What do we mean when we talk about a strong 3 wood? You may have guessed a 3 wood was just exactly that, a wood for hitting off the tee or fairway.
But that’s not entirely true.
Instead, things become more specific with woods than a number of players realize. So, not only will we explain what we mean here, but we will also show you a few examples of strong 3 woods should you then decide you want to add this club to your bag.
Table of Contents
The Basics of a Strong 3 Wood
A strong 3 wood will come with less loft than a normal 3 wood. Typically, a 3 wood comes with a loft angle of either 15 or 16 degrees.
A strong 3 wood is different.
With this version, the club comes with a loft of around 13 or 14 degrees, and that does make a significant difference. Also, it’s worth remembering the general loft angle for a driver which tends to sit between 8.5 and 12 degrees.
What this means is you have a 3 wood that is now sitting comfortably in the space between a driver and a normal 3 wood. Thanks to this, it does open up a number of options with your shot.
But hold on for one moment.
There’s no set angle for a wood to then end up classified as a strong 3 wood. The angle may vary depending on the brand. The key point is the loft angle is lower than their normal angle for the 3 wood, so check out those details before making that purchase.
When Would You Use a Strong 3 Wood?
A strong 3 wood is often used both off the tee and the fairway.
As its loft is close to that of a driver, some high handicappers will often use a strong 3 wood if they feel uncertain about their driving capabilities. They feel this wood gives them more control off the tee while understanding some distance is ultimately sacrificed.
Also, a strong 3 wood will give more distance off the fairway. This makes it the perfect option if tending to come up short with your normal 3 wood. That all-important difference in loft angle will add some yardage onto those shots, and that could seriously improve your game.
But this comes with a warning.
A strong 3 wood does offer you some control over your shot, but not when it comes to getting the ball to stop. This club is best when you want the ball to bound on along the ground just as you would expect to happen with a driver.
Dealing with the Loft Angle
As the loft angle is the key, you must understand the difference the angle will make to your shot. Also, knowing what to expect when you make contact is also important.
The lower the angle, the less forgiving the club, but that does tend to put it in line with the driver. But this is what you must remember.
By lowering the loft angle, you get less energy lost via the height of the ball. On the other hand, the energy drives the ball forward leading to greater distances, so it’s often a pretty good sacrifice to make.
But is it Difficult to Use?
Here’s an important question, is a strong 3 wood difficult to use?
Well, if your driving game or long wood game is quite stable and consistent, then the answer is no. If you struggle with your driver, then this club could circumnavigate some of the issues you have off the tee.
This is what is often suggested.
If you plan on using a strong 3 wood off the tee, then lower the tee to a point where the ball is slightly up off the ground. This puts it between the high tee most people prefer with a driver and the fairway wood shot, so it’s a good compromise.
Aside from that subtle change, you should experience no real difference in how you use a strong 3 wood. The main area is in how the ball reacts on the course.
Comparing it to a Driver
So far, we have mentioned the driver on several occasions, so how does the strong 3 wood compare?
The problem with a driver, especially for a high handicapper, is that it’s easy to make a mess of things. When starting out, the driver is a tough club to use. It’s long in the shaft, is not that forgiving, and the loft generates a lot more energy.
A mishit here can send you into all kinds of trouble.
But part of the problem is with the player. We have a tendency to fall into the trap of feeling we must generate the maximum amount of power to get the greatest distance. It makes us tense up, and when you know your driving game is not up to scratch, it makes life even harder.
A strong 3 wood off the tee may not get the distance, but some of that pressure is actually removed. Ultimately, we know the 3 wood won’t get the same yardage, but we relax into the shot.
A strong 3 wood simply pushes the limits of the fairway wood that bit more than you would expect. It will often produce straighter shots, so while you lose some distance, your accuracy should improve.
Look at it from this perspective.
Say you hit 270 yards with the driver, but you end up in trouble with almost all your drives leading to hacking out back to the fairway. Now, compare that to hitting a straight shot down the fairway some 240 yards with a strong 3 wood.
Out of those two examples, which one would you prefer?
If the situation with the driver sounds like you, then switching to a strong 3 wood while building confidence off the tee could actually be the most beneficial change you could make to your game.
But What About the Fairway?
Let’s jump forward to you being on a long par 5 and you hit the tee shot and still have 260 yards to go, but you hit the fairway. How would a strong 3 wood react in this situation?
Well, remember the loft is lower than a normal 3 wood, so that does increase the difficulty rating slightly. Getting that clean connection will require you getting in some practice as the chances of scuffing your shot along the ground will go up.
In saying that, it’s not impossible to hit a clean shot with this club off the fairway. We would even go as far as to say that a high handicapper should have the ability to pull this off if they have the time to work on the shot.
Examples of a Strong 3 Wood
Finally, we have covered every aspect of a strong 3 wood apart from giving you some examples of the clubs on the market. You do have more options available than in previous decades, so finding something perfect for your playing ability is easy.
Callaway Mavrik 3+ Wood
13.5 degrees loft
Optimized flash face
Many weighting options
Contains jailbreak technology
Callaway has a serious reputation for producing high-quality clubs, and the Mavrik 3+ Wood is no exception. One quick point, make sure you purchase the 3+ Wood version as that’s the only one with the 13.5 degrees loft. Anything else is a normal 3 wood.
To get the distance, Callaway has used specific materials on the face to ultimately produce the greatest transfer of energy from the swing to the actual ball. They worked at increasing the size of the sweet spot as well, so this club is quite forgiving compared to others.
It also comes with a fixed weight in the sole. This brings the CoG lower than before, leading to a lower trajectory. The ball will effectively pierce through the air leading to that all-important increased distance.
But one area where this club is outstanding is the geometry of the club head. It is actually designed in such a way so as you can get the ball off the ground with the least amount of difficulty.
Overall, the Mavrik 3+ Wood is an exceptional club, and it’s one to watch out for if you want a strong 3 wood.
Cobra Golf 2019 F9 Speedback
13.5 degrees loft
Lowered weight for lower CoG
Sole trips to reduce drag
Carbon fiber crown to increase swing speed
This model from Cobra is another fantastic example of a strong 3 wood. It too comes with 13.5 degrees loft, but Cobra has focused on making the club lightweight to increase swing speed to then improve energy and distance.
At the same time, they have incorporated anti-drag properties into the club head. Less drag adds to the energy that’s created.
The face is precision milled while they too look at offering as large a sweet spot as possible. The club is relatively forgiving while pushing the weight to the rear means a cleaner connection when hitting off the fairway.
A strong 3 wood certainly has its position in your bag. Anybody unsure of their driving game will benefit from having this club in their bag.
It offers distance along with straighter shots than a driver. Longer than a normal wood, playing off the fairway is also possible, but with practice.
Finally, do remember to check the loft angle of the 3 wood you hope to buy. If it’s over 13.5 degrees, then it’s not a strong 3 wood, and you need to keep on searching.