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3W vs Driver off the tee


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PSG,

You mention #2 which I remember well, my issue wasn't where to aim my drive, but where to layup! I was about 270 out and I had to decide whether to layup short of the big bunker front right of the green (35 yds wide and 90 yds to center) with a 5i or try to thread the needle left of it (18 yds wide) with a 3w and get as close as possible? Your thoughts on that?

 

BT

 

I always play the hole the same way - a combo of the two! I thread the needle with a 5 iron into the layup area on the left. I usually hit it pretty low and running, there is a decent amount of space over there. I hate that huge bunker. If the wind is behind me and I catch it off the tee sometimes I'll hit 3 wood up the right side, knowing I can't make it and leave a 10 yard bunker shot that I'm comfortable with but usually I play it right off the tee, left lay up, wedge in. Hitting wedge in from the left is so much easier than any other angle IMO. You're long enough that unless you're on the Dye tees you could hit driver/wood -> 5 iron/4 iron and have 105-125 left with that nice angle.

 

As you know / have seen, I'm not skittish about hitting a 3 wood as hard as i can at anything but I could only bang my head into that hole so many times before I had to stop! That thing is a beast. I think the only way to play it well is to get it up the right then layup low and running back up the left. Anything to the left off the tee or right into the green is usually a disaster unless I have enough wind that I can get way up in that bunker on the right.

 

Its a great hole. Only #3 is out of place (that kinda dull, stupid par 3) on that front 9 its some great golf and super interesting holes! The back is significantly weaker at TPC, IMO.

That's what I figured. IIRC, I played a 3w the first round (good drive) and iron layup the second. Tough hole though for sure.

 

BT

 

Had another tough course management decision at TPC today on number 6.

 

 

 

Had to take an unplayable. This is a good example of why this course is so tough.

 

Edit:

 

Should have hit 3 wood. Would have been well short of the gator. Lesson learned.

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Most days, I wonder why I even have a 3 wood. When I need to bomb it, I hit my driver, when I need to hit a conservative shot, I go easy on my driver, and if I NEED it in the fairway, I hit my 20 degr

ahem....aheemmm....no balls..... NOoo BaLLS!......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sorry man.... had to ... id have given him the ball too..lol

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PSG,

You mention #2 which I remember well, my issue wasn't where to aim my drive, but where to layup! I was about 270 out and I had to decide whether to layup short of the big bunker front right of the green (35 yds wide and 90 yds to center) with a 5i or try to thread the needle left of it (18 yds wide) with a 3w and get as close as possible? Your thoughts on that?

 

BT

 

I always play the hole the same way - a combo of the two! I thread the needle with a 5 iron into the layup area on the left. I usually hit it pretty low and running, there is a decent amount of space over there. I hate that huge bunker. If the wind is behind me and I catch it off the tee sometimes I'll hit 3 wood up the right side, knowing I can't make it and leave a 10 yard bunker shot that I'm comfortable with but usually I play it right off the tee, left lay up, wedge in. Hitting wedge in from the left is so much easier than any other angle IMO. You're long enough that unless you're on the Dye tees you could hit driver/wood -> 5 iron/4 iron and have 105-125 left with that nice angle.

 

As you know / have seen, I'm not skittish about hitting a 3 wood as hard as i can at anything but I could only bang my head into that hole so many times before I had to stop! That thing is a beast. I think the only way to play it well is to get it up the right then layup low and running back up the left. Anything to the left off the tee or right into the green is usually a disaster unless I have enough wind that I can get way up in that bunker on the right.

 

Its a great hole. Only #3 is out of place (that kinda dull, stupid par 3) on that front 9 its some great golf and super interesting holes! The back is significantly weaker at TPC, IMO.

That's what I figured. IIRC, I played a 3w the first round (good drive) and iron layup the second. Tough hole though for sure.

 

BT

 

Had another tough course management decision at TPC today on number 6.

 

 

 

Had to take an unplayable. This is a good example of why this course is so tough.

 

Edit:

 

Should have hit 3 wood. Would have been well short of the gator. Lesson learned.

