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Strong 3 wood to Replace your driver


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Has anyone truly replaced their driver with a strong 3 wood? 

I heard that many pros have gone through stints of using a 3+ wood or a 2 wood in place of their driver. This sparked some pretty massive interest from me. I hit my woods so much more consistently than my driver. The heavier swing weight and shorter shaft just leave me less room for error. I also struggle with changing my swing from shot to shot. I'll have a few days where I'm striking my driver well, but they don't seem to marry up with the days where the rest of my game is clicking. Lately I've been teeing my current 3 wood pretty exclusively. It's a M4 high loft 16.5° w/ stiff Atmos. I'm really only giving up 20 to 30 yards between that and my 9.5° M4 driver. A miss with the wood tends to be still in play and is less common. A miss with the driver tends to be more common and often leads to lost balls. 

I ordered a strong 3 wood 13° pro model with HZRDUS smoke black from sub 70. I'm hoping to completely replace my driver with this one. 

Anyone out there gaming a similar setup?

How does it work for you?

I'll report back on my findings after I game it for a while. 

 

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M4 9.5° / M4 3HL wood 16.5° / M4 5HL wood 21°

Sub70 699 pro black 4-PW

Callaway Mack Daddy CB 50°/54°/58°

Tommy armour impact Series 3 original 33"

 

 

 

 

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I put a 14* Bertha Mini in my bag late last year after some massive struggles with the driver that are still continuing, but on the upswing (I hope!). If golfers weren't doing things like that to reduce penalties off the tee, then we wouldn't see TM coming out with a new Original One, or Cobra's Big Tour 3 wood. 

Conventional wisdom says that the driver has the biggest, most forgiving face, a well struck 3w still leaves you behind where the driver would put you, etc. but like you I grew tired of hitting 3 off the tee on too many holes over the course of a round. I know with me it's more of a backswing & setup issue with the driver that's causing problems, but in the end I'm more confident with the Mini or my 4w off the tee, and that's what puts me in a good position in the fairway when the scoring matters. 

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In my  :wilson_staff_small:  carry bag:
:wilson_staff_small:  D7 
:callaway-small:  GBB 3W (lofted to 4W)
:callaway-small: V-Series Heavenwood
:cobra-small: Baffler XL 5i-PW
:cleveland-small: CBX 54*
:ping-small: iWedge 58*
:cleveland-small: #10
Whatever ball I have 3 dozen of that my kids got me as a gift

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The reemergence of a second driver/strong three wood in the pro ranks has a specific purpose.   Pros generally work their driver in one direction;  the second drivers purpose is to move the ball the other direction.  

Ultimately do what works for you;  if you hit 3 wood better than driver then by all means hit the 3 wood.  

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Driver:  :ping-small: G400 Max 9* w/ KBS Tour Driven
Fairway: :titelist-small: TS3 15* set  to 16.5* w/Project X Hzardous Smoke
Hybrids:  :titelist-small: 816H1 19* set at 18* w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
                :titelist-small: 915H  21*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
               :titelist-small: 915H 24*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
Irons:      :honma:TR20V 6-11 w/Vizard TR20-85 Graphite
Wedge:  :callaway-small: 54-10S   :cleveland-small: 588  58-12
Putter:  :seemore-small: mFGP2

Backups:  :bobby-grace-1: 6330, :taylormade-small:TM-180, Bellum Winmore 787

 

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I’ve gone 3 wood in the past off the tee when the driver was a big miss. Have you tinkered at all with length or weight of the driver @Rob33?

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:ping-small: G425 LST 10.5 Aldilla Rogue White 70s

:titelist-small: TS3 15.5 3W Fuji Speeder Tour Spec

:titelist-small: 818 H1 19deg Hybrid Fuji Atmos White

:mizuno-small: JPX 921 Hot Metal 4-PW Nippon Modus 120s

:vokey-small: SM8 50,54, and 58deg Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

:taylormade-small:Spider Tour Putter

Vice Pro Plus White or Titleist ProV1x

:ping-small: Hoofer Stand Bag

:CaddyTek: V8 3 Wheel Push Cart

:callaway-small: 300 PRO Rangefinder

Official Nippon Regio B+ Driver Shaft Review

 

 

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Rob, I wish you well so I'm going to try and give you some food for thought and ask a question or two.

