3 wood versus 4 wood?

Hello,

The worst part of my game is fairway woods and a lack of accuracy, no questions about that. I've been going to all the demo days, hitting this year's new equipment offerings and three manufacturers have stood out including Titleist (suprised me greatly). I hit the 910F quite well and they felt GREAT but like many I struggle with getting a 3 wood off the ground where as I seem to hit a 4 wood fine. However, with the adustability Titleist offers, I realize I could increase the loft on a 3 wood from 15 degrees to 16.5 whereas a 4 wood has 17 degrees.

I think the 3 wood has a slightly larger clubhead but the 4 wood's shaft is 1/2 an inch shorter. Which club would likely help me hit more fairways off the tee? Which club would be easier to manage as I try to hit draws and fades off the tee?

Thank you all for your insights

The golf mags have run various articles recently about how amateurs tend to do better with 4 woods than 3 woods (google "golf digest 4 wood instead of 3 wood"), esp. if you have problems with hangtime/launch.

Dan W

Hello,

The worst part of my game is fairway woods and a lack of accuracy, no questions about that. I've been going to all the demo days, hitting this year's new equipment offerings and three manufacturers have stood out including Titleist (suprised me greatly). I hit the 910F quite well and they felt GREAT but like many I struggle with getting a 3 wood off the ground where as I seem to hit a 4 wood fine. However, with the adustability Titleist offers, I realize I could increase the loft on a 3 wood from 15 degrees to 16.5 whereas a 4 wood has 17 degrees.

I think the 3 wood has a slightly larger clubhead but the 4 wood's shaft is 1/2 an inch shorter. Which club would likely help me hit more fairways off the tee? Which club would be easier to manage as I try to hit draws and fades off the tee?

Thank you all for your insights

I would personally go with a 4 wood.   Not much of a difference in distance (about 5-7 yards).   You'll have more opportunities to use a 4 wood and, because of the shorter shaft, more control.  I haven't carried a 3 wood since 2006 (when I started playing again and when I changed from steel shafted persimmons) and my main issue is that I would either slice them or balloon a dead straight shot; quite frankly, I hit an 18* 5 wood just as far and a 43 inch fairway wood is just way too long.   I had a 975F 16.5 and 20.5 (4W and 7W) reshafted to DG R300 and I played with them for 3 years; had no problem hitting off the grass. 

You can also set the 4 wood to 18* (that is what the old school loft of a 4W was).

I remember in 2007 my dad telling me that some of the teaching pros recommended a 4 and 7 wood vice a 3 and 5 wood (IMHO, 7 woods are the best thing since sliced bread).  This leaves room for more wedges. 

My bag currrently has a 5-18 wood and 4-21 hybrid for long distance needs (I set the length to 42"  on the wood and 40" on the hybrid); recently got em new on clearance with some trade ins.   I can swing away with both and nail them on the fairway (the 4H plays more like a short fairway wood and I hit it just as far as my old 7W).  

A common dilemma to the amateur golfer.  If your swing speed is likely to decline in the next 5-10 years (if you are over 45), go with the 17 degree club.  Unless you decide to spend more time to improve your swing, go with the 17 degree.  The shorter the club length, the more accurate you will be with your contact.  The 16.5 degree adjustment won't improve your accuracy with the longer length club.  Every good contact with a 4W over a muffed 3W will have the potential to save you a stroke.  10 even 15 yards more with a 3W will not likely save you a stroke, just one club shorter.

Dan, I have the 910 Fd 15 degrees( this is the bigger head 3 wood the 910 F is smaller)i use this club of the T and the FW and is one of the best FWoods that I have ever used. However, this is a 15 degree but at its normal setting it is in fact a 16.3 degree. it is unfortunate but the 910 series woods have very inconsistant lofts due to the ajustabile hozels and fittings. I play my 3 wood with a 4 wood shaft length, being 3/4 inch shorter than the 3 wood. this makes a differance in that I hit it very consistant and have lost no distance. the smaller 3 wood head with a shorter shaft could be a very good pic.

I also found a 980F 15* pretty easy to hit (I also had mine shortened by 1/2").  Not the greatest distance (I got about 190 out of it most of the time but hit it 230 one time).   It worked with my two Louisvilles (5/21 and 10/28 persimmons) and shot 42 for 9 with that combo.  The 980F 19* was also pretty easy to hit off a hard lie.

~42" is a good length for a fairway wood.   43" is just way too long.   Probably explains why I could hit a 3 wood so well in the old days. 

