid strike accomplishes a lot more than a wild thrashing at the ball. If you get time pop over to youtube and watch a few swings of Ernie Els, then you will understand why he has the nickname of “The Big Easy”

Give this tip a go and let me know how it goes and remember if you need any help then pop in the shop and see me. Happy Golfing Everyone!

Thanks to Evan for helping with these images.