- 3 Wood vs 3 Hybrid: Overview
- 3 Wood vs 3 Hybrid: Pros and Cons
- Hybrids Grow in Popularity
- 3 Wood vs 3 Hybrid
- When to Use a 3 Wood and 3 Hybrid
- Should I Carry a 3 Wood, a 3 Hybrid, or Both?
Most golfers will agree that fairway woods are the most difficult club to strike properly from the deck. It is slightly easier off the tee, where you can tee it up. Hybrid clubs were brought to life to aid golfers with the difficulties that they were experiencing hitting their long irons. Many manufacturers have now excluded the 3 iron from their sets of irons and made the 3 hybrid an optional purchase.
The 3 wood is part of the fairway woods family and has been in the industry for a long time. It aims to get that extra distance you require on long par 4s or par 5s.
Read more: If you want to try a 3 wood inexpensively, there are some great deals on used 3 fairway woods in this article.
3 Wood vs 3 Hybrid: Overview
|3 Wood||3 Hybrid|
|Loft||15-18 degrees||22-23 degrees|
|Material||Stainless steel||Graphite, iron, steel|
|Length||42-43 inches||40 inches|
|Distance||210-230 yards||180-210 yards|
3 Wood vs 3 Hybrid: Pros and Cons
Our Favorite 3 Wood
3 Wood: Pros
- Superior distance
- Better in windy conditions
