5 Wood Vs 3 Wood Vs 7 Wood – Which Club Should I Use & When

When discussing fairway woods, the most recognized club that comes to mind is the 3-wood. It’s common to find golfers pack a 5-wood, but it is not as frequent a occurrence to find a golfer packing a 7-wood.

That is due to hybrid clubs frequently replacing these woods since they have similar lofts and can be much easier to wield for most players.

The world number one golfer Dustin Johnson often changes between a 3-hybrid and a 7-wood depending on the course and the conditions.

If it is good enough for the leading player in the world, you have to consider a 3-wood vs 5-wood vs 7-wood and ask the question “which club should I use and when?”

Just as hybrids are aimed at replacing your long irons, the 5-wood and a 7-wood are of similar loft to the long irons. That begs the question as to how you decide whether a hybrid or a fairway wood would be better for your game.


Hybrid Vs Wood Construction

The head of a hybrid combines the best attributes of an iron with the best attributes of a wood.

Hybrids generally have a lower and deeper center of gravity than that found on fairway woods thus making them easier to hit than fairway woods and the hybrid also cuts through the rough more effectively.

In the same vein, the average golfer finds it easier to hit a fairway wood off the deck than using a long iron.

The major difference between a hybrid club and a fairway woods is the size of the fairway woods sole. It is approximately twice the size of a hybrid thus doubling the chance of getting stuck in the turf on a mishit.

Hybrids are also more forgiving and get the ball airborne at a higher trajectory than a fairway wood.

That being said, your preference of using woods or hybrids is a one for each individual to make. For me personally, I like to carry 2 woods and 2 hybrids. There is nothing like hitting it far and straight off the fairway with a wood, although the hybrid or rescue club can be utilized to get you out of any tricky situations.

This video will give you some insight into the differences.

Overview Of 5 Wood vs 3 wood vs 7 Wood

The 3-wood fairway club is generally part of the make-up of a complete set and can be found in most bags. The 3 wood can be used off the tee or off the deck and it can help to sort out a lot of problems for high handicappers who cant hit their drivers.

The 5 wood is likely to be part of a golfers array of clubs, it is perfect for a long, high and direct flight towards the green. If you take to using a 5 wood, it can be a go to club in your bag when you hit the fairway.

The 7 Wood is more of an acquired taste, if you love to hit the 3 and 5 wood and get the best performance from them, it can make sense to carry the 7 wood as well, especially if you struggle to hit irons or hybrids.

Golfers tend to replace a 3 iron with a 5-wood and can replace a 4 iron with a 7-wood.

You are likely to get slightly more height and distance from a 5-wood and 7-wood than you will get from the corresponding iron due to the larger clubhead on the woods.

Just as loft changes on the various clubs, the shaft length gets shorter as the number of the wood increases. That means that you can create a wider arc with a 3 wood than with a 5 wood or 7 wood thus generate more speed and distance.

The 5 wood will generally have a longer and flat trajectory than the 7 wood as the 3 wood will with the 5 wood.


Differences Between 3 & 5 Wood

The lofts are different between a 3 (15 to 18 degrees) and a 5 wood (20 to 22 degrees). While a 3-wood is often referred to as a fairway wood the 5-wood is frequently referred to as a utility wood.

A 3 wood is more suitable for replacing a driver off the tee than a 5 wood. The higher loft on the 5 wood will create a higher launch and thus a decrease in distance. The higher ball flight generate by a 5 wood will result in a softer landing and lose out on the amount of roll you may get.

The higher trajectory of a 5 wood is also more prone to wind than the 3 wood.


Loft & Distance Comparison Table

The loft of the club greatly influences the distance that you can hit every club. However, there is no specification in the rules of golf to fix the loft of your clubs.

Modern technology has enabled manufacturers to make the loft stronger on the clubs thus increasing the distance you hit your clubs.

This is used as a selling point since manufacturers use this as an advertising ploy to show how much more distance they get from their clubs.

Since there is no official guideline and it differs across brands, we will provide indicative figures only:

  • 3 Wood: 15 – 18 Degrees Of Loft

  • 5 Wood: 20 – 22 Degrees Of Loft

  • 7 Wood: 24 – 26 Degree Of Loft


Pros And Cons & Characteristics Of A 3 Wood Over The Others

3 Woods tend to have a loft of between 15 – 18 degrees thus creating a penetrating ball flight and roll out.

They have the longest shaft of the woods under discussion thus you can generate the most speed with a 3 wood.

