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mr.hicksta

Calling all FW experts!

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Hate is a strong word, but I hate my fairway wood. It is the one club in my bag that is consistently a pain in the a$$, and I have often referred to that spot in my bag as the 'nemesis' slot. I can count the number of FWs I've hit well on one hand, and it remains to be seen if my current one will make the cut. But since I'm trying to quit swapping clubs just because it appears a club doesn't 'work' for me, I'm curious to hear others thoughts on this lovely club. 

So for those of you who have Stenson-like prowess when it comes to FWs, how did you get to that point? Aside from plenty of practice, what do you do that allows you to hit good golf shots with whichever flavor FW you use? 

I appreciate any and all feedback 😄!

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@mr.hicksta Great question!

I have no idea how it is, but I love my 3 wood!  Outside of my 7 iron, it is my favorite club in my bag.  For me, my comfort level has come from feeling confident every time that club is in my hand.  I swear my brain just realizes that my 3 wood is in my hand and doesn't let me think negative thoughts.

I also have my best tempo with the club compared to others in my bag.  Again, I relate all of this to not having had too many negative experiences with it.  I try and sweep the ball off the ground or the tee and that also allows me to have success.  I don't need to do much work, just swing through the ball.

I doubt this is of any practical use to you, because I have a difficult time putting into words what I do that is drastically different.

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Hit down, and take a small divot. Do NOT try to hit up! That's my best advice. 

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I'm by no means an expert, but for a long time (prior to father time catching up to me) FW's and long irons were my strength (of course, it's all relative). I don't know if you were around when the topic came up (I think there might have been on article on the main site) about many amateurs not having the club head speed to handle a 3W. Depending on your swing speed (I'm guessing pretty high based on the shafts in your sig), you might want to search the forum and/or the main site for the topic if you weren't around for it.

In my case, I could not hit a driver at all - pretty much sliced everything off the planet - so I didn't even try for many years. Necessity and a fair amount of practice with the 3W helped and with time I figured out how to hit it. Now that I have aged, am not in as good of shape, and lost a lot of distance, the 3W is not as good as it once was, but I am still comfortable with it. The real difference happened about 5 years ago when I found a Callaway Razr Fit in a used bin for $10 (with a Tour AD shaft) - the head/shaft combination just worked really well for me. There is a strong chance it will end up back in my bag, but I am trying to give the Bridgestone JGR 3W a fair chance after the review we had last fall. As winter hit, I was still a bit up in the air on whether I liked the club - it's a solid club but it flies higher than the Callaway and a bit shorter, although it is a little more accurate. 

If I were you, I would be tempted to scour stores for used clubs and hit as many as you can until you find the "one".

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Nothing to add. I love using my 3wood off the tee, but can only count a few times where I’ve had a 3 wood into a green from the fairway. I prefer a smaller head, not sure if it boosts my confidence or is the proper fit, but the shallower and more compact the better I feel hitting it off the deck.

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So Hicksta, I'd also use this little bit of equipment advice as well. The cool part about your current f9 is that you can play around with the loft, it does have a 15.5 and 16 degree setting, which may help in carry or getting your ball up on less than great shots.

From a more practical standpoint, as someone who fancies myself a decent fairway wood player, I'll get you a tip that you can use at the range or on course. When I had trouble hitting fairway woods when I was starting out, at one of the lessons I took, the pro told me to line-up with the ball positions I used for driver (just inside left heel for us righties) and take a half step forward with my left foot. By making my stance wider it changed the impact point of my swing to one more conducive to hitting good fairway wood strikes.

I did this on course for nearly 10 years until I (perhaps stupidly) realized I could just come aligned with the ball in the spot where my half-step put it and be set. Hope it helps out for you

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Finding a loft and length that works. For many amateurs going to a 16.5 or higher loft and sometimes with a longer shaft at that loft makes it easier to hit fw and distance loss compared to a standard 15 or lower loft is the same or better due to launch conditions.

hitting slightly down is required when not hitting from a tee. 

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Can I second this and add (with all due respect to the group) that this is the guy here who has been an instructor - the guy who gave the tip of the day - so you may wish to give priority to his advice.

 

I’m not a very good fairway player because I have a shallow angle of attack. I have found that through a combo of a lesson, practice and the properly fit fairway wood I’ve gotten better (passable at times.)

 

You might also wish to try all of the above.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

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57 minutes ago, GB13 said:

Hit down, and take a small divot. Do NOT try to hit up! That's my best advice. 

I've heard this in various forms when looking for certain tips, and it's something I keep in mind. The results, however, have been mixed at best!

26 minutes ago, cnosil said:

My bad! Overall it's just general inconsistency, and I think part of the problem is never quite feeling comfortable at setup and always questioning if my setup is 'right'. 

I'm going to check out that tip now. Thanks!

17 minutes ago, Berg Ryman said:

So Hicksta, I'd also use this little bit of equipment advice as well. The cool part about your current f9 is that you can play around with the loft, it does have a 15.5 and 16 degree setting, which may help in carry or getting your ball up on less than great shots. From a more practical standpoint, as someone who fancies myself a decent fairway wood player, I'll get you a tip that you can use at the range or on course. When I had trouble hitting fairway woods when I was starting out, at one of the lessons I took, the pro told me to line-up with the ball positions I used for driver (just inside left heel for us righties) and take a half step forward with my left foot. By making my stance wider it changed the impact point of my swing to one more conducive to hitting good fairway wood strikes. I did this on course for nearly 10 years until I (perhaps stupidly) realized I could just come aligned with the ball in the spot where my half-step put it and be set.

