Editorial – Fairway Metal, The Short Game Secret

By Cole Golden, USGTF Level IV Member

We have all been there, giving some great insight to a student’s swing fault, knowing they will not practice enough for the changes to become permanent. It is not our place to yell at them and tell them they have to practice to become better. But, it is our place to show them how to score better, even though their golf swing might not improve.We see it almost every week on the Tour – a player uses their fairway wood to chip with around the green. Why would the best players in the world use this method? Because it is easier than chipping off of poor lies. The outcome of these bad shots is better than the outcome of bad shots when chipping. When speaking with students, we talk about a good miss versus a bad miss. A shot bladed over the green into a bunker is a bad miss compared to a shot that rolls 20 feet from the hole. By using a fairway wood around the greens, the higher-handicap player can get the ball down in fewer strokes, thus lowering their score and having more fun.

The way I teach this shot is to use a fairway wood with loft between 15-25 degrees. Some of the strong-lofted fairway woods that players carry today make it difficult to get the ball out of poor lies. I have the student choke down about 1 1/2″ on the grip, have a slight forward press, and play the ball just in front of the center of their stance. From here it is like a long putting stroke.

It amazes me each time I show someone this shot how quickly they pick it up and how easy they think it is. Some players might think it is not a “real” shot, but once they see the results, it changes their mind. If you have students who need some help with their short game shots, or you know a student isn’t going to put some time into practicing his full swing, teach them this shot. They won’t be disappointed.

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