The 3-wood is one of the most versatile clubs in the bag and one that every golfer should work to be confident with. It can be a great alternative club from the tee, can help you attack greens from a long way out, and can even be used around the green.
Many golfers wonder how to hit a 3-wood as they are unsure if it should be swept like a driver or hit down on like an iron. This article is here to help you learn how to hit the 3-wood efficiently which can add a new dimension to your game. One of the main benefits is the new option from the tee.
Playing a 3-wood from the tee can give you more accuracy as it is an easier club to hit than the driver and it can also help you shape the ball around doglegs. Becoming good with the 3-wood is about adding control and distance into your game.
How to Hit a 3-Wood
Hopefully, after reading this article you will think of your 3-wood in a different way and work to gain confidence in this club. Stop mindlessly grabbing for the driver at the tee and give yourself another option, even a back-up for the days when the driver isn’t working so well.
How to Hit the 3-wood From the Tee
Let’s start with playing the 3-wood from the tee. You will see great benefits in gaining confidence with the 3-wood form the tee and some small changes can make all the difference. We will look at the set-up, the swing, and drills then into where everything should be with this club.
Tee the ball up like you would tee up a driver, half of the ball should be above the crown of the 3-wood. Then get yourself into a shoulder-width stance and have the ball an inch back from where you would have the driver. Press the hands very slightly ahead of the ball to help the strike.
Your weight should be neutral although some like to tilt their upper body back slightly as many do with drivers. This slight shift can help you launch the ball upward. This move is great if you don’t have much fairway to play with and want a soft landing.
When hitting the 3-wood, you should have a smooth but deliberate tempo. Remember, you are using this club for extra control, not for extra distance, so keep it smooth and calm. Some even think that an abbreviated swing can be useful here for even more control of the ball.
How to hit the 3-wood from the fairway
Some say that this is one of the hardest shots in golf, don’t be put off by this though, practice and good fundamentals can change that. You see, the margin for error on a 3-wood from the fairway is small, that doesn’t mean that you can’t become a bomber from the short grass.
For the fairway shot, things need to change a little, this is a different set-up than the 3-wood off the tee. The stance will be the same width, a nice comfortable shoulder-width stance to get started. The ball position for the fairway shot should be similar to what you would do for a long iron.
The key here is that although we definitely don’t want to take a big divot, hitting down on the ball and nicking a little bit of turf is good. This ensures a solid strike and gets some good spin on the ball for added spin control. It’s more of a descending sweep than a full descending iron shot.
You will want to press your hands fractionally further forward than you did in the tee shot set-up. Still not as pressed like an iron shot but an obvious forward press at the address. Your weight should be very neutral. After this, you are ready to swing.
This shot is made easier if you can generate moderate to high clubhead speed. That doesn’t mean that slower players won’t be able to hit his shot but they may find a 5-wood easier. Anyway, just like with the driver, we want a smooth but deliberate swing. Don’t attack the ball, just nip it off the turf.
Different Fairway Woods
The hybrids have taken over and many golfers have ditched both long irons and fairway woods in favor of them, you need not be one of those golfers though. If you feel that the 3-wood isn’t the right club for your bag then there are other options out there, let’s compare fairway woods.
Usually around 15 degrees of loft and 44 inches in length, the 3-wood feels good in the hands. It is shorter than the driver and has a small lofted head which inspires confidence at address. Some like a stronger or weaker lofted 3-wood and you can say between 13 and 16 degrees out there.
The more loft on the club, the easier it will be to hit. If you want a 3-wood mostly for fairway shots then consider the higher loft. If you want something purely as an alternative to your driver then 13 degrees may be better for you, this is best for better ball strikers though.
A club that is starting to make a comeback in the bags of the world’s elite golfers is the 5-wood. This is a great club to bridge the distance gap between the long irons and the 3-wood. They usually come with a loft of between 16 and 19 degrees and tend to be much easier to hit than the 3-wood.
The 5-wood can be a great option for many players when you are looking for a club to hit those longest fairway shots with. It’s not great from the tee although it can be used there too.
Callaway popularised the 7-wood when they branded it the “Heaven Wood” in their Big Bertha range. The loft of a 7-wood tends to be around 21 degrees which is a very similar loft to a 3-iron. Hybrids have really damaged the 7-wood market and this club is becoming a dying breed.
If you find a 3-iron too hard to hit but you think a hybrid goes too high then a 7-wood could be a great option for your bag. These clubs shouldn’t be dismissed, they can be hugely helpful to many golfers and are also tremendous clubs for chipping with around the green.
Drills to help you hit the 3-wood
This article has very much taken a separate look at the 3-wood from the tee and the 3-wood from the fairway. We will take you through some drills that are specifically for each one to help you hone your skills in those departments.
The Headcover Drill
One of the biggest issues that players face with their fairway woods is topping the ball. This is caused by you not extending fully through the ball at impact and coming up over the top of it. The headcover drill is can be a great remedy. Put a headcover into your lead armpit, left arm for righties.
