For most golfers, the 3-wood and the 5-wood are perhaps the two most common fairway woods used on any golf course.
Fairway woods are useful in many situations, whether it is playing off the tee, on the fairway, or even on trimmed rough, these handy golf clubs got you covered!
However, does the average golfer need both a 3-wood and a 5-wood in their golf bag? Or is one better than the other? To find out the answer to these questions and a lot more you have come to the right place. So, let’s dive right in.
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Learning The Differences Between A 3 Wood & A 5 Wood Golf Club
If you look at these two golf clubs they don’t look altogether that different.
However, while there are some similarities these golf clubs are, in fact, very different clubs in terms of performance and setup.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most noticeable differences.
1) Loft Difference
Most 3-woods will offer about 15 degrees of loft while most 5-woods will offer 18 degrees of loft. While this may not look like a big difference on the golf course it can have a big impact on the type of shots you can hit.
The 5-wood allows for higher loft on fairway shots which causes the ball to land and stick on the green rather than roll away. This makes it easier to land the ball close to the green more consistently rather than overshooting your mark.
On the other hand, a 3-wood offers a lower loft angle which makes for more penetrating ball flight and more ball speed.
This allows the golf ball to roll further and is especially useful when you are seeking that little bit of extra distance on your golf shots.
For those of you new to golf, the fairway is the area between the tee (start point) and the green (endpoint) that has relatively short grass.
The ‘green’ is referred to as the smooth grassy area that lies at the end of the fairway and contains the hole or cup you are aiming for.
2) Differences In Yardage
The average male golfer will hit a 5-wood close to 200 yards on average. Women can expect to hit shots of up to 135 yards using a 5-wood.
As a rule of thumb, you can expect to add another 10-15 yards of distance when hitting with a 3-wood.
This is because a 3-wood has a much longer shaft and offers a lower loft that both assist in distance gain.
3) Differences In Shaft Length
While both these fairway woods are considered to have what is called a longer shaft, the shaft on a 3-wood is at least an inch longer than that on a 5-wood.
Once again, the difference may not be as noticeable to the naked eye but when playing golf the shaft length can make all the difference in the world when it comes to landing your intended shots.
A golf club’s shaft length can affect both the distance and control you get on your swings.
A longer shaft will allow golfers to hit the ball further. This is why drivers and long irons have the longest shaft lengths.
Shorter shafts will allow for much better control and accuracy. This is why putters have the shortest shaft length as accuracy is everything when it comes to improving your short game.
4) Differences In Ball Positioning & Setup
What most average golfers fail to realize is that different fairway woods require different ball positioning during setup in order to achieve solid contact.
When playing with a 3-wood you would use this club much like you would use your driver. Position the ball about 2 inches away from the heel of your front foot to get the best connection and get the ball airborne.
When using a 5-wood you should position the ball about one inch closer to the middle of your stance as compared to the 3-wood. This will help compensate for the slightly shorter shaft length allowing you to make a more solid connection while generating decent swing speed.
When To Use A 3 Wood?
Most professional golfers on the PGA tour will pull out a 3-wood if the shot distance they are trying to achieve is in the 220-250 yard range and where shot accuracy is far more important than distance.
Here are other instances where a 3-wood may come in handy.
1) When Launching Off The Tee
Most golfers will use a 3-wood off the tee if the driver will land the ball too far away from the intended target.
The 3 wood offers a higher loft angle than a driver and is much more forgiving when launching tee shots.
The shorter shaft on a 3-wood gives greater control over the club head allowing for better accuracy and a less forgiving slice on off-center shots.
You will likely love the 3 wood for the extra accuracy and control it offers when lining up your tee shots.
2) From The Fairway On A Reachable Par 5
If you are an avid golfer that is comfortable using a 3-wood the best time to pull it out would be in a situation where you are trying to land the ball on the green in two shots on a par 5 hole.
Let’s say you land the ball using your driver on the fairway some 200 or so yards away from the green.
Using a 3-wood would open up the opportunity for you to score an eagle putt as the extra distance you gain would likely get you within putting distance on the green.
3) In Windy Conditions
Adjusting to different weather conditions is part of golf. On windy days most golfers prefer to keep the ball flight of their shots as low as possible to avoid the wind blowing the ball in all directions.
The 3-wood with its lower loft degree can allow you to play those low-trajectory long-range shots that will keep the ball away from the gusty winds and in the direction you want it to go.
When To Use A 5-Wood?
There are situations where a 5-wood would be a more preferable option to a 3-wood. What are these situations? Well, let’s take a look!
1) On Long Par 3 Holes
If you are at a course where you have a long par 3 hole that is at a distance of about 160 to 190 yards, pulling out your 5 wood here would be the best call to make.
It is much easier to hit a 5-wood this far than using a long iron or other longer clubs. The extra loft on a 5-wood would also allow the ball to land softly minimizing roll and helping keep the ball on the green.
Many golfers find the 5-wood also much more forgiving and easier to hit than a 3-wood or a 4-wood making them ideal for such a situation.
2) From The Fairway
Almost all golfers will readily agree that the 3-wood is by far the toughest club to master. This is why it is recommended that beginners always use a 5-wood when playing from the fairway.
It is much easier to get the desired swing speed and hit highly accurate approach shots into the green using a 5-wood than a 3-wood.
3) Getting Out Of Tricky Situations
We have all been in a situation where our otherwise perfectly lined shot has a tall tree in its way.
