There’s a good chance the three woods will do more harm than good in golf, and I’m here to help explain why.
The 3-wood is a specialty club unique to most golfers’ bags because it should provide distance from the tee, but is also functional enough to hit a long shot in the air off the fairway. It is generally not difficult to find a triangular wood that does one of these two jobs well, but finding one that does both can be a very challenging challenge.
Why is 3-wood hard to hit?
The higher the club loft the less difficult it is to get into the air with enough circulation to maintain the load distance. For every Bryson DeChambeau that uses a 10.5-degree 3 wood, there are hundreds of other golfers who can’t get a 15-degree on their way to a carry over 200 yards. The speed of the putter head creates the launch and spin—aka lift, and the same modern golf ball that makes hitting drivers easier is the same that makes 3-woods more difficult, especially off the fairway.
Another factor other than the loft is that the length 3 woodcut has increased from 42.5 to 43.5 in some cases, hitting a low-high putter of that length is very difficult…even the pros struggle sometimes.
Change loft – change expectations
Just because a 15°3 wood has a lower loft than 5-wood (18°) or 7-wood (21°) doesn’t mean it will automatically go any further. Distance is created by optimizing launch and spin the same way a driver or barbell would fit, and when it comes to the top floor there is a point of diminishing return for any club in the bag. This is why a lot of golfers find that they hit a 4-iron with the same 5-iron distance and switch to hybrids instead.
“Just as with driver fixtures, a perfect loft maximizes distance. The location of the center of gravity, the characteristics of the racket’s mass, the shape of the face and the location of the impact determines various improvements to the loft to maximize the distance in 3 wood.
as an example, We have a great player on our engineering team who has 165 speed balls, 10 firings and 3000 spins with 15 degree 3 wood. This is the perfect launch and spin to improve his carry distance – given his racket speed, angle of attack and location of impact.
With these launch conditions, he carries it 282 yards. Through test techniques and empirical simulation, if we give it 2 degrees higher, it loses 4 yards of load. With a two-degree lower loft (13-degree 3 wood), the resulting low launch of 1.7 degrees and 450 rpm results in a massive 7-yard reduction in carry distance—although the ball velocity is higher.
A great place to mount the loft that maximizes the distance, assuming that’s the player’s goal in 3 wood pieces, and that changes for each player. This is the essence of custom fitting.”
– Marty Gerson, Vice President Fit & Performance Bing Golf
Forget the name – go with what works!
The best way to find the next three woods is to start by eliminating the idea that you need one in the first place—instead, think of that spot in your golf bag as your “next club after your driver.” A golf ball doesn’t care what it’s called, all that matters is if you’re creating the right kind of dynamics to suit your game and swing speed.
This might mean trying out a 4-wood (a club with 16-17.5° loft), or even an adjustable 5-wood (18-20° loft) to dial in ideal launch conditions based on your swing speed. The best part about this adjustable wooden trail hose is that you can adjust the club based on the track or weather conditions; Steady and fast – lower the loft for more rolling, softer conditions on a track with a forced load – loft up for extra load.