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Why do some struggle with a 3 wood so much?


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I was reading through a lot of responses to the old thread about if people play a 3 wood ( 

 )

So, what are the reasons many people struggle with the 3 wood?

Assuming you may be one who figured out the 3 wood - what's your knowledge to pass along to the rest of us?

I can immediately think of a few reasons/guesses some people might struggle:

  • Long club length with light weight makes it hard to find the sweet spot
  • Many slower swingers cannot generate enough speed to get the ball airborne with 15 deg of loft
  • Scoopers have a swing path that doesn't fit a 3 wood causing duff and thin shots without any reliable distance

The solution for many of the responses on the other thread was going to 4 wood (16-17 deg) and 5 wood (18-19 deg) lofts to help them get the result they needed in lieu of a 3 wood. 

Tour pros obviously have enough clubhead speed, find the sweet spot, and either swing neutral or slightly down on their woods so, it makes sense for them as a layup to trouble off the tee. But, it seems extremely rare to see a 3 wood second shot into a green anymore (I know it happens, just not often). 

I would love to hear what @chisag @DaveP043 and @Tsmithjr9 have to say on this topic in general. 

I feel the 3 wood is the hardest club to hit in the bag, then the lob wedge, then driver, then long irons. I am looking forward to some interesting insight with the years of experience people have to share. 

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Golf is simple - people are complicated.

5w Taylormade SLDR S 19* - 220yd, Ping G2 5-U - 190-105, Maltby M+ 54* & MG 60* - 95-75, Evnroll ER8, Titleist 816 H1 4h 21*, Maltby 4 Hybrid Iron 24* - 210-200, Callaway XR16 8* - 235 carry

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Players struggle with longer clubs, in general, so its no surprise that they struggle most with a 3-wood, the longest club that we routinely hit off the ground.  Driver falls into a separate category, because the clubhead and available hitting area is so large, and the ball is teed up.  

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:titelist-small: Irons Titleist AP2 714, KBS Tour S, 3 flat

:callaway-small: Rogue SubZero, GD YS-Six X

:vokey-small: 52, 56, and 60 wedges

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Reston, Virginia

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When I first started golfing the 3 & 5 woods were the best clubs in my bag. As I got better, weirdly, they became my worst clubs. I've been through probably 4 different 3-woods and none seemed to be better than the last. However this year I got the Cobra SpeedZone 3-wood as part of the Cobra Connect Challenge and it's become my favorite club in the bag. I can hit 235 off the tee and and 225 off the deck with ease. Not just saying that because I was part of the challenge, you can read my honest reviews of all the clubs at that thread, but this is just an easy wood to hit. Check it out.

Driver: :cobra-small: Speed Zone 9* HZRDUS Smoke Yellow Shaft

3 Wood: :cobra-small: King Speedzone 13.5* HZRDUS Smoke Black Shaft

2 & 3 Hybrids: :cobra-small: Speedzone Recoil 480 ESX Shaft

Irons: :cobra-small: Speedzone 5-GW Recoil 460 ESX Shafts

Wedges: :cobra-small: MIM 54* Versatile/60* Widelow

Putter: :odyssey-small: Dual Force Rossi II

Ball: Whatever I find in the woods

:Arccos:

HCP:18

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I think Dave is spot on above.  The 3 wood is the longest club in the bag hit off the ground.  

 

I also imagine it is a club that people don't practice with very often.  

 

My 3 wood shots improved dramatically when I started hitting it on the range a couple of times during most practice sessions.  I found out I would get the ball too far forward in my stance, setting up like a driver.  Once I found that out, I paid more attention to ball position on the course.  

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3 wood is one of my favorite clubs in the bag, just something I can consistently put 250 down the pipe. I've had the most success, and seen friends in my group have the most success, when they stop thinking about hitting it like a wood. Lots of people go for the driver-esque swing, rather than a sweeping to mild trapping motion in the downswing, and they top it combined with overswing, which spray it out everywhere.

 

My tips is always to move it back towards the middle of your stance, rather than out front, and drop the trailing elbow to make sure you are getting down into the ball.

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Driver: :callaway-logo-1: Mavrik Sub Zero,10°, Aldila Rogue Silver 70X

3W: :callaway-logo-1: Mavrik Sub Zero, 15°, Aldila Rogue Silver 70X

3H: :callaway-logo-1: Mavrik Sub Zero, 18°, KBS Tour Hybrid 75S

4i-PW: :callaway-logo-1: Mavrik Pro, +1°, True Temper Elevate Tour S, Standard Lie

Wedges: :vokey-small: SM8 - 50°/12F, 54°/14F, 58°/14K

Putter: :scotty-cameron-1: Special Select Squareback 2, 35"

Ball: :Snell:MTB-X

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I agree with the above advice as it's true longer, lower lofted clubs are just harder to hit. I also think that it's not a club, teed up or off the deck, people just don't practice.