Normally, you would use a loft wedge to get the ball over the tree but what if the distance you are trying to cover is much more than what a loft wedge can offer?
In such an instance, a 5-wood can come in real handy. The 5-wood will give you the loft you need to get the ball airborne and over the tree as well as enough distance to still attack the green.
The large face on a 5-wood also allows this golf club to be used on light rough and as such this golf club is one that you can rely on when it comes to getting out of trouble on the course.
Which Fairway Wood Is Best For The Average Golfer? – 3 Wood vs 5 Wood
In most instances, a 5 wood would serve as a better golf club for most amateur golfers, especially, when hitting a golf ball from the fairway.
This is because the 5 wood is easier to control thanks to its shorter shaft. The 5-wood also offers increased loft on shots and tends to be more forgiving than a 3-wood.
As a result, the 5-wood is likely to help you land the ball closer to the green more consistently helping you lower your handicap and hit the ball with more accuracy.
As an average golfer, that is really all you can ask for!
Which Fairway Wood Hits Further? – 3 Wood vs 5 Wood
When it comes to hitting from the tee the 3 wood is likely to give you slightly more distance.
This is because the 3-wood offers lower ball flight which means the ball is blown around less in the wind and you get more roll resulting in greater distance.
However, the average distance in yards isn’t that much between the two clubs. In fact, the average golfer will probably hit the ball just as far using both of these fairway woods.
The maximum distance that professional golfers hit a golf ball using a 3-wood is 250 yards, whereas, the maximum distance achieved using a 5-wood is 240 yards.
Whether you use a 3-wood or a 5-wood you can expect to easily achieve a distance of close to 200 yards or more.
The 3-wood will likely only give you an additional 10-20 yards of distance if you are an avid golfer.
Which Is Easier To Master? – 3 Wood vs 5 Wood
For many golfers, the 5-wood is much easier to master as compared to a 3-wood or even a 4-wood.
This is because the 5-w00d has a slightly shorter shaft and a more forgiving club face that makes it much easier to strike the ball and get it airborne.
To achieve the maximum distance off the tee, high handicappers should use a driver to start and then pull out a 5-wood to close the gap to the green from the fairway.
Mid-handicap golfers will also find the 5-wood a lot easier to master as compared to the 3-wood. As such, the 3-wood is best suited for single-digit handicappers as it is an extremely high-risk high-reward type of golf club.
Should Golfers Carry Both A 3 Wood & A 5 Wood?
The answer to this question depends upon several factors such as a golfer’s swing speed, skill level, and playstyle.
Most PGA tour golfers will keep both a 3-wood and a 5-wood in their bags when playing a tournament. However, this is once again based on personal preference and underlying course conditions.
On golf courses where one would require more loft on shots having a 5-wood in the bag could prove highly advantageous.
As for high-handicap golfers, it is best to leave your 3 wood at home until you gain confidence in your swing speed and hits. Using a decent hybrid with a 5-wood might be a more suitable option.
Why Is It Important To Consider The Type Of Shaft You Should Choose For Your New Fairway Wood?
When it comes to choosing the right fairway woods a lot of golfers overlook the type of shaft they are getting.
This can prove to be a big mistake as the type of shaft you choose could have varying degrees of shaft flex that can greatly impact the distance, control, and accuracy of your shots.
To avoid making such a mistake let’s take a look at the different types of shafts available for fairway woods.
Heavy Shafts Vs. Light Shafts
When looking to purchase fairway woods always pay close attention to shaft weight.
A heavier shaft is best suited for golfers seeking more control and accuracy on shots. If you are a golfer that has a fast swing speed and is looking to trade distance for more control opting for a heavier fairway wood might just do the trick.
On the other hand, a lighter shaft will suit golfers with slower swing speed as the lighter shaft allows them to swing harder in order to generate more ball speed and thus achieve more distance on shots.
Beginners and high handicap golfers who have a slower swing speed should stick to light shafts, whereas, the more experienced golfer may prefer a heavier shaft to allow for more accurate controlled shots.
Graphite Shafts Vs. Steel Shafts
The majority of fairway woods available on the market have graphite shafts. This is because graphite offers a lighter feel which is what is preferred in the modern game.
In comparison, steel shafts are seldom seen these days. This is largely due to the fact that a steel shaft is much heavier than a graphite shaft which makes it harder for golfers to generate enough swing speed which reduces the distance traveled on the average golfer hit.
Choosing The Right Fairway Wood To Help Improve Your Game!
Choosing what fairway wood is best suited to your game comes down to the level of confidence and skill you possess on your golf swings.
The right fairway wood should allow you to hit a golf ball further with consistency while generating more piercing ball flight on all your shots from the tee or the fairway.
While it is clear that for most beginner golfers the 5-wood is a better option it is important to consider what is more comfortable for you or what best suits your playstyle.
For lower-handicap golfers, it is highly recommended that they use both the 3-wood and the 5-wood when playing golf. Each club offers its own set of unique advantages that can help them out in different situations on the course.
The best fairway wood for the average golfer, however, has to be the 5-wood. It is by far the easiest fairway wood to master and is a lot more forgiving than other types of fairway woods.
No matter what fairway woods you decide to purchase always ensure that they are made by reputed manufacturers using the highest quality materials for improved performance and durability.
While many factors can weigh into the final decision always look for a fairway wood that feels comfortable in your hands and allows for a smooth swing!