Why you Should go Golfing in the Rain
I already know what you're thinking. You're looking at the image above and you're thinking to yourself, "why the heck would I want to be golfing in the rain?"
I'll tell you several reasons why you want to golf in the rain:
My first point, it's exhilarating. For me, as a self-proclaimed great golfer, I find that I get invigorated about golf when I play in unusual conditions. It's like playing football in the mud- something about being outside in the middle of it all makes my heart beat faster.
Playing in the rain is a challenge. Many of us tend to play on the same courses a lot. Nothing is wrong with that, however when you play in alternative weather conditions be it wind, rain, snow, etc, the difficulty level increases. Playing in these conditions can actually have a positive effect on your score when there are optimal conditions because you are practiced in many situations.
Let's be real: not all golf photographs make you look like a rugged man. However, some definitely do. Next time it's raining head out to your favorite golf course and snap a few photos or videos of the rain coming down on you while you're learning to hit a fairway wood a monster hit into the green. You'll be sure to get some likes on Facebook and Instagram!
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How To Hit a Fairway Wood Off The Tee
I'd like to talk about an extremely important gold subject today, which is how to properly hit a fairway wood off the tee. Mastering this skill will make you a better overall golfer.
Hitting a fairway wood off the tee can be a very, very useful choice. In this article we’re not so much going to give you a swing lesson (we will touch on it a little bit) rather we're going to give you some insights into the fairway wood, 3 in particular, and why they can be really useful off the tee.
So let’s get into it. Start off by practicing your swings while you're out on a course/practice course. Grab a 3 wood or a 5 wood, off the tee, and let’s discuss our first insight: a generic shot with a fairway wood. Why is it generically a good choice to use one? Well, certainly strategy could bear a factor. There may be some sand bunkers out there or some water something that you could reach with a driver but not with the fairway wood, so to avoid those playing hazards it is a good choice to hit with the wood. That would be a good instance. You also might fit your shot into a dogleg better, if it's a sharp dogleg. Generally speaking, you might use a fairway wood off the tee simply because it's easier to get your ball out where you want it to be, it’s more reliable than other clubs and is more consistent to get into play. There are two real reasons for that:
Want to know how you should tee up your ‘generic shot’? In our generic version, you're trying to treat the fairway wood as though it was a driver and use it in place of a driver. That way we can take advantage of the shorter shaft and the more lofted club. For placing the ball with a fairway wood, you’ll want more of a driver ball placement- up near the instep of your front foot. You’ll also want the ball teed so that, like a driver, you can catch it fractionally on the upstroke without hitting the ground, and still hit the ball centerline to fractionally above the centerline on the clubface. Be sure that there’s a little bit of space under the tee: quite a bit more than you'd have on an 8 iron on a par 3 shot. As an approximation, about one-third of the ball should be above the top edge of the driver when you hit it. That allows you a fractionally upward hit, and you can still hit it's solid- at least as high as the centerline of the clubface.
So that was our generic set up for a fairway wood hit off the tee. Now let’s get into the ‘safety shot’. The safety shot, to me, is the easiest one to fit the ball in where you want it on a tight hole and to be sure you're going to stay in play. Sometimes a safety shot is easier in the wind as well because you can play the ball back a little bit more (not way back, maybe an inch and a half or so). For the safety shot with a wood, tee the ball as low as you reasonably can. In other words, it's a perfect lie but there is no real air under the ball. When playing it a little bit further back, maybe with the ball centered under your body, and by teeing the ball down, you're going to have to lean the shaft more and go down and get it to hit the ball properly.
This gives you a couple of things that are to your advantage. Firstly, it firms up your front wrist and gives you more stability In the club. There is also a little bit less release, it flights the ball a little bit lower, and when I squeeze down on the ball a little bit more like that, generally you’re going to produce a little bit more backspin and it's going to help hold that ball in line. The effect is that you’ll get this low ‘stinger’ shot coming out of your hit. Keep in mind that with a little bit more backspin the ball doesn't get up in the air or curve as much, which results in a more controlled placement of the ball for your safety shot. You'll likely lose a little bit of distance unless the ground is really firm so the ball can roll out, but it is an excellent good shot to have in your arsenal.
Let's take a look at the best pro in the game for doing ‘the stinger’: Tiger Woods.
