When it comes to the long irons and woods in the bag, many golfers worry about what they should carry.
There are lots of great options out there to choose from, and sometimes it makes sense to have several clubs in the bag, but other times, just a few clubs will do.
If you are a golfer who is having a hard time deciding between a 3 iron and a 3 wood, we have all the answers you need.
Whether you are trying to decide which club to keep in your bag or you are deciding which club to swing, this article can help.
The 3 iron and the 3 wood each have unique characteristics to help any golfers game.
Benefits Of A 3 Wood
The 3 wood is probably the more common golf club between the 3 wood and the 3 iron.
With a 3 wood in place, golfers can get lots of distance, and certain players end up preferring their 3 wood to their driver.
Although not all golfers should play with a 3 wood, there are some important benefits to having this club in your bag.
Here are a few of the things to keep in mind if you are looking to benefit from having a 3 wood in your golf bag.
1. More Distance
A 3 wood gives golfers more distance than any other club in the bag (aside from the driver).
With a 3 wood, you typically get about 14 to 16 degrees of loft, with a 15-degree 3 wood being the most common loft.
With this being just a few degrees less than a driver, players can get incredible distance with the 3 wood.
In addition, because of the shaping of a 3 wood, it is a club that can be used from the fairway or the tee.
Players who struggle to get the distance they want from the fairway and the tee will often benefit from using a 3 wood like this.
2. Lower Ball Flight
The 3 wood produces a lower ball flight than other golf clubs on the market.
With a 3 wood, players can get a lower ball flight that will roll considerably far down the fairway.
When you play with a great 3 wood, the role tends to help golfers get close to driver distances on some holes.
Of course, there are also those windy days on the golf course when golfers are going to benefit from playing with a club that has a lower, more penetrating ball flight.
When you get your driver a bit too lofted or struggle to keep irons and hybrids down, the lower ball flight from a 3 wood can help keep the ball in play and get you the results you need.
3. Good Replacement For A Driver
The 3 wood is a good replacement for a driver.
Some players can never really get the distance or accuracy they need from a driver.
With a driver being longer than a 3 wood, it is harder to control and keeps some players from getting the ball in the fairway.
The driver’s head can be quite a bit less forgiving, so it can often be a wise decision to put the 3 wood in play as an alternative.
Many golfers struggle with hitting a 3 wood off the fairway.
However, you can keep the 3 wood in the bag and only use it from the tee as there is no reason to attempt it from the fairway if it is not a strength in your golf game.
4. Better Off The Tee
The 3 wood is a great golf club off the tee not just to replace the driver but also as an alternative to a 3 iron.
The 3 wood is simply easier to make contact and will fly farther than the 3 iron.
Most of the time, a face on a 3 wood will be larger and made from a titanium-type material that will have a better interaction with the ball and produce higher swing speeds.
Benefits Of A 3 Iron
Even though a 3 wood has all of the great benefits that we mentioned, the 3 iron still has some important performance benefits.
A 3 iron is shorter than the 3 wood, and therefore, golfers have an easier time controlling it.
You will notice that the benefits of the 3 iron are going to be more related to the control and accuracy of shots as opposed to the pure distance.
1. Easier To Control Ball Flight
It is easier to control the ball flight of a 3 iron.
Most 3 irons are not all that forgiving, but if you do have a consistent golf swing that you can repeat, you will benefit greatly from the 3 iron.
Typically, lower handicap golfers can learn to control these 3 irons and hit shots that are landing relatively closer to the pin.
If you want to hit a shot low or get it up into the air, the 3 iron is a great golf club that many players will benefit from.
The only issue to keep in mind is that the overall forgiveness of a 3 iron is not that good, and it tends to be a more difficult club for a higher handicapper with a slower swing speed.
In addition to being able to control the ball flight of a 3 iron, it is also a more accurate club than the 3 wood.
With a 3 iron in place, golfers can pinpoint where they want to hit it, and the low spin characteristics will likely send the ball close to the target.
Golfers who struggle with accuracy on the golf course sometimes have more luck with the 3 iron, but the only problem is the fact that there will likely be a loss in distance.
It is relatively easy to hit a 3 iron straight, but it takes a bit more work to hit a 3 iron straight and far.
Overall, a 3 iron can be accurate as long as you have the swing speed necessary to hit this club solidly.
Many golfers should consider the shaft in the 3 iron.
If the shaft is not the right fit, the ability to control the ball flight and the overall accuracy will also be impacted.
3. More Workability
A 3 iron has more workability than a 3 wood.
When you want to hit a draw or a cut with a 3 iron, you will have a much easier time than trying to do it with a 3 wood.
The small area on the face and the grooves on the club head help a player learn to control the ball.
If you like to hit golf shots that will turn and land lightly on a green or spin, the 3 iron is the better golf club.
When Should You Use A 3 Wood?
Now that we have given you the information necessary to determine the benefits of both a 3 iron and a 3 wood, it’s time to look at some of the times when you would want to use the 3 wood.
