It’s always an awkward part of the bag to fill, something to fit in between your irons and driver, every golfer had yardages that will strike fear into their heart and often it sits in this range. So, what’s the best way to alleviate the stress and improve your performance in that area.

Make sure your equipment is right of course!

With the development of a variety of different club styles golfers now have a plethora of options to make longer approaches an easier proposition and the variety of club style is there to cater to all kinds of different swings, with fairway woods, hybrids and even utility irons now all viable options, so which one is best for you? The key factor to keep in mind when attacking this issue is what is your delivery like? There are a plethora of different ways to get a golf ball in the air, and you can often break that down into two rough camps. Sweepers and diggers. Sweepers will tend to take a small divot if any, with an angle of attack close to zero, often with a flatter delivery. Diggers on the other hand take larger divots due to hitting down on the ball to a greater degree. Which one sounds more like you?

The next key distinction to make is the difference in technology between the different clubs. Let’s start with the fairway wood. A fairway wood is a longer shafted club with a deeper head. The depth of the head is interesting here as it changes the location of the centre of gravity (CG), CG is a key factor in any golf club when it comes to launching the ball in the right manner. The CG in the deeper-headed fairway is pulled back, what this does is help launch and spin the ball more as opposed to a head with a forward centre of gravity. So if you’ve ever seen a” low-spin driver head” this will be the main difference. Compare this design to a hybrid and you’ll notice a shorter shaft and a more compact head. This smaller head moves CG forward relative to the fairway. Hybrids are also lofted weaker than a fairway, so a 3 wood would have 15* of loft as opposed to roughly 19* for a 3 hybrid.

So that’s the difference between the two styles of clubs, so which one do I suit more? Let’s break it into sweepers and diggers. If you’re a sweeper I’d recommend you start looking at fairway woods. The reason for this is a fairway wants to be swept off the turf, the deeper centre of gravity increases spin, optimising flight and distance for this delivery. If a club like this were to be hit down on this would risk a jump in spin rate which can cause ballooning ball flights and a loss in yardage. This is partly down to a concept called spin loft, which you can read about in a previous blog HERE. So for diggers that would leave hybrids. These want to be compressed, more like an iron, in order to get optimal launch, spin and ball speed so suit the digger category more often. The shorter shaft also allows for a steeper delivery which commonly is found from those who take a larger divot.

Simple then, your long approach game is sorted, well obviously it’s not quite that simple but starting looking in the right place can never hurt and these observations are rarely far off in my experiences doing fittings and while there will obviously be outliers (Jon Rahm for example has a more lofted 5 wood that he has specifically to get steep on) this is what we tend to find. That being said it never hurts to get fitted for this end of the bag to make sure whatever you put into your bag works best for you.

 

Jim Mitchell
Custom Fitting Specialist
Peter Filed Golf Shop

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