Smart Shopping for 3-Woods

Many golfers dream about walking up to the first tee, taking out their driver and busting the ball 300 yards down the middle. For the few golfers who can actually hit the ball with that kind of length, fewer than 1 in 10 will be able to consistently hit it down the middle. For those that love to use their driver, many find it very difficult to use that club on the first hole, especially if there are people watching or the match has some kind of financial meaning. In those instances, many golfers would prefer to use a 3-wood. While it does not provide quite the distance of the driver or the ooh-and-ahh power of the longer club, it is more dependable. Instead of 300 yards, think about 240 to 260 yards with a much greater chance of control. In addition to using it as a substitute for the driver off the tee, a confident and experienced golfer can use a 3-wood off the fairway on a longer hole. It’s a club with great versatility but one that may take quite a while to master.

What to Look for

While a driver may be the biggest club in your bag and represent the ultimate in power, the 3-wood is one of the most versatile clubs a player can own. In addition to hitting long shots off the tee, it can also serve an important purpose from the fairway. It will take time to get used to the club and will require many swings at the driving range, but it can quickly become one of a golfer’s favorites. When the golfer needs a great second shot on a long par 5 and he or she has a comfortable fairway lie, the 3-wood can be the perfect use. In addition to providing distance, the golfer knows that he needs a good swing to get the ball to fly straight and true. He does not have to worry about putting a little extra on the swing because the club will do the work. So, if a player can concentrate on the proper mechanics and wants to let the distance take care of itself, the 3-wood is ideal.
A 3- wood is lofted at 12-to-17 degrees and should be somewhat smaller than a driver, allowing for more control while providing more-than-adequate distance.

Common Pitfalls

When a golfer wants to hit the ball a long way off the team or from the fairway on a par 5 hole, the natural inclination is to muscle up and try to bust it as hard as possible with the hope of creating a memorable shot. That is exactly the wrong approach to take in all but the rarest of circumstances. When using a drive, a 3-wood or long iron, the golfer’s mindset should be to have the proper mechanics and slow the swing down rather than speed it up. Golfers who can get past the “I’ll show them” mentality are more likely to succeed and improve on the golf course. That is especially true when using any of the longer clubs, including the 3-wood. Players who swing too hard are likely to spend much of their golf day looking for lost balls in the woods.

About this Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer who has been covering sports for 27 years. He is the author of “The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” (Triumph Books, Chicago) and two other books on the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers.