3 Wood; Distance, Loft (3 Wood Vs 2 Iron) + Chart

3 wood golf club

What is a 3 Wood?

A 3 wood is also referred to as a fairway wood, simply because golfers use it while they are on the fairway. The 3 wood is used when you are 175 yards or more from the green.

A 3 wood weighs around half a pound (210-220gm) and has a loft of 16 degrees. If you are not familiar, the loft is the angle of the club’s face. The loft determines the trajectory the ball takes when hit and the distance it covers. The average length of a3 wood is around 42inches.

It is important to note that when you refer to 3 wood or 5 wood, it does not mean that the clubs are made of wood. Interestingly, golf clubs were made of wood till some decades back when technology and the desire to make improvements to the game brought in changes.

The currently available range of woods is made of metals, with stainless steel being the most common material used to make these woods. The shafts are made of graphite and it is the most popular among golfers these days. They offer a better loft, longer distances, and are lighter to handle.

The golfer’s skill in handling the club and various other factors also come into play for a successful shot. While on the golf course, the players use drivers, another kind of golf club to tee-off from the starting point.

The second shot is usually taken with the 3 wood or a 5 wood. This will take the ball closer to or onto the green.

You will be surprised to learn that there are golf clubs with lofts that can be adjusted. This means that you need not be carrying a set of golf clubs. A single club can be used for taking the different shots, just by making adjustments to its loft. You may still need special clubs for putting.


When to Use a 3 Wood?

A 3 wood has evolved into a key weapon in the golfer’s armory. A majority of golfers use the 3 wood while on the fairways. They would have used a driver for the tee-off. For the next shot, they would use the 3 wood.

The 3 wood can offer many of the benefits that come with drivers. You can even use the fairway club at the tee-off stage.

If you’re looking to hit the ball to the maximum distance and want it to land accurately, a 3 wood is the best option.

You may think of dropping any other club from your bag while going out to play a serious game of golf, but the 3 wood has to be there all the time.

A 3 wood is used to take the golf ball into the green with the least number of shots as possible. If you are playing on a golf course where the tee’s distance to the greens is not much, you can use the 3 wood at the tee itself.

The 3 wood can also be used if your ball gets stuck in the rough. A 3 wood is considered a versatile golf club from these perspectives.


Do I need a 3 Wood?

Yes, every golfer will need to use a 3 wood during a game of golf. It is the 3 wood that helps you negotiate the first few shots before you reach the greens.

In the par-4 and par-5 holes, you will want to leave at least three shots for the put. This means that you will have to deliver the first two shots accurately to reach the greens successfully.

A skilled golfer can use the 3 wood to his or her advantage and get the best out of the game.


What Degree of Loft is a 3 Wood?

The standard 3 wood will have a loft ranging from 13 degrees to 18 degrees. Loft, as explained earlier is the angle of the face of the golf club that comes in contact with the ball during a shot. The loft determines how high the ball will fly and how much distance it will cover.

The trajectory is important in a shot from a distance since you want the ball to drop and fall in a particular turf and not roll over to the rough or other hurdles.

Distance is critical as well. In a typical golf course, the holes will be around 470 yards from the tee-point and the player has to use the minimum number of shots to reach there.


What Club Does a 3 Wood Replace?

A 3 wood can replace a driver. Drivers are clubs used only for hitting the first shot from the tee. The latest developments in technology have helped golf club manufacturers add a lot more muscle and additional features to 3 woods.

As a result, golfers can now hit the same distance with a 3 wood that they could earlier but with a driver. With the additional facility to adjust the trajectory, the 3 wood does a better job. No such adjustment is possible with drivers.

From the price point of view also, the 3 wood will cost you less than a driver. Keeping these facts in mind, the 3 wood can easily replace the driver in your bag. 


Average Distance for a 3 Wood

The average distance you will get from a 3 wood is around 200 yards. However, several other factors determine the distance traveled by a ball when hit with a golf club. These factors include the weather, the direction of the wind, the player’s physical fitness, and so on.

The force or the swing of the club can also make a difference. The same 3 wood in the hands of different golfers can show different results in terms of the distance covered by the ball. The figure of 200 yards has been mentioned here as the average after considering all these factors.

The chart below can provide a better understanding of the different distances achieved when using the 3 wood.


3 Wood Distance Chart


3 Wood Distance (Yards)

3 Wood Distance (Meters)

















These are averages. There are factors like the handicap of the players and the precise age groups which can slightly alter these figures. The above figures can be taken as the broad distance guide while using the 3 wood.


How Far Should You Hit a 3 Wood?

A good 3 wood, in the hands of a professional golfer, can hit a distance of up to 215 yards. Men can hit a 3 wood up to 300 yards, but this rarely ever happens on the golf course.

It must also be mentioned here that the distance used to be around 200 yards even until a few years back. Thanks to the technological improvements in golf clubs as well as the development of skills among golfers that have seen an increase in the distance covered by the ball.

This figure can also go down as you go up the ladder of handicap of the individual players. So, if a player with a handicap of 5 and below can hit up to 240 yards, someone who has a handicap of over 20-21 can achieve only around 187 yards, everything else being the same. 


What Iron is a 3 Wood Equivalent to?

A 3 wood may not be comparable to an iron. At best, a 4 wood can come close to the 1 iron. The comparison chart keeps going up from there, a 5 wood is equivalent to 2 iron and so on. The 3 wood is an important component in the golfer’s bag and it is good for the first few shots from the tee.

The 3 wood can also be useful in retrieving the ball from a bunker or a rough patch. The loft and other features of the irons start from where the 3 wood ends.

