When should I use a 3-wood or 5-wood? Explained

What golf clubs should I use? The 3-wood or 5-wood? When should you choose a 3-wood over a 5-wood and vice versa?

These are some of the questions that beginners in golf ask themselves. This article will talk about the differences between 3 and 5 wood, when to use these woods, how they compare to each other, why someone would choose one over another, and finally which is better for different skill levels.

The game of golf is constantly evolving. Fairway woods are often overlooked in favor for drivers, but they’re a necessary club to have on the course when you need some extra distance without carrying it too far down the fairways.

It’s important that you always try and keep your drives under control or risk losing balls into deep sand traps which will take more shots than usual to escape from! Try adding an older favorite back onto your bag.

What is the difference between a 3-wood and 5-wood?

Woods are excellent clubs for hitting from fairways, woods can be used off tees too, but 3-woods are better suited for this job than 5-woods because they have a longer shaft.

The 3-wood has the loft of 15-18 degrees. When you hit this type of golf clubs it will go low and long. The 5-wood has a loft angle between 20 to 22 degrees, which makes it will go higher, but for a shorter distance.

From the tee taking a 3-wood will give you distance and you will not have to worry about the ball going too high because of the longer shaft.

5-woods will often be used when approach shots are required from a fairway because the ball won’t carry as far and it is easier to control trajectory on them.

What is the difference in shaft length?

The difference in shaft length between 5-wood and 3-woods is about an inch. 3 and 5 woods are easier to hit than drivers because they’re shorter in length.

The 3 wood has a shaft of 42-43 inches, while the 5 is just 41-42″.

This makes it much more manageable for people who don’t have great distance on their drives yet.

New technology in golf clubs has increased the options for players and manufacturers alike, often requiring an extra-long club to maximise distance.

One notable exception would be Bryson DeChambeau who is testing a shorter shaft on his longer irons because of its accuracy with the less powerful clubs.

Which wood should a beginner use?

As a beginner, your 5-wood may not be the best club for you off the tee. If you can master the 5-wood, that’s great! If you’re not quite ready get yourself a good hybrid instead!

These are halfway between woods and irons – they’re so forgiving that it will help you develop as player and soon enough, hitting fairway woods off of the deck won’t seem like such an impossible task.

Which wood should a mid-handicapper use?

You may be at the low handicap level, but it doesn’t mean you can’t improve your game.

Maybe a 3-wood is what you need to get around those pesky obstacles in front of your tee shot or maybe not. It’s all about personal preference and testing out different clubs before committing to one that might just fail on you down the line!

Why do you think people don’t use the 5 wood as much?

Well, it is an underrated club to say that least. For starters, they are super easy and forgiving for beginners who may not have perfected their swing yet or even know what a proper grip entails.

Secondly, if your golf game isn’t quite where you want it to be but still need some help with distance control then this might just be the best tool in your bag!

I mean let’s face it – there’re more than enough clubs out on today’s market which provide length without great accuracy so why take chances when one can get both from switching over to a fairway-wood?

So, which one is an easier hit?

Of course this depends on your skill level, but for most beginners and low to mid handicappers the 5-wood is slightly better than the 3-woods in two ways, it has more loft and a shorter shaft.

This means that you can be much more accurate with your shot as well as less side spin from off of the tee box.

What distances can you hit with a 3-wood versus a 5-wood?

Now, you may be wondering what the difference in distance between a 5-wood and 3-wood.

Well for most average golfers, your 3 wood will go about 10 yards further than your 5 wood when hit off of the ground.

That’s not all! If you’re hitting from a tee (like on a driving range), that number shoots up to around 15 extra yards of distance [which] means more shots in play.

So it’ll allow you to take some risks with those longer clubs like drivers or fairway woods because they have less risk involved if their shot doesn’t make it as far down the course.

