3 Wood vs. 3 Hybrid: Which Should You Use?

Golf is a very popular pastime, no matter where you are in the world. And though it seems like an easy thing to pick up, in truth, there is a lot of knowledge and technique that goes into playing golf. Part of that knowledge is knowing when to use, which club, and what material is the best for each club.

You should use a 3 wood club if you want to achieve longer and lower shots on a clean and even green and if you are an advanced player. If you are new to golf, consider using a 3 hybrid, as it will give you greater accuracy; however, it will not give you as much distance as a 3 wood will.

Throughout this article, we will be helping you choose the best club for your preference, and we will be discussing what ‘3’ golf clubs are for, what the difference between 3 wood and 3 hybrids are, and which one of the two you should use. Let us dive right in!

What Is a “3” Golf Club?

If you are new to golf, telling the difference between all of the different types of golf clubs and knowing why and when you need to use each one can be confusing and sometimes downright off-putting, but once you’ve learned the basics of each club, you’ll understand why there are so many.

To understand the difference between a 3 wood and a 3 hybrid, and to know which one of the two you should use, you first need to understand what a ‘3’ golf club is and what it is used for.

Each golf club has a number assigned to it that indicates its ‘loft,’ which can be described as the angle of the golf club’s face. The angle of a golf club’s face will influence the distance the ball travels and the height it reaches.

The lower the number on the club, the lower the loft of the clubface will be.

This means that the clubface’s angle will be lower, and so the ball will travel at a lower angle when hit. However, it also means that the ball can travel a lot farther.

The average distance for a man using a 3 wood, for instance, is 230 yards (210 meters).

A number 3 club is often referred to as one of the fairway clubs because they are most often used during the game’s second shot when players are on the fairway.

They are used to deliver low and long shots. The shaft of a ‘3’ club is typically ½ an inch (1.27 cm) shorter than that of a driver, making it roughly 441/2 inches (113 cm) long, and they have a loft angle of anywhere between 15° and 23°.

Now that you know the basics of a ‘3’ golf club, we can move on to the differences between a 3 wood and a 3 hybrid golf club.

What Is the Difference Between a 3 Wood and a 3 Hybrid?

Understanding the difference between a wood and a hybrid golf club will help you decide when you want to buy your first (or a new) golf club.

3 wood golf clubs have been around for a very long time and were created with the aim of allowing golfers to get some extra distance in their shots, especially on the fairway.

However, many golfers have said that it is challenging to strike accurately from the deck when using a 3 wood, and they were much easier to use where one could tee the ball up.

When hybrids were first introduced (relatively recently), they were sometimes marketed as ‘rescue clubs’ that would help golfers improve their game.

They were made because golfers were having trouble with consistency and accuracy when using their long irons. They were mostly used by the beginner or intermediate players, but now even the pros use hybrids.

Hybrids have been consistently growing in popularity because the clubhead’s size and design make them a lot easier to strike than a 3 iron, giving golfers much more confidence in what they can expect from their shot.

They have become so popular that many golf club manufacturers have removed the 3 irons from their sets and have instead given players the option of purchasing a 3 hybrid.

But let us move away from the marketing side of things now, and get into the real differences between 3 wood and 3 hybrids.

Difference in Loft

The first difference you will find between the 3 wood and 3 hybrid club is the difference in loft angles.

They differ a great deal for two clubs with the same number, and therefore you will also see a considerable difference in the distance at which you can hit a ball with each of these clubs.

As explained previously, the loft angle of a club’s face has a significant impact on the distance it can travel and the height it can reach as it travels.

A 3 wood club’s loft angle is usually anywhere from 15 to 18 degrees, while the angle on a 3 hybrid’s clubface is more likely to be around 22 or 23 degrees.

As you can see, this is quite a big difference, but it also means that these two types of number 3 clubs are not really in direct competition with each other in terms of trajectory, as each of them will provide golfers with a different result.

Striking a ball with a 3 wood will give players a more extended shot, while hitting with a 3 hybrid will offer players more height.

Both of these will come in handy in different situations, and depending on which of these two factors you value more; you will either choose to use a 3 wood or a 3 hybrid golf club.

The Difference in Material and Construction

Next, let us talk about the different materials used to make 3 wood and 3 hybrid clubs as well as the way they are constructed.

The clubhead of a 3 wood is either made from steel, titanium, or a composite. Steel is often used because it is inexpensive and easily manufactured into a small clubhead for a 3 wood. It is also quite a forgiving metal while remaining strong.

Titanium is not used as much for 3 wood clubheads, but a fair few manufacturers prefer to use titanium over steel.

It is a lightweight metal that allows manufacturers to play around with the other components of their clubheads, like moving the center of gravity lower and further to the back of the head, making them more forgiving than steel wood clubs.

However, titanium is an expensive metal to use, making these clubs pricey.

The newest type of wood clubhead is called the composite club head.

Manufacturers use carbon (which is quite a light material) for the crown or the rear of the club, which allows them to weigh their clubheads lower and around the perimeter.

It also makes them more forgiving and lowers manufacturing costs.

The clubhead of a 3 hybrid is usually made of a mix of graphite, steel, and iron, which gives it strength and a lot of forgiveness when hitting a ball.

They also often have a hollow back, allowing manufacturers to further move their center of gravity backward without offsetting the clubhead’s balance.

