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3 Wood vs. 5 Wood: When And Where To Use Them?

3 Wood vs. 5 Wood

The fairway woods are the best alternative clubs in closing the gap in distance between the driver and the highest iron. We look at the 3-wood and 5-wood, the benefits of using them, and their difference.

We will tackle the endless debate on the 3 wood vs. 5 wood myths that confused golfers for a long time.

Know Woods And Why Are They Important?

Golf courses nowadays are becoming longer and bigger in size. In this regard, players are more concerned about focusing their distance farther. It makes the fairway woods more crucial to golfers seeking additional range using either a 3-wood or a 5–wood: instead of the heavier driver off the tee.

The fairway woods are also ideal in striking par 5s; amid distance, while try getting eagles without relying on pure luck. Here is more about the 3-wood and the 5-wood!

Overview Of 5 Wood

The 5-wood and 3-wood have something in common, but the differences count a lot. The 5-wood offers more like a fairway golf club because it has a higher loft than the 3-wood. The 5-wood is an ideal approach to the green from the fairway or semi-rough hazards.

The 5-wood offers more height in approaches while providing a soft landing with more spin. The club’s loft between 20 and 22 degrees makes it a more reliable tool in distance-gapping. The 5-wood delivery of add-up spin and soft landing lets your ball stay on the putting green.

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When And Where A 5 Wood Is For

Many golfers will utilize a 5-wood on the fairway in reaching the green. The shorter shaft and higher loft angle of the club make it easier to hit from the ground than a 3-wood. Some golfers utilized a 5-wood in shorter shots from the tee and longer approach hits.

Up To What Point To Hit A 5 Wood?

Leisure golfers usually hit a 5-wood with a range of 216 yards. The span may vary between 200 to 240 yards for average golfers: Most golfers will have eight yards shorter range than a 3-wood. The distance will vary depending on a player’s skills.

Overview Of A 3 Wood

When And Where A 3 Wood Is For

A 3-wood golf club is utilized from the tee if a golfer estimates that a driver will make the hit farther. The low loft and longer shaft of a 3-wood make it ideal for not too far tee shots. The 3-wood is one of the most resilient clubs to hit from the fairway.

Up To What Point To Hit A 3 Wood?

Recreational golfers average 224 yards when hitting on a 3-wood. But the typical range for most golfers is between 210 to 250 yards. But like the 5-wood, the distance will depend on your skills, and sometimes on weather conditions inside the course.

How Do 3 Wood And 5 Wood Differ From Each Other?

The 5-wood and 3-wood differ in many instances. Here are some of them.

1. Shaft Length

The 3-wood has a shaft that comes in 42 or 43 inches, while the 5-wood is usually 41 to 42 inches.

2. Loft

The 5-wood and 3-wood clubs have different loft angles. The 3-wood usually comes in 15-18 degrees of loft, while the 5-wood is between 20 and 22 degrees.

3. Distance

Knowing the distance the ball will travel when hit with a club is crucial in every player. Furthermore, you should also know how close the ball is to the hole. This information will give more accurate shots when you utilize the correct club.

Many pro golfers usually deliver a 243-yard distance using a 3-wood and 230 yards on 5-woods. But average male players do it within 180 yards in a 3-wood and around 170 yards on a 5-wood. The 3-wood adds between 10 and 15 yards of the range because of the low loft with a long shaft.

4. Golf Ball Placement

Hitting a fairway wood differs in golf ball replacement compared to using a driver. Instead of placing the ball within your lead heel when using a driver: the ball should be inches away from your lead heel. Your stance should be more like hitting an iron to sweep the ball off the grass.

5. Par 5

Whenever achieving stability on your swing while driving the ball a significant range: layup or go straight to the green. Aggressiveness plays a vital role when choosing layup or going for the green. If you are an aggressive player and decide to do the latter, better utilize a 3-wood.

The Reasons You May Go For A 3 Wood Than A 5 Wood? 

One of the reasons for using a 3-wood over a 5-wood is when you are too far from the target. It is the best club to use off the tee. The 3-wood will give you sharper ball flight. The 5-wood is ideal for short approaches to the green.

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Which Is Better For Beginners: A 3 Wood Or 5 Wood? 

The 3-wood is better for beginners, especially when hitting off the tee.

Which Is Better For High-handicappers: A 3 Wood Or 5 Wood? 

Most high-handicappers will be better off using a 3-wood, especially when they need trajectory and a higher launch angle.