An interesting development is that a lot of players have switched to hybrid golf clubs dumping both their woods and irons. Again, some players have stuck to their 3 wood for long shots with certain modifications to the loft, etc. It may all boil down to individual choices as well.


How to Hit with a 3 Wood Off the Tee?

Traditionally, golfers have relied on drivers to tee-off. Drivers are supposed to help them hit the ball the maximum distance. Golf club manufacturers end up selling more drivers than probably any of the other numbered wood or iron golf clubs.

Drivers however have one drawback; the player cannot control the direction and the course of the ball. It requires extra skill and experience to hit the ball off the tee with the driver. That is why a 3 wood is very effective if used to hit the first shot as well, in each hole.

To get the maximum out of your 3 wood for tee-off shots consider the following factors:

Lie: Fairway woods like 3 wood can be used for cleaner lies. You should first make a proper assessment of the lie of the ball.

Adjust the swing speed: If you are using your 3 wood to hit off the tee, check if you are using the right swing speed of the club. It comes with regular practice. The swing speed has to be varied if the club is different, like a 5 wood or 7 wood.

Position of the ball: This is another fine adjustment you have to make to ensure you get the best results out of your tee shot with a 3 wood.

Stance: Experts advise that you must stand with your feet wide and keep your shoulders also wide to increase the stability while hitting the shot.

Swing: Aim for a 70 to 80% swing in a relaxed fashion. This will get you the best results.

Remember that the shot off the tee is critical from the distance achieved. More importantly, the place where the ball lands in position for the next shot will determine your ability to keep the number of shots required to reach the green, to the minimum. That is where the 3 wood comes in very handy.


3 Wood Vs 5 Wood

3 wood and 5 wood golf clubs are both classified as fairway woods in golfing parlance but a comparison between the two becomes relevant to the golfer. The reason for this is that a certain level of experience and mastery is needed to extract the best out of both golf clubs.

If you look at the different features of the clubs, in terms of loft, the 3 wood has a loft range of 13 to 17 degrees while the 5 wood can achieve a couple of degrees more. There is not much difference in the length of the shaft in the two fairway clubs either.

  • The 3 wood comes in shaft lengths of 42 or 43inches while the 5 wood would have average shaft lengths of between 41 and 42inches.
  • The distance you can hit the ball with the 3 wood is slightly more than what you would achieve with the 5 wood. Here’s where the skill and practice of the golfer come into play. A 3 wood can do wonders if the player learns to use it effectively.

If you invest in a technologically superior 3 wood, you can probably carry on with it keeping the 5 wood as just a reserve in your bag.


3 Wood Vs 2 Iron

If you make a comparison between the 3 wood and the 2 iron there will be minor differences in the physical features, like the shaft length, etc.

  • The 3 wood enjoys a lower loft of around 13 to 17 degrees while the 2 iron has a loft of 18 degrees or more.

The principle in golf is that the higher the loft, the shorter the distance the ball stays hit with the club. Purely from this perspective, you would think that you can hit a long distance with the 3 wood than with the 2 iron.

When you speak to the experts in the game, they will tell you that it all comes to the individual player’s skill sets and choices. You will find many golfers who will swear by their 3 wood golf clubs. You will also come across those who might say that they have tried the 3 wood but are not comfortable with it and therefore have switched to the 2 iron instead.

A more detailed analysis will reveal that the game of golf is one in which the player reaches the golf course with a bunch of 11 or 12 golf clubs in his or her bag.

Used cleverly, a 3 wood can be a dynamic tool in the hands of the golfer. The 3 wood can be used to tee off and put the ball in a strategic spot for the subsequent shots. Such manipulations are not possible with the 2 iron.


3 Wood Vs 4 Hybrid

The hybrid golf clubs are a relatively new introduction to golf, thanks to the advancement in technology. There are golfers who have chosen hybrid golf clubs in place of some of the fairway clubs. However, you may not find many players who have dumped their 3 wood for a hybrid.

Hybrid golf clubs have replaced the irons in most golf bags. The major difference between the other clubs and the equivalent hybrids is in the length of the shaft. The hybrid golf clubs are shorter. This means the golfers have to adjust their shot-taking accordingly.

On a one-to-one comparison, if you are used to a 3 wood and now trying to use a 4 hybrid you will find that the swing required with the hybrid is less than with the 3 wood. Some players find this comfortable.

There are also specific instances where the 4 hybrid may prove to be more useful than the 3 wood.

  • If the ball is stuck in the rough where the grass is thick, the 4 hybrid can do a better job than the 3 wood.
  • The clubhead in a 4 hybrid is heavier but smaller than the 3 wood’s and can cut through the grass easily.
  • On regular rough, the 3 wood is a better choice than the 4 hybrid.

In summary, a 4 hybrid can be a useful golf club to have in the bag. However, it cannot completely replace a 3 wood. At best you can sacrifice one of the irons to carry the 4 hybrid along.


3 Wood Vs 5 Hybrid

There is really no comparison between the 3 wood and a 5 hybrid. A 5 hybrid has a loft of 21 degrees whereas the highest loft you can get with a 3 wood would be 18 degrees. This is seen as an advantage for the 3 wood as the golfer is able to strike the ball to a longer distance at lower heights.

The 5 hybrid, on the other hand, would be seen as an equivalent of a 5 iron or 11 wood. If you speak to experts, they will claim that those who are comfortable with their 3 wood are the experienced players.

The use of a 3 wood requires some skill, practice, and the ability to make fine adjustments while taking the shot. That is how this club has moved up to being used for teeing off in preference to drivers.

A 5 hybrid cannot be directly compared to the 3 wood.


Ernie loves documenting interesting facts about golf.

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