 

I also think there's a mental aspect that hasn't been touched on, and it's something I do with woods at times. People are hitting a 3 wood when they're 200+ yards to cover. They think it must be hit hard to make the ball go that far. So they swing faster, not harder, and lose control. That leads to a cold top, duck hook, big push, etc. Because they aren't mentally prepared for the shot or they try to do more than their swing/body can handle.

 

As an aside, I've also seen people hit 3 wood, no matter the location because they only focus on the yardage. You can imagine how well a 3 wood from the trees works out...

 

It seems overly simplified advice to say don't hit a shot you don't practice, but it is. Practice the 3 wood, know your carry and rollout distances and that confidence from the range will carry over to the course.

 

Whew...lotta pressure with the call out!

 

Take Dead Aim

 

 

 

 

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Longer club which like driver requires good swing mechanics for hitting sweet spot properly, swing speed, more shallow face design does not have off center forgiveness of larger club head like a driver are some of the challenges many golfers face with a #3 wood. But for me personally this was the club that most influenced me to get fitted and learn my numbers that contribute to carry distance from my swing. I lofted up to 4/5/7 wood lofts, shorter length woods to get best carry/total distances from my FW's. Hats off to those of that can hit #3woods!

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3 wood is a special club.

Like said above, the longest you'll hit from the ground.

You have to decide which kind you want.

A mini-driver type for off the tee, or a slim type that will cut thru grass or maybe off of a tight lie.

I had the large head type, and could get decent shots from the tee, but couldn't get anything but a long & low runner from the fairway.

Now, my 3 wood is an older 2015 Alpha.

It can be hit off of tee or grass.

Ball position is critical.

( As mentioned above) Place it slighty forward of middle stance, when off of grass.

On the tee, same position, but tee it low like it is on the grass.

If you tee it high like a driver, it won't have the same results.

Always chasing different clubs

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For me the 3 wood requires some thought: I won’t pull it if the lie is bad, the stance needed uneven, the ball sitting down in rough etc. Question is, how likely are you to catch it flush from bad stance/lie/rough? I just do the math when I’m in the rough from 240+ out. And for me, that likelihood is low enough for me to opt for a wedge back into the fairway. But off the tee or clean lie, it’s very dependable twice a round club for me.

 

 

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I don't have any issues hitting the 3 wood. I use it on shorter par fours, off the fairways on long or mid length par fives, and tight fairways with trouble on both sides. I would say I use mine about four to five times a round. I don't use it out of the rough or on down hill lies. In those cases a hybrid to get me to inside of 100 yards. 

:ping-small: Driver, G400 11* SR Flex

:taylormade-small: 3 Wood, SLDR 17*  R Flex

:taylormade-small: 5 Wood, SLDR 19* R Flex

:cobra-small: 7 Wood, F6 22.5* R Flex

:Sub70: Irons, 699 Pro's S Flex (5 - AW)

:cleveland-small: Wedges, CBX 56* & 60*

:odyssey-small: Putter, Marksman Fang 35"

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Id say that for most, its a combination of low loft and not having enough swing speed to get the ball in the air, then trying to make up for that by swinging harder.  For me, Im not a long hitter (87 mph swing speed with driver) and I just don't swing it fast enough for the 3-wood.  I can hit it off the tee OK but off the deck is no Bueno.  I can hit a 5-wood very well though.

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Wedge: Tommy Armour VCG 56*

Putter: Wilson Augusta

Ball: Maxfli Tour X

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I use the 3-wood from the tee quite a bit if driver puts bunkers or a very narrow fairway in play. Love it, and hit it solid from the tee. From a good fairway lie? Maybe. At 57, my driver swing speed is down around 100, so unless the lie is perfect, and I have room for a two-way miss, 3 wood is just too risky. I find that I can often hit my 5-wood just about as far anyway -- better launch conditions for my relatively slow swing speed.

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39 minutes ago, ZenGolfer said:

Id say that for most, its a combination of low loft and not having enough swing speed to get the ball in the air, then trying to make up for that by swinging harder.  For me, Im not a long hitter (87 mph swing speed with driver) and I just don't swing it fast enough for the 3-wood.  I can hit it off the tee OK but off the deck is no Bueno.  I can hit a 5-wood very well though.

 

35 minutes ago, goaliedad30 said:

I use the 3-wood from the tee quite a bit if driver puts bunkers or a very narrow fairway in play. Love it, and hit it solid from the tee. From a good fairway lie? Maybe. At 57, my driver swing speed is down around 100, so unless the lie is perfect, and I have room for a two-way miss, 3 wood is just too risky. I find that I can often hit my 5-wood just about as far anyway -- better launch conditions for my relatively slow swing speed.

I'm with you both - I love my 5w.

I don't carry a 3 wood because it doesn't give me a big enough Gap from driver to 3w. 5w gives me about a 20-30 yd Gap which is nice for my game. 

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Golf is simple - people are complicated.

