With Evin Priest

It’s one of the most intimidating shots in golf, but being able to use your 3-wood off the fairway consistently is a powerful scoring weapon. The 260m shot I hit to within a foot from the pin on the 72nd hole of this year’s US Open was probably the greatest shot I’ve ever played. I’ve worked hard to ensure I can flush my fairway woods because golf courses aren’t getting any shorter – and attacking long holes can be advantageous. Try my three keys and soon you’ll be flushing your 3-wood, too!

1. Nail Your Takeaway
One swing thought I’ve always had is if my takeaway is good, the rest of the swing takes care of itself. I was hitting it pretty good the week of the US Open at Chambers Bay, so I just concentrated on getting the first two feet of the swing [above] correct. Everyone is different, but make sure your setup, alignment and grip is correct and your takeaway will be in sync.

2. Contact Is Key
Hitting the ball cleanly is probably the most important part of nailing 3-woods off the deck consistently. You want to play the ball forward in your stance to get the ball up, but hitting down on it is still crucial so I play it just off my left heel. Don’t try lift it up into the air – if you’ve perfected your takeaway, stay down and commit to the shot.

3. When In Doubt, Play A Fade
This goes for the full swing in general, but particularly the 3-wood off the deck. If you’re struggling to get it off the ground, try and hit a cut. Open up your stance by aiming a little left of the target, then open the face slightly. Swing along your bodyline and the ball should start left and come back. A little fade will get the ball where you want it to go. If you’re not flushing it, try and hit some shapes rather than swinging it normally.

Australia’s Cameron Smith finished fourth at this year’s US Open to break into the Official World Golf Ranking’s Top 100.