First, as csnoil already alluded it is not wise for any of us to make equipment decisions based upon what guys on the PGA tour game.  Also, they don't replace their drivers as they know what we should.  You can't afford to give away that much distance to the field.  They put the more lofted driver into their bag because the course that they are playing requires specific shots that their current set up makes more difficult to play.

 

Driver is an extremely important club. Effective driving determines your potential - you can see that in any number of data studies - the lower the handicap the longer the average drive, the fewer the penalty strokes and so on and so forth. So here comes the questions - have you been fit for driver?  Have you taken a lesson?  Have you been diligent in working on what your instructor gave you to help improve your driving?

 

If you are struggling with driver now and the answer to any or all of those questions is no and I were you I'd hit three wood (assuming you really do hit it as well as you think you do - do you have some sort of tracking device - sometimes those reveal ugly truths) and I would work hard on finding a driver that I hit well.

By the way I don't know a teacher who would say that there is a different swing for driver than the other clubs.  Maybe there are but I would stay away from that one.  Since the club's design is different, launch conditions will change but that's true of nearly every club in the bag - the shorter shaft and greater loft of a wedge produces a different launch and spin profile than the longer shaft and lesser loft of a 7 iron.

 

I hope all of that helps - I know how maddening this game is and its tempting when we see guys on TV doing stuff that works for them to copy it as a fix.  Been there, done that, it just means you've come to the right place. 

 

Good luck!

 

 

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Taylor Made Sim2  10.5 (Opened 1 click) Ventus Blue 5  R flex

Ping G410 5-9 wood  Alta 65 R flex

Wilson D7 forged 6-GW -  Mamiya recoil 460 R flex

Edison Wedges 54 and 59 KBS Tour Graphite 80's

EVNRoll ER 5

Titleist Pro VIx optic yellow with revkev stamped on them

Tour Exotics 3 wood is in the bag because we are allowed 14 clubs.  It's a great club for pulling balls out of the water or from bushes - you never want to put your hand into anything in Florida unless you are absolutely certain that it's safe.  There are rare wind conditions when I might hit it off the tee on a few holes that I play.  

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Peoples swings don’t change from shot to shot or day to day. What changes is our ability to compensate for our swing flaws. Somedays are better than others for everyone. 
 

To add to what’s been said play what works for you but playing a FW off the tee is going to cause longer clubs into greens and makes scoring harder. However if one treats the holes as an extra par than stated on the card then one can break 100 or 90 easier than trying to play same tees with less club off the tee

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Driver: PXG 0811 X+ Proto w/UST Helium 5F4

Wood: TaylorMade M5 5W w/Accra TZ5 +1/2”, TaylorMade Sim 3W w/Aldila rogue white

Hybrid: PXG Gen2 22* w/AD hybrid

Irons: PXG Gen3 0311T w/Nippon modus 120

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 50*, Tiger grind 56/60

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I have thought of teeing more with my SH and might do so if I play on a city tournament soon where the course is only 6000 yards or so. At the moment I hit it 220-245 from the tee. Driver about 230-270 depending on how I hit it but not very well controlled.  I still keep the driver and work on it because I know that will help me score better. You can still keep your driver, just work on your swing with it and once you get comfortable unleash it! As others said, it is a great asset to have. If you want to shoot low you’ll need it but not at expense of losing penalty strokes. Good luck on your journey. 