5w Taylormade SLDR S 19* - 220yd, Ping G2 5-U - 190-105, Maltby M+ 54* & MG 60* - 95-75, Evnroll ER8, Titleist 816 H1 4h 21*, Maltby 4 Hybrid Iron 24* - 210-200, Callaway XR16 8* - 235 carry

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The reason is very ,very simple as to why some of us struggle with the 3 wood

L.O.F.T ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Lack Of Frikking Talent

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  • Haha 4

 DRIVER: default_cobra-small.jpg.125f3712aad21ad9f7ca2c672e34a299.jpg  Cobra F-8 set at 10.5,  Aldila NV 2KXV Blue 60 (R) 44 1/2 "

3 & 5 WOOD: default_callaway-small.jpg.a58e7c6760b71a9eb95d385ecc5d2200.jpg Callaway XR-16, Fujikura Speeder Evolution 565 Red (R) 

IRONS 5-SW: default_ping-small.jpg.b7606a25498d65282474c96f18d2debd.jpg PING G-700, 2 upright, std loft  Alta CB (R) + 1/2"

HYBRID 3-4:  default_ping-small.jpg.b7606a25498d65282474c96f18d2debd.jpg PING G-410, 1 upright,  Alta CB 70 Red (R) + 1/2"

PUTTER: Byron Experimental GSS

 

 

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4 hours ago, ZenGolfer said:

Id say that for most, its a combination of low loft and not having enough swing speed to get the ball in the air, then trying to make up for that by swinging harder.  For me, Im not a long hitter (87 mph swing speed with driver) and I just don't swing it fast enough for the 3-wood.  I can hit it off the tee OK but off the deck is no Bueno.  I can hit a 5-wood very well though.

That's my 'ball park' driver swing speed too.  I would put it down to just technique, personal 'tendencies' and practice.   I hit my 3 wood consistently better than my driver, I call it my '190 club', but it's not uncommon for me to get over 200yd on level ground, from tee or deck, and it's not unusual for me to out drive or be very close to lower hcp driver users off the tee.

I currently carry two Cobra F7 3woods, one 'standard' and the other with my driver shaft and set to slightly lower loft and weight forward.  Not a huge difference between them, but it does give me useable options rather than carry a driver I don't use, until I can learn to hit it properly.

I currently have the 'spare' 3wood shaft in the driver, but am stiil more consistent with the longer 3 wood.

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Id say that for most, its a combination of low loft and not having enough swing speed to get the ball in the air, then trying to make up for that by swinging harder.  For me, Im not a long hitter (87 mph swing speed with driver) and I just don't swing it fast enough for the 3-wood.  I can hit it off the tee OK but off the deck is no Bueno.  I can hit a 5-wood very well though.

LPGA players swing speeds are in that range and they can hit 3 wood. More technique than swing speed.
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Fairway: :titelist-small: TS3 15* set  to 16.5* w/Project X Hzardous Smoke
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I'm not any more accurate with my 3 wood so I pretty much never hit it off the tee and usually only attempt to hit it when the lie is good and I've got a fair margin of error.  I find that I don't make solid contact as often as I do with most other clubs, most likely due to the length of the club. If I were to hit 100 balls with impact tape I would probably find that I am just as wild with my driver, but since the clubhead is so much larger the consequences are significantly reduce. Missing the ball 3/4" on the toe side with driver results in some lost distance, missing the center by 3/4" with my 3w and the ball is taking off at a 45° angle....

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I think its a difficult club to hit.  I think its because players look at it as a "wood" so they play it too far up in the stance (like a driver) instead of 3,4,5 iron ball placement which results (i think) more often in a topped ball.  Also, because the perception is a "wood", they stand too far away with the hands too far away from the body as if they are hitting a driver which contributes to topped balls. 

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I've been struggling with playing a three wood (and sometimes a five wood) off the fairway for several years. I bought a four wood, but still struggled. I started playing my four iron unless my lie was perfect. A couple of weeks ago one of my golf buddies introduced me to the Callaway Mavrik Max. It was amazing. I immediately bought the three and the five. I think the success comes from the fact that the Cally is designed with a flat bottom. I'm a sweeper of my woods and the flat bottom really helps me. If you are a sweeper too I suggest you look for a fairway wood with a flat bottom . I'm sure there are many brands out there, but the Mavrik Max is a great place to start

Drive for Show; Putt for Dough

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I have been struggling with my 3 Wood  for 20 plus years, why??

Because I miss the sweet spot and 20 plus years of struggling, is not good for my confidence.

WITB:

Driver:  Taylormade  SLDR Fujikura XLR8 61 S RH.   

3 Wood: TaylorMade RBZ 3W

Hybrid: Ping G400 3 Hyb 19 degree S

Irons: Titleist 710 AP1 5-PW Aerotek Steelfiber i110 cw S RH standard lie 

Wedges: 50 Callaway MD 4, 54 Vokey SM5, 58 Callaway Forged

Putters: Ping Grayhawk Putter

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