Driving Iron Vs 5 Wood – What Club Is Better To Use?

What is looking for in a longer club? Do you desire a club that delivers a high launch and soft landings? Or do you seek an iron the generates minimal spin and promotes a low ball flight and optimal roll?

Although I agree with Butch Harmon’s sentiments that the average golfer should use a 5-wood instead of a 3-wood, how does a driving iron vs 5 wood stack up?

In this article, we will examine the pros and cons of both clubs to help you decide which club will be most beneficial to your game.

Driving Iron Vs 5 Wood Overview

When I started playing golf the only club that was considered a driving iron option was a 1-iron.

And, as you may recall Lee Trevino famously quipped that “if you are in a lightning storm, hold up a 1-iron because not even God can hit it.”

As a result, I was not prepared to take on that challenge. And so, I have always played with a 5-wood. It helps me achieve a consistent high powerful launch, which leads to soft landings.

Recently, I decided to try a 2-iron that serves as a driving iron. It is easy to hit, and incredibly forgiving. However, it produces a low ball flight, which makes it difficult to get airborne from the rough.

Overall, I still hit my 5-wood further off the tee and can use from various lies.


What Is A Driving Iron For?

The core purpose of a driving iron is to help you hit piercing shots off the tee, helping you gain consistent distance.

Furthermore, the iron offers forgiveness in terms of accuracy by reducing the risk of severe slices and hooks to keep you in play.

Despite its name, the driving iron can be used from the fairway and rough as it provides optimal turf interaction to promote a cleaner strike.


What Is The Purpose Of A 5 Wood?

A 5-wood is designed to help golfers achieve a higher ball flight for consistent distance and soft landings.

Butch Harmon suggests that most average golfers will likely hit their 5-wood as far as their 3-wood and can use it off the tee and on the fairway.


What Type Of Shots Is A Driving Iron Good For?

Driving irons are ideal for hitting low piercing shots that deliver exceptional roll.

If you constantly play in gale-force wind conditions as I do, then you will appreciate a driving iron. It limits the wind’s impact on your shot to deliver consistency.


What Type Of Shots Is A 5 Wood Good For?

A 5-wood is the ideal club to hit higher shots that carry long and land softly.

If you play on courses with tight greens and fairways where your ball needs to sit quickly, then a 5-wood is the answer.

These shots work on longer Par 3’s and on approach when you need to land the ball quickly.


What’s Better Off The Tee?

On a normal day in perfect conditions, I would hit a 5-wood off the tee every time.

The longer shaft and large clubhead help me generate increased clubhead speed, leading to accelerated ball speed and a powerful launch.

However, when the wind is in play, the lower launch and increased roll of a driving iron is your best option.


What Is Better Out Of The Rough?

Based on the higher flight of a 5-wood, it is generally easier to hit out of the rough, as you can combat the lie with increased MOI.

The lower ball flight and spin from a driving iron will cost you yards.

Can You Hit A Driving Iron Off The Fairway?

Yes, you can hit a driving iron off the fairway.

I recommend doing so in instances where the wind speeds are high, and you need to keep the ball low and run it up to the green.


Who Should Use A Driving Iron?

A driving iron is best suited to players who generate sufficient ball speed and are searching for a more controlled piercing ball flight off the tee.

Furthermore, a driving iron is of value to those who play in windy conditions or on links courses where maximum roll is required.


Who Should Use A 5 Wood?

If Harmon had his way, every average golfer would be using a 5-wood, and I have to agree, given how easy it is to launch the club.

However, golfers who play on tight courses where you need length and a quick bite into the green will benefit from a 5-wood.

The high consistent launch leads to soft landings that enable you to hold tiny greens surrounded by trouble.


What Are The 3 Advantages Of A Driving Iron

Low Ball Flight

A driving iron is designed to deliver a lower ball flight, ideal for faster swinging players who gain excessive height with a fairway wood.

Furthermore, the lower ball flight is suited to windy conditions where you need to keep your ball flying low and out of the elements.


Optimal Roll

The low ball flight delivered by a driving iron creates optimal roll.

This feature is ideal for those who play in windy conditions or on a links course.



While an off-center strike may lead to a loss of distance, a driving iron helps you maintain accuracy.

The reason for this is the reduced spin and ball speed generated, resulting in minor misses when your swing is off.


What Are The 3 Advantages Of A 5 Wood


In this article, Butch Harmon explains that the weaker loft of a 5-wood helps you consistently get the ball airborne.

This is specifically beneficial to those of you who struggle to generate optimal ball speed.

Soft Landing

As a result of the launch of the 5-wood, the ball travels high and lands softly.

The quick bite helps your ball to hold compact greens, avoiding bunkers or nearby water hazards.


A 5-wood is more versatile in comparison to a driving iron.

The ease at which you can get the ball in the air makes it suitable to use from the tee, fairway, and rough.


Disadvantages Of A Driving Iron

Loss of Distance

The reduced spin and ball speed generated by a driving iron means you stand to lose distance on off-center strikes.

As a result, I don’t suggest playing with a driving iron if you are an average ball striker and struggle to generate optimal ball speed. I would stay away from a driving iron.



The lower ball flight generated from a driving iron is ideal for roll.

But it is unsuitable for getting your ball to sit quickly on tight greens. If your home course is tight. You may prefer the soft landing of a 5-wood.


Disadvantages Of A 5 Wood


While a 5-wood is brilliant for prompting a high ball flight and soft landings, it is undesirable for windy conditions.

Not only will you lose distance into the wind, but you will also put your ball at the mercy of the wind direction.


A 5-wood is typically more forgiving in terms of distance consistency, but it can deliver catastrophic results on the accuracy front.

Remember that the higher you hit the ball, the further offline you stand to go if you slice or hook your shot, leaving you in serious trouble.


Best Driving Iron – TaylorMade P790 UDI

The P790 UDI is created for the golfer looking for a clean players driving iron with minimal offset and a superior feel.

Furthermore, the P790 is designed with low-profile tungsten weighting. It lowers the CG to promote a higher launch.

Finally, the thin wrap-around forged face combines with Thru-slot Speed Pockets to deliver explosive ball speed, distance, and forgiveness.


  • Clean look
  • Explosive ball speed
  • High launch
  • Optimal forgiveness
  • Increased distance


  • Low ball flight may cause players with slower swing speeds to lose significant distance
  • Not ideal for shots out of the rough

Overall Score: 94/100

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Best 5 Wood – Callaway Epic Speed Fairway Wood

Callaway’s Epic Speed 5-wood is designed to deliver exceptional clubhead and ball speed to deliver a consistent piercing ball flight for lower speed and increased distance.

The C300 Maraging steel face creates increased speed across the face even on off-center strikes for optimal forgiveness.


  • High-velocity ball speed across the face
  • Increased forgiveness
  • Flexible face
  • Mid-level of launch
  • Low to mid-spin
  • Draw bias


  • Players who struggle to generate optimal ball speed may find the mid-level of launch too low.
  • No changeable weight

Overall Score: 95/100

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Conclusion Of A Driving Iron vs 5 Wood

Looking at a driving iron vs 5 wood, we see that both clubs hold value for the right player.

Golfers who prefer a low ball flight will likely connect better with a driving iron. However, the average golfer will appreciate and benefit from the versatility and mid to high launch of a 5-wood.

It is for this reason that I recommend you play with a 5-wood over a driving iron. Especially as an average golfer. If you are looking for a new 5-wood, you can learn more about the Callaway Epic Speed 5 wood here.