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Driver: :callaway-small:   Epic Max LS with RDX Blue 70g S [back up and on life support Epic Flash SZ with Tensei Orange Pro S (1" tipped) at 44.5" ]

2H: :callaway-small: Super Hybrid with Tensei Orange Pro Hyb 80 Stiff 

3H: :Sub70: 939X UST proforce V2 black F3 hybrid soft stepped XStiff 

4-AW: th.jpg.d6e2abdaeb04f007fd259c979f389de6.jpg  0211  with KBS Tour Stiff 2.5* up 1/4" long Unofficial Review

Wedges     :cleveland-small: Zipcore Tour Rack 54/full and 58/mid (review here)  (Backup 54*,60*: :ping-small:  S Tour KBS Tour Stiff 3* up)

Putter: TAII #2  Review here: TAIII Impact #2 Putter 

Ball: :Snell:MTB-X and :OnCore: vero X1 (may dabble in proV1 at some point)

:Arccos:

 

 

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I use to despise the driver.  Didn’t even have one in the bag for a good long time.

Used a 1 iron as a kid.  Couldn’t keep the driver anywhere near the golf course, they would end up 250+ deep into the unknown.

Fast forward to most most recent rounds. I finally have a good understanding on how my swing works, and how to get the most out of the big stick.  Which of recent is a making it so I have short irons or wedges into greens that I had 5 or 6 irons even last fall.

do yourself a favor, either take lessons, or work it out on your own.  As cnosil mentioned, perhaps learn the shot shape of each, and rely on them for those shots.

My driver shot shape is a little fade, and I don’t mess with it anymore.  Just full send.

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14 hours ago, RollingGreens said:

I’ve gone 3 wood in the past off the tee when the driver was a big miss. Have you tinkered at all with length or weight of the driver @Rob33?

I have considered trying to match a wood swing weight and length with a driver, but that seems to be a lot more complicated than grabbing a strong 3 wood in terms of customizing the equipment.

I tend to be way more consistent hitting neutral or down on the ball I'm the center of my stance rather than a traditional driver swing where I'm hitting up on it. Seems there's a lot more that can go wrong in a driver swing. I tend to be out there around 250 to 260 with my 3 wood including roll and I'm hoping for 270 to 280 consistently with the bullet 3 wood. Even on a great driving day, I'm rarely cresting 300 with the driver and it's rare to make it through a round without multiple lost balls. Everyone is loving the Bryson style right now, but they don't realize that tour players have spotters and we don't. 

Also, I'm rarely playing over 6500 yard tees. 270 to 280 is a bomb all day for a 15 handicapper. I'm not trying for my tour card. 

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M4 9.5° / M4 3HL wood 16.5° / M4 5HL wood 21°

Sub70 699 pro black 4-PW

Callaway Mack Daddy CB 50°/54°/58°

Tommy armour impact Series 3 original 33"

 

 

 

 

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Appreciate all the comments. I agree that I'm likely not likely pushing scratch ever without a solid driver. For most golfers, a driver is an obvious choice. My game is not "normal." I have such a drastically wide variance between a good round and a bad round. I'm talking 15 to 20 shots between the rounds that count in my handicap and the rounds that don't. By the time the driver head cover gets put back on for the day, the round is already screwed. I'm trying to have fun and play to a better standard more consistently. No one has fun playing golf when they lose a ball or hit a punch out on every other hole. 

I think the fastest way to single digit handicap and consistent fun golf for me is getting off the tee consistently. I think  ~270 drive (total) with >50% fairways and ~0.5 lost balls a round is probably somewhere around the average of your typical single digit handicappers. I've played with a fair bit of single digit guys and some of them are long, but most of them are just consistent. 

I just want to stay engaged in my rounds. If I hit a few bad drives, it's a quick way to not have fun and lose focus. 

Anyway, I'm trying it. I'll report back with the results. 

 

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M4 9.5° / M4 3HL wood 16.5° / M4 5HL wood 21°

Sub70 699 pro black 4-PW

Callaway Mack Daddy CB 50°/54°/58°

Tommy armour impact Series 3 original 33"

 

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, russtopherb said:

I put a 14* Bertha Mini in my bag late last year after some massive struggles with the driver that are still continuing, but on the upswing (I hope!). If golfers weren't doing things like that to reduce penalties off the tee, then we wouldn't see TM coming out with a new Original One, or Cobra's Big Tour 3 wood. 

