3 Steps to Building a Fairway Finder Off the Tee

3 Steps to Building a Fairway Finder Off the Tee

Imagine it’s the 18th hole, you’re playing well, and you need to hit the fairway. 

What’s your move? 

Hit a 3-wood, choke up on the driver, or use a different club entirely? 

You need a fairway finder so you can step up to that shot with confidence. Here’s how to develop this go-shot so you can always find the short stuff. 

How to Create a Fairway Finder 

If you’re like a lot of golfers, you probably think that taking 3-wood is the correct way to find more fairways. Or maybe Tiger's infamous stinger (though chances are you are not carrying a 2 or 3 iron these days.) But that’s actually not the case.

According to Golf Monthly, 5-handicaps hit 49.7% of fairways with drivers. But taking 3-wood off the tee only increases their chances to 52.6%. That's right, only a 3% better chance of avoiding the rough. 

But hitting 3-wood also means a longer approach shot, which statically means a more likely higher score. Not to mention you might hit in the rough so you’re well back of your normal driver and in the rough.

Instead, make a few adjustments with your driver to give yourself the best second shot at the hole. 

1. Tee it Lower 

The first step in creating a fairway finder is teeing it lower. This will help create a more penetrating ball flight and make a big miss less likely. 

Just remember, the higher you tee it the longer it’s in the air and the more likely it is to get in trouble. 

2. Choke Up 

The next step is to choke up one-two inches to shorten the club. 

A shorter driver means it’s easier to control and paired with a lower tee will minimize the big miss. Plus, a shorter club makes it easier to hit the sweet spot and not miss out on too much distance.

Choking up also makes the shaft stiffer, which will also help the ball go straighter. But it still should go 10–15 yards (or more) longer than a full 3-wood.

3. Swing Like Normal 

Once you make these two simple adjustments you don’t have to change your backswing. Since it’s shorter you will stand closer to the ball but that’s it - no other swing changes are needed. 

The problem is that most golfers try to open/close their stance, change ball position, or take a three-quarter turn on the backswing. Others allow mechanical swing thoughts that interfere with making a smooth swing. But when you’re in a pressure packed moment, the last thing you want to do is think about technical moves. 

By making these two easy adjustments you can swing like normal and hit it straighter than ever. Even if you lose 10–15 yards, it’ll go longer than a 3-wood and be nearly as likely to find the short stuff. 

Practice on the Range

As always, make sure to test it out on the practice tee before taking it to the course. Our suggested approach:

  1. Create a small imaginary fairway between two flags on the range to simulate a tight fairway.
  2. Then, see how many balls you can hit in a row to build confidence and become a clutch driver. This puts pressure on each shot! 

Closing Thoughts 

A fairway finder is a great weapon to have in your arsenal of shots. Practice on the range for those tight fairways and when hitting into the wind for more consistent driving stats. Just remember, it’s the play compared to clubbing down to a three wood. 

About the Author
Michael Leonard

Michael Leonard is a full-time writer, author, creator of Wicked Smart Golf and +1 handicap amateur golfer. He left his corporate, national sales career in 2017 to pursue entrepreneurship and professional golf; since then, he’s competed in 160+ tournament days and went to Q-school in 2019.

Now, his mission is simple -- help more golfers play better without swing changes. Learn more about his book, Wicked Smart Golf, to play better golf without changing your swing on Amazon now!


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