Connect with us

Equipment

Why your traditional 3-wood might be extinct

Published

on

Golfers of all skill levels either love or hate their 3-woods. It can be an arch-nemesis or a safety blanket depending on the day and the shots you are trying to hit, but most golfers know—when you find a good one, you hold onto it.

What makes the 3-wood unique from almost any other club in the bag is that it has to be multi-faceted, since, depending on the golfer, it will be used off the tee, from the fairway, or from the rough. And, after the driver, it’s the largest-volume club in the bag.

This is why, for club designers, it’s crucial to keep the intended target audience in mind when designing fairway woods, and why you see multiple options from each OEM—one size does not fit all!

The Callaway Mavrik line offers 3 distinct fairway models

With modern equipment technology, including low spin golf balls, combined with higher-launching, fast-faced, lower-spinning fairway woods, the question becomes “at what point do you still need a 3-wood in your bag?” You see, at lower swing speeds, the ability to create launch and spin becomes much more difficult—it’s the same reason traditional longer irons have become more difficult to keep in the air, because to create enough lift to maximize carry, you need a lot of speed.

Maximizing your 3-wood for its intended purpose is no different than making sure your irons create the correct descent angle (This is the most important iron fitting parameter), because if you don’t create enough lift, you are leaving precious yards on the table.

How to maximize your fairway wood potential

A common question I hear from golfers when they are hitting fairway woods is

“How come I hit my 5-wood further than my 3-wood from the fairway. Shouldn’t my 3-wood go further because it has less loft?”

You would hypothesize that a 3-wood (for argument’s sake a club with 15 degrees of loft) would travel further than 5-wood (a club with 18 degrees of loft), because, just like irons or wedges the lower-lofted ones should travel further—FALSE!

Creating extra distance, especially carry distance, is all about creating the best possible dynamics at impact, and if that means using a higher loft in your longest fairway wood, then so be it. It’s the same reason some golfers hit a 10-degree driver further than a 7-degree one—it’s all about optimizing launch conditions, and eventually, you will get to a point of diminishing return.

Not enough launch and spin

Using the Flightscope Trajectory Optimizer  (be sure to check it out, it’s a fun tool), I created some standard launch conditions for a medium speed player creating 135 mph ball speed. The biggest takeaway is how low the peak height is and how far the ball carried: only 202 yards rolling out to 219.

More ideal launch and spin

This shot was created using the same 135 mph ball speed, but with five-degree higher launch and 250 more rpm. The distance gain is over 15 yards of carry and a more impressive 7 total yards. If it was between these two clubs, the below option offers much greater playability and better scoring opportunities for the golfer.

The solution

When looking for your next 3-wood/longest club after your driver, worry less about the loft on the club, and instead, focus on the dynamics of the ball flight to make sure you are creating ideal launch conditions. Be sure to test 4 and 5-wood options and dial in the loft if you are hitting a club with an adjustable hosel.

Adjustable sleeves allow you to fine-tune loft and launch conditions.

This could mean taking a 3-wood and adding loft, or starting with a 5-wood and removing loft to find your ideal club. If you use your 3-wood a lot, then it’s important to have a club you can trust and have confidence in it because, as a fitter, it’s my goal to make every club your favorite club!

 

 

Your Reaction?
  • 1005
  • LEGIT125
  • WOW32
  • LOL24
  • IDHT11
  • FLOP27
  • OB9
  • SHANK59

Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Sandman

    Aug 12, 2020 at 9:36 am

    If you can’t hit a 3w, you need to work on your swing.

  2. Miguel A Donate

    Jul 23, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Great article!! Thanks.
    And that Flightscope Trajectory Optimizer tool is awesome.

  3. nomad golfer

    Jul 17, 2020 at 12:06 am

    One reason my Launcher 3 wood will be staying in the bag is because I “don’t” use it from the fairway – that’s what the 5 & 9 woods are for. The 3 wood, which is closer in loft to a 4 wood goes off the tee when needed. Knowing what role each club is for helps a lot in this game.

  4. Delbert

    Jul 16, 2020 at 11:40 pm

    My old Exotics 3 wood still rocks! Why change and spend the money?

