A golfer is only allowed 14 clubs in their bag.
Make sure that the clubs you carry are a good fit for your game and your abilities are essential.
Both the 3 wood and the 5 wood have quite a bit of positive points, but some golfers don’t have room in their bags to carry both of these golf clubs.
If you are having a hard time deciding on whether the 3 wood or the 5 wood is the best choice for your golf game, we have you covered with these helpful tips and comparisons.
Use this information to think about the strengths and weaknesses of your game and which club will be the better option for you.
3 Wood Vs. 5 Wood (Which One Should You Use?)
For the most part, the 5 wood will win this battle over the 3 wood.
As we go through each category of how the 5 wood and 3 wood compare, you will see how the 5 wood continually comes out above the 3 wood in certain key categories.
Depending on your golf game and the other clubs you have in your bag, you will have to make an independent decision, but the 5 wood will win more often than not.
Let’s take a look at the specific areas of the game where the performance between a 3 wood and a 5 wood can vary.
1. 3 Wood Vs. 5 Wood: Distance
Distance is all about swing speed and loft.
If you have a good amount of swing speed and you apply that to a golf ball with the right amount of loft, you will get great distance.
The distance of a golf shot can vary considerably based on the way the ball is struck and the turf interaction you have at the time.
You may make a great connection with the turf and therefore be able to hit the type of shot that you want.
If not, you can hit a fairway wood shot that only goes a few feet.
The distance factor for fairway woods is usually quite good.
These clubs have just a bit less loft than the driver, and therefore, they are designed to go a long way.
The 3 wood typically has a loft of around 15 degrees, whereas the 5 wood is closer to 19 degrees.
Distance is something that almost all players are looking for in their game because it makes golf easier.
Since the 3 wood has a lower loft than the 5 wood, it will get more distance.
However, the only issue you will sometimes see here is that the 3 wood being less forgiving won’t make a very significant difference in distance from the 5 wood.
This will have to be evaluated further as you look at your club head speed and your overall ability to launch the ball.
Keep reading to sort this issue out a bit more.
Winner: 3 Wood
The 3 wood has a lower loft than the 5 wood.
With the 3 wood being a lower lofted golf club, golfers can get a little extra ball flight and roll when putting this club into play.
2. 3 Wood Vs. 5 Wood: Forgiveness
The 3 wood and the 5 wood can both be forgiving.
Depending on the type of golf fairway wood you have purchased, you can see varying levels of forgiveness.
For instance, if you are hitting with an offset 3 wood with a large club head, you will notice the forgiveness is almost impossible to beat.
If, however, you are using more of a player style club with a smaller club head, then the forgiveness may not be there.
Therefore, the forgiveness of a club does have something to do with the style and the brand of the fairway wood you purchase.
However, there is another factor here that largely plays into the forgiveness that we see, and that is the loft.
The loft of a 5 wood is several degrees higher than that of a 3 wood, and this leads to a higher overall ball flight and more forgiveness.
Essentially, any club with a higher loft will be more forgiving than the next.
Clubs with higher loft typically take less club head speed for golfers to hit the ball solidly.
Have you ever wondered why you like your pitching wedge better than your five iron?
It all has to do with the loft that you can hit the ball.
Forgiveness is a big factor to consider because it will likely determine how often you will take this club out of your bag and use it.
If you know your game needs forgiveness, the 5 wood is the best choice.
Winner: 5 Wood
A 5 wood has more loft and is typically a little bit shorter than the 3 wood, thus giving it more forgiveness.
3. 3 Wood Vs. 5 Wood: From The Rough
Chances are, at some point, you will come across a shot that is sitting in the rough that will benefit from you hitting a fairway wood shot.
The fairway wood is a great club to hit to recover a hole and get you back on the green after a poor drive, or even make it to a green in two on a par 5.
However, the lie is not always going to be sitting perfectly in the rough.
If you look at the characteristics of the 3 wood, you will notice that it is not all that much different from a driver.
The face, although smaller, often looks quite similar to the driver because the lofts are just a few degrees off.
Think about what it would be like to hit your driver through the rough, and you will realize that this would be a bit difficult and take some extra effort.
Now that you have that concept in mind, you can probably see why the 5 wood will win when it comes to performance from the rough.
Golfers who need to hit a ball out of a tough spot will want to hit the 5 wood.
If the ball is sitting up properly in the rough, the 5 wood makes a great choice and has been known to perform exceptionally well.
Players won’t sacrifice much distance, and they can get plenty of accuracy as well.
Most of the time, players opt for a hybrid out of the rough, but the 5 wood is a solid alternative.
Winner: 5 Wood
The 5 wood is more workable from the rough and won’t need as much swing speed just to get the ball back in play.
4. 3 Wood Vs. 5 Wood: From The Tee
Hitting a golf ball from a tee is much different from hitting a ball from the rough.
When a golf ball is elevated on a tee, you can make much cleaner contact and get some incredible distance and roll.
If you have both a 3 wood and a 5 wood in play, hitting the ball from the tee will be fine with either of these clubs.
However, the reason we have decided that the 3 wood wins this category is that you can get more distance.
The way to hit a 3 wood the furthest is to have it on a small tee and hit it almost like your driver.
