Woods and Hybrids

This is a big one for me because the inability to hit a fairway wood with confidence probably kept me from making it trough Q-school several times. On those days when my driver was off, I had to resort to 2-iron to hit the ball in the fairway that turned me from the longest hitter in the field, to the shortest hitter in the field. I am not Tiger Woods and was not able to overcome this.

This fact also didn’t help me when playing on the Gateway Tour where a lot of the fairways ended at 300 yards and I got stuck shooting a lot of 70-72’s when everyone else was 30-40 yards ahead of me and shooting 65.

I now know why I was so bad with my 3-wood…and why in recent years, I was unable to take advantage of hybrids.

I was taught the delayed release and it helped me achieve huge distances, but hitting fairway woods and hybrids with a release delayed too long is a nightmare. You can get away with it with driver on most days because it is teed up so high. You can get away with it on all irons because you hit down on those more. You can away with it on chipping because you don’t hit the ball that hard.

IMO, delaying the release too long is a killer on W & H because impact is at such a level plane to the ground and the best way to create a solid hit without much spin (both side spin and back spin) is with an on time release.

I have seen and heard it happen to many others. When people have trouble with W & H, they move the ball farther back in their stance, till it even gets to a wedge position in the middle of the stance.

I’ll give you one guess what I did. You guessed it, I did this too. When you play the W & H too far back in your stance, it is really difficult to turn your shoulders level and not block the ball off the face of the earth, so you correct this by not turning your shoulders level…then you end up with balls that have too much spin…both back spin and side spin. That’s a disaster. Not only is the ball going to go crooked somewhere, it goes short into the wind when you do hit it straight.

You can see what a snowball affect this is. So, in my opinion, to hit W & H well I see two things you need to start with if you are having problems here and nowhere else in the bag.

Proper ball position, which is at the left instep (for right handed golfers), or slightly inside that with a stance that is around shoulder width apart. To be more general, slightly farther back than your driver ball position, but well forward of your wedges.

An on time (proper) release. In case you haven’t read the posts I did on release, they are linked below.

A proper release

Videos of the three releases

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8 Comments

  1. steve lyons

    I would add that fairway woods and hybrids off the fairway require the most level swing (angle of attack) ideally.

    You can’t hit to much downward and get away with it (like a mid/short iron) and you can’t have an ascending angle of attack (like a driver) since it’s not on a tee.

    I suppose this angle of attack thing goes hand in hand with proper ball postion.

    Reply
  2. ChrisNH

    Related to Steve’s point above. The reason one plays the ball off the left instep (for a RH golfer) for the driver is because that way the club is ascending when it contacts the ball. Given Steve’s point above – and your agreement – about not being able to have an ascending point of impact with fairway woods, that would lead me to the conclusion that one wants the ball in the middle of the stance with these clubs.

    Why, then, would one place the ball forward at the left instep?

    Thanks,
    Chris

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      I don’t know if I understand your question very well. I will just clarify my position. I believe driver should be around the left instep or heel, with fairway woods and hybrids slightly farther back than that…with each club moving back a little bit more till you have LW around the middle.

      I like giving a range so people don’t try to be too perfect. Depending on your swing all the way up to the instep will work for some people, while slightly inside the heel will work for others.

      Reply
      • ChrisNH

        Perhaps I didn’t phrase it well.

        Steve said “I would add that fairway woods and hybrids off the fairway require the most level swing (angle of attack) ideally. You can’t hit to much downward and get away with it (like a mid/short iron) and you can’t have an ascending angle of attack (like a driver) since it’s not on a tee.”

        If one can’t be hitting either up or down on the ball with fairway woods, then it stands to reason that you want to hit the ball at/near the lowest point in your swing. I would think this low point in the swing would be more in the middle of the stance than towards the inset of the front foot. Wouldn’t it?

        Reply
        • Monte Scheinblum

          I disagree with your premise. I don’t think the middle of the stance is ideal to be the low point in the swing. That is where wedges are played which require the most descending blow. That would only be the low point int he swing if you were hanging back on your right side or throwing/casting the club.

          Reply
          • ChrisNH

            I’m not a good enough golfer to put forth a premise 😉 Mine are only questions, in an attempt to understand a bit better what I’m doing and, more importantly, what I should be doing.

            I still don’t understand, then – if the left-instep ball position is ideal for a driver because it allows for an ascending strike to the ball, how is that position also idea for a fairway wood because it’s at/near the low point of the swing? Are the low points of the swing that different for driver versus fairway wood?

          • Monte Scheinblum

            LOL, that was funny. Like I said, I think the woods and hybrids should be slightly farther back than driver. It’s all a timing and personal preference thing.

            What I am saying is middle of the stance is not the bottom of the swing and woods and hybrids need to be farther forward than that.

            Instep is too far forward for most people, but some golfers really attack the ball with their lower body and need to have it that far forward.

            Here is what I suggest you do. Find the right spot for your driver, whether it is your instep, heel or slightly inside your heel. A place where you rotate your shoulders turn level and you get a consistent solid hit. Then play your woods and hybrids slightly farther back than that. the move each club a little bit farther back until you get to the middle of your stance with your wedges.

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