3 Wood Guide (Distance, Loft, Length & Head)
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Don’t let the ease of swinging a 5-wood or a 7-wood fool you into getting a 3 wood. While this club can launch the ball for longer distances than its higher-number counterparts, you need to master it to exploit its full potential.
What is a 3 wood golf club? A 3-wood is a fairway wood you can use for first shots on long holes. It is the lowest-lofted and the furthest driving club among fairway woods and can be used to reduce the approach score. It is unmistakable because of its large head and long shaft.
In this article, you will learn about the average distance one can hit a 3 wood alongside its design specifics, including its loft, length, and relative performance. Among other things, you will also learn how it fares against its hybrid counterpart.
By the end, you will have a complete understanding of 3 wood and the contexts where it is relevant.
3 Wood Distance
On average, 3 woods are used to hit 10 yards further than 7 woods and 5 yards further than 5 woods. While the exact distance coverage depends on other factors besides the design of the club, a casual golfer can easily cross the 190-yard mark with a 2 wood.
The distance range of a 3 wood club is 190 to 210 yards, with some golfers hitting up to 235 yards.
A key differentiator between a 3 wood and other woods is that the former launches the ball further horizontally. Because its launch angle isn’t steep, most of the swing force goes behind the ball and not underneath it. And the credit for this distance coverage goes to the club’s loft.
This is what makes 3 wood one of the best men’s golf clubs for distance.
3 Wood Loft Degree
3 Wood is the lowest lofted wood that is just north of a driver’s loft range. A typical 3 Wood has a 15-degree loft on the low end and an 18-degree loft at a maximum. Even at its maximum loft, 3-wood is low-lofted compared to 5 and 7 woods, both of which are also fairway woods.
The degree of the loft is inversely proportional to its distance coverage. That’s why this wood is best used to get as close to a hole as possible on a long course. It has serious overshooting potential and is best for tee-shot for each hole.
You can get in a perfect position to put with a single calculated shot using a 3 wood. But you need more than a 15-degree loft and the right aim. You also need to muster up enough swing strength.
For that, your club must have the right shaft length.
Standard 3 Wood Length
3 wood is one of the longest fairway woods with a 42-inch to 43-inch length. This allows forceful swinging and hot contact. which translates to longer shots.
Longer shafts usually translate to hitting long shots. But you should consider your ability to control your swing when getting a fairway wood. Otherwise, you’ll have a club that you can swing pretty hard but one that produces whiffs.
A redeeming factor of 3 woods is that they have huge club heads but a very small sweet spot, which leads to suboptimal contact when your swing isn’t very calculated. That’s why they are considered less beginner-friendly compared to hybrids. You can’t pick up any 3 Wood that you can comfortably swing and get a decent performance.
How To Pick The Right 3 Wood: Loft, Length, And Head Size
If you want to optimize your choice so that your fairway wood is not only good enough but is also the best possible one for your height, swing style, and stroke control, you should optimize each differentiating factor of the 3 wood.
You have to pick the right loft, length, and head size that matches your average shot shape, swing style, and impact precision, respectively. These considerations will ensure that you get the most distance coverage for each unit of strength you put behind your swings.
- Loft – If you struggle with getting forward distance coverage on the greens, then you should get the lowest lofted version of the 3-wood, which has a 15-degrees loft.
- Length – How much of a sweep is your swing? The closer your swing is to a forward-facing sweep, the longer your club should be. Another consideration is how much you can control your swing. If you can’t control the club because of its length, you should choose a shorter shaft.
- Head Size – The head size of a 3-wood is also tied to your ability to control your stroke. If you make off-center hits and miss the ball entirely when swinging, then you should get the largest club head size.
As long as you keep the above in mind, you’ll get a great 3 Wood to close the distance between your ball and the hole. You can always get the opinion of the salesperson in the golf store. If you want to leverage an expert opinion for club selection, then you can book a custom fitting session.
How To Hit A 3 Wood 230 Yards?
If you want to get a birdie on a long hole, then you can use a 3 Wood to put yourself in a putting position with a single shot. The 230-yard mark is often tricky because you would usually use a driver to hit a shot that long. But drivers are not precise enough for mid-round play and can lead you to overshoot.