  5. richknine

    Jul 10, 2020 at 12:26 am

    I have a 16° 3W & a 19° 5strong Tight Lies, good old reliable. As long as I can hit them straight out of a fairway bunker, they stay in the bag.

  6. Jack Nash

    Jun 29, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Got rid of the 3wd years ago and have had a 4 Hot X ever since and it’s worth it’s weight in gold.

  7. Rob Infanti

    Jun 28, 2020 at 10:20 am

    About 15 years ago, I gave up on my 3 wood. Once I found that I was hitting my 5 wood further, I pulled it out of my bag. When I bought new clubs a few years back, I didn’t even bother with a 3 wood. I have a swing speed of about 80mph and just cannot generate enough spin. The same goes for my long irons. My 3 and 4 irons don’t go any further than my 5 iron. I replaced them with a 3 hybrid that fit perfectly distance-wise between my 5 wood and 5 iron.

    • Mike

      Jul 4, 2020 at 9:41 am

      Great post. I just “rediscovered” this recently when I purchased (at a great, almost silly price) a Callaway Epic Flash. Had been struggling w/ 3W “off the deck” for years but thought this time, w/ some recent swing improvements, it might work. It didn’t; trajectory was way too low (even upping the loft to 17). was decent off the tee but still not as good as expected. Ended up: a) getting a slightly lighter shaft for the 3W & then bought the same model in a 5W. My home course doesn’t give me too many opportunities to use a 3W off the tee but I’m loving that club now when I do use it! But I don’t use it off the fairway anymore unless it’s a super windy day & I need to keep the ball really low. I’m loving that 5W off the deck though!

      Years ago I had done some fairway wood testing & found, at my slow-to-moderate swing speed, that hitting a 3W off the deck offered my no more (& sometimes less total yardage) that a 4W or even a 5W. Sometimes in golf (as in life) we “have to get out of our own way”.

  8. Karsten's Ghost

    Jun 28, 2020 at 6:31 am

    This misses the point for mid- to high-handicappers.

    “3-woods” are two categories of clubs; either they’re tee-box clubs (tall face) or they are advancement (short face).

    A 10 or less can strike a ball well enough that most fairway woods are ok for both scenarios. But for the 15+ crowd, it’s not recommended. Either buy one that you plan to normally tee up, or get a 5 wood for off the deck. If you’re a 15+, never buy anything lower than 16º as your second club, unless you have wicked speed and no short game.

    It’s a shame this article does not differentiate the two styles. Even for better players, it’s a decision point. Either way, choose well for your game, and don’t be afraid to go driver-17hybrid, either. Whatever you hit well.

  9. dave

    Jun 28, 2020 at 2:56 am

    How the low-spin modern ball affects slow- and medium-speed swingers’ trajectories when hitting longer clubs off turf is something I don’t think gets picked up enough in club/ball fitting with modern gear.

    I played a lot til about 2000, then played once a year while raising kids, started playing 80-100x a year again three years ago. So I left the game just as the V1 came in. Lowest previous hcp was 9, currently 8.5. Guessing I swing the driver around 95 mph based on my carry distance.

    In other words, I don’t hit it very hard.

    I love/loved my 1972 Hogan Apex blades, which I bought used in the early 90s. But I noticed right away as I started playing again that I couldn’t launch the new balls with the long irons like I could when I played high-spinning balata in the 80s and 90s. Playing Mizuno blades right now but finally understand that it’s horses for courses and I need to get some long irons that have more mass lower down and/or a hotter face to get a decent launch angle with the modern ball at my swing speeds.

    • Matt

      Jun 29, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Balls also differ, so find the optimal ball for your swing speed. Soft compression ball is better for slower swing speeds

  10. Phil

    Jun 27, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    14 degree 3 wood is always in mybag. Can work it both ways and hit it constantly straight. Use it off the tee for tight par 4’s.
    Only use the 7.5 degree drive on long holes or holes with open fairways.
    Looking at getting a 4 wood to give a bit more distance than the 2 iron in winter.
    People should use the 3 wood more, rather than always pulling out the drive. It is more than just a club to use on second shots to par 5’s.

