Never Lay Up!

Make Solid Contact With Your Hybrids And Fairway Woods

This Article Features Photo Zoom

PRETTY MUCH EVERYBODY has seen Tiger Woods hit his infamous stinger shot. His low 3-wood is just the thing he needs to keep the ball in play when his driver lets him down. But it’s not just for the world number one. It’s a shot you should learn to play too.

There are two ways to pull it off. The first is to address the ball as you normally would with it positioned just inside your left heel (as seen in the photo at left), and move your hands ahead so you deloft the clubface. This simple setup adjustment turns your 3-wood into about a 1½-wood. Obviously the lower loft you have, the lower the ball will go.

The other way to sting it, is to play the ball back (bottom left photo), so that it’s in the middle of your stance. This change in ball position will naturally move your hands ahead of the ball, but it’ll also change the bottom of your arc, and the club will still be closing as it approaches the ball. To remedy this, open up your stance so you don’t hook it.

KEEPING THE CLUB in front of your body throughout the swing helps keep your body in sync and makes hitting longer clubs like fairway woods and hybrids a lot easier.

Take a look at the photo at left and you’ll see that, as I swing through the ball, my body continues to rotate to the left. I’m transferring my weight to my left side as my core muscles turn and my right shoulder works its way under and around. My spine angle has remained the same as it was at address, and my right heel has risen off the ground slightly. I’m moving in just the right way to guarantee a clean hit with a long club.

Choose The Right Metal

Choosing the right metal woods isn’t all that different from choosing a driver. You have to decide what degree of loft you need, the weight and flex of your shaft and, in the case of hybrids, how many of them to include in your bag.

Of course, the best way to know which club fits you, is to head to your local pro shop and test a few. With a 3-wood, look for how forgiving it is both “off the deck” and on the tee. You’ll need to hit it a few times during your round
if your driver goes south or the hole demands a shorter, more accurate tee shot. As you move up to a 5-wood and hybrids, it’s all about forgiveness.

Deciding how many hybrids to include depends on your skill level. Lower-handicappers should play fewer, but newbies, seniors and many women will benefit greatly from adding a number of these forgiving metals to their bags. Those of you who struggle to get the ball airborne or have slow swing speeds should seriously consider an iron-wood set, that blends the characteristics of woods and irons.

Materials and construction have helped position weight in all the right spots for more forgiveness, but better players will still want something where the weight is placed a little higher in the clubhead for a more penetrating trajectory. Sure, it makes the club less forgiving, but better players will ben-efit from the more powerful weight distribution.











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