3 Wood is the best possible wood to attempt a direction-precise 230-yard shot. But to pull it off, you need to have a good grip, exaggerated backswing, and solid follow-through.
Below are a few things you can do to pull off a 230-yard shot with a 3-Wood:
- Get fitted for a 3 Wood – A club you get based on fitting data is perfect for your style, stance, and height.
- Improve your grip – The stronger your grip, the higher the impact of your shot. This impact can translate to longer shots.
- Solidify your stand – You must stand with your feet at shoulder length so you are balanced throughout the backswing.
- Exaggerate your backswing – 3 Woods translate most of the swinging motion into forward momentum. So, you can maximize that momentum by starting with a backswing that translates to 75% of your full swing.
- Swing down instead of sweeping it – While 3 Woods forgive sweeping swings, you must swing down on the ball for maximum distance coverage.
- Ensure solid contact – The club face must make contact with the center of the ball. If you miss this, you will lose a good chunk of your force to a swing. It might even lead to a hosel rocket.
- Follow through after impact – The final aspect of hitting a 3 wood over 230 yards is to continue the swing well past the point of impact. It isn’t uncommon to see golfers who dedicate 25% of their swing arc for the follow-through.
You need consistent practice to make long-distance shots reliably with a 3 Wood. It is easy to hit further but can still tend to bump into obstacles because of its poor vertical height. The cons of 3 Wood often revolve around its incompatibility with controlled and calculated shots.
One of the reasons behind many golfers picking other clubs over 3 Woods early on in the game is that they don’t want these clubs’ limitations.
3 Wood Vs. 5 Wood
3 Wood is a lower lofter club with a greater length than 5 Wood, which has a higher loft, lift, and spin. The latter is more forgiving and easier to hit, but it also has lower distance coverage (by about 10 yards).
Let’s look at the key ways in which 3 and 5 woods differ:
- Loft – 5 Wood has a higher loft than the 3 Wood, making it relatively inferior in distance coverage.
- Length – On average, 3 Wood is an inch longer than 5 Wood, making it more forceful.
- Distance Coverage – In an all-things-equal comparison between these clubs, the 5 Wood falls short by 10 to 15 yards for shots made with the same force.
- Lift – Due to high spin, you can hit a 5 Wood significantly higher than a 3 Wood.
- Ease of use – 5 Wood wins over 3 Wood in terms of being easier to use because of its larger sweet spot.
As you can tell, 5 Woods are preferred by those who have problems making controlled shots. While a 3 Wood has the potential for long-distance shots, it can lead to consistent whiffs because of poor how difficult it can be to use.
Many casual golfers sacrifice a 10-yard distance and pick a 5 Wood over a 3 Wood.
3 Wood Vs. 3 Hybrid
Hitting 170 to 210 yards isn’t necessarily a bad thing. So, opting for a club other than 3 Wood isn’t necessarily a sacrifice. It can be a trade.
In fact, many intermediate golfers choose hybrids over woods because they want the control and precision of an iron and a distance similar to that of a wood. Such golfers may carry a 3 Wood but would also have a 3 Hybrid.
3 Hybrid has a low loft and high ball flight compared to the 3-Wood. The 3 Hybrid covers a relatively shorter horizontal distance and is easier to hit, whereas the 3 Wood requires an intermediate-tier swing control at a minimum.
Here are a few ways in which 3 Wood and 3 Hybrid differ:
- Loft – There’s a 4-degree difference between the two clubs’ lofts. The 3 Hybrid has a 19-degree loft compared to 3 Wood’s 15 degrees one.
- Shaft Length – On average, 3 wood is an inch longer than a 3 Hybrid, though this difference can be smaller in some cases.
- Distance – 3 Wood comes out ahead in distance coverage, provided that it is swung properly.
- Lift – 3 Hybrid is easier to hit higher because of its higher loft.
- Ease of use – 3 Hybrid is easier to use compared to a 3 Wood, which is relatively less forgiving than the former.
Three wood is the furthest driving fairway wood which has the lowest loft and the longest shaft. It is used for tee shots on long holes by intermediate golfers and experts.
Beginners who can’t squarely hit the ball choose 3 Hybrid or 5 Wood, both of which don’t drive as far but require relatively less swing accuracy.