When you're standing on the tee with your driver, I’m sure you’re not thinking about distance control. It’s all about how far can you hit it. A 3-wood is a different story. Whether you’re using it on the tee or from the fairway, you should think about hitting the ball a specific distance. That’s why my coach, Grant Field, says tempo is so important to this shot.
Here’s a tip for better 3-wood tempo: Pretend like you’re swinging a wedge. This gets you to slow down—you rarely put extra effort into a wedge shot—and it syncs your body motion to the swinging of your arms and club. If you make every 3-wood swing with the same tempo, you’ll start to dial in a yardage the ball typically flies. Then if you need to take something off, grip down an inch on the shaft, or fade it by holding off the release of the club a little longer.
Here’s another tip: When the ball is in the fairway—particularly on a tight lie—don’t try to hit up on it. That’s just going to produce a low, spinny shot that goes nowhere. Instead, play the ball a little farther back in your stance than you do with a driver—that will help you hit down on it—and make a swing that takes a little divot or brushes the grass after contact with the ball. Combined with that smoother tempo, your long game is going to get a whole lot better. —WITH RON KASPRISKE