 

Awww. He's just a little guy! Next time carry some chicken legs to throw out in the water and coax him away.

 

BT

Bag 1

Cobra King LTD Pro 9.5* HZRDUS Black 7 6.0 @ 44.5"
King LTD 14.5 - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 43"
F6 5-7 @ 17.5 - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 41.5"
Mizuno MP5 4-PW - Aldila RIP Tour 115 R
Mizuno MP-T5 52, 56 & 60 - TT Wedge
Grips - Grip Master Master Perforated Midsize

Bag 2
F7 9.5* - Aldila Copperhead 70TX @ 44.5
King LTD Blk 14.5* - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 43
King LTD Blk 19* - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 41.5
Mizuno MP15 4-pw - Aldila RIP Tour 115 R
Mizuno MP-T5 Black 52, 56 & 60 - TT Wedge
Grips - Grip Master Classic Wrap Midsize

Bag 3
Mizuno ST190 9.5* - Diamana "Flowerband" Whiteboard 73 S @ 44.5"
Mizuno ST190 14.5* - Aldila RIP Phenom 80 S @ 43"
Epic Flash Heavenwood 19* - Aldila RIP Phenom 80 S @ 42" 
Mizuno MP25 4-pw - Recoil Proto 125 F4
Mizuno MP-T5 Satin 52, 56, & 60 TT Wedge
Grips - Grip Master Roo Midsize





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  • 1 month later...

Back to the topic at hand ...

 

Have given the mini-driver experiment away and gone back to a more standard Driver / 3 wood setup.

 

What I found was that although I hit the TP Aero Mini pretty well - I didn't gain anything significant on course. It wasn't more accurate than a 3 wood, it wasn't as long as a driver.

 

I found myself hitting it on holes that called for a long drive AND on holes where a 185m layup was too little. I even whacked my Ping 1-iron back in the bag to see if that was a good middle solution ... but it is way less useful than a 3-wood across the round.

 

Since returning to the Driver / 3 Wood the difference for me is WHEN I hit driver. I'm using the 3 wood much more than I did in the past, and saving the driver for when it potentially gives me an advantage AND a missed drive is not punished any more than a missed 3-wood would be.

 

The other thing I've gone back to is trying to ALWAYS fade my driver and only hit the draw with the 3-wood.

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You know, this whole thread is based on the differential between these two clubs. I would like to hear everyone's honest differential in loft along with carry and total distance between their Driver & 3W.

 

For me, Dr loft is 9.5 to 10.5 depending on head design. 3w loft is 13 to 14.5. typically I carry a well struck drive in the 245-250 range with totals being around 265-270. 3w carrys 220-225 with total being around 245-250. Is this comparable to what others here get?

 

BT

Bag 1

Cobra King LTD Pro 9.5* HZRDUS Black 7 6.0 @ 44.5"
King LTD 14.5 - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 43"
F6 5-7 @ 17.5 - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 41.5"
Mizuno MP5 4-PW - Aldila RIP Tour 115 R
Mizuno MP-T5 52, 56 & 60 - TT Wedge
Grips - Grip Master Master Perforated Midsize

Bag 2
F7 9.5* - Aldila Copperhead 70TX @ 44.5
King LTD Blk 14.5* - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 43
King LTD Blk 19* - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 41.5
Mizuno MP15 4-pw - Aldila RIP Tour 115 R
Mizuno MP-T5 Black 52, 56 & 60 - TT Wedge
Grips - Grip Master Classic Wrap Midsize

Bag 3
Mizuno ST190 9.5* - Diamana "Flowerband" Whiteboard 73 S @ 44.5"
Mizuno ST190 14.5* - Aldila RIP Phenom 80 S @ 43"
Epic Flash Heavenwood 19* - Aldila RIP Phenom 80 S @ 42" 
Mizuno MP25 4-pw - Recoil Proto 125 F4
Mizuno MP-T5 Satin 52, 56, & 60 TT Wedge
Grips - Grip Master Roo Midsize





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You know, this whole thread is based on the differential between these two clubs. I would like to hear everyone's honest differential in loft along with carry and total distance between their Driver & 3W.

