THE most common problem amateurs have when hitting fairway woods is poor contact and a resulting bad shot. This is usually the result of not having enough loft.

When buying a fairway wood, ask your local PGA professional for his or her advice as to whether your 3-wood has enough loft. Too often, golfers will buy a 3-wood with the standard loft of 14 to 15 degrees when they should be buying one with 16 to 17 degrees. The 16 to 17-degree loft will be easier to hit and get the ball in the air compared to trying to lift a wood with a 14 or 15-degree loft. Woods with more loft allow you to make more of a descending blow that will create more consistent flight, shot shape and distance.

Ask your PGA pro if you can try fairway woods with a few different lofts on the practice range to see which ones you need in your bag.

Jason Laws is the NSW PGA Teaching Professional of the Year