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Master those woods from the fairway
Tiger Woods and John Daly probably never carry a fairway wood because they don't have to - there isn't a par five on earth they can't reach in regulation, and very few they can't get on in two.

But for the rest of us more modest hitters, including Nick Faldo (pictured) a fairway wood is essential, especially in winter when the ball doesn't fly as far in the air and hardly rolls at all when it comes to earth.

The big mistake made by amateurs, because they're going for more distance, is to try and hit the ball harder. In consequence, they are more likely to have a steep angle of attack into the ball, with a resultant closed clubface at impact, and it is very difficult to get the ball airborne with a closed clubface.

Next time you want to hit one of these shots, take a practice swing in which you sweep the clubhead across the top of the grass, back and through impact, and then repeat that practice swing at the ball. As ever, the secret is not to swing harder but to swing better.

There is plenty of loft on a 3-wood, for example, to get the ball airborne, so don't worry about anything except a low, slow, smooth swing.

©    19 - DECEMBER 2001

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