 

For me, Dr loft is 9.5 to 10.5 depending on head design. 3w loft is 13 to 14.5. typically I carry a well struck drive in the 245-250 range with totals being around 265-270. 3w carrys 220-225 with total being around 245-250. Is this comparable to what others here get?

 

BT

 

I play my driver at 10.5 and my 3W at 15. I carry my driver between 280-285, total distance totally depends on conditions. I carry my 3W between 255-260, this tends to be the about my total distance too. My choice on which of the two clubs to use off of the tee highly depends on the hole. This is because I hit my driver with a more penetrating/mid-flight trajectory leading to more roll and I hit my 3W higher and it lands softer/less roll out. My choice between the two always comes down to what is in front of me on the course and how I am swinging that day.

 

 

Edit: Added totals to above post.

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My driver has a stated loft of 9.5° and is 45" long. My 2w has a stated loft of 12° and is 43" long. Reasonably solid shots with the driver carry 265y and reasonably solid shots with the 2w carry 245y. There is no roll to speak of where I play.

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Interesting. I find my driver and 3w have very similar trajectories. I also play my driver at 44.5" and my 3w at 43.5, so CHS only varies about 2mph. Rollout is usually a bit more for the driver, but not that much. So the differential is at most, 2 clubs. IMHO, this will only make a difference on the longest par 4s. Hence my original opinion in this thread. I was just curious how much difference others have.

 

BT

 

Bag 1

Cobra King LTD Pro 9.5* HZRDUS Black 7 6.0 @ 44.5"
King LTD 14.5 - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 43"
F6 5-7 @ 17.5 - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 41.5"
Mizuno MP5 4-PW - Aldila RIP Tour 115 R
Mizuno MP-T5 52, 56 & 60 - TT Wedge
Grips - Grip Master Master Perforated Midsize

Bag 2
F7 9.5* - Aldila Copperhead 70TX @ 44.5
King LTD Blk 14.5* - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 43
King LTD Blk 19* - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 41.5
Mizuno MP15 4-pw - Aldila RIP Tour 115 R
Mizuno MP-T5 Black 52, 56 & 60 - TT Wedge
Grips - Grip Master Classic Wrap Midsize

Bag 3
Mizuno ST190 9.5* - Diamana "Flowerband" Whiteboard 73 S @ 44.5"
Mizuno ST190 14.5* - Aldila RIP Phenom 80 S @ 43"
Epic Flash Heavenwood 19* - Aldila RIP Phenom 80 S @ 42" 
Mizuno MP25 4-pw - Recoil Proto 125 F4
Mizuno MP-T5 Satin 52, 56, & 60 TT Wedge
Grips - Grip Master Roo Midsize





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Interesting. I find my driver and 3w have very similar trajectories. I also play my driver at 44.5" and my 3w at 43.5, so CHS only varies about 2mph. Rollout is usually a bit more for the driver, but not that much. So the differential is at most, 2 clubs. IMHO, this will only make a difference on the longest par 4s. Hence my original opinion in this thread. I was just curious how much difference others have.

 

BT

I definitely hit modern drivers much higher than I hit my 3-wood, and I think that's something that turns me off them. Even if the distance is great I don't like that high floating shot, I just don't feel like I have any control of it. I understand launch and spin numbers, but I'm much more of a feel golfer ... if it doesn't look and feel right I'll never buy in.

 

I hit my 3 wood 225m (250yds) , Driver 260m (290yds).

 

I was settling back into my TEE CB3 Tour 9 degree driver, until on the 13th on Saturday the head snapped off!! At least the ball finished in the fairway, a fair tribute to this old warrior of a club :-( I have since lashed out on eBay and bought a much updated driver ... the CB4 Tour driver with the RIP stiff 60 shaft ($110 delivered). Will see how this new fangled thing performs in coming weeks ... looks like a low spin - low launch fade machine, let's hope so!

 

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Why do people cut their shafts down on a driver?

 

For ME, I’d rather choke down on a driver for consistency sake. It’s a good option to be able to grip normally and eek out a few extra yards if needed.

