Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

Approach Shots

Hitting Fairway Woods Off Tight Lies

By Jim McLean Illustrations by Chris Gash
June 07, 2017

More and more we're seeing fairways that are firm and dry. That's great for the environment (less water used for irrigation) and for getting lots of roll. But this makes hitting solid fairway woods off the turf challenging. If you're struggling, here's the one thing you want to do: Play a cut fade.

This shot gets its name because when you swing, you cut across the ball on an out-to-in path, and that produces a shot that gets in the air and curves to the right. To execute it:

First, grip down a couple of inches and stand closer to the ball than normal. That will encourage a steeper downswing for solid contact, and the slightly out-to-in swing path you need to fade it. Next, aim a little left, allowing for that shot shape. Finally, swing low and left through impact, producing a small divot. You'll hit the ball more solidly for distance, and the fade will keep it in play.