So there is an image of Tiger Woods. This is at the 7th hole of the Augusta National. And they have lengthened and that hole in recent years, but in this image, it had a very, very tight shorter hole. As you can see he's got a fairway wood in his hands and the ball is teed how we mentioned previously. Tiger’s sole goal here is to hit the ball straight down the middle of the fairway without distance as a major priority. So, as you can see, he gets down in there and drives it out there low.
You can see his head off his hands a little bit as he finished. That is a shot he can rely on to squeeze the ball out there into play and obviously, he had a good one there. Long before it lands he's down there to pick the tee up.
Our final segment about fairway woods is it might be a good choice to choose this club. Well, when you need to curve the ball, specifically you need to draw it, fairway woods can be a lot easier than a driver for most golfers. Let me just say to you, the reality and the geometry behind this is, “the left less loft, the easier it is to curve the ball”. However we’re only dealing with a few more degrees with the fairway wood and what we find is that once you start closing the club through impact, which of course you have to have a club that's closed to hit a hook or draw, you knocking loft off the club. Now, if you have the swing speed of Henrik Stenson you can still get plenty of height off the tee when you de-loft the club. But, for many players, once you start turning the face a little bit the ball really comes out low as if it just doesn't have the speed. So, choosing a 3 or 5 wood, or something like that, makes the ball a little bit easier hit. Also: when you're trying to manipulate some other factor that makes the swing a little more challenging, it's easier when you have a club that’s easier to hit, such as a fairway wood. You can also afford more draw shape and still get a decent trajectory.
Stop Topping Your Fairway Woods: Hit them clean
There’s nothing more frustrating than being focused on your hit with a fairway wood, and then topping the ball upon impact. Let me give you some tips about how to avoid the frustration and hit the ball cleanly every time, even when you're playing golf in the rain.
So let's have a look at the subject and see what we can find out. How do you stop topping the ball when you hit with your fairway woods? There is a lot more to it than just one tip. What I would recommend to you: most of the time people top their fairway woods because:
It's much, much less common that someone makes a good swing and arbitrary lifts their head or lifts their body. Bear in mind, it's more likely that either the arch isn’t going down enough as you hit the ball or the radius of the swing arch is narrowing.
What are the things that would cause that? These are just general swing habits, but they’ll show up on a fairway wood because a fairway wood, give or take the loft, or is the longest shafted least lofted club you’ll hit that doesn't have a tee under it. A driver is obviously longer and less lofted, but it has a tee under it. So with a driver, even if your swing arch is going slightly upward upon impact, you can still more or less hit the ball solidly.
These fairway wood clubs are very hard to hit if you have a steep angle of attack- meaning the shaft is coming from in front of your face and less from the side of your body. If your hit is steep, what's going to happen is if you have a perfect impact from there you're going to plow too much of a hole into the ground doing that. Now, that might work when using a pitching wedge or a 9 iron- you just take a deep divot out of the ground and hit a solid shot. However, your subconscious brain is going to tend to overrule that, bail out, and create some space through the ball by bending your arms (narrowing the arch of your swing). I promise you, if you follow these techniques you won't hit deep divot after deep divot. So, the steepness is often an underlying cause for why the arms bend and pull up through the swing.
The other reason you’ll top the ball when using a fairway wood: the club is swinging up too early. It is starting its ascension, which will make you hit the top of the ball. The leading cause of that is that people accelerate the club too quickly at the top of their downswing and try and hit the ball too hard. This makes the club move before the body moves. When the club is moving at high speed at the top of your swing, that moment of will actually pull your body back. That will make your circle start moving up before you want it to. So you want a golf swing where the arms and club or more passive and you start to make your body movement before there's any kind of a fast downswing movement. Only then should you be over onto your left side as you go through your swing.
In summary, those are fairly broad-brush things. However, they are very significant things. I would suggest you practice using your fairway wood without the ball on a small-scale. Practice making some swings where you can move your weight forward and just skid the club off the grass a little bit, without making any divots. Just barely knick or brush the grass. Make sure that the club is coming from behind your hip and sliding/brushing the ground. Make sure the club is not coming from the front of your body. It's only after you've practiced that and experienced a little bit of success on a small scale that you then bring a ball into the equation and hit some soft ones. As long as you're coming in with your weight moving forward, and your club remains shallow enough, you can afford to let your arms straighten out and the club can swing freely so all you do is brush the ground.
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