Dr. Gary Wiren, PGA Master
never cease to be amazed when walking the range and watching
people hit terrible shots, how they don't realize that sometimes
just a small adjustment, a drill, or a thought can dramatically
improve both their distance and direction. Let's take a very
common problem that many average to higher handicap players have,
the topped fairway wood. If you were on the range you would probably
be telling me that you never top your drives but you frequently
top your fairway woods, but dont know why, this is what
I would do.
Lets start with the obvious.
The drive is teed up, its off the grass, so you dont have
to swing with much descent, in fact, if you tee it high enough
you can even swing up on it. But that up on it swing
doesnt work when the ball is resting flat on the grass
in the fairway. The clubhead is going to have to find a bit of
mother earth to get the face of the club on the ball
and the shot airborne. Our objective is going to be to brush
the grass, or even take a slight divot, but you are not
going to do it by hitting up.
The first thing you should check
is ball positioning. You cant strike the ball with a descending
blow when the ball is too far forward. So lets try something
a little overboard just for effect. Take your most lofted fairway
wood and move the ball back to the same position in your stance
that you play your wedge. Also, place your feet the width you
do for the wedge. Choke the club down a bit and leaning slightly
to the left, hit a few shots just to feel how descent works to
get the clubface on the ball.
The next thing is grip pressure.
Make some practice swings, still with the feet at wedge width.
Do these swings with different amounts of grip pressure, starting
with the tightest, lets call it a ten on the grip pressure meter.
The club will swing in the air but it wont touch the ground
because your tightness is pulling it up. Gradually reduce your
grip pressure to eight, then six, etc. Until you get to a #2
in pressure, which is very light but not letting go. At this
level your arms will feel loose and relaxed and your clubhead
will brush the grass or take a slight divot when you make your
Now, widen your stance but dont
go to the full driver width because if you do you will move your
swing center (a point in your body located above the sternum
and posterior to it) too far behind the ball and again be hitting
up on it. With your better ball position and the
two valium feeling of relaxation in your hands and arms the fairway
woods will fly off the grass as you give it the old brush