Depending on who you talk too, selecting the proper 3 wood is a challenging task. Some styles are designed to fit your eye and others are like having a useless stick in your hand. After going through my fitting, I think I have an understanding on how to pick the proper loft of 3 wood for your game. It is not a difficult chore, but does take a bit of effort.
First, the loft of 3 wood vary depending on manufacturer and how they classify the loft for their product. After conducting a quick poll, I have determined that most clubs of this class range between 12 and 17 degrees. There is some overlap from the driver and hybrid at each end of the spectrum, but those 4 degrees generally are consider 3 wood lofts.
When I asked you what the loft of your 3 wood was, this is what you said:
As you look at the poll, the 12 to 13 degrees is considered a strong 3 wood; the 16 to 17 degree is considered a weak 3 wood and the 14 to 15 degree loft would be considered stock. These, again, are general terms, but fit the overall discussion of loft with respect of 3 woods.
There is a direct correlation between loft and swing speed. Of course we have to compare the two because understanding how fast we swing will determine the optimal loft required for the ball flight. Obviously, the fast the swing speed the farther the ball will travel (most of the time) unless you have the wrong loft for your swing. I found this chart that might be helpful:
You can see that the loft does affect distance and swing speed. So, if you have too high of loft (like my 16.5 degree 3 wood), I would be loosing distance because my ball flight is too high. Having said that, I do hit this club well, but I am thinking at my dropping to a 14 degree 3 wood, I will gain extra distance when all conditions are the same. This is something I am contemplating.
Before I make any changes, I have a series of questions that will drive the right selection:
- What am I trying to achieve? More distance, more height, more accuracy?
- How well do I hit my 3 wood? Do I make solid contact with the current loft of my club?
- What conditions do I normally play in that require a specific ball flight? Windy? Dry? Wet?
- Do I normally get roll from my club?
- Are the courses I play hard, medium or soft?
- Is the cost of new equipment worth making a change?
I am sure there are plenty of other questions, but those are the ones for me. I have already asked these questions and the answers are as follows:
- Increase my distance.
- I hit my current 3 wood very well.
- Normally play in dry cooler conditions.
- I do not normally get much roll.
- The course I play vary, but medium dampness is the norm.
- I think the cost will be worth it.
So, I am in the stage of looking of possibly changing 3 wood. I am not sure quite yet, but we shall see how the summer unfolds. For sure, I am not going to buy one at the end of the summer and wait all winter to use it (I did this with my Rogue driver last year….oops).
If you are wondering about the loft of your 3 wood, I suggest you head to your nearest store that allows you try different clubs and test run a few different lofts of 3 woods. You may be interested to find that you are playing the wrong club!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
4 thoughts on “How to Pick the Proper Loft of 3 Wood for Your Game”
I currently don’t carry a 3 wood as I hit my 5wood (19deg) as well or better that any of the 3 woods I have. I’m thinking of looking at that elusive 4w of around 17deg, hopefully its as good to hit as my 5wood but it goes just that bit further to bring the par 5s at my course more regularly into play…
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I have never used a 4 wood. My 3 wood works for my game and I have a 19 degree hybrid. Covering the distance gaps is important and there is no correct convention to do so.
I own two 3 woods, both Cobra’s. One is a standard “old” style 3 wood with a profile that looks similar to a shrunken driver and loft of 15 degrees, and the other is low profile club with an adjustable loft currently set to 15.5 draw. I bought the 2nd one a few years ago thinking it might be helpful because I was still having trouble hitting my 3 wood off the deck. It of course didn’t because it was me, not the club. I ended up putting the old club back in the bag because I hit it really, really well off the tee. I’ve since figured out my problem and can hit that older club off the deck so I’ve been giving thought to trying out the newer club again. But I haven’t been in any hurry. Too bad you’re not in town or I’d loan it to you for awhile so you could play around with it at different lofts.
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That would help for sure. My friend has a obra 3/4 wood set for 13.5 degrees. I am going to take it for a test ride and see if it is worth the change. I do not want to buy somethong for the sake of buying things for sure.