Struggling with the 3 Wood?

John Stahlschmidt
PGA Director of Instruction
JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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Do you struggle hitting your 3 wood from the fairway? We have all seen those tour players launch a 3 wood from a tight lie straight up into the stratosphere. So the best players in the world can do it but why not me?  A 3 wood doesn’t have an abundance of loft so it is difficult to launch the ball up in the air. In addition, unless you have club head speed like a tour player, over 100 MPH, the ball isn’t going to spin much. With the absence of spin, the ball will not rise and stay in the air very long.   

Many of you need to maximize the distance from the fairway on your second shot. It is important to advance the ball as close to the green as possible in regulation to setup a par or bogey scoring opportunity. If the 3 wood isn’t doing the job, try a 5 wood or a hybrid. With just a few more degrees of loft, the 5 wood is much easier to launch into the air. In addition, it will be easier to carry the 5 wood farther than a 3 wood. Hybrids are great as well. The hybrid was designed to make it easier to get the ball up in the air. Certainly they are a lot easier to get airborne compared to long irons.

It might be a good time of year to go through that bag and eliminate some clubs you don’t need. I would highly recommend replacing that stubborn 3 wood with a 5 wood or hybrid. You will have much more success hitting the ball up in the air on a consistent basis. Save the 3 wood for a narrow tee shot or to stoke your fire during this winter’s chilly nights.

John Stahlschmidt, PGA is the Director of Instruction at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, AZ. To schedule a lesson or to comment, email John at