Golfers only have a limited number of clubs that they can keep in the bag.
It’s pretty easy to decide on things like a driver, the iron set, and a putter, but the wedges and the long game require some decisions.
These decisions will be based on a golfer’s skill level and the availability of the equipment on the market.
For many players, the decision to keep a 1 iron or a 3 wood in the bag can be a tough one.
If you are still one of those golfers holding on to the fact that iron technology is better than woods or hybrids, this article is for you.
Let’s take a look at the 1 iron vs. the 3 wood and see which one of these clubs is going to be the better fit for your needs as a player.
1 Iron Vs. 3 Wood (Which One Should You Use?)
Benefits Of A 1 Iron
The 1 iron has become a very rare club in the game of golf.
For many years, the 1 iron was used as a driving iron, and players found that they liked the performance and the lower ball flight.
However, over time, the golf equipment analysis tools have told us that the performance we were getting from the 1 iron was not quite as good as it could be.
The benefits of a 1 iron are still there, but the problem is that only a select few golfers can use a 1 iron properly.
If you are part of this small percentage of players, here are the benefits of the 1 iron and what you should do to help ensure you are playing with this club the way it was designed to be played.
1. Long Distance
Technically speaking, the 1 iron is the longest golf iron in your bag.
With the lower loft and the length of this golf club, you should be able to hit it farther than any of the other golf clubs in the set.
The problem with this is that, because of the lower loft and longer length of the club, you are going to need a very strong golf swing with lots of power and precision.
If you don’t have this, then the overall results that you get with your golf irons are probably not going to be that great.
Long distance is a great thing to get, but it certainly comes more easily to those who have faster swing speeds and pure contact with their golf ball.
Overall, there are other ways to get long distance on the course than to use a 1 iron, but when you want to understand the benefits of this club, that is undoubtedly one of them.
2. Lots Of Roll
The 1 iron keeps the golf ball very low.
Since the loft on the club is not that high, and the length of the club is typically a little longer than most golfers are used to dealing with, the overall loft and ball flight for the shot is low.
In the end, this leads to quite a bit of roll.
The extra roll is a great help when there are windy conditions or golfers are struggling to get the ball to go farther.
If you play a golf course that typically has harder fairways and allows for extra roll, the 1 iron can be a great tool to take out of the bag.
3. Good For Accuracy From The Tee
Many golfers with a 1 iron in their bag struggle with the accuracy they get from woods and a driver.
If you can’t hit the ball accurately with these golf clubs, it makes sense to look into alternatives.
This is partly where the concept of a utility iron has come into play over the last few years.
The utility iron is a club that has a bit of a mix between a hybrid and a long iron.
This often helps players who want to use something like a 1 iron but struggle with the lack of forgiveness.
If you like to hit more of a stinger-type shot that flies down the fairway with a piercing flight and lots of rolling, the 1 iron will do the trick.
Benefits Of A 3 Wood
A 3 wood is a golf club that has tremendous performance from the tee and the fairway.
Golfers who have a 3 wood n their bag likely use it several times throughout the round.
The good thing about the 3 wood is that there are plenty of different options out there for impressive 3 woods.
You can have your choice between players’ models, higher handicap offset models, and even the perfect combination of distance and forgiveness for an average player.
Essentially, a 3 wood is a very common golf club that has likely found its way into your golf bag over the years.
1. Long Distance
Hitting long-distance shots can be difficult.
Not only do these shots need to be accurate, but you are going to try and give the ball as much of your club head speed as you possibly can.
Luckily, the 3 wood has gotten longer and longer through the years.
The newest 3 wood models will fly farther than drivers that we saw ten or even five years ago.
Many golfers are noticing that their 3 wood will travel almost as far as their driver, and this is a major reason to keep one in the bag.
The other great thing about the long distance that you get with a 3 wood is that you can play it from the tee or from the fairway.
If you are serious about performance from a golf club, you are also going to look for versatility.
The 3 wood is a more versatile club than the driver.
With the 3 wood, you can hit your tee shot and your approach shots with the same club and benefit from the impressive long-distance technology that these clubs have.
Many modern 3 woods also have adjustability to allow for personalized performance.
2. Great Alternative To The Driver
If you slice your first two tee shots, chances are you have a swing flaw that needs to be worked out.
The longer the club and the faster you swing it, the more difficult it is to hit the ball straight.
With a 3 wood in your hand, your chance of fixing the slice is considerably improved.
Golfers need to be aware of the equipment they have in the bag and the way that they can use it to salvage a decent round.
Chances are you will not be able to fix the fact that you are slicing the ball, but you can make it manageable for a round and then head to the driving range to work on the issue.
Being resourceful with the equipment you have is a major part of becoming a great player.
3. Can Be Used From Tee And Fairway
Another great benefit of the 3 wood is that it can be used from both the tee and the fairway.
If you have a hard time hitting golf shots from the fairway with long irons, the 3 wood can sometimes be a great alternative.
