Fairway woods are important to the arsenal of both average golfers and tour pros. Amateurs usually pick up the 3-wood in an effort to get some distance in their shot. But it is one of the most difficult clubs to hit because of the low loft and much smaller head compared to a driver. The 5-wood, on the other hand is slightly shorter but has 3-4° extra degrees of loft. It is generally easier to hit too because of the high loft and more control on the short shaft. The point is how do you hit a 5-wood right?
If you watch Rory McIlroy’s 5-wood performance into par-5 16th and 18th greens at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, 2016, you would realize that hitting a 5-wood is an art. In the beginning, you use 5-wood to hit second shots from fairways on par-5s and to reach long par-3s. As you progress, you can use them to reach long par-5s in two shots.
Many of us play 5-woods like drivers when we should play them like irons. This takes away the advantage that 5-woods can provide in the game and adds strokes to your game. This tutorial helps you squeeze as much distance out of your 5-woods and use its loft to lower your score.
What You Will Need To Follow This Tutorial
The 5-wood has a loft of 17-20°. Usually it is 19°. It is shorter than the 3-wood and usually longer than a hybrid of the same loft, around 18°. The extra 1° loft and the tad more length gives you the same distance on both clubs. In fact, the extra length of the fairway wood brings more clubhead speed and you can stand straighter with the 5-wood. The clubheads of the 5-woods are larger and they are better from tee or the fairway. The large head also provides a larger sweet spot and is hence more forgiving.
But hybrids are better from the rough. Their smaller heads are less obstructed by the grass.
These are optional. If you are a beginner, alignment rods like SKLY Pro Rods will help you shoot the ball down the target line. But our instructions make it abundantly clear how to place a ball.
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Step By Step Instructions
#Step 1: Club Trial
The first thing you need is to decide is whether you really want to work with 5-wood. The immediate comparison is with hybrids and 3-wood. As we mentioned before, the 3-wood is harder to hit. The competition between 5-wood and hybrid is more balanced. It depends on personal tastes as to what you choose.
The best method would be to hit the usual shots with fairway woods and take them with hybrids and 3-woods. The comparison of how well you are able to use the native lofts and get the ball into the air is a key indicator. The distance you get from the club is another parameter to consider. Lastly, check how the clubs feel in your hands: too short, too heavy, clubhead too small?
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#Step 2: Play Them Like The Irons
Irons and hybrids require a descending blow. Surprising as it is for some, the 5-wood should be played like the irons too, with a descending blow. The swing arc of a fairway wood should bottom out exactly at the impact point.
With drivers, the swing arc bottoms out just before the impact, launching the ball upwards. This is with loft 7-13°. Since the 5-wood also has a low loft of around 17-20°, the players tries to scoop the golf ball with it to launch it higher. This doesn’t suit the character of the 5-wood.
With irons, you take a downward swing and which bottoms out just after the ball and takes a divot. You want to move the arc bottom to the impact point with the 5-wood so that it takes a shallow divot right after the impact point. It is a low-loft club so it won’t recover well from a deep divot.
Photo Credit : http://www.agedefyinggolf.com/actually-hit-golf-ball/
#Step 3: Ball position
Ball position can ensure that the swing bottoms out at the exact point of impact. With fairway woods, place the ball a couple of inches inside of the left foot or at the middle of your stance. This way the club will hit the ball before cutting a divot from the turf. You can put two alignment rods at 90° angle. The T-joint will represent the middle point of your stance. The ball should be either at the joint or a little ahead of the joint.
#Step 4: Stance
The stance for hitting a 5-wood is standard. You stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. The ball should be close to the middle of your stance. Your right shoulder should be lower than the left shoulder(for right-handed golfers). If you keep your shoulders parallel to the ground, it will drive the club at a steeper angle into the ground. It introduces spin in the ball and launches it low. 5-wood is already low-loft, we don’t want the ball to have a low flight.
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#Step 5: Weight
You should balance your weight equally on both feet at address. Most people try to swing the weight towards the right foot. But the key is to maintain 50/50 weight on either foot throughout the swing. Check out the video below for details.
A Few Swinging Tips That Apply Directly To 5-Woods
- While swinging a 5-wood, remember to keep your motion smooth but measured. You should be releasing maximum energy at the impact point. Our post on ‘How to increase clubhead speed’ will help with that.
- Do not scoop the ball into the air, no matter how impossible a high ball flight seems. The 5-wood is meant to have 17-20° loft. Pushing it to send the ball higher will only disturb the usual behavior of the club.
- If you are aiming for control and not distance, choke down on the club an inch. This will get you better accuracy but it might restrict the distance.
- Swing smoothly in a clean shot. This is important to utilize the little loft of the fairway woods.
Photo Credit : http://www.golftipsmag.com/
Hitting the 5-wood is not rocket science. But it does require you to straighten out your swing and focus on the specifics of this club. This is a low-loft long club that can get you out of some sticky situations and also bring you glory on the second shots of par-5. Most people try to play it like a driver when it should be played like an iron. They also top the ball in an effort to launch it high. But the 5-wood has been designed with a particular length and a particular loft to serve a particular purpose. So instead of defying its character, you should exploit it to your best interests.
With these simple tips you can avoid the common and some unique mistakes made with fairway woods. As McIlroy demonstrated, 5-wood is a club to reckon with. Its time you utilize it to its best capability. Leave us comments if you found this tutorial helpful. You are welcome to browse through a huge repository of all-things-golf on this site.
Last updated on April 18th, 2018 at 02:13 am