    • ChipNRun

      Jun 30, 2020 at 2:22 pm

      Phil,

      People who are hit-and-miss with 3W (good days and bad days) may suffer from not using it enough. On occasion they should play a 3W for all tee shots and longer fairway shots. Hitting the 3W 15 times a round rather than just two or three can help you get the groove.

      I do this on occasion with my 4W. (I’m a longtime 4W + 7W guy)

  11. Mick

    Jun 27, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    Forget that. 3 wood is my fave club!!. Titleist TS2- rocket launcher. Will never give it up. People need to learn to hit it, anyone can with practice.

  12. Sam

    Jun 27, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    It all has to do with launch angle and spin rate. How you achieve the correct launch angle and spin rate is of course based on loft, shaft, angle of decent, etc… And all those numbers depend on the golfer. Don’t let your ego get in the way if a 16* fairway goes further than your 13*, or your 18 goes further than your 15. Hybrids can’t match the center of gravity of a fairway but for some their steep angle of attack makes hybrids work better for them. Experiment, check your ego’s, and have some fun. That’s what makes golf such a blast.

  13. Twiggy1980

    Jun 27, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    Golf Wrx always talks a load of bollocks

    • BJ

      Jun 28, 2020 at 10:42 am

      Why is the word “bollocks” so funny to me lol

  14. sandtrap

    Jun 27, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Much better basis for the descent angle argument this time Ryan. No weird variables. The last paragraph emphasising the importance of loft and not the number on the club nailed it!

  15. Curt

    Jun 27, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    The hybrid will kill the 5 wood first .

    • gwelfgulfer

      Jun 27, 2020 at 8:22 pm

      Has it yet? Won’t happen. All you need to do is stop with the nonesense of very light weight shafts in woods and just go shorter and heavier. It’ll out launch a hybrid.

      • Jifmoli

        Jul 26, 2020 at 5:17 pm

        Shorter and heavier.. so like a hybrid? I agree with Curt, hybrids are much better than woods except maybe off a tee.

    • Adrian Rodriguez

      Jul 9, 2020 at 2:09 am

      Not in my case. I had a Ping G410 5W and it was the best! Averaging 220-235 yds, decided to switch it for a 3W just to see the difference and OMG I’m going back to Roger Dunn tomorrow for that 5W lol. Hybrid will not kill the 5W, 100%.

      • nomad golfer

        Jul 17, 2020 at 12:15 am

        I did a similar thing Adrian with my TaylorMade RBZ 5W which was a honey of a club but sold it with the TM set. I now have an elderly Brosnan Regent 5w which is good but not as good as the one I sold.

    • Funkaholic

      Aug 12, 2020 at 9:35 am

      I agree, just look at the selection at the PGA store or other big box retailer, you don’t see many 5w in the racks but plenty of hybrids, that should tell you what the best sellers are.

  16. Jordan Evans

    Jun 27, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    So true. I’ve recently gone to a 16.5 deg 4 wood, 21 deg 7 wood and 25 deg hybrid. Everyone of them performs better than the lower lofted clubs they replaced. Higher launch, more carry and better distance. My swing speed is just under 100mph but I tend to deloft most of my clubs and hit down on the ball. For the first time ever I now have 14 clubs in the bag that I have confidence in.

    • Zach Bartness

      Jun 27, 2020 at 3:50 pm

      What’s after your 25 degree hybrid?

    • Slats

      Jun 28, 2020 at 5:13 am

      Yes. Likewise. Realised my traditional 15 deg three wood wasn’t working for me and now have the 16.5 TS2, and 19 and 22 degree hybrid in front of my 5 iron.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Equipment

2020 GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide: Golf gifts for the Purist

Published

on

It’s that time of year again, GolfWRX members, the moment we start filling our wish lists with the golf gear we want this holiday season.

The GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide was created to ensure that our readers give (and hopefully receive) the very best golf gifts on the planet. These gift ideas will suit any budget, and each item was hand-picked by our staff. 

In an effort to provide more value and tailored recommendations, we’re presenting our guide as a series this year, targeting “the purist,” “the gearhead,” “the value seeker,” “the golfer looking to get better,” “the clothes horse,” and “the big spender.”

You know the purist by his/her love forged irons, natural fibers, and Golden Age golf courses. 