Funny you mention that, because I changed the loft to 15.5 last night when I was at the range. I hit a few decent shots off the deck and tee, but it was a mixed bag. Definitely something I'm going to play with more moving forward. 

10 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

Finding a loft and length that works. For many amateurs going to a 16.5 or higher loft and sometimes with a longer shaft at that loft makes it easier to hit fw and distance loss compared to a standard 15 or lower loft is the same or better due to launch conditions.

hitting slightly down is required when not hitting from a tee. 

For the length, mine was built at 42.5", which is usually what I'm comfortable with. And like I mentioned right above this post, I bumped up to 15.5, but I may just go to 16 and see how that works out for me. 

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I probably won't be much help as I've been fortunate to always hit 3W well - even in my early days as a junior golfer using hand-me down clubs. I did go through a spell where I struggled with a Nike Vapor Flex 3W and it largely boiled down to the shaft - it just did not load the way I wanted it to and apparently caused a bunch of weird compensations or something. Anyway, I switched back to an older, smaller-headed 3W with a shaft I like and now I'm back to hitting 3W the way I expect to. So aside from a potential shaft swap, I'd only echo what others have said - a neutral or descending AoA is ideal, swing smooth, let the club do the work, etc....

Best of luck!

Edited by TR1PTIK
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FW's initially for me were a bit ugly. I originally had stock PING Alta shafts in both that were REG-Flex and results with them were "iffy" at best. When I was fitted for driver, the stiff-flex shaft was best for me, so since I tinker, I decided to start looking for a decent stiff-flex shaft to try-first for my 3w since the shaft was "broken" somehow one day...😳 Wow what a difference! Woke that club right up! I could seem to do no wrong with it so I immediately got the same shaft for my 5w...Same result! They are really my most favorite clubs. I don't know why (tempo, speed, take-away...) but I have them dialed in.

Now I'm no Sage here, but based solely on my personal experience alone, I'd simply suggest trying different shafts if possible. Go and schedule a fitting and just play with different combos if that option is available to you. YMMV. Good luck and have fun trying different set-ups if you can-Cheers! 

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1 hour ago, mr.hicksta said:
1 hour ago, cnosil said:

My bad! Overall it's just general inconsistency, and I think part of the problem is never quite feeling comfortable at setup and always questioning if my setup is 'right'. 

I'm going to check out that tip now. Thanks!

I personally found the approach in that tip to be very enlightening.  It has actually helped my ball striking in all areas and helps me avoid early extension and hitting up on the ball.  During my preshot, before I start the swing I think about driving the ball into a ball a couple of feet in front of my actual ball.  

Hope you figure out what is going on with your swing.  

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I have suuuucked with 3 wd off the deck forever. I finally got a little better last year, partially through some swing changes and probably partially through getting a Rogue with EvenFlow X flex. The head and shaft are spinny enough to give me a little loft and the shaft is strong enough I don't really flip hook it too much.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using MyGolfSpy mobile app

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I have always played my fairway woods well and prefer playing them over hybrids.  I have no specific advice to offer, however.

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7 minutes ago, CarlH said:

I have always played my fairway woods well and prefer playing them over hybrids.  I have no specific advice to offer, however.

I'm the exact opposite. I pound my hybrid and will usually got that route over the FW even if it means I may come up short. Definitely a hurdle I need to get over! 

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I play my woods with more of a sweeping motion, picking the ball clean with very little, if any, divot.  I know with hybrids, you want to play them more like an iron.  Maybe that would explain why I prefer hitting the FW and you prefer the hybrids????

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I love my 3W, but hate my hybrids 😄

99% of the time will be used off the tee when driver is just too risky.

From the fairway, I'll only use it if I really smashed the driver and have a chance to get on the green in 2. Otherwise, I'll just keep it in the bag and go with 2 safe iron shots. So attacking a green with a FW happens probably like 1-2 times a month.

As to instructions... I think I'm the last person who should be giving swing advice 😄

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Now that hicksta has made his way over to the Chisag thread I will jack thread a bit.

Swing types really matter in regards to whether or not guys prefer hybrid or FW. I have a shallow swing, fairway woods with little loft are tough for me to hit even though I have a lower handicap. Plus because I draw the ball in the first place I tend to hook them off the tee.

I’m certainly better with hybrid than I am with fairway wood.

Guys with a steeper AoA will often prefer fairway wood.


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

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48 minutes ago, revkev said:

Now that hicksta has made his way over to the Chisag thread I will jack thread a bit.

Swing types really matter in regards to whether or not guys prefer hybrid or FW. I have a shallow swing, fairway woods with little loft are tough for me to hit even though I have a lower handicap. Plus because I draw the ball in the first place I tend to hook them off the tee.

I’m certainly better with hybrid than I am with fairway wood.

Guys with a steeper AoA will often prefer fairway wood.


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

I was actually going to suggest the opposite as I tend to have a flatter swing plane (almost Rickie Fowler-esque) and have little trouble with 3W. Interesting.... 

Edited by TR1PTIK

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