Oftentimes, for high handicappers, the loft on their driver can be too strong for the swing speed or the driver is too long to hit and they can get a much better performance off the tee with a 3 wood.

Also perfect from the fairway on par 5’s or long par 4’s with it’s low, long and penetrating ball flight.


Pros And Cons & Characteristics Of A 5 Wood Over The Others

A 5 wood generally comes in a loft between 18 degrees and 21 degrees therefore the golf ball gets airborne sooner and produces a higher trajectory.

The 5 wood is commonplace in many bags and it fills in the distance gap between the 3 wood and the 4 hybrid.

A perfect club for high, straight shots from a perfect lie on the fairway.


Pros And Cons & Characteristics A 7 Wood Over The Others

A 7 wood generally comes in a loft between 21 degrees and 23 degrees and is an ideal replacement for a 4 iron.

It produces the highest, shortest trajectory of the woods compared today.

The higher trajectory causes it to lose distance compared to the 3 wood and the 5 wood, but if you find that you hit your woods better than irons or hybrids from the fairway, the 7 wood can be a great option.

It is true that more people should possibly have a 7 wood as part of their club sets.


When Does It Make Sense To Carry A 7 Wood?

Some golfers are of the opinion that only golfers with low swing speed will benefit from using a 7 wood. However, the fact that Dustin Johnson carries a 7 wood should put that argument to rest.

The 7 wood has a ½ inch shorter shaft than the 3 wood and 5 wood making it easier to control. The extra loft makes it much easier to launch high for a soft landing on the green on those long approach shots.

A shorter shaft also adds to the consistency in your shots.

The larger sole of the 7 wood makes it easier to use in a variety of conditions from the fairway to the rough with more predictable results. If you like hitting fairway woods, the 7 wood should be on the table as an option.


Do I need a 3 and 5 wood At The Same Time?


Carrying a 3 wood and a 5 wood in your bag can be justified if you consider that they serve different purposes. The 3 wood is ideal for low penetrating ball flight producing a fair amount of rollout.

The 5-wood is a replacement for the 2 or 3 irons and produces a higher ball flight with less rollout.

Furthermore, the 3 wood would be better suited off the tee than the high ball flight produced by a 5 wood.


5 Wood Vs 3 Hybrid – What To Use & When

A 5 wood and a 3 hybrid serve different purposes since the 5 wood replaces a 2 iron or 3 iron while a 3 hybrid is aimed at replacing a 3 or 4 iron.

The 5 wood will generate a higher ball flight than the 3 hybrid and thus land softer on the green.

The 5 wood is recommended for shots from good lies that you want to stop quickly while the 3 hybrid is better for situations where you want more rollout and the hybrid is much better at hitting the ball from the rough.


7 Wood Vs 5 Hybrid

7 woods are meant to replace a 4/5 iron while the 5 hybrid is aimed at replacing a 4/5 iron and therefore serve mainly the same purpose.

Personal preference will dictate whether you prefer a utility wood or a hybrid.

Ultimately your preferred ball flight as utility woods will produce a higher more arched flight than the 5 Hybrid.


3 Wood Or 5 Wood Off The Tee Vs Other Options

The driver is the most used and preferred club to use off the tee as it generates more distance.

The driver is also the club that is hardest to hit for beginners. the more forgiving loft and shorter shaft of the 3 wood makes it widely used off the tee for beginners.

There are some circumstances where you want to be more circumspect and keep the ball away from hazards that you can reach with your driver.

The 3 wood will produce a lower trajectory with substantial rollout compared to the 5 wood and is preferred of the tee especially in windy conditions,

A 5 wood will produce a high ball flight that could easily be affected by windy conditions.

It also produces a soft landing that makes it easier to control the distance off the tee. The 5 wood off the tee can be perfect for par 3’s or laying up on a dog leg.


Why Do I Hit My 5 Wood Farther Than My 3 Wood?

A shorter shaft on the 5 wood makes it easier to control than a 3 wood thus creating straighter shots whereas a 3 wood is easier to mishit thus generating less distance and possibly more curve on the shot.

If you are hitting the 5 wood further than the 3 wood it is likely down to your shafts being either too stiff or too heavy and you cant get the correct club head speed to the your 3 wood correctly.

Going for a fitting can be a great way to resolve this issue.


