When a golfer steps onto the golf course, he is never truly alone. With him stands an army of 14 golf clubs, prepared to tackle the hazards and conquer every hole with finesse.
The selection of these golf club warriors is a task that falls solely on the golfer's shoulders. With a variety of clubs available in the market, each designed to serve a specific purpose, a golfer must gain all the knowledge possible and pick the soldiers based on his strengths and weaknesses.
The 3 Wood is amongst the most raved golf club warrior of all time. The fairway wood is in every professional golfer’s bag but the question is, should it be in your bag too? After reading this article, you will get an answer to your question because we have covered everything from 3 wood degrees and standard length and its role in the golfer's game.
What is a 3 Wood golf club?
A 3 wood golf club, commonly known as a "3 wood," belongs to the fairway wood category of golf clubs. It is designed to produce long shots from the fairway or off the tee. The 3 Wood comes with a long shaft and large head. It is the longest fairway wood and the second-longest club option for golfers.
The 3 Wood Loft Degree
An average 3 Wood has a loft ranging from 15 degrees (lowest) to 18 degrees (highest). When compared to other members of its category, for example 5 and 7 Wood, 3 Wood has the lowest loft degree. In fact, even at its highest loft degree, the 3 Wood remains lower lofted than other clubs.
The lower loft helps golfers cover greater distances on the golf course by generating significant ball speed and trajectory, making 3 Wood the best choice for long-range fairway shots and even off the tee on shorter par-4 and par-5 holes.
What is the ideal 3 Wood loft degree?
The ideal degree of loft for a 3 Wood depends on the golfer's expertise, playing style, and swing speed. The low handicap golfers prefer to have the traditional 15 degrees Wood in their bag at all times as it helps them cover greater distance. However, it is not ideal for high handicap amateurs, as making best use of a 15-degree loft requires a lot of practice.
Most of the time, high handicappers either have slow swing speed or they struggle to launch the ball into the air. For golfers facing such challenges, it is best to play with 3 Wood of higher loft- around 17 or 18 degrees.
When choosing the 3 Wood, it is wise to try different loft options and get fitted by a professional to determine the loft that suits your game best. If possible, take lessons from a good golf academy as they teach you how to play with 3 Wood and help figure out the best loft degree for you.
The Standard Length Of 3 Wood
The length of a 3 Wood is an essential factor contributing to its performance on the course. A standard 3 Wood measures around 43 to 44 inches, making it the second-longest club in a golfer's bag after the driver.
The longer shaft means that this fairway wood has the potential to generate more clubhead speed, leading to longer shots. While 3 Wood's long lenght and ability to cover greater distance makes it a tempting choice, it also has a downside.
The long shaft is hard to control. So when an amateur golfer with poor swing mechanics uses a 3 Wood, he either misses the ball entirely (whiff) or produces off-centre strikes, leading to inconsistent, less accurate shots and poor scores.
Sometimes, even the best golfers struggle to produce precise shots with the fairway wood. This challenge arises from the 3 Wood's inherent characteristic- a small sweet spot on the clubhead. The small sweet spot means the golfer has limited opportunities to make optimal contact between the golf ball and the 3 Wood club head.
What is the ideal 3 Wood length?
The ideal length of 3 wood differs for every golfer, depending upon the sweep of the swing and the ability to control the club.
Golfers with a shallow, sweeping swing should utilise a longer 3 Wood, while those with a steeper, more descending swing should use a shorter shaft.
You must also ensure that your chosen length permits you to swing comfortably and maintain control.
If possible, go for a custom club fitting and let a professional recommend the optimal length. In custom club fitting, your height, posture, swing speed, and other factors determine the ideal length for your 3 Wood.
3 Wood Distance
Depending upon the golfer's skills, the ball hit with a 3 Wood can cover a distance ranging from 190 to 210 yards. A well-struck shot may even cover 250 yards or more.
The average distances of the 3 Wood are as follows
Male average: 180 – 235 yards
PGA Tour average: 243 – 304 yards
Women average: 125 – 180 yards
LPGA Tour average: 195 – 217 yards
The advantage of this distance range is evident on the course. On par-4 holes, it often allows golfers to reach the green in two shots, and on par-5 holes, the 3 Wood helps golfers cover a good distance, making it easier for them to aim from a birdie or eagle in the next shot.
However, if the golfer fails to control their swing and strikes the ball off-centre, it can result in wayward shots. The wayward shots veer off target and may even land in hazards like bunkers and potholes. Once stuck in those sandy traps, the chances of scoring low go down the drain, and the golfer comes face to face with a challenging recovery shot.
When To Use A 3 Wood?
Now that you know the fundamentals of 3 Woods, let's take a look at when you should use it on the golf course.
Off The Tee On Golf Holes With Hazards
When golfers face a hole with hazards like water or sand bunkers that can't be comfortably cleared with a driver, a 3 Wood becomes their best friend.
When struck properly, the fairway wood helps the ball cover a significant distance accurately.
Long Approach Shots From The Fairway
When there's a substantial distance (175 yards or more) to the green on a Par-4 or Par-5 hole, it's ideal for golfers to use a 3 Wood as it provides both distance and accuracy.
A punch shot is a golf shot played to keep the ball low to the ground. Golfers play this shot to navigate through tree branches, combat strong winds, or recover from tricky lies.
The 3 Wood is perfect for lower loft angle compared to other clubs. It imparts less backspin on the ball, keeping it lower when struck correctly while still allowing the golf ball to cover a significant distance.
From navigating hazards to conquering long fairway shots, the 3 Wood can be a trusted companion on the course if you know how to use it properly. As an amateur, it is best to assertively practise shots with the 3 Wood on the driving range before using them during a game. Seeking professional guidance for club fitting and selecting the one that compliments your physique and swing is also essential.