"Martin, thanks for a very quick and helpful reply!
Could you please answer one more question: I've just got a new set of clubs with big-sized metal fairway woods - much bigger heads than my old 1970 style persimmon (real) woods.
The old woods could be hit like irons, as the heads are current hybrid size, but these new F/W woods are different. What technique (& swing thoughts) do you recommend for modern fairway woods to hit them nice and high and long? I really appreciate your teaching videos that make a complex business "simple".
Steve, that is a good question. Modern clubs come with modern shaft lengths and head sizes. I think we'd be better off living in the past sometimes! While your modern club heads are likely more forgiving, your new woods are 1-3" longer than your woods of the past and that changes the lie angle and attack angle.
You have to remember that golf balls that are struck while lying on the ground require a descending blow. A level strike will work, but a club head that passes a ball on the way to its lowest point in the swing works best. This is a subtle negative (downward) decent angle. Now, I'm not telling you to take divots with your 3-wood but I certainly tell a lot of people to FEEL like they are taking divots with their fairway woods. They generally can't. Unless your swing is very steep, usually a result of compensating for a wide open club face, your won't be able to take a divot with a wood. If you can easily, we have some other work to do!
Ah, the modern club head. While forgiving, the newer woods can't be hit from poor lies like the woods of the past. You may be able to use your 5-wood from the rough, but I would not try and dig a 3-wood out of any lie other than a decent condition in the fairway. The attack angle (due to the length of the club) is too shallow and you'll likely get hung up in the grass.
Finally, let the club do the work! Never TRY and hit fairway woods higher that what your personal equation allows. Fairway shots fly high due to backspin, club head speed, centered striker and loft. Manipulation won't help you!