If you are playing a round of golf and come across one of these situations, it may make sense to pull the 3 wood out and see what it can do.
In the end, the 3 wood will still be a club that you need to practice and get comfortable with, but there are some great reasons to use it.
1. As An Alternative To A Driver
The 3 wood makes a great club of choice on those days when you can’t stand the driver, and it’s time for an alternative.
We all have those days when we don’t know if our driver will go to the left or to the right, and the 3 wood is a great option to pull out of the bag.
With the 3 wood in play as opposed to a driver, you will have more control of your shots and be able to get the distance and accuracy that you need.
Even if the 3 wood causes you to lose a few yards, it is a perfect alternative when the ball is still in the fairway.
2. New Players Learning To Hit From The Tee
When you are a new golfer, it can be really difficult to learn how to hit off the tee.
Hitting the driver can take a lot of time to straighten out and be able to hit straight.
Therefore, it makes sense to consider learning to play with a 3 wood from the tee and then adjusting to a driver at some point.
If you want to make your introduction to the game of golf just a little bit smoother, the 3 wood is a good option.
3. Long Par 5 With No Trouble
When you have an approach shot to a long par 5, it may make sense to pull out the 3 wood.
With these types of approach shots, it makes sense to swing away with a 3 wood and see how close it can get you to the green.
Since the 3 wood is not the most accurate golf club in the bag, sometimes it can be a problem to use a 3 wood on a tight par 5.
This is where it makes more sense to lay up with something accurate like a 3 iron or a hybrid.
However, if you have plenty of room and you can swing without having to worry about water hazards or out-of-bounds markers, the 3 wood makes a great choice.
4. Shorter Par 4 With Dog Leg
A shorter par 4 hole with a dogleg is often a tough hole to use a driver.
Unless you are really good at working your driver left and right, you may need something with slightly less distance and a bit more accuracy.
The 3 wood is a great choice to consider in this situation.
You can pinpoint exactly where to hit your shot and get it close to the center of the fairway when you use a 3 wood off the tee.
When Should You Use A 3 Iron?
A 3 iron has its own unique set of benefits that can help players who are looking to improve their long game.
If you want to put a 3 iron in the bag, there are a few important things to consider.
The first is that the 3 iron is a club that is starting to fade away.
So many players are choosing to keep the hybrid clubs in their bags, and the 3 iron is starting to become a rare club to find.
If you have one or think it may be time to invest in one, here are the shots that the 3 iron would be able to help you with.
1. Knock Down Shots
A 3 iron is a great golf club to choose when you are hitting a knockdown shot.
The lower loft on the 3 iron gives it the ability to keep the ball a little lower while still getting plenty of power and allowing the ball to cut through the wind.
Knockdown shots are essential on windy days when you have to ensure that the ball can do what it needs to cut through the wind.
Practicing a knockdown shot with a finish that you hold a bit lower is very important.
If you can work on perfecting this, chances are you will end up with much more accurate shots all around.
2. Get Out Of Trouble
A 3 iron is good for getting out of trouble.
If you hit your shot in the woods and have to get the ball out between a few trees, you can use the 3 iron.
Most of the time, you will keep the 3 iron low, and this is great so that it doesn’t rise up and start hitting a tree.
The 3 iron shot will also not require a very large swing, making it even easier to just punch the ball right out.
3. Perfectly Clean Lie In The Fairway
The 3 iron is not the best club for hitting out of the rough.
In fact, even a lower handicap player will tell you that hitting a 3 iron from the rough is not smart.
The 3 iron is best from the center of the fairway.
With a clean lie, you can ensure that your turf interaction with your 3 iron is as clean as possible.
The more you practice with the 3 iron and the higher your swing speed gets, the better your chances are of hitting very impressive golf shots.
However, in the meantime, you will need to be sure that you are careful of which lie you try to hit a 3 iron out of.
If it is not a great lie, the overall results won’t be good.
4. Approach On A Par 4
The 3 iron can be a good approach shot for a par 4.
If you are playing a long par 4 and don’t hit your best drive, you may still need a long approach shot to the green.
The 3 iron is a perfect option to choose, and it will stay lower and continue on its way to the hole for quite some time.
If you can learn to perfect this, you may give yourself more opportunities for birdies.
5. Dry Conditions For Extra Distance
The 3 iron tends to have a very low ball flight that will run for quite some time.
If you are playing on a hard or dry golf course, the 3 iron will go a long way.
This is one of those situations where you get the ball started on its path and watch as it takes off on the line that you want it to go.
What Should I Get: A 3 Wood Or A 3 Iron?
Now that you have all of this information, you will have to decide whether the 3 iron or the 3 wood is a better fit for your game.
Most of the time, the 3 wood is the more popular choice.
More golfers have luck with a 3 wood than they do with the 3 iron.
However, you have to analyze your golf game and think about the coverage you are looking for in your bag.
With adjustability on 3 woods, people are starting to find that the 3 wood is a club that will work from both the fairway and the tee.