4 Iron vs 3 Wood – Which Club Is Better To Carry

The big old debate between a long Iron and Fairway Wood. Both are not your easiest clubs to hit, as your 4 Iron is generally your longest Iron in the bag and your 3 Wood is even longer with a shallow profile making it tough to hit too.

The main questions you need to ask yourself are; When do I need to hit? How often do I hit it? How far do I hit it? Do I never need to hit a shot that distance?

These are very important because what is the point of having a club in the bag that you never hit and that you hit a distance you never really need to.

Hopefully this article will help you make those kinds of decisions and answer some questions you may have regarding the two clubs.


Key Differences Between 4 Iron vs 3 Wood

These are two completely different clubs.

The 4 Iron loft ranges from 19 – 23 degrees depending on the model, and you should hit it anywhere from 180 yards to 220 yards depending on your ability.

The 3 Wood loft is generally around 15 degrees and will go anything over 200 yards all the way up to 28 yards.

The length is different too. The 3 Wood is around 43.23 inches in length, where a 4 Iron would be 39 inches. This is also going to make the 3 Wood go further than the 4 Iron.

The head shape and material. A 4 Iron is one of the longest Irons in your bag, this will make it difficult to hit. It is made from Steel and is either forged or cast into shape.

A 3 Wood has a Driver type look, but much smaller, the club is made from Titanium or Steel, and is cast into its shape.


When To Play A 4 Iron

The 4 Iron is a very versatile club. It can be used off a Tee Box if you are looking for accuracy or if you are a beginner, sometimes a 4 Iron can be less intimidating than a Driver.

Usually if you are using it off a Tee Box it will be for accuracy more than distance.

It can also be used off a Fairway, this will be to go onto a Green. Because of the thin sole the club slides through the ground very easily.

And finally because it has such little loft it is easy to keep the ball low, this can come in useful if you are into the wind or need to keep it under trees.

The 4 Iron has the least loft out of your Irons, meaning it can be difficult to get up into the air, if this is the case we would only recommend hitting off of the Tee Box.


When To Play A 3 Wood

Like the 4 Iron the 3 Wood is also versatile. You are able to play it off the Tee Box and Fairway, however playing it off the Fairway will be harder than the 4 Iron.

The 3 Wood has even less loft compared to a 4 Iron, which could make getting it off the ground even harder. That is why teeing the ball up makes it a lot easier.

We only recommend hitting it off the Fairway or Rough if you have a really good lie. If the ball is sitting down slightly it will be difficult for you to get the ball up in the air.


What’s Better Off The Tee, Fairway, Rough etc.

Have a look at the table below, this should give you a good idea of when and when not to use a 4 Iron and 3 Wood.


Off The Tee Fairway Rough Under Trees
Easy Okay Hard Easy Okay Hard Easy Okay Hard Easy Okay Hard
4 Iron X X X X
3 Wood X X X X



4 Irons Pros and Cons


  • Easy to hit off a Tee Box
  • It is a very versatile club
  • Can be used of the Fairway and under Trees
  • Easy to keep low when needed
  • Great for accuracy off the Tee Box


  • Can be difficult to hit off the Fairway and Rough for high handicappers
  • Doesn’t go as far as a 3 Wood
  • You can shank it if hit towards the hosel


3 Wood Pros and Cons


  • Easy to hit off a Tee Box
  • Goes much further than a 4 Iron
  • Good accuracy off the Tee Box


  • It is difficult to hit off the Fairway and Rough
  • Not as versatile as a 4 Iron


Who Should Carry Which Club? And Should You Carry Both?

We recommend everyone carries a 4 Iron or at least a 5 Iron. It can be used everywhere, from the Tee Box and Fairway to the Rough and from under Trees.

It’s great for long par 3’s and accuracy off the Tee Box, it can also be handy to get you out of trouble every now and then.

3 Wood’s are a different story, some professionals don’t even use a 3 Wood. We do not recommend beginners use this club, it’s just too difficult to hit, you would be much better off using a Hybrid or 4 Iron.

We recommend getting fitted for a Fairway Wood, in the fitting you will be able to try out different models with different shafts and lofts.

You will also be able to see the distance you hit it, and from there determine if you actually will use the club or not.

If you don’t need the club or don’t hit it well, then you can decide to add a 5 Wood or Hybrid or even an extra Wedge to your bag.

Don’t feel pressured into using a 3 Wood, I haven’t had one in my bag for years and I haven’t missed it once.


Our Favorite 4 Iron TaylorMade M2

The TaylorMade M2 Iron set is our favorite set in terms of price, look, feel and forgiveness.

The SpeedPocket technology built into these Irons make them incredibly easy to hit and easy to launch.

The super thin face and perimeter weight gives you great ball speed and extra forgiveness.


  • Easy to launch
  • Extremely forgiving
  • SpeedPocket technology
  • Great sound and feel
  • Cheap price point


  • Might not be as long and forgiving as the top of the range models

Overall Score: 94/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:




Best 3 Wood – PING G425

The shallow profile and incredible forgiveness makes the PING G425 our favorite Fairway Wood.

The Facewrap and Spinsistency work together to give you more distance and control for carrying trouble and hitting greens.

It has a tungsten sole plate that increases forgiveness.


  • The shallow face makes it easy to launch
  • Extremely forgiving
  • Facewrap and Spinsistency technology
  • Incredible look and feel


  • Expensive
  • The extremely shallow profile might be off putting to some

Overall Score: 95/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:



Both clubs form a very important role in your bag. You just need to decide how often you are going to use it and how well you hit it.

The 4 Iron is a must in all bags, the versatility is endless, it can be your go to club off the Tee Box or your get out of jail club from the trees.

The 3 Wood is a difficult club to hit, but if you can manage to hit it well it can be a bullet off the Tee Box and get you to Par 5’s in two.

We recommend getting fitted for both, that way you will be able to see how well you hit them and compare it to other alternatives.