Here are our best recommendations for “the purist” in your life.

Titleist Pro V1, Pro V1x: $47.95

 

 

The No. 1 ball in golf, yes, most widely played on the PGA Tour by a wide margin, yes…The performance of the Titleist Pro V1 is doubtless best-in-class. But for the purist, there’s nothing in the golf ball space quite so iconic as the “Titleist” script stamped on the Pro V1.

Buy here.

The Golfer’s Journal: $75/year

Do you subscribe to The Golfer’s Journal? If you consider yourself a purist, it’s surprising if you don’t. And if you’re buying a gift for the purist in your life, TGJ is the perfect pick for superb reading material, best-in-the-golf-media photography, and of course, as a coffee table adornment that signals your aesthetic sensibilities are as high as your appreciation for our maddening game.

Buy here.

Vintage Hogan blades

Classic blade models can be had from many manufacturers, but there’s something about the Ben Hogan Apex—one of the most iconic and influential iron models of all time—that warms the heart of every purist. The 1999 model was an excellent vintage. 

MacKenzie golf bag

The carry bag of choice for golf hipsters and purists alike. We’re big fans of the Waxed Canvas Original Walker (and the “Mac” custom builder).

Buy here.

Louisville Golf: Classic 50’s Series Persimmon Driver

Among companies still making persimmon, Louisville Golf is best in class. And as we all know, nothing resonates in the purist’s soul like a well-struck shot with a persimmon wood. (Our Peter Schmitt took a trip to Louisville Golf and filed this report). You can’t go wrong with the 50’s Series Persimmon.

Buy here

BB&F ferrules

It may seem counter-intuitive that the purist would want something more bold than the traditional black ferrule, that is until you remember that historically, ferrules were often times ringed with at least one color. BB&F is the best (only?) player in the bespoke ferrule game.

Buy here. 

Best Grips

The purist loves all things leather and antiquated. Grips were originally made of leather. Ergo, the purist will be entirely enamored of Best Grips offerings—we recommend the MicroPerf Leather Golf Grip.

Buy here.

Goodwood putter

No shortage of putter makers sit near to the purist’s heart. Tad Moore, T.P. Mills, and Scotty Cameron, among other, fill the wooden racks of both the purist’s home and the corridors of his equipment fantasies. Goodwood, however, which was “Founded on the idea that tradition still holds an important place among new technology in an ever evolving industry,” is plenty appealing to the purist.

Buy here. 

Western Birch Golf tees

Premium wooden tees in classic designs are plentiful, yes, but nobody does it better than Western Birch.

Buy here. 

Golf trip: Sweetens Cove, Bandon

While this is certainly for the budgetarily endowed, what could be better than sending the purist—with his golf architecture obsession—to one of his dream destinations for a round or two? The tracks at Mike Keiser’s Bandon and the Tennessee King-Collins gem are deeply etched on all purist bucket lists.

Buy here.

 

Your Reaction?
  • 15
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW2
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB1
  • SHANK8

Continue Reading

Equipment

2020 GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Big Spender

Published

on

It’s that time of year again, GolfWRX members, the moment we start filling our wish lists with the golf gear we want this holiday season.

The GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide was created to ensure that our readers give (and hopefully receive) the very best golf gifts on the planet. These gift ideas will suit any budget, and each item was hand-picked by our staff. The GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide was created to ensure that our readers give (and hopefully receive) the very best golf gifts on the planet. These gift ideas will suit any budget, and each item was hand-picked by our staff.

In an effort to provide more value and tailored recommendations, we’re presenting our guide as a series this year, targeting “the purist,” “the gearhead,” “the value seeker,” “the golfer looking to get better,” and “the big spender.” In an effort to provide more value and tailored recommendations, we’re presenting our guide as a series this year, targeting “the purist,” “the gearhead,” “the value seeker,” “the golfer looking to improve,” “the clothes horse,” and “the big spender.”

You know the big spender by his/her when the math “golf bag + 14 clubs = more than the value of your car…and maybe house.”

Here are our best recommendations for “the big spender” in your life (and yes, in this scenario, you are a big spender as well).

