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Friday, December 23, 2016

Annika's Keys for Fairway Woods

While many of you can't get out and play right now (much of the US is dealing with near-arctic temperatures), that doesn't mean you can't gather tips that might help when the weather gets better. Here are the five keys Annika Sorenstam gives for hitting your fairway woods better from page 107 in her book Golf Annika's Way.
  • Start with the shaft nearly vertical at address, and position your hands under your chin to promote a wider, more circular swing arc.
  • The first 18 inches of your swing should resemble the last few inches prior to impact, with the clubhead sweeping along the ground.
  • Don't think about hitting the ball; just let it get in the way of your swing.
  • Make more of a "U"-shaped swing versus a "V"; do not take a divot.
  • From uneven lies, align your hips and shoulders parallel to the slope.
Here are a couple of extra observations from Annika's book.

When she says the shafts of your fairway woods should be nearly vertical, she means when viewed from face on, not down the line. (That's probably obvious to most of you, but I'll mention it anyway.) That also means, although she doesn't say it outright in these tips, that she positions the ball ahead of the center of her stance at address.

When she says that she positions her hands directly under her chin at address, that doesn't apply to her driver (her hands are farther from her body) or her irons (her hands are closer to her body). That's a tip specific to her fairway woods.

And all of those things -- vertical shaft, forward ball position, hands under chin at address -- are what create that sweeping motion during the takeaway and just before impact. This also influences her fourth tip. If the clubhead is sweeping along the ground, you won't take a divot.

The other two tips are pretty good advice when hitting any club in your bag, not just fairway woods.

And there's one other interesting note about Annika's book which I had never really noticed before. There's no section on hitting hybrids. The reason why is pretty clear when you read the fairway woods section -- Annika LOVED her 7-wood. She hit it about the same distance as her 3-iron and was also a strong long iron player, so she didn't really need to use a hybrid.

I love my 7-wood too. And if you try Annika's tips, you may find that your fairway woods become favorites as well.

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