Struggling to get your fairway wood shots airborne? Let Head PGA Professional Sarah Smith show you how to fix it.

The fairway wood has the least loft, so it allows you to hit the ball lower and further. However, it’s not the easiest club to use, so if you’re struggling to get the ball airborne, here are some quick fixes.


Fairway Wood Fault Sarah Smith

The most common shot with a fairway wood is a top. This is when the player is unable to get the ball off the ground, usually by incorrect weight transfer and hitting the top of the ball. As the player swings through impact, weight remains on the back foot, this leads to a steep angle of attack, encouraging the club to reach the bottom of the swing arc before the ball and usually hitting the top of it!

Fairway Wood Fault Sarah Smith
Hitting the top of the ball!


As you swing back, ensure your weight transfers slightly onto your back foot, but as you swing through; your weight must transfer back into your turn through to the target. This will prevent you from helping the ball into the air, letting the club do the work instead.

Fairway Fix Sarah Smith

Weight in the right place!

A good way to check weight transfer is to lift your back foot slightly after you’ve completed your follow through. If you can lift it, then you’ve swung correctly, but if not, your weight will still be on your back foot and you’ve probably hit a poor shot!

Fairway Wood Fix
Check your weight and make sure you have the ball in the right position


A ball positioned too far back in your stance can lead to a low, right shot, and usually a bad strike. The ball position forces a steeper angle of attack and a player will either hit the top of the ball or take a big divot before it. The clubface doesn’t have time to square up, so this causes a shot to the right.


Ball position is key in the set-up, as with fairway woods and drivers in particular, you want to hit the ball on the up part of the stroke (shallow angle of attack) as they have less loft. Think of your driver and the ball being positioned just inside your front foot. The ball position for a fairway wood should be just inside this.

Watch Sarah explain how to set up with your fairway woods

To find out more about Saffron Walden's Head PGA Professional Sarah Smith please visit her website here or follow on Instagram @smithperformancegolf.

The above Instruction article was taken from the September/October 2018 issue of Women & Golf magazine.

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