Shaft Differences

The shafts of 3 wood and 3 hybrid clubs are made of graphite, though they have some other differences like their lengths and thickness.

The shaft of a 3 wood club is often ½ an inch (1.27 cm) longer than the shaft of a 3 hybrid; however, a hybrid’s shaft is slightly heavier than a wood’s shaft because it is slightly thicker (about 1/16 of an inch or 0.16 cm).

The thicker shaft of a hybrid will allow for less twisting of the clubhead when it strikes the ball, making for more accurate shots than those of a wood club.

However, 3 woods often have adjustable hosels while 3 hybrids do not, meaning that you can adjust the angle of the face of a 3 wood but not 3 hybrids.

Difference in Clubheads

There are also a few differences between a 3 wood and a 3 hybrid in terms of clubheads, although they might look quite similar at first glance.

The clubhead of a 3 wood club has an increased volume over that of a 3 hybrid clubhead. However, the 3 hybrid’s clubhead’s sole is more forgiving than the sole of a 3 wood’s head since it is slightly narrower.

The 3 wood’s center of gravity is usually located further to the back of the clubface. A 3 hybrid’s center of gravity is often situated a lot closer to the actual clubface. The location of a 3 wood’s center of gravity will ensure that players get the longest distance out of their shots, while a 3 hybrid will give them better accuracy and control.

A 3 wood golf club’s clubface is bigger than the face of a 3 hybrid’s club, giving it a greater sweet spot than the hybrid. However, a 3 wood face is often slightly curved or bulging outwards, whereas the face of a 3 hybrid mimics that of an iron club and is flat. This means players can hit the ball squarely more easily with a hybrid than with wood.

Differences in Accuracy and Consistency

Your shots’ accuracy and consistency will depend not only on the type of golf club you use; in fact, it mostly depends on how well you play. The shorter shaft and evenly balanced club head of a 3 hybrid club will give them accurate shots more consistently than a 3 wood for beginner and intermediate players. However, they may be sacrificing a bit of distance by using a hybrid.

More advanced players often gravitate towards 3 wood golf clubs because they have developed the skills needed to hit their balls with the same accuracy on a consistent basis and appreciate having the extra distance in their shots. However, if they sometimes strike their ball slightly off-center, it will more likely go offline than if they were using a 3 hybrid.

Distance Difference

Based on what you have read previously, you should be able to guess that a 3 wood club will give your shot more distance than a 3 hybrid club can. However, in turn, a hybrid will provide you with more height, which can come in handy if you are playing on an uneven or rough green or if your ball accidentally lands in a sandpit.

3 hybrids are often used to replace 3 irons, and their shots have a similar expected distance of about 180 to 210 yards (164.6-192 m). However, the distance players can achieve with a 3 wood is usually around 230 yards (210.3 m), which is beneficial in reaching a par 5 green with more ease.

However, any golf shot’s distance is always very dependent on the player, how strong their swing is, and how they use their club. Some players will hit their balls farther, and some will not hit them as far.

If you are interested, here is a video that you can watch that compares hybrids and woods:

Which One Should You Use?

There is never going to be one perfect club for every player and every situation, no matter how hard manufacturers try to make such a thing. Thus every player’s preference and opinion on which one is the better golf club will always differ.

And as you can tell from this article, there are many differences between the two that benefit different reasons. A 3 wood will allow you to hit longer shots, while a 3 hybrid will provide better accuracy.

Generally speaking, if you are playing on a clean and clear green with an even surface or playing against the wind’s direction, it is best to use a 3 wood club.

However, if you are playing on an uneven surface or the rough of the golf course, if you are not a very advanced player and need a lot of forgiveness from your club, and if you are playing downwind, a 3 hybrid club will be your best bet at getting the shot you want.

So it depends on which factors you need to consider and what you want from your club that will decide which of the two you choose.

However, 3 hybrids were technically made to replace 3 irons and not 3 woods, so you might even find that you have both a 3 wood and a 3 hybrid in your golf bag and end up taking your 3 iron out.

Ultimately it is all a matter of personal preference, and you should not feel forced to change your golf setup if it already works for you.

But if you want to change things up a bit, consider replacing the number 3 club you have with either a wood or a hybrid, depending on what you find will be most beneficial to your gameplay.

Some Other Factors to Keep in Mind

While the data presented in this article may compel you to go one way or the other, there are other external factors that you will need to take into consideration when choosing between a 3 wood and a 3 hybrid.

Every golf course you play on will be different and therefore will have a type of club that is better suited to playing on it.

You will need to keep elevation gain and wind speed and direction, and the conditions of the green in mind while you play to make sure you are using the right club for the given situation.

You should also know that certain clubs are easier to use depending on the level of experience and how good of a player you are.

So with that said, knowing the statistical and factual benefits of each type of club is just as important as knowing how external factors will affect how well the clubs can and will perform.

It is also good to remember that clubs from different manufacturers will also vary, even if they have the same number attached to them.

This is because every manufacturer has a different manufacturing process and a differing process of categorizing their clubs. So when you are trying out different types of clubs, it is best to stick with one manufacturer to limit the variance you will encounter.


Trying to find the right golf club for your needs can be quite tricky, but there is one thing that has never failed anyone; trial-and-error.

No matter how much research is done or how much data is presented, you will not find the right number 3 club for you until you have tried a few different ones.

In any event, finding a golf club that you enjoy using will take time, so do not stop trying until you have found one that works the way you want it to.


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