Technology has taken every club in the bag to new and amazing heights, but those just below the driver in length and head size — the fairway metal and the amazingly versatile hybrid — incorporate everything that’s good about modern materials and engineering. If employed properly, they can get you down the fairway and in prime scoring position every time.
Here are a few keys that can really improve your ballstriking with the fairway metals/hybrids. The mindset is critical — pick the right club, treat them like an iron, hit down and get to a balanced finish.
First things first:
The lie dictates the club selection. If the ball is sitting pretty you can use either the hybrid or the 3-wood. If the ball is sitting down there is no reason to hit the 3-wood, which, remember, is the longest club with the least amount of loft in your bag (besides the driver, of course). This makes it very unforgiving from a mediocre or bad lie. Use the hybrid if in doubt.
This lie is a loser for the 3-wood!
With the ball sitting up on top of the grass you can choose either club.
You will have more success with the fairway metals from the ground when you treat them like an iron instead of a driver. Stand close, be aggressive and don’t be afraid to hit down on it.
At address the arms should hang down, with your weight towards the balls of the feet and your knees bouncy and athletic. Standing too far away is deadly.
Letting the upper body turn freely on the backswing is a key for every full swing. The left knee will get behind the ball and the right leg will straighten slightly.
Get steeper! The trend towards increasingly flat backswings have made it much harder to hit longer clubs. Getting the hands above the right shoulder at the top makes it much easier to create speed and hit the ball from the turf.
The lower body should initiate the downswing on every full swing. The thought of hitting more “down” gets the arms and club out and away from the body. This is a much easier place to play from then being stuck on the inside approaching impact.
The descending strike ensures a solid ball/turf contact, which gets the ball up off the ground. Notice that in my follow-through, the body is rotating around to the target and the right foot is rolling up off the ground to the toe.
A great thought on the course to produce consistent results is to get to a balanced finish. There is no need to wrap your body around like Gumby. Find the place where your weight is on the front foot and you are able to hold a comfortable spot, that should always be your goal.
Brady Riggs is a Golf Tips Top 30 Instructor based in Southern California. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org