Driver vs 3 Wood Off the Tee

For any golfer, the question of using a driver or 3 wood off the tee is finally answered. As I skimmed my usual social media feeds, I came across something from Golf Monthly Magazine. They offered up a stat from ShotScope that was quite enlightening. I tried to find the original source, but could not hammer it down. Regardless, I thought it was worth discussing anyway.

What caught my attention was the little difference between accuracy off the driver and 3 wood off the tee. This data flies in the face of convention and I would suggest that the numbers are a bit askew, but without any way to refute the data I will move forward as if it was completely accurate.

With no discernible difference in accuracy off the tee, according to ShotScope, between the driver and 3 wood, then distance has to be king. It only makes sense…..right? If the average player is hitting the ball 30 yards farther off the tee with the driver with the same accuracy; why in the world would anyone ever use a 3 wood. Personally, I would not and I am sure you would not either.

I actually tracked my stats last season and I was in the fairway or first cut 75% of the time off the tee. This stat is based on 37 full rounds that I recorded for my handicap. I did not record this stat on fun rounds, Men’s Night, or charity golf tournaments. I would suggest that my accuracy did not change much during those rounds either.

Given my strength off the tee with my driver, I can say with confidence that I use it whenever possible. I will hit a 3 wood for course management, but that is about it. However, I need the distance that my driver provides in order to shoot my best games. So, regardless of the data provided by ShotScope I would use my driver as much as possible.

One point provided by a regular on my twitter feed suggests that misses with driver tend to be much larger and result in greater challenges for the second shot. I can definitely see this, however it is not part of the original data in which to make an informed decision. So, their remarks open an entirely new set of questions and test parameters….for another day.

ShotScope offers data that should be a game changer for most players. With little to no accuracy differences between the driver and 3 wood, every player should choose driver! What do you think? Driver or 3 wood?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

6 thoughts on “Driver vs 3 Wood Off the Tee

  1. Unless my driver will put me at a dangerous distance I will use it. I find no real difference in the quantity of missed shots between the two clubs but as your twitter reader said, the drivers greater distance can lead to bigger misses sometimes.

    There was a time in my early days when I hit my 3 wood farther than my driver. Not only did the shorter shaft length make it slightly easier to make a better connection, but my driver was not set up to help me get the ball in the air back then and my grip was so strong at the time that I really needed the extra loft the 3 wood provided. I’d guess I took out more than 5 degrees of loft the way I held the club then. Getting the ball more than 10 feet off the ground was something I really struggled to do at the time. Funny enough, I won a long drive contest once with that terrible set up. I got lucky and the ball skipped off the concrete distance marker that marked the 200 yard from the green point. We were in drought conditions that year and the ground was so hard that hitting the driver didn’t hurt my distance anymore because the ball would roll a mile on the rock hard ground, but the concrete marker gave it a real boost.

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    • Kevin,

      I agree that learning to hit a driver is key to good golf. I laughed at your story about bouncing off the yardage marker. I have done that myself from time to time, but never in a competition. Well Done!

      Cheers Jim

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  2. Jim
    Interesting stats but not representative of my own game. I have way more control in terms of hitting fairways with 3 wood over driver. I can make a mistake with 3 wood and still end up in the fairway. The same mistake with driver can end up in the rough.

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    • Linley

      Your point is one that most players can relate too. I generally do not miss that bad with either. However, sometimes this year my 3 wood developed a draw off the tee that I never account for, so it did get me in trouble from time to time. Ah, golf is such fun on those days!

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

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