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You know, this whole thread is based on the differential between these two clubs. I would like to hear everyone's honest differential in loft along with carry and total distance between their Driver & 3W.

 

For me, Dr loft is 9.5 to 10.5 depending on head design. 3w loft is 13 to 14.5. typically I carry a well struck drive in the 245-250 range with totals being around 265-270. 3w carrys 220-225 with total being around 245-250. Is this comparable to what others here get?

 

BT

 

I play my driver at 10.5 and my 3W at 15. I carry my driver between 280-285, total distance totally depends on conditions. I carry my 3W between 255-260, this tends to be the about my total distance too. My choice on which of the two clubs to use off of the tee highly depends on the hole. This is because I hit my driver with a more penetrating/mid-flight trajectory leading to more roll and I hit my 3W higher and it lands softer/less roll out. My choice between the two always comes down to what is in front of me on the course and how I am swinging that day.

 

 

Edit: Added totals to above post.

 

I have the same set up but have about the same numbers as ri_redneck though.

 

However my driver is a high floating flight and the 3w is more of mid flight; I can still hit a high rising shot off the tee. My choice depend on the hole also and if I have the room to hit a driver. The driver is the least accurate club for me so I'll fall back to the 3w or 3i if the hole is narrow or if I need to navigate around something.

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Why do people cut their shafts down on a driver?

 

For ME, I’d rather choke down on a driver for consistency sake. It’s a good option to be able to grip normally and eek out a few extra yards if needed.

For me, the grip is too small when choking down. I build my grips up to just shy of midsize and choking down doesn't feel right to me. I've used drivers up to 48" and the small distance gain is not worth loss in control. I do okay at around 45.5-46, but only get a couple mph more and really no distance increase due to poorer contact.

 

BT

Bag 1

Cobra King LTD Pro 9.5* HZRDUS Black 7 6.0 @ 44.5"
King LTD 14.5 - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 43"
F6 5-7 @ 17.5 - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 41.5"
Mizuno MP5 4-PW - Aldila RIP Tour 115 R
Mizuno MP-T5 52, 56 & 60 - TT Wedge
Grips - Grip Master Master Perforated Midsize

Bag 2
F7 9.5* - Aldila Copperhead 70TX @ 44.5
King LTD Blk 14.5* - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 43
King LTD Blk 19* - Aldila RIP Beta 80 S @ 41.5
Mizuno MP15 4-pw - Aldila RIP Tour 115 R
Mizuno MP-T5 Black 52, 56 & 60 - TT Wedge
Grips - Grip Master Classic Wrap Midsize

Bag 3
Mizuno ST190 9.5* - Diamana "Flowerband" Whiteboard 73 S @ 44.5"
Mizuno ST190 14.5* - Aldila RIP Phenom 80 S @ 43"
Epic Flash Heavenwood 19* - Aldila RIP Phenom 80 S @ 42" 
Mizuno MP25 4-pw - Recoil Proto 125 F4
Mizuno MP-T5 Satin 52, 56, & 60 TT Wedge
Grips - Grip Master Roo Midsize





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Why do people cut their shafts down on a driver?

 

For ME, I’d rather choke down on a driver for consistency sake. It’s a good option to be able to grip normally and eek out a few extra yards if needed.

For me, the grip is too small when choking down. I build my grips up to just shy of midsize and choking down doesn't feel right to me. I've used drivers up to 48" and the small distance gain is not worth loss in control. I do okay at around 45.5-46, but only get a couple mph more and really no distance increase due to poorer contact.

 

BT

 

I've always felt like I can generate more speed with my hands on the end of the club vs choking down. When I choke down I feel like the butt impedes my swing from the top down.

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  • 6 months later...

I actually now go to the U45 17* when I need less than driver. Had a Recoil 110 +1/2” shaft put in and can turn it over just as far to the 3 wood.

 

Learned to hit a cut driver and now the strong 3 wood is redundant; looking at a GW now.

 

Been hitting 3 wood off tee lately. Almost goes as far as driver and less damaging on misses.