Conventional wisdom says that the driver has the biggest, most forgiving face, a well struck 3w still leaves you behind where the driver would put you, etc. but like you I grew tired of hitting 3 off the tee on too many holes over the course of a round. I know with me it's more of a backswing & setup issue with the driver that's causing problems, but in the end I'm more confident with the Mini or my 4w off the tee, and that's what puts me in a good position in the fairway when the scoring matters. 

Exactly what I'm hoping for. Thanks for the feedback. 

M4 9.5° / M4 3HL wood 16.5° / M4 5HL wood 21°

Sub70 699 pro black 4-PW

Callaway Mack Daddy CB 50°/54°/58°

Tommy armour impact Series 3 original 33"

 

 

 

 

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Since the advent of over size drivers, I haven't found a 3 wood I could hit straighter despite the shorter shaft length, so hitting 3 wood on tight holes is no help for me.  I do play with a guy who hits his 3 wood longer and straighter than his driver.  The driver was fit for him at Club Champion, the 3 wood was not.

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14 of the following:

Ping G400 Max

Cobra King F9 Speedback 3 wood

Callaway Big Bertha Heavenwood

Cobra F9 Speedback 7/8 wood set at 23.5 degrees

Taylormade M4 5 hybrid

Callaway Mavrik Max 6-GW

PXG 0211 5-GW

PXG 0211 sand wedge bent to 53 degrees

Maltby M Series+ 54 degree

Ping Glide 3.0 Eye2 58 degree

Ping Sigma 2 Anser

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You answered your own question. Shorter shaft and weight, plus loft. I've tried the mini's but distance wasn't there. I bought a new shaft for my Ping G400MAX and cut it to 44" (from 45.75"), added tape to C-9 (perfect for me), added .5° loft, and I'm killing it down the middle! The trick with the weight tape was to cut it into 2" strips running from the back center to the heal & toe in a "V" shape. I got the weight up to D-1, then began to subtract strips until I got the driver to the weight that was comfortable and gave me a straight trajectory.

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Certified Club Fitter.

Ping G400 Max Driver 10.5° w/Diamona S+ LTD Blue-Board 70 R Flex

Ping G410 5 Fairway Wood Mitsubishi Tensi Orange R Flex

Ping G410 4-5-6 Hybrids Mitsubishi Tensi Blue R Flex

Ping i500 Irons 5-U w/Recoil SmacWrap F3 Flex (power-spec lofts)

Ping 3.0 Eye2 Glide Wedges 54°-58° w/Recoil SmacWrap F3 Flex

2019 Bettinardi QB6 and 2021 Ping Fetch Putter (depends on the greens)

PING Pioneer Cart Bag

Superstroke Cross Comfort Mid-Size Grips

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I carry a 9.5* driver and a 13.5* Original One.  I've been blessed with good distance, so I have rounds when I only pull the driver a couple times.  (And sometimes I regret using it that much.)  Despite what the stats say should happen with a golfer in my handicap range, I am far more consistent with my Original One.  I mean, it's not even close.  When the driver is working for me (okay, when my swing is working for the driver), I'll use it on longer holes and take the extra 20 to 30 yards, but I could leave the driver at home, and I'm confident my score wouldn't suffer from it.  In fact, it might be good for me.  The benefit of the mini is that if I can hit it off deck if I need to, although in most cases I'm better off just hitting the Super Hybrid.  

