Why Do I Hit My Fairway Woods Low?

If you find yourself struggling to hit your fairway woods with the desired trajectory, launching them lower than you would like, you’re not alone.

Many golfers face this issue and wonder why their fairway wood shots end up flying too low, resulting in reduced distance and difficulty in holding greens.

The trajectory of fairway wood shots is influenced by various factors, including swing mechanics, ball position, and clubhead contact.

Understanding the reasons behind hitting fairway woods low can help you identify and address the issue to improve your performance on the golf course.

In this article, we will explore some common reasons why golfers hit their fairway woods low and provide insights and solutions to help you optimize your fairway wood shots for optimal trajectory and distance.

Why Do I Hit My Fairway Woods Low?

There could be several reasons why you might be hitting your fairway woods low. Here are some possibilities:

Ball position

If you’re playing the ball too far back in your stance, closer to your trail foot, it can cause you to hit the ball low with your fairway woods.

Ideally, for fairway woods, you should position the ball slightly forward of center in your stance to encourage a higher launch angle and better contact with the ball.

Swing path

A steep or descending swing path can also result in low shots with fairway woods. If you’re hitting down too much on the ball, it can decrease the launch angle and result in lower shots.

Try to focus on sweeping the ball off the ground with a shallow swing path, allowing the clubhead to come into the ball at a shallower angle.

Clubhead contact

Hitting the ball low on the clubface can also cause low shots. Make sure you’re hitting the ball with the center of the clubface for optimal launch and distance. If you’re hitting the ball too low on the clubface, it can result in a lower launch angle and reduced ball speed.

Loft of the club

The loft of your fairway wood can also impact the launch angle and trajectory of your shots. Lower lofted fairway woods, such as 3-woods, typically produce lower shots compared to higher lofted fairway woods, such as 5-woods or 7-woods.

If you’re using a lower lofted fairway wood and struggling to get the ball airborne, you may want to consider trying a higher lofted fairway wood.

Swing speed

Your swing speed can affect the launch angle of your shots as well. If you have a slower swing speed, you may struggle to get enough lift on the ball with your fairway woods, resulting in lower shots.

Consider working on increasing your swing speed through proper technique and fitness to improve the launch angle and trajectory of your fairway wood shots.

Course conditions

The condition of the golf course, such as firm fairways or a headwind, can also affect the trajectory of your fairway wood shots.

Firm fairways can cause the ball to roll more and produce lower shots, while a headwind can make it more challenging to get the ball airborne. Adjusting your strategy and club selection based on the course conditions can help you hit higher shots with your fairway woods.

The best way to determine the cause of hitting your fairway woods low is to work with a qualified golf instructor or club fitting professional who can assess your swing and provide personalized feedback and recommendations.

They can help you identify any swing flaws, equipment issues, or other factors that may be contributing to your low shots and provide you with specific drills, exercises, or adjustments to improve your fairway wood performance.

Drills and exercises to help improve fairway wood trajectory

Here are some drills and exercises that can help you improve your fairway wood trajectory:

Tee-height drill

Place the ball on a tee that is slightly higher than normal, about 1-2 inches off the ground. This will encourage you to sweep the ball off the tee with a shallow angle of attack, promoting a higher launch angle and better trajectory with your fairway woods.

Sweep the grass drill

On the driving range or practice area, place a tee or a golf towel on the ground just in front of the ball, aligned with your target line. The goal is to sweep the grass or clip the tee without hitting it, which helps promote a shallower angle of attack and a higher launch angle with your fairway woods.

Impact bag drill

Use an impact bag or a pile of towels as a target for your fairway wood shots. Focus on hitting the impact bag or towels with the clubhead in a slightly ascending manner, ensuring that the clubhead is contacting the bag or towels on the upswing. This drill helps you ingrain the correct clubhead contact and promotes a higher launch angle.

Alignment stick drill

Place an alignment stick or a golf club on the ground parallel to your target line, about 12-18 inches in front of the ball. Practice hitting shots with your fairway woods without hitting the alignment stick, which encourages a shallower angle of attack and a higher launch angle.

Slow-motion swings

Practice making slow-motion swings with your fairway woods, focusing on maintaining a smooth tempo and a shallow angle of attack.

This allows you to feel the proper clubhead path and contact, which can lead to improved trajectory when you speed up your swing.

Core strengthening exercises

Fairway wood shots require a good deal of rotational power from your core muscles.

Incorporate exercises that focus on core strength, such as rotational medicine ball throws, Russian twists, or cable woodchops, into your fitness routine.

A stronger core can help you generate more clubhead speed and launch the ball higher with your fairway woods.

Flexibility exercises

Flexibility is also crucial for a proper fairway wood swing. Incorporate exercises that improve your flexibility, such as hip stretches, shoulder stretches, and torso rotations, into your routine.

Increased flexibility can help you achieve a more efficient and effective fairway wood swing, resulting in improved trajectory.

Remember to always practice safety when performing drills and exercises, and consult with a qualified fitness professional or golf instructor to ensure you are using proper form and technique.

Regular practice and incorporating these drills and exercises into your routine can help you improve your fairway wood trajectory and ultimately enhance your performance on the golf course.

Where should your weight be when hitting a fairway wood?

When hitting a fairway wood, your weight should be shifted slightly towards your front foot during the downswing, with a balanced and athletic posture. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Balanced stance

Start with a balanced stance, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your weight evenly distributed between your feet. Avoid leaning too far back or too far forward, as this can affect your ability to make solid contact with the ball.

Slight weight shift

As you initiate the downswing, shift your weight slightly towards your front foot. This helps you transfer your energy to the ball and promotes a descending strike, which is ideal for fairway wood shots.

Maintain athleticism

It’s important to maintain an athletic posture throughout the swing, with a slight knee flex and a straight spine. Avoid excessive sway or slide during the swing, as this can lead to inconsistent ball contact and trajectory.

Avoid hanging back

One common mistake when hitting fairway woods is “hanging back” on your back foot, which can result in low shots.

Make sure to shift your weight towards your front foot and rotate your hips and shoulders through impact to promote a higher launch angle.

Follow-through: Finish your swing with a balanced follow-through, with your weight shifted towards your front foot and your chest facing the target. This helps ensure that you maintain control and stability throughout the swing and achieve the desired trajectory with your fairway woods.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, hitting fairway woods low can be frustrating for golfers, but it’s a common issue that can be addressed with proper understanding and practice.

Factors such as ball position, swing mechanics, and weight shift all play a crucial role in fairway wood trajectory.

By paying attention to these aspects and making necessary adjustments, such as maintaining a balanced stance, shifting weight towards the front foot, and avoiding “hanging back,” you can improve your fairway wood shots and achieve a higher launch angle for optimal distance and accuracy.

Remember to practice regularly, seek guidance from a qualified golf instructor, and focus on maintaining an athletic posture and smooth swing tempo to optimize your fairway wood trajectory and elevate your golf game.




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