3 wood I’m always in the hole, but driver can put me O.B!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I kind of look at my 3 wood (13.5* Fly Z +) as ‘driver #2. The 9* driver is for open fairways with bailout or minimal trouble. The 3 wood is for tighter fairways or for keeping it low into the wind. Hitting a slight draw keeps the ball low and actually goes further than the driver in that situation, something very common in Wellington, NZ.

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You know, this whole thread is based on the differential between these two clubs. I would like to hear everyone's honest differential in loft along with carry and total distance between their Driver & 3W.

 

For me, Dr loft is 9.5 to 10.5 depending on head design. 3w loft is 13 to 14.5. typically I carry a well struck drive in the 245-250 range with totals being around 265-270. 3w carrys 220-225 with total being around 245-250. Is this comparable to what others here get?

 

BT

 

Yeah that’s almost bang on what I get. Cobra F7 9* and Fly Z+ 13.5*. The Z has been such a great ‘go to’ club for a fairway find under pressure. However, the loss of 20-30 yards often means an extra club into the green and that can sometimes negate the advantage.

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If 3w is in play vs driver taking penalty... then 3 wood for sure.

 

If 3w in fairway, vs driver in rough... hit driver.

 

Like someone else said, this has been extensively measured and the yardage matters more than fairway lie.

 

This seems over simplified, but holds true on most courses, especially the ones that amateurs play regularly.

 

Exceptions would be

 

1) if hitting driver causes you a penalty... then clearly the added distance does you no good

 

2) if the course or hole puts an errant, but findable, tee shot without a second shot... again, accuracy over distance here.

 

This would apply to times where there is fescue, trees, or tons of bunkers lining the fairway.

 

The simple reality is that most people who can’t control their driver at all, probably can’t hit the fairway with 3w at the drop of a hat.

 

The bad driver shot hurts you less than the possible bad 3 wood shot.

 

I can’t tell you how many times I decided to play it “safe” and hit 3 wood or iron, only to end up without a ideal look at the flag anyway, and I’m 20 yards further away to boot.

 

And to be honest, I’m a 10HCP and long game is one of the better parts of my game.

 

So if it’s fairway 3w vs driver in rough...

Choice is clear.

 

Not advocating stupid play, but pay attention to your own game, and realize that if both clubs give you a look at the flag, the distance matters most in 95% of situations.

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If 3w is in play vs driver taking penalty... then 3 wood for sure.

 

If 3w in fairway, vs driver in rough... hit driver.

 

Like someone else said, this has been extensively measured and the yardage matters more than fairway lie.

 

This seems over simplified, but holds true on most courses, especially the ones that amateurs play regularly.

 

Exceptions would be

 

1) if hitting driver causes you a penalty... then clearly the added distance does you no good

 

2) if the course or hole puts an errant, but findable, tee shot without a second shot... again, accuracy over distance here.

 

This would apply to times where there is fescue, trees, or tons of bunkers lining the fairway.

 

The simple reality is that most people who can’t control their driver at all, probably can’t hit the fairway with 3w at the drop of a hat.

 

The bad driver shot hurts you less than the possible bad 3 wood shot.

 

I can’t tell you how many times I decided to play it “safe” and hit 3 wood or iron, only to end up without a ideal look at the flag anyway, and I’m 20 yards further away to boot.

 

And to be honest, I’m a 10HCP and long game is one of the better parts of my game.

 

So if it’s fairway 3w vs driver in rough...

Choice is clear.

 

Not advocating stupid play, but pay attention to your own game, and realize that if both clubs give you a look at the flag, the distance matters most in 95% of situations.

 

This is a really good post, thank you mahamilto!

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Epic Flash 15° w/Rogue M•AX
Nickent Genex 3DX 18.5° w/VS Proto
X Forged UT 22° w/PX
Apex Pro '19 6-A w/PX
X Forged Jaws 56, 60, 64 w/PX
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[img]http://pxc86358mpx1hyn3hdxen4o1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/171831.png[/img]

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  • 2 months later...

I hit my driver and 4wd about the same, accuracy wise.

So the determining factor will be what's in the landing area? If there's water or severe bunkers or the fairway gets really tight (or ends) at 270, the 4 wd or 2 iron's coming out.