Then work on swinging the club and trying to keep that headcover in place. If you don’t extend fully through the ball then that headcover will come out and fall, if you do this right then it should stay in right until you finish your swing and hold your pose, only then will it drop.
Push and Brush Drill
This is a feeling that you want to create when you are hitting the 3-wood but it is a good drill to try during practice first. Many golfers make the mistake of “backing-out” of these shots, as they come to impact their weight goes onto the back foot. This is a disaster and really has to be avoided.
You want to work on pushing your weight into the lead leg and powering your downswing from there, at the same time you want to brush the ground with your club. Focus on these two things, push down on the front foot and brush the turf with the sole of the club.
Ball then Tee Drill
Another great drill to help you properly engage your body when hitting a 3-wood is the Ball then Tee Drill. The beauty of this drill lies in its simplicity. Take a golf tee and lay it down a few inches in front of the ball, don’t peg it up just lay it on the ground.
All you want to do here is work on hitting the ball then hitting the tee. In order to hit both objects, you have to drive that club properly through impact. When you can consistently hit both objects you have built yourself a solid fairway wood swing.
Going Through the Gears
This is another really simple drill that will help you develop a feel for your golf swing and can be done with any club in the bag. It is especially important to do this drill with your 3-wood as you will get a lot of feedback as to how you swing it when you are using this club.
Hit five balls with your regular 3-wood swing to get a feel for “normal”. Then hit five shots with a swing that is 50% of this speed. Then hit five more at 60%, five more at 70%, and build up until you are swinging literally as hard as you can.
This will let you see just how smooth you can hit the 3-wood. You will learn that you can hit the club well with a more relaxed swing and you will probably find that you start striking it better too. Just make sure to warm-up before you start this drill.
How do you hit a 3-wood consistently?
The first thing to develop consistency with the 3-wood is a response that you may not like. It is just good old-fashioned practice. Working on this club and developing your skills through repetition is so important here. There are other ways of developing consistency with the club though.
Improving the way you strike the ball will make a big difference to your overall consistency. Some of the drills above are great for establishing that semi-descending blow onto the back of the ball with the 3-wood. Really working on turning your body through the ball and around your lead foot is key.
There is also a chance that your 3-wood just isn’t the right club for you, don’t be ashamed to check this. If you don’t hit the ball hard or if you struggle to get the ball in the air then maybe you just simply need something with a little more loft.
One of the best things you can do is invest in some lessons with a coach. Have this professional look at your swing with the 3-wood and they can help you iron out any swing flaws that could be causing your consistency issues.
Do you hit a 3-wood like a driver?
No, these clubs are designed differently and need to be swung differently. So much of your action is different between these clubs from ball position, stance, and attack angle. If you try to hit your 3-wood like a driver then you could end up topping the ball a lot more or skying it.
Instead of trying to hit up on your 3-wood, think of trying to hit down on it slightly. That semi-descending blow will allow the loft of the club to lift the ball into the air through good spin and will give you more control. This will also help with consistency off the tee.
On a related note, it is a good idea to practice your 3-wood from a low tee. This makes it easier to hit and will help you gain confidence, but it will also mean that you can more easily start to hit the ball from the fairway too. Try building this into your practice sessions, tee it like it’s a wedge then hit.
How far should I hit my 3-wood?
You should hit your 3-wood longer than your 5-wood and less distance than your driver. This is a really unhelpful answer but club distance is such a personal thing and something not to get too hung upon. Just learn how far you hit that club and start using it for shots of that distance.
There is no need to complicate things or put pressure on yourself by comparing how far you hit the ball compared to other people. Now, whilst it is important to keep that in mind, it is good to look at PGA and LPGA Tour stats as they are a good way of seeing what distance elite players hit 3-woods.
The PGA Tour average for 3-wood distance, according to TrackMan data is 243 yards carry. The equivalent statistic for the LPGA Tour is 195 yards. Most golfers will be far closer to the LPGA distance and should concentrate on using that yardage, don’t chase 243 yards.
This philosophy is something you need to think about for every shot in your bag. The distance that you hit it is the distance that you hit it. Don’t get caught up trying to hit the same club as your friends for the sake of your ego, play your game and you will get further in golf.
Standing over a 3-wood in the middle of the fairway can be a daunting thing. If you get nervous when you’re about to hit this fairway wood then don’t worry, you’re not alone. Every golfer has had that feeling and many thousands will have that feeling in the future, we’re all the same really.
Practice and better technique can get you hitting 3-woods well and making them stronger in your bag. Practice and better technique can make every club in your bag better, that is golf and what we concentrate on we can improve. Find a coach to help you through this journey to better golf.
Some of the drills here can certainly help you establish a better technique and hopefully help you develop more confidence in this club. It has to be said that there are few things more impressive in golf than watching someone rip a 3-wood from way out and getting it close to the flag.
The final thought for you to take away from this is that the 3-wood is an accuracy club, not a distance club. Think of it like hitting a wedge, don’t lash at the ball, you want to hit it deliberately and with control. This will take away that need for distance and let your focus on your target.
Visit the Golf Accessories Reviews homepage for more information & expert advice.