Why Do I Hit My 3 Wood Farther Than My Driver?

Slower swing speeds are more likely to hit their 3 wood farther than their driver than golfers with fast swing speed.

Typically with high handicappers, their clubs are not configured correctly in a number of ways:

The loft on their driver is too strong ie, 9 degrees of loft instead of 10.5 or 12 degrees

The shafts are too stiff, resulting in low flight and slices

The shafts are too heavy and cant get the correct swing speed for the loft.

To sort this out, go for a driver fitting with your local pro.



Should 3 Wood Shaft Be Stiffer Than Driver?

The shaft flex is dependent on your swing speed, tempo, and strength.

As the shaft of a 3 wood is generally shorter than that on a driver your swing speed be lower and therefore could be softer than the shaft on a driver.


What Mix Of Woods, Irons And Hybrids Should I Carry?

The makeup of your club selection depends entirely on your preferences, swing, and playing conditions.

A recommended club mix can be the following:

Driver, 3 Wood, 5 Wood, 4 Hybrid, 5 Hybrid, 6 – 9 Irons, PW, SW, Putter


Can Hybrids Replace All Of Your Woods And Irons?

Although it is possible to replace your fairway woods with a hybrid it is unlikely to replace your driver.

Hybrids are designed to replace your long irons and comes with lofts as low as 15 degrees putting it in the same spectrum as fairway woods.

However, you are likely to lose distance from hitting a hybrid over a fairway wood.

There are now a number of Hybrid sets that can replace all of your irons. If you struggle hitting woods, you can absolutely replace them with hybrids.


What’s The Difference In Shaft Length?

Shaft lengths vary between manufacturers but a 3-wood shaft is on average between 42 inches and 43 inches, a 5-wood between 41 inches and 42 inches, and a 7-wood between 40 inches and 41 inches.


Which Is Easiest Wood To Hit?

The shorter the shaft, the more control you can exercise over the club and shot hence the 7 wood would be the easiest of the woods under discussion to hit.


What Gives Most Accuracy, Feel And Control?

A shorter shaft improves your ability to increase the accuracy, feel and control thus you would get better results with a 7 wood.


What Shaft Flex Are Best For Each & How Much Difference Do They Make?

Shaft flex is related to your swing speed.

A 3 wood would under normal circumstances generate more speed than the 5 wood which in turn generates more speed than a 7 wood.

A fitting will be the best evaluation to determine the flex required on each wood.


Our Pick Of Our Favorite Fairway Woods


Callaway Big Bertha B21

Callaway Big Bertha fairway woods come with a selection of 15-degree, 18-degree, 21-degree, and 24-degree lofts.

These fairway woods are designed to reduce your slice considerably by generating low spin including sidespin.

Additional technology implemented will assist you the get the ball airborne off the turf while the shallower face and offset promote high launch and draw spin.


  • Draw bias
  • Low spin
  • Multiple loft options


  • Low ball flight

Overall Score: 95/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:



Cobra Radspeed Draw

Cobra Radspeed Draw fairway woods are available in 14.5-degrees, 18.5-degrees, and 22.5 degrees.

Weight distribution nearer the face (16 grams near the face and 7 grams in the back) assists in keeping spin low for a low penetrating ball flight thus fighting the slice promoting a draw.


  • Weight distribution aids low spin
  • Draw bias


  • Fewer loft options than the Callaway Big Bertha B21

Overall Score: 93/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:



TaylorMade SIM2 Titanium Fairway Wood

The TaylorMade SIM2 Titanium fairway woods are available in 14-degrees, 15-degrees, 19-degrees

TaylorMade engineers used the previous version of the SIM fairway woods to improve the versatile V-steel soles and combined it with redesigned the SIM2 heads. This enabled them to move weight lower to the ground for higher launch and more forgiveness.

SIM2 Titanium comes with a smaller and more workable heads with 80-gram sole plates and ZATECH titanium faces for increased accuracy and distance.


  • High launch
  • Improved V-steel sole


  • Only available up to 19-degree loft

Overall Score: 96/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:



Final Thoughts

Fairway and utility woods make getting the ball airborne a much simpler task and ideal for golfers that struggle with long irons or even hybrids.

It offers an alternative with similar lofts that you would find on long irons.

Some golfers may feel it affects their ego to carry a 5 wood or a 7 wood. I say that if it’s good enough for the number one golfer, it’s good enough for you to give it a try.