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TaylorMade Original One Mini Driver/2W 12.5*, Elements Chrome XS

Callaway Super Hybrid 17*, Aldila Rogue 95 MSI XS

Maltby KE4 Tour TC Hybrid 20*, KBS Tour Steel XS

Mizuno JPX919 Hot Metal 5-SW, Project X LZ Tour S

Titleist Vokey SM7 60*/D

Evnroll ER5 Hatchback

 

  

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I play a Ping 400 Max right now and hit it well but I went through a period about 10 years ago in which I played a 14 degree 3 wood off the tee (230 to 240 yards) because  my driver of the day was too unpredictable.  Sure I gave up some theoretical  distance, but ... I  say theoretical because 230 yards straight  is actually longer than 260 yards right or left off the fairway in the fescue. Remember, most of us play this game for fun  and it's a lot more fun to play second shots  from the fairway.

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Yesterday in my league we mixed things up with a game where you could only bring four clubs. For me the Driver is as consistent as any club in the bag and I was torn whether I should take a club I was only going to be able to hit 13 times (par71). Most were planning on using their 3wood. My issue is that I'm not consistent with mine. It's a Ping G400. When I had the stock Alta shaft in it couldn't keep it on the course. After upgrading to the Tour65 shaft it was better but still not great. I have been trying the clubs demo G425sft and talked the pro into letting me "demo" for the league round. Long story short, I was blown away. I was regularly in the same area that my driver (G410) puts me. Bottom line is I'm buying but going to have to try and talk the pro into selling it to me as lead times at Ping are like 12weeks. I'd love to have it for the World Amateur event in Myrtle Beach. Bigger problem (and more expensive) is whether I should hit the 425 Driver to see if I pick up similar distance. Again, I was blown away with the performance of the G425sft and was in places I would never get my current gamer to. It is big......seems like it is almost the size of the original Big Bertha.....lol.

 

 

Edited by John W
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Hello Rob, 

I have used a strong 3 wood quite consistently over the years. Right now I have it in the bag lofted down to 12.5 degrees. The course I play consistently right now is only 6300 yards and all but one of the tee shots can easily find trouble if I get it out there more than 260 carry + roll. 
My swing isn’t great and I don’t play consistently enough to make the switch from iron shots and driver. I tend to change my setup with the driver over the course of 18 holes and get really open causing a lot of push slices. For some reason I don’t get into into bad positions setup wise with my 3 wood so in the interest of having fun my driver stays home more often than not. 
It works for me and maybe when I play more often I’ll put in the work to understand the driver. Until then having more shots in the fairway is more valuable than 20 extra potential yards. 

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Never gave thought to replacing it.  Just like the three metal on some holes all depending on the shape needed and how tight the landing area is.  In some cases, hitting one more iron is worth the accuracy.  My driver is 10.75 and my 3 metal is 16.50.  Works great for me and I can work the 3 more accurately.  Always learned from my fitter that height is you friend off the tee.  Less ball speed and great distances.   Of course with the right shaft (Fujikura Tour Speeder).  

 

 

 

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Yes, I  bought an identical 3 wood to the one I already had.  Set it to lowest loft (13deg) and got the shaft extended by an inch. I upped the loft on my original by 0.5 deg to 16 deg.

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22 hours ago, John W said:

I have been trying the clubs demo G425sft and talked the pro into letting me "demo" for the league round. Long story short, I was blown away. I was regularly in the same area that my driver (G410) puts me. Bottom line is I'm buying but going to have to try and talk the pro into selling it to me as lead times at Ping are like 12weeks. I'd love to have it for the World Amateur event in Myrtle Beach. Bigger problem (and more expensive) is whether I should hit the 425 Driver to see if I pick up similar distance. Again, I was blown away with the performance of the G425sft and was in places I would never get my current gamer to.

 

For the driver:

SFT = Straight flight tech = anti slice generally... I game the 410 SFT and I tried to 425 SFT, very similar for both, swing weight is the same, might still have some store with the410 or 425 lying around so you can try them on the hitting bay. The SFT is just a weight on the inside of the heel to help you square more the face to avoid slice. You can get mixed result with a g425 max with the weight into the draw position.

Never tried the 3 wood but I heard good comment on them. (3 wood isn't for me, I play a 5 wood) MAYBE that 3 wood would work but I doubt it.

 

 

 

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