JuCad Phantom Titan eX 2.0 Electric Push Cart: $4,990

Built from titanium and carbon fiber, the Phantom Titan eX 2.0 is one of the wildest pushcarts in golf. Super minimal design that hides the electric motors and battery in the frame on the cart. Comes with a remote control and double-sided electronic parking brake. Folds up small enough to fit in a large briefcase-sized case.

Buy here.

TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition: $2,500

A smartwatch geared towards golf and crafted by one of the biggest names in luxury watches. TAG Heuer’s Connected Golf Edition gives you GPS data to any point on the golf course and its screen is bright and easy to read. It has the most comfortable band I have ever strapped on my wrist to keep it in place throughout the swing.

Buy here. 

Foresight GCQuad Launch Monitor: $20,500

This is one of the best launch monitors on the market and the best option for anyone stuck practicing indoors. The GCQuad accurately measures your clubbed through impact and has a Putting Analysis option to dial in your flagstick. The GCQuad will accurately measure your ball speed, clubhead speed, launch angle, spin, carry distance, and many more metrics.

Buy here.

Footjoy 1857 Shield Tip Golf Shoes: $495

Is there a more classic and well build golf shoe out there? Crafted from soft calfskin leather the 1857 Shield Tips are built with full leather linings and outsole. A Good Year rubber welt keeps the waterproof and a cork underlay cushions your feet hold after hole.

Buy here. 

Kjus Gemini Rain Suit: $1,048 ($549 jacket/$499 pants)

The Gemini series is lightweight, breathable, stretchy, and quiet. Creme de la creme of rain suits. It features a reversible design that allows you to also wear it inside out as a warm and ultra-breathable jacket. The Gemini features fully taped seams and an adjustable hem with a drawcord to get the perfect fit.

Buy here.

PXG 0311 Milled Wedges Black: $2,250 ($750/wedge)

Triple forged from 8620 carbon steel and then CNC milled to exact specifications. The iconic PXG weight screws help increase MOI and fine-tune CG location. Weight in the toe moves the CG higher for increased spin and better consistency on open-faced shots.

Buy here.

Titleist CNCPT Irons: $4,500 ($500/iron)

CNCPT irons are an exercise in engineering and pushing the limits of iron design. Titleist uses the CNCPT line to try new materials that have never been used in the golf space as well as packing more tech into smaller spaces. With three different models available, there is a set of irons for the low to high handicap player.

Buy here. 

Dormie Workshop “The Green Jacket” Headcover: $190

Who isn’t still thinking of the Masters and that green jacket? Dormie Workshop created this amazing headcover to pay homage to the most iconic piece of clothing in golf. Made from high-quality leather, this could be the crown jewel of your golf bag accessories.

Buy here. 

Full Swing VG2 Virtual Putting Green: $61,000+

This has to be one of the most advanced and customizable putting greens in the world. Dozens of individual actuator modules shape and mold the green into real-world topographies so you can practice any putt you can think of.

Buy here.

 

2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS: $160,000+

If it is good enough for Rickie to promote all weekend during the Masters, it should be good enough for any unlimited budget golfer! With massaging seats and every luxury option you can think of, the Maybach GLSGLS could be what you need to relax after a rough round. Just remember, Joe Skovron (Rickie’s caddy) says the back seats should be set to 38 degrees of recline for optimal seating!

Buy here.

 

 

Your Reaction?
  • 2
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

Equipment

GolfWRX Classifieds (11/24/20): Button Back, Titleist TSi2, Bettinardi tour department DASS

Published

on

At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member KingKong – Titleist TSi2 3-wood

It’s new, it’s fast, it’s forgiving, and it can now be yours for a great deal!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: TSi2 fairway 

Member bigD77 – Tour Dept DASS Bettinardi

This is one very good looking putter. Made from Bettinardi’s DASS it also comes with a custom weld neck and Fit Face. Feel good, look good, putt good with this in your bag.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Tour Bettinardi

Member Beege35 – Scotty Cameron Button Back

Cameron “Button Backs” also known as TEi3 putters are highly sought after for their looks and feel, and this Newport is in stunningly mint condition—so you better act fast.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: SC Button Back 

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

Your Reaction?
  • 3
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending