Which Fairway Wood Is Better: 5 Wood Versus 3 Wood?

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Luke is an avid weekend-warrior golfer from the East Coast who plays golf more than he cares to admit.

Choosing the right fairway wood can be a game-changer for golfers of all skill levels. With a myriad of options available, it’s essential to understand the differences between the popular clubs, specifically the “5 wood versus 3 wood”.

In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into their unique characteristics, explore which one is easier to hit for the average golfer, and provide tips for using these different clubs to improve your game on the course.

Short Summary

  • Understanding the differences between 3 wood and 5 wood clubs is essential for maximizing performance on the course.
  • The 5 wood offers more accuracy and consistency for amateur golfers, while the 3 wood covers a greater distance but may sacrifice control and accuracy.
  • Carrying both woods in your bag provides versatility to bridge distance gaps, adjust loft of shots accordingly, as well as providing an alternative with hybrids which offer added confidence on the course.

Understanding the Differences: 3 Wood vs. 5 Wood

Golfers often face a dilemma when deciding between 3 wood and 5 wood clubs. While both clubs fall under the same club in the category of fairway woods, they have distinct differences that professional golfers say can impact their performance on the course.

To make an informed decision, it’s crucial to understand the key differences between these golf clubs well, including loft, distance, shaft length, and ball position during setup.

Each of these factors can have a significant impact on the trajectory and distance of the shot, so it’s important to consider them carefully when selecting a club.


One of the most apparent differences between the 3 wood and 5 wood is their loft.

With a loft range of 15-18 degrees, the 3 wood has a lower loft compared to the 5 wood, which has a loft range of 20-22 degrees.

The higher loft of the longer clubs of the 5 wood can make it easier for novice golfers to launch the ball higher into the air.

However, the longer shaft and lower loft of the 3 wood make it more challenging to hit consistently.

The 3 wood can be an appropriate choice for reaching the green in two shots on a par 5 or hitting low stingers with a more piercing ball flight in windy conditions.


When it comes to distance, the 3 wood generally covers a greater range than the 5 wood due to its lower loft angle, which enables average golfer hit it to create more clubhead speed and launch the ball at a higher and further trajectory.

However, the 5 wood offers better consistency and accuracy for amateur golfers. The average distance variance between the two clubs average male golfer and for female golfers is approximately 15 yards.

While the 3 wood may provide more distance, it’s important to consider whether the added distance is worth sacrificing consistency and accuracy.

Shaft Length

Another key difference between the 3 wood and 5 wood is their shaft length. The 3 wood has a longer shaft (42-43 inches) compared to the 5 wood (41-42 inches), which has a shorter shaft length.

Longer shafts can potentially provide increased distance, but may come at the cost of control and accuracy.

This makes the 5 wood, with its extra low loft, and its shorter shaft, easier to hit and control, especially for average golfers.

When navigating difficult, confined areas, the 3 wood’s reduced shaft length can be advantageous, facilitating better control and maneuverability.

Ball Position During Setup

Proper ball position during setup is crucial for successfully using both 3 wood and 5 wood clubs.

For the 3 wood, the ball should be positioned closer to the front foot, a few inches inside the heel of the leading foot. On the other hand, the 5 wood requires the ball to be positioned approximately an inch behind the leading heel.

Understanding and implementing the correct ball position for each club is essential for achieving desired shot outcomes and improving overall performance with fairway woods.

Which Wood is Easier to Hit for the Average Golfer?

For the average golfer, the 5 wood is generally considered easier to hit due to its higher loft and shorter shaft.

These features provide better control and accuracy, making it a more suitable option for many golfers, who struggle with consistency when using the 3 wood.

While the 3 wood can generate a desirable trajectory for high handicappers, its lower loft and longer shaft can make it more challenging to hit consistently. Ultimately, choosing the right club for you depends on your skill level and personal preferences.

Ideal Situations for Using a 3 Wood or 5 Wood

golf, golf course, grass

Both 3 wood and 5 wood clubs have their unique advantages, making them suitable for different situations on the golf course. The 3 wood is ideal for use off the tee, on windy days, and when attempting to reach the green in two shots on a par 5.

In contrast, the 5 wood shines in situations such as long par 3 holes, shots from the fairway, and clearing obstacles like trees.

Being able to adapt to various circumstances on the course is crucial, and having both clubs in your bag can provide all the assistance and flexibility needed for optimal performance.

Benefits of Carrying Both Woods in Your Bag

golf, tee, golf course

Including both 3 wood and 5 wood clubs in your golf bag offers a range of benefits. Carrying both clubs provides versatility, allowing you to adjust your shot according to the distance, terrain, and wind.

Furthermore, having both woods in your bag enables you to bridge the same distance between gaps and vary the loft of clubs, ensuring that you have the right club for every situation on the course. By carrying both woods, you can adapt to different circumstances and make the most out of every shot.

Choosing the Right Shaft for Your Fairway Woods

Selecting the right shaft material and flex for your fairway woods is essential for optimizing swing speed, control, and accuracy. Graphite and steel shaft-s are generally preferred for their lighter feel, which can result in increased swing speed and greater distance. However, steel shafts can be more challenging to launch the ball, potentially reducing distance.

When choosing a shaft for your fairway woods, consider factors such as swing speed, skill level, and personal preferences to ensure the shaft flex the best possible choice. For most fairway woods used, a 70-gram shaft is suggested for 3 or 5 wood and potentially 80 grams in hybrids.

Hybrids as an Alternative to Fairway Woods

Hybrids offer a suitable alternative to fairway woods, providing versatility and ease of use, especially for mid-high to mid handicap golfers.. These clubs are more manageable to hit off the turf than fairway woods due to their smaller head size shaft weight and increased forgiveness.

Some golfers may feel more secure striking a hybrid club compared to a fairway wood, making them an attractive option for those looking for added confidence on the course when hitting a golf ball with their golf club.

When considering whether to use a hybrid or a fairway wood, take into account your skill level, more ball speed, slower swing speed, slower swing speeds, and personal preferences.

Tips for Improving Your Swing with Fairway Woods

Improving your swing with fairway woods can be achieved through careful attention to ball speed, placement, weight transfer, and understanding the differences between 3 wood and 5 wood clubs. Focusing on the tempo of your swing and paying attention to ball position and stance can greatly enhance your performance with fairway woods.

For example, with a 3 wood, the ball should be positioned approximately 3 inches inside the left heel hit the ball, while a wide stance with squared shoulders should be taken. Implementing these tips and techniques can help you make the most of your fairway woods and elevate your golf game.

Top Fairway Woods for Different Skill Levels

Selecting the right fairway wood for your skill level is crucial for maximizing your performance on the golf course. The best fairway woods for different skill levels can vary, but it’s essential to choose a club that suits your swing speed, skill level, and personal preferences.

For beginners, clubs like the Callaway Rogue ST Max D, Cleveland Launcher XL Halo, and Cobra Radspeed Draw are highly recommended, with the Callaway Big Bertha noted as the better club for being the easiest to hit. By selecting a new fairway wood now that complements your abilities, you can improve your game and enjoy playing golf even more.


In conclusion, understanding the key differences between 3 wood and 5 wood clubs is essential for making informed decisions on the golf course. By considering factors such as loft, distance, shaft length, and ball position during setup, you can choose the right club for your skill level and playing style. Whether you opt for the versatility of carrying both clubs in your bag or explore the world of hybrids, the right fairway wood can greatly impact your performance and enjoyment of the game.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to carry a 3 wood or 5 wood?

The type of wood you choose to carry largely depends on your personal swing and preferences. Generally, if you are looking for a substitute for the driver, a 3 wood is usually recommended.

However, if you have a higher swing speed, a 5 wood may be more beneficial.

Can a 5 wood go as far as a 3 wood?

Depending on the golfer’s individual swing speed and technique, a 5 wood may not travel as far as a 3 wood. However, for most golfers, a 5 wood should be able to provide more distance than a 3 wood.

As a result, it can be an advantageous club choice for golfers looking for greater distance from their fairway woods.

When should you use a 5 wood?

When Is The Best Time To Use A 5 Wood? As a fairway wood, the 5 wood should be used on long par-4s and par-5s when there is a large distance between you and the green.

When Should You Use A 5 Wood? Generally, golfers should use one fairway wood and a 5 wood when they need to hit a long shot that’s too far to reach with their irons, but not quite long enough to warrant using a 3 wood or driver.

Can you use a 5 wood on the fairway?

Yes, you can use a 5 wood on the fairway. It has a slightly shorter shaft and more loft, allowing you to hit it with better accuracy from the fairway than a 3 wood would.

Its versatile nature also makes it suitable for hitting from the rough too.

What are the main differences between 3 wood and 5 wood clubs?

Generally, 3 wood clubs have a higher loft and produce more distance, while 5 wood clubs have a lower loft and may require a different setup position for the ball.

Additionally, the shaft of the 3 wood is usually longer than that of the 5 wood.

Luke Griffin

Luke is an avid weekend-warrior golfer from the East Coast who plays golf more than he cares to admit.

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