Which Is Better For Mid-handicappers: A 3 Wood Or 5 Wood? 

Mid-handicappers will need the 3-wood more than a 5-wood or a hybrid. You can bring these clubs in your golf bag and try each one during your game. From there, you can utilize different lofts up until finding the correct club for your skill.

Is A 3 Wood or 5 Wood Better Off The Tee?

As stated earlier, the 3-wood is the best option off the tee for most golfers.

Which Club Is The Easiest To Hit?

Both the 5-wood and the 3-wood are more forgiving golf clubs. However, the 5-wood is the one that is easier to hit.

3 Wood vs. 5 Wood Distances

Many golfers already knew 3-wood delivers a farther distance from the tee than a 5-wood. The 3-wood by and large soars between 10 and 20 yards further than the 5-wood. However, the carry (distance) depends on the swing speed and quality of contact each golfer makes when hitting the ball.

The chart below is the latest tally provided by Trackman: as published by for random PGA & LPGA Tour players’ average yards.


Based on the above chart, you will notice that the 3-wood makes a farther distance (carry) than the 5-wood. The higher the club and ball speeds of each pro golfer; it is farther the carry they make when using either a 3-wood or a 5-wood.

However, the spin rate is higher when they utilize a 5-wood. It is one of the reasons why the ball stays put in the putting green, as stated above. The average player swinging between 95 and 100mph using a driver may deliver a carry between 220 and 230 yards using a 3-wood. It will have a rollout of up to 240 yards with an ideal strike.

On the other hand, using a 5-wood, the average player swinging the same speed may deliver a carry around 200-220 yards. The ball may roll up to 10 yards upon landing.

Fairway Woods Have An Adjustable Loft.

It is now common having a fairway wood that has an adjustable loft. One of the best examples of this club with an adjustable loft is the TaylorMade Golf M5 Fairway Wood.

Any Other Features You May Want To Consider?

You may do a custom fit on your fairway woods. You can also adjust the grip size of the woods to fit on your palms. Another thing that you may consider in choosing a fairway wood is its feel.

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Shaft Weight And Flex

The flex & weight of the shaft is two of the most crucial features of a golf club. The one you purchase may undergo custom fitting by an expert if you want to make it more suitable for your swing.

Woods or Hybrids: What Should I Use?

These two clubs have their role in your play. Golfers with slow swing speed or beginners may opt for a hybrid as initial equipment. Hybrids have a lot of forgiveness that will make you learn the tricks early on.

Meanwhile, the woods will give you a hard time hitting for more distance, but they are more reliable in windy conditions.

A 3 Wood or a 5 Wood: Which One Should I Pick At This Time? 

Your choice should be on your goals. The 3-wood is one of the better alternatives for a driver off the tee. But if you want a golf club to boost confidence in launching the golf ball higher and easier: you may want to go for the 5-wood.


1. Which is difficult to hit: A 3 wood or a 5 wood?

As we have said, the 3-wood and 5-wood are both forgiving clubs, so they are not difficult to hit. However, a lot of practice is needed when using a 3-wood.

2. Is carrying 3 wood and 5 wood a necessity?

Yes, you can carry both clubs in your golf bag! However, it must be justified and not exceed the regulatory 14-piece golf clubs. Also, think about the purpose of each club. The 3-wood is a better alternative for a driver off the tee, while the 5-wood is perfect as a 2- or 3-iron substitute.

3. Is switching from a 3 wood to a 5 wood will not lose me distance?

The 5-wood can have a farther distance than the 3-wood. Because of its short shaft, you can utilize the 5-wood with the same range as your 3-wood. However, ensure that your 5-wood has similar shaft flex with your 3-wood that suits your swing speed.

4. Is a 5 wood easier to hit than a 3-iron?

Yes. The 5-wood is the one easier to hit than a 3-iron.

5. Do pros carry a 5 wood?

Almost 40% of the top 100 PGA Tour golfers carry a combination of 4-wood, 5-wood, or a 7-wood . However, the 3-wood is predominant among pro golfers (96%). The most popular 3-wood among pro golfers is the Titleist TS2 Fairway Wood.

Read more: 5 Hybrid vs. 5 Iron: What Is The Best Club To Carry?


Now you know more about 3 wood vs. 5 wood, it is becoming clear that you need a 3-wood more than ever! If you are a shorter hitter struggling with long irons, the 5-wood is your relief.

Furthermore, the 5-wood is a valuable substitute and easiest to hit than a 3- or 4-iron.

Written by Chuck Bennell

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