The Art of Golf: Woods

The Art of Golf: Woods

By: Nick Bockenfeld, PGA
⌚12 Minute Read


Fairway woods are a weird category for golfers. For most amateurs and less skilled players, you either hit woods well or don't. For those that can hit woods well, wow, it's a game changer. I've played with guys that pull woods and hit it onto the green every time, and it just amazes me. I'm a decent wood player, but some people have just plain mad skill with their fairway woods, and it's incredible to watch. Especially off the tee. The two best woods off the tee players I can think of in modern times are Henrik Stenson, who makes 3 wood look like it's a pitching wedge the way he hits it, except it goes almost 300 yards. You can find youtube videos dedicated to him hitting 3 wood. And of course, the man, the myth, the legend, Tiger Woods, who revolutionized hitting woods off the tee with his Stinger 3 wood. I mean, the dude created a golf shot that the best players in the world imitate. Tiger hitting stingers also have tons of youtube videos dedicated to the low rocket.


For Those That Can't

Of course, if you are reading this, you probably don't hit woods like Stenson or Tiger Woods. That being the case, I do have some tips for you. The first is that you should not try to lift the ball. A wood has plenty of loft to get a ball up into the air, and if you aren't able to hit them high, you can check the shaft and the head. Make sure you are not using a low spin head or shaft. Make sure the shaft is not a low launching low spin shaft if you are hitting it low. The great thing about woods is how influential the shaft is. Don't get me wrong, shafts are significant on everything, but I find it more so in woods myself. A wood needs a slightly different swing than an iron does. You are trying to pick a wood off the ground and not hit down into the ground, so you want to be a little more shallow coming into impact than you would ideally be with an iron. You can achieve this by standing slightly further away from the ball, which will let you have a somewhat more shallow swing. This will help you hit your woods cleaner and higher. It would be best if you never tried to lift them, though. The biggest mistake people make when trying to hit woods is forcing the ball higher instead of letting the club do the work.


Stop Trying to Kill it!

Another common mistake when hitting woods is swinging too hard and trying to get too much out of them. Like every other club in your bag, a 3 wood or 5 wood, whatever wood you have, other than the driver, you are meant to hit a 3 wood a specific distance, not as far as possible. Do not overreach to try to hit a green that is out of your reach. You are better off laying up than going for it and over swinging at a wood. Play it to your advantage and do what the wood is meant to do.


Off the Tee

You must focus on hitting a spot when hitting a wood off the tee. I tee it up just barely off the ground and tee it higher or lower based on if I want to hit it higher or lower. This is not by a lot; hardly change the tee height if you do this. Tee it lower, and the ball will launch lower and be slightly more accurate. Tee it higher to get that higher launch and flight, but I tend to lose accuracy doing this. Remember that it is a lot harder to lose a low ball than it is a high ball. High balls tend to carry further into trouble than a low ball will. If you tee off with a wood, you should pick a spot, pretend there is a flag, and play to that flag. If you are hitting a wood, not a driver, you are hitting a spot at a specific distance. You are not swinging as hard as you can; there is no reason to reach and go after a wood. If you take anything from this, take that.


Play Your Miss

If you take a wood off the tee, hitting the fairway is imperative. One of the keys to hitting fairways is to play for your miss. It's a very simple concept; I go in-depth in another post. The gist is knowing where you tend to miss your tee shots. Are you missing to the right or the left? If you have a two-way miss, you have to figure that out first. Once you have a one-way miss, then you start playing it. A one-way miss means that you are, for the most part missing the ball to one side, not every single time. We all hit extremely squirrely shots at times. My miss is a block, so when I play that miss, I aim a little further left than I might otherwise aim. This is huge with a wood, you should practice it with every part of your game, but specifically with your woods, you need to do this. If you miss right of your target line, stop aiming down the dead middle of the fairway. Instead, you need to aim left of the middle of the fairway or aim down the left side. You will look outstanding doing this, hitting a lot more fairways; you don't need to tell anyone that you are aiming left and missing down the middle; they know you hit the dang fairway and are set up for the next shot.


Ball Strike Consistently

With all woods, the consistency of ball striking is essential. Consistently hitting it in the center of the face gives you a consistent ball flight and distance out of similar swings. For instance, if you are hitting it square in the middle, it will help you to hit the ball at the same length. When you know where the ball will land and can aim accordingly, hitting your long-irons becomes incredibly easy. The best way to become a consistent ball striker is to practice your tempo. The best ball strikers in the world have one thing in common. Their tempo is the same every single time. They all have different tempos, one from the other, but the biggest key is that it is the same for that player every single time. Have you ever just gotten into a rhythm on the range? Where you pull it back the same every time, and you are just puring it every single time? That is when you lock in your tempo and hit the same rhythm every time. This is when you hit the ball right in the pure spot every time. It does the same thing every time; life is good.

There is scarcely a better feeling than getting into this groove. It is tough to find, though. At least it was until now. The CTRL Swing Master Training aid makes finding this groove the second you get onto the range easy. First, you build a model with your club, hitting shots and telling the app whether it is good or bad; after 10 good swings, the model is built. Then you can bring it to the range every time you go to the range to hit balls. Put on the CTRL Swing Master, pick the model you want, turn on the metronome, and find your groove. The metronome will help you to find that perfect groove. You don't even need to go to the range. You can take practice swings anywhere once you have a model built. The CTRL Swing Master training aid is a revolutionary tempo training tool that fits your ideal tempo. There are plenty of tempo trainers in the world, but none of them assimilate to your ideal swing, except for the CTRL Swing Master. If you want more consistent ball striking, the only way to do it is the CTRL Swing Master. If you took a break for a couple of months, it wouldn't matter, come back and get back to grooving your perfect swing.


Be in Sync

Another important part of consistent ball striking and making great contact is having your entire body in sync with itself. You need to bring the club and your hips through at the same time. The best way to do this is to do the towel drill. This is one of the best drills you can possibly do for your golf game. It's simple, and you have everything you need already in your golf bag. Throw a towel under your arms and hit little 75% shots on the range. 3 on, 1 off. You always do a drill 3 on, 1 off, and wean down to 1 to 1, then hitting more shots on than off. It's simple, but it is really effective.



Hitting woods is a crucial skill, especially on really long and tight courses where you have to hit the fairway. Taking a wood off the tee makes it imperative that you hit the fairway. If you have trouble hitting woods, the best thing you can do is to work on your tempo. Get your entire body in sync with your swings. Get your hips and arms working together with the right rhythm, and you will stripe your woods every time you use them.

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