You will still need to learn to make some adjustments to your setup and your technique, but this is a highly popular shot that many players use.
The 3 wood from the tee box is very easy to hit.
Golfers barely need to tee the ball, and they will notice the increased performance that they can get.
Having the ability to hit the club from both the tee and the fairway is a major reason to invest in a 3 wood and use it in your golf game.
When To Use A 1 Iron
Now that you know the benefits of both the 3 wood and the 1 iron, it is important to understand what these clubs can do for you.
The 1 iron is a difficult club to hit.
If you don’t have one of these in your bag already, we don’t recommend running out to purchase one.
Instead, if you already have a 1 iron and want to know what it can be used for, here are a few of the best options to consider.
1. From The Tee
We highly recommend teeing a 1 iron up a little if you are going to use it in your next round of golf.
This club has a small sweet spot, but the club is longer than other irons in the bag.
Trying to make that connection with a longer club and a smaller sweet spot can be a very difficult thing to do.
The tee box allows players to slightly tee the ball and ensure that it is lined up with the center of the club face on the 1 iron.
Players who are able to do this can sometimes take an abbreviated swing and then watch the ball travel down the fairway with plenty of roll and a lower overall ball flight.
2. Windy Days
The 1 iron can be a great club to use on windy days.
The problem with wind on the golf course is that when you get the ball up into the air, the wind will do whatever it wants to the ball.
Windy days are difficult, and some golfers even admit that they would rather play golf in the rain than in the wind.
When you are going to have a windy day on the golf course, make sure that you know how to play a knockdown type shot that keeps the ball below the wind.
When your golf shots stay below the wind, they are not as impacted and can stay on their line.
In addition, this lower ball flight also allows golfers to get the extra roll and overall distance that they need.
3. Long Approaches From A Great Lie
Hitting a long approach shot is another good reason to put the 1 iron into play.
However, you must ensure that you are hitting from a great lie.
If the ball is buried in the rough or stuck in a divot, it will be nearly impossible to hit a great 1 iron shot out of the mess.
Evaluate your lie carefully before you decide on the 1 iron because chances are, if it is a perfect lie, you will have no trouble pulling this club out of the bag.
For those who struggle with clean contact on iron shots, the 1 iron is not the club to use for a long approach out of a difficult lie.
When To Use A 3 Wood
As you can see, knowing where to use a club can make or break your performance on the course.
The 3 wood is a great golf club for the majority of golfers.
In addition, you can find great 3 wood options because of the popularity of the 3 wood.
Here are the times when the technology featured in a 3 wood will help your game the most.
1. From The Tee
The 3 wood is a great golf club to hit from the tee.
Teeing the golf ball slightly up makes the 3 wood easier to work with and ensures that all contact is in the center of the club face.
On those days when you can’t find a fairway, try putting the 3 wood into play and see how it affects your game.
Some players who struggle terribly with their driver will find that the 3 wood completely changes the feel and direction that they can get from their golf shots.
Those who struggle with starting a hole off the right way have seen tremendous improvement by switching to a 3 wood.
2. For Lower Ball Flight
The 3 wood can produce slightly lower ball flight than other golf clubs in the bag.
The lower ball flight can then be adjusted further by closing the face a bit and keeping the weight forward.
Although it may not be the first club of choice to hit a punch shot or knockdown shot, the ability to use this club to create a lower ball flight is there and something that golfers should take advantage of.
The 3 wood is just a more workable golf club than a driver, and therefore, many players can control both the direction and the height of the golf shots that they hit.
3. Approaches On Par 4 And Par 5
The 3 wood is a great golf club for hitting approaches into a par 4 or a par 5.
With the 3 wood in play, you can miss your driver a bit but still recover and get the ball close to the hole.
Most other golf clubs in the bag do not have the distance necessary to help bring your golf shot back into play and give yourself a chance at birdie or par.
These approaches into the green will be best when there is a long approach for the ball to the run-up.
If the green has an approach, it is easier to get the 3 wood to roll up and make its way to the center of the green.
Most golfers who struggle with the 3 wood will struggle with its accuracy when hitting from the fairway.
However, if you get used to the technology the club has and learn not to overswing it, you can start to see your approaches on long par 4’s and on par get more and more accurate.
Conclusion: Which One Should You Use: 1 Iron or 3 Wood?
Hopefully, you can now understand what the benefits are of the 3 wood and the 1 iron and decide which of these two golf clubs is going to be right for your game.
Although we would never say that golfers should put the 1 iron away, most players will benefit more from the 3 wood technology.
The 1 iron is not quite as versatile, and the lack of forgiveness that this club offers is really hard to get over.
Even great players need a little bit of forgiveness in their golf clubs, and the 1 iron does not provide this.
A 3 wood still has a learning curve for most players, but the path to success will likely be a faster one.
As a golfer, it is essential to remember that you have choices when it comes to equipment, find something that works perfectly for your game.