ClubMen (yards)Women (yards)
Sand Wedge60-80-10040-50-60
Pitching Wedge80-105-12050-60-80
9 Iron95-115-13055-70-95
8 Iron110-130-14060-80-110
7 Iron120-140-15065-90-120
6 Iron130-150-16070-100-130
5 Iron140-160-17080-110-140
4 Iron150-170-18590-120-150
3 Iron160-180-200100-125-160
4 Iron150-170-18590-120-150
3 Iron160-180-200100-125-160
2 Iron170-195-210105-135-170
5 Wood170-195-210105-135-170
3 Wood180-215-235125-150-180

Which is better off the tee?

The 3-wood can be a great club for tee shots as an alternative to the driver.

The 5-wood is also good, but it will fly higher because of its loftier height and you could end up losing yards or have your course altered by any wind.

For long par-3s, the 5 woods work well too!

Which club is the most versatile?

The 3-wood is the most versatile of all golf clubs. You can use it from tee to green, and even for tight corners like doglegs!

The three wood has a bit more loft than your driver so you’ll need some skill if you’re going off-green with one but don’t worry as this club will be there when no other would do.

If your shots are getting too timid or far away then grab yourself the mighty 3-wood, and see your ball fly…

Which 3-wood or 5-wood shaft should I choose?

You’re standing at the tee, club in hand. You need to choose your fairway wood and you have a few options: steel or graphite shafts?

While it all depends on personal preference for some golfers, if we were to recommend one over the other — go with graphite!

Graphite is lighter than steel so players can increase their swing speed which means more distance. Plus they’re easier on our arm muscles too!

Graphite shafts are a great option for those who want to increase their swing speed and distance.

Professional golfers use the graphite on most of their fairway woods because it helps them get more power behind every shot they take.

If you’re set on getting a steel-shafted club, know that even though there is still some available.

These clubs aren’t used often anymore since professional players typically opt for graphite.

What about 3-wood and 5-wood shaft flex?

The type of flex in your golf shaft will be determined by the speed at which you swing. The X (extra stiff) is for players with an extremely high-speed, and S (stiff) are preferred by fast swings up to 105 miles per hour or so.

Those who have a slower swing should select R (regular). You’ll want to stick with what’s recommended for your speeds as it can greatly affect how well you keep the ball on fairways!

Where to place the ball when using a 3 or 5-wood?

The ball placement for a 5-wood should be an inch further back than the ball placement of your 3-wood.

How you hold and swing with these golf clubs are both different from how we do it when using irons or woods to chip onto the green.

This is because fairway woods don’t have as much loft on them, so they don’t need to strike up at all in order to hit down accurately on our target!

How to Transfer weight when hitting a 3 or 5-wood?

The 3-wood is a difficult club to hit because it often results in poor trajectory. This is usually due to the trailing foot being stuck on the ground, resulting in an awkward swing and fading contact with the ball.

To avoid this outcome, make sure your weight goes off of that trailing foot for more control over where you strike at during impact time.

The process can be broken down into two steps:

1) Lift your hands upward so they are above eye level while maintaining good posture (This will prevent flaws throughout any swinging motion).

2) Maintain balance by keeping feet shoulder width apart as if standing still or walking slowly _ (this provides stability which supports all types of shots). When these two simple techniques are used you should be able to hit the perfect shot!


Woods are essential pieces of equipment in golf. They get you around the golf course efficiently and quickly.

Without them, a round would take twice as long due to all of the walking that you need to do.

Woods are excellent clubs for hitting from fairways, woods can be used off tees too but 3-woods are better suited for this job than 5-woods because they have shorter shaft lengths which makes it easier to get out of tight spots.

They’re also good for hitting shots over hazards or into par 5’s in two shots when there is water coming down a slope on one side of the hole making it difficult to carry with an iron without risking your ball getting wet in crossing waters.

Hi, I’m Joel Kramer, I’ve written articles for golfing blogs, and magazines, and I’m a passionate golfer. I love testing out new equipment and offering my advice.