My two cents is keep an open mind and try both at the fitting booth (the launch monitor/simulator is a good start and I used this in determining whether to buy a 16.5* 4W, 18* 5W or 18*  3H; the 18* 5W won the contest).  The mat is pretty equivalent for hitting off a tight lie (I have something I call the "Sorrento Canyon Test" where I hit a bucket of golf balls at that driving range; it has some pretty thin mats).  If one can absolutely CRUSH a 3 wood off the deck, more power; however, a majority of us would fare much better with a 42" 17 or 18* fairway wood.  You may find you have an ability to ANNIHILATE the more lofted club and actually hit it farther.  In San Diego, CA, for instance, a 3 wood is almost useless for anything other than tee shots on a few of the courses (they are cropped pretty close and the ground is like clay).   

 

Hey Dan,

I would go with the 4 wood. With the combination of loft, shaft length, and launch, everything should equate to better numbers. In other words, you'll get it off the ground easier, you'll get more distance (if a three wood is a struggle), you'll be more consistent, more confident, and you'll play better. I play a 15* 3 wood, but its at 16.5 so it plays as a 4 wood. In addition to the loft, I have a hooking issue, so the extra adjustability gives me a bit more fade, causing only a soft draw. If you're looking for shape, loft = spin, spin = shape. Everything else is by personal preference. Hope this helps!

-Nunzio

The verdict is pretty much close to unanimous.  There are probably a couple here and there in TT that can hit a 13.5 or 15 wood off the deck but a good majority of us fare better with a 17 or 18* wood in the bag.   Part of playing better golf is working smarter and not harder. 

 

I have also had the same prob with previous fairway 3's.  Now carry a 17 and 21deg 910H...both of which I LOVE!!  Found a 910F 15deg on Kijiji that I can't pass on!  Hopefully this one works better for me.  It is a Titleist after all!  My 910H 17 gets me about 195-210 at best...still searching for that 225 second shot cl

I use both a 15 degree 3 wood and a 17 degree hybrid. I have always been a picker and not a digger so hitting a 3 wood off the deck has never been a problem. One thing I do not do is if I do not have a reasonable flat lie I then will use the 17 degree hybrid. The 3 wood is my 210-220 club and the 17 degree is my 190- 200 club.

Another +1 for the 4-wood or even maybe a 5-wood. I gave up a number of years ago attempting to hit a 3-wood from the Fairway. 

Over the last 4-months I've changed out the top end of my bag. I now carry a 913F 5-wood / 19* Sure Fit setting @ B-2.  I have way more confidence hitting a 5-wood from the Fairway, compared to a 3-Wood. I do believe the stock length of 42" is a big factor in the ability to hit this club cleanly from the Fairway. 

I also carry a 913H 21* and 913H 24* with the Sure Fit setting @ C-4 on both. One of great things about these Titleist clubs is the independent loft & lie settings, along with the availability of different stock shafts. I have the Bassara shaft in all 3 clubs.

Since that last post, I have basically thrown the towel in on a 3-15 fairway wood and a 3-19 hybrid. 

I get exactly the same distance with a 5-18 fairway as a 3-15. 

I hit a 21 fairway considerably farther than  a 19 hybrid.   I found a 3 yard gap between a 22 hybrid and 26 hybrid and I actually lose distance with a 3-19 hybrid.  I have a 15 yard gap between my 21 fairway and 26 hybrid.

 

I carry a 910D3 that is set to 10.25* and a 913F 15* that I use as my three wood.....I can outdrive most people off the tee with the  15* and hit a natural draw with it, which I like...my next club is a 913H 17* hybrid and again can outdrive the averge people of the tee with it.....next comes a 910H 19* which produces a nice high soft shot and then a 913H 24* for going over trees then I go to my irons 5-PW......I love my Titleist clubs driver to wedges....those H clubs really save us older guys....at 67 I need all the help I can get.....I get about 5 yards per degree in my clubs on the average......at least it seems that way......depends on how I hit the ball.....

I think you need to experiment for yourself to decide. I've had many 3 woods that I hit great off the tee but not off the deck. A tour player I have the occasion to play with gave me an old TM 200 3 wood. They have a smaller head and it fixed it. I tried the 913f 15 and hit it great. Many companies have gone to big oversized fairways. I can't hit any of them off the deck. I love hitting the 913f 15. I set it at D4 so it's 15.75. I like it so much that I bought the 19. I gotta say the 15 is better. Maybe it's just me. I hit the 913 D3 10.5 with the Diamana S+ 65 in reg, the 913f has the S+ 72 in stiff flex. Hit it much better in stiff than regular. It just goes to show you we are all different. Try yourself without out preconceived ideas of what you need

When I moved to FL 4 years ago I learned many differences in golf between here and NY. One was the firm and very tight lie fairways. I switched to the 17 degree fairway wood. It makes a big difference although I have to admit, sometimes I would rather be in the first cut of rough down here for a fairway wood . It tees it up real nice for you.

                                                                                                       Frank P