Should I Hit My 3 Wood Like A Driver?

No, the clubs are designed differently and are typically different sizes.  With a 3 wood, the ball will be teed lower to the ground due a smaller club head and because it is designed to also hit balls from the fairway or rough.  As a result, the swing will be different than a driver.

3 Wood Specs

Most 3 woods range in size from 155-260cc head size with a shaft that is around 43 inches long.  

Driver Specs

Most drivers range in size between 440-460cc head size with a shaft that is 45-46 inches long.

The driver is designed to maximize the distance with some accuracy brought into consideration.  A great deal of advancements and research has been put not only into the driver head, but also the shaft on the driver.

It is designed to help golfers launch the ball high and far.

Unfortunately, many golfers struggle with the driver and often resort to the 3 wood to help straighten the shot out or to keep the ball in play.  Ideally, all golfers can take full advantage of the driver and the distance and accuracy that it can provide if properly hit.

The good news is that with the right practice, golfers can learn to hit the driver and many end up preferring it even when less distance is needed off the tee.

Some people might have automatically defaulted to a 3 wood on a hole like the one above. Instead, learn to hit the 80% driver and take your game to the next level!

Should I Hit My 3 Wood Like A Driver?

There are two key differences in the clubs, that requires a different setup and a slightly different swing:

  • The driver is designed to launch the ball high and far from a driver that is teed up a decent amount off the ground.  This helps the golfer hit the right sweet spot to get the right spin rate.
  • The 3 wood is designed to hit the ball off the ground from the fairway or rough.  When used on the 1st shot of a golf the golfer will only want to tee the ball slightly off the ground and maintain a more sweeping motion vs swing up as they do with the driver.

As a result, the ball position for both clubs can vary with the driver being played more off the front heel and the 3 wood being played just inside of the front heel.

The driver swing is ultimately the flattest swing in the bag because of the length of the driver shaft.  At 45-46 inches it is the longest club in the bag and usually is the flattest with the wedges being the steepest.

There will be a slight adjustment between the driver and the 3 wood due to the 2-3 inch different in the shaft length.

Take the driver here and hit down the right side. Learn to keep the driver in play on some holes and maximize your distance on others.

Should I use my 3 Wood instead of my driver to lay up?

Depends on your comfort level.  Did you know that golfers only gain 7% increase in accuracy with the 3 wood vs the driver?  So, if there is a water hazard crossing the fairway or some major hazard, then yes, a 3 wood should be considered.  However, if you are simply trying to hit it straighter, the data tells us you might not be gaining much with the 3 wood.

For years, even the professional golfers turned to the 3 wood on those tight and narrow holes where precision was more important than distance.  Now, we see more and more elite golfers hitting the driver as the increase in accuracy with the 3 wood is not significant enough to give up 20-30 yards with the 3 wood.  The 20-30 yards vs a 7% increase in accuracy is not enough for most golfers.

Our recommendation is to learn to control the driver, practice it a ton and get very comfortable with the driver in the hand.  If you want to reach certain levels like single digit handicap or scratch levels, being a quality driver of the ball is vital and you can’t be giving up 20-30 yards with the 3 wood.

Alternative: Learn to hit the “bunt” driver or an 80% driver

Recently, I have been hitting two different driver shots.  These shots include:

  • 95% swing with the driver
  • 80% swing with the driver

The 95% driver swing is there when there is little trouble and I can afford a bit of a wayward driver and stay make par, but increase my chance of a birdie if I can belt a driver out there 270-290 yards.  

The 80% driver swing is there when I need to keep the ball in play.  For example, there is a heavy tree lined fairway, a water hazard or out of bound looming large on one or both sides of the golf hole.

I simply slow down my back swing a bit with the 80% driver and stay relaxed.  I will carry this shot 250-270 vs 270-290 with the 95% swing.

This is helped in pressure packed situations or when playing courses I am unfamiliar with.  The “bunt” swing keeps the ball in play and at a quality distance.

The extra distance can help you on all golf holes as you can now hit your 8 iron like a 7 iron and so on down the bag. Check out the speed training tips below!

BONUS TIP: Train for Speed (Stop settling for your currency driver distance!)

Gone are the days of simply being content with the distance you currently hit your golf ball.  Many older golfers have proven over the past several years that an increase in swing speed is possible.  There are training systems to help you get your game to the next level and distance is arguably the fastest way to make this happen!

My number one recommendation is to check out SuperSpeed Golf and their protocols to help you find a safe way to increase your swing speed.

I spent many years wondering how I can increase my swing speed.  When I was playing junior golf, we weren’t fortunate enough to have some of the training aids and knowledge that is now available.  Smart people have studied the golf swing and have created training aids and protocols to help all golfers increase their distance!

At around the same time, the statistics from the PGA Tour have become more clear and the importance of speed is acknowledged by many to be a key to being the best on the PGA Tour.

Within the past several years, there have been several products hit the market to make speed gains possible.  While many people for many years waited for the latest driver to come out to gain an additional 5-10 yards, you can now do this even with your current clubs.

Did you know that with the SuperSpeed Training System you can gain 5-8% increase in swing speed as early as the first training session?  This would allow you to gain somewhere between 10 and 30 yards depending on your current swing speed.

SuperSpeed Golf

The SuperSpeed Training System is based on three different swing speed sticks all weighing at different weights.  There is a green club that is 10% lighter than the average driver, the blue club which is 5% lighter and the red club which is actually 5% heavier!

Following their prescribed protocols the golfer completes the training every other day.  The total time to complete most of their protocols is between 10-15 minutes.  Most people can find the time to make this happen.  The golfer will also need a swing radar to measure their progress. 

The science behind the SuperSpeed Training System is based on overspeed training.  Overspeed training has been around for several decades now and has been used by olympic athletics in the sport of Track and Field.  

The science behind this overspeed training is based on the premise that your brain will only allow your body to move as fast as it feels it can stop safely!  So, you get to work and swing the clubs as fast as possible, retraining your brain to allow you to swing your driver faster.

For more permanent results, the golfer should continue these training protocols for several months.  The initial 5-8% is great and can become more permanent with the right length of training.  The golfer can expect to continue to break down barriers every several months at a 1-2% increase.

My own experience has been an increase of 7-10 miles per hour on average from between 98-101 all the way up to 106-109.  My goal is to hit the PGA Tour average of 113 mph in the coming months.  I will continue to train every other day and watch in amazement as I am hitting drivers longer now than ever before!

Phil Mickelson (a senior golfer now) has been known to increase his swing speed in the past year or so and is close to 120 miles per hour in his swing speed.  There are potential results for golfers of all ability levels and age!  

Check the current price on SuperSpeed Golf System, here!

Original Swing SpeedAfter 4-6 WeeksNew Carry DistanceTotal Distance

Other 3 Wood Related Posts

My Secret To Golf Improvement

Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently.  About three years ago, I made the leap and invested in a golf simulator build for my garage.  I went with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and the TGC software and can now play over 100,000 courses including Augusta, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits. St. Andrews and many other of the top 100 courses in the world.

This golf simulator setup, which is more affordable that you might imagine, has been a game changer.  I can now play golf everyday of the year regardless of rain, snow, cold weather or time of day.  I can practice or play rounds of golf.  I can stand in the 11th fairway at Augusta and with the auto-rewind feature I am able to practice my approach shots from various differences.

It is worth checking out through Rain or Shine Golf as they offer some incredible packages along with financing offers that are difficult to beat.

Some direct links to Rain or Shine Golf for pricing and financing:

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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