Unless it's a scramble!

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Based on playing with hundreds of your "typical amateur golfers," over the years, my observations tell me that most folks who "can't hit driver" can't hit their 3 woods (or hybrids, etc.) either, they just hit them shorter, so they stay on the golf course. And they still often end up in the rough, behind trees, etc. Not to mention the mis-hit errors (tops, etc.) that are more likely due to the smaller face size. Obviously, this is a band-aid solution, and will not ever allow them to maximize their potential.

 

Personally, I hit driver off almost every Par 4 and 5 tee. In cases where I need to stay short of a bunker or water, etc., I still usually hit driver, but choke down and "smooth it out there." When choked up, the driver is essentially the same length as the 3-wood, eliminating that variable. But, for me, the bigger club face and the "smooth swing" intent make this a better play that hitting a "full" 3-wood to the same distance. The only time I pull "less than driver" is when I _need _a _much shorter_ ball off the tee, so that I would have to take an extremely unnaturally slow swing with my driver (i.e. I need iron distance, not 3-wood distance).

 

I say find a driver that fits you and spend the time and lesson money it takes to learn to hit it. It will pay off.

 

 

 

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I’m a short but accurate hitter and the driver is my primary choice of the tee.

 

I’ll only use a 3 wood off the tee if I’m forced to hit it to a certain yardage otherwise, my 2 iron is the secondary choice off the tee.

 

I disagree with all this talk on short clubs etc. I’m fitted with extra length clubs, custom shafts and lessons which extracts the most I can get.

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Our New Zealand Summers almost over and the recent bag hoing sees MP63 4 iron with dgr 300 at D4 being a Centre Fairway finder.Also 915d 4 wood set to lite fade does just that.plays at 44 so i need the 5 wd shaft to get to 42.5 inches. Its long and accurate even set 16.5. Old Ping G5 will get shaft pulled and re epoxied. Will get a Diamana 62+ for 913d2 head soon. So just minor updates so i dont mess with my Confidence on the Tee Box.Over last year the Scotty and Vokeys have added value and MP63 glide thru the turf so Love Bein In The Fairways!

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Looking at strokes gained and their averages from how a pro plays and applying to an amateur is a fool's errand in my view. You cannot say it applies to amateurs the same as it applies to pro's. Now if there is a strokes gained based on amateur play then sure let's have a debate( I would like to see those numbers). I know that as a golfer that has carried a + handicap, and is now almost a 3, I am in the top 3% of golfers. So I am not your average amateur, but I still do not believe the pro's strokes gained off the tee can be applied cart blanch to me.. For me, I strive to have tee clubs (Driver, 3wood, Hyb or Dr iron) that put me into the trees(outside of treeline) as little as possible, that is the first killer. Secondly, most courses I play do not have rough that is horribly penal, so longer and in the rough is almost always better for me than it may be for someone else that plays courses with really thick rough.

 

In short, driver is always the play for me off of the tee not considering scramble events, with one glaring exception. I never hit driver where a straight ball with it puts me in trouble(deep bunker, water, OB, or trees), but that's just common sense. I also don't hit 3 wood sometimes for the same reason.

  • Driver - Ping G410 LST on HZRDOUS Yellow
  • 4 Wood - Titleist TS2 turned down 1 on UST Mamaiya Black
  • 7 Wood - Callaway Epic Flash turned down 1 on UST Mamiya Black
  • Hybrid - ************* Member Tester TE Exotics Pro 17* on Tensei AV silver ****************
  • Others - SUB70 939x 4 hybrid on UST V2 Hybrid and 4 699 Pro Utility on UST Recoil 110 - Testing
  • Irons - Sub 70 699 Pro (5-8) on UST Recoil 110
  • Irons - Sub 70 630CB (9-PW) on UST Recoil 110
  • Wedges - Cleveland 50 and 56 CBX2 and RTX4 @ 62 on UST Recoil 110
  • Putters -  Sunset Beach Ocracoke or Mannkrafted MA/66
  • Ball - Srixon Z Star XV
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