Having this ability from the tee will make it much easier to perform and can become a solid alternative to a driver for you.
Some players who start to get wild with the driver from the tee box enjoy having the 3 wood in place as a backup.
The extra loft provided by putting the ball on a tee helps increase the overall performance that you get with the club.
Keep this in mind if you want to hit the ball further and get the performance that you need.
Winner: 3 Wood
Hitting a golf ball off a tee makes it relatively easier to get positive results.
The 3 wood sitting on a tee is easy to hit and therefore gives you better results than the 5 wood, simply because it flies further.
5. 3 Wood Vs. 5 Wood: Ball Flight
The ball flight paths of the 3 wood and the 5 wood are quite a bit different.
Since these clubs have different lofts and lengths, you will see that the 3 wood has a lower, more penetrating ball flight.
In addition, the 3 wood will not hit the ground and stop quite the same way as a 5 wood.
The 5 wood has a higher ball flight, and when it hits the ground, it may stop a few feet from where it lands.
That makes the 3 wood an excellent choice for long distances and shots that run up onto the green.
It makes the 5 wood a great choice for a player who is looking to approach a green and have the ball stay close to the hole.
The ability to stop the ball on a green where you want it to stop is a tremendous benefit for players.
This is how we become more accurate and get to shoot the scores that we need to shoot.
It takes time to become an accurate and great player, but working on ball flight is one of those things that can help.
Winner: 5 Wood
The 5 wood is an excellent option for those who are looking to try and approach a green and stop the ball near the hole.
With the 5 wood in place, the ball will stop where you need it to.
6. 3 Wood Vs. 5 Wood: High Handicappers
High handicappers will enjoy both the 3 wood and the 5 wood.
With the loft of the 5 wood being a bit higher, the learning curve for hitting a great 5 wood shot is a bit easier than it is for a 3 wood.
For players who are new to the game and still trying to figure out all of these different shots, the 5 wood would be a much smarter decision.
High handicappers sometimes lack the consistency needed to hit a 3 wood well.
This happens over time as players are working on lower scores and their ability to hit great golf shots.
For inconsistency, the 5 wood will be a much better choice.
The club faces on the 5 wood are often much more forgiving and will give golfers a bit more room for error.
Winner: 5 Wood
A 5 wood is a golf club that high handicappers will have more success with.
The 5 wood provides more forgiveness and can help players become more consistent.
7. 3 Wood Vs. 5 Wood: Low Handicappers
A low handicap player will sometimes try and find a way to have both a 3 wood and a 5 wood in their golf bag.
With both the 3 wood and the 5 wood, low handicappers can get the best of both worlds.
However, if the decision needs to be made to carry just one, the 3 wood is typically the better choice.
A 3 wood is one of the better golf club choices for a low handicapper because they are able to get those extra distances necessary to get the ball on the green in two.
Typically speaking, lower handicappers also have a bit more swing speed and can even hit the 3 wood well from the first or second cut of rough.
Lower handicappers like to work the ball and hit shots that travel a little left or right.
The 3 wood allows for this to happen to encourage your golf ball to do what it needs to.
Winner: 3 Wood
The 3 wood is the best overall choice for low handicappers.
However, if there is room in the bag, the low handicappers could benefit from having both a 3 wood and a 5 wood.
8. 3 Wood Vs. 5 Wood: Feel & Workability
The last category that we will use to compare the 3 wood and the 5 wood is feel and workability.
With feel and workability, you will learn how to turn the golf ball to the left or the right.
You can also learn to increase or decrease launch based on what the fairway woods are doing.
The 3 wood and the 5 wood can both technically have great feel and workability, but most golfers have more success with the 5 wood.
Remember that the 5 wood is slightly shorter than the 3 wood.
This difference in the length of the club can make it easier for golfers to get incredible control over their golf shots.
When you learn to hit a 5 wood well, you may be able to fade it and draw it to make it a great club to use on a dogleg hole.
The process of getting a 3 wood to do this is a bit more involved, and it can take a much more skilled player.
If you know that you want to have control over your golf shots and hit different types, the 5 wood will be the smarter choice.
Winner: 5 Wood
A 5 wood is a better choice for feel and workability.
Even when you miss-hit the 5 wood slightly, you will benefit from the ability to get the ball advanced down the fairway.
The extra loft and shorter club length make this a more workable golf club for most players.
Conclusion: 3 Wood Vs. 5 Wood
The 3 wood and the 5 wood can be great clubs to have in the bag.
If you happen to have room to carry both, you absolutely should.
However, for the majority of golfers, the 5 wood is going to be the better choice.
The 5 wood is a club that will launch the ball higher, be easier to control, and offer golfers more forgiveness than the 3 wood.
For the majority of players who need a mix of both distance and forgiveness, the 5 wood makes the better club choice.
Players who are serious about getting great at golf will learn how to work the ball with a 5 wood.
They will be able to hit shots that vary in their ball flight and use the club from various locations on the course.
Although the same can be said about a 3 wood, it takes greater club head speed and more precision.
Hopefully, this information has helped you decide whether the 3 wood or the 5 wood is the better fit for your golf game.