RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links


Stop topping your 3-wood

By Butch Harmon Photos by Dom Furore
June 25, 2007

NO: I hung back, tried to help it up and topped this shot.

YES: I shifted forward, extended my arms and hit it solid.

Hitting a 3-wood off a tight fairway lie brings out the worst in a lot of golfers. Because the club doesn't have much loft, they think they have to help the ball into the air. This mind-set causes them to hang back on their right side and swing up on the ball, even flipping their hands to help it up. The problem is, these moves actually have the opposite effect: The club makes contact on the upswing, and they top the shot.

To make solid contact with a fairway wood, hit with a descending blow, scraping the grass or even taking a small divot. For that to happen, you have to shift your weight to your front side and swing through the ball, letting your arms fully extend. A good cue is to think about swinging to a full finish and not about hitting the ball.

Once you start striking it pure, you'll realize the club has plenty of loft to send the ball in the air. So get off that right side and swing through it.

Ranked No. 1 by his peers among Golf Digest's 50 Greatest Teachers, Harmon runs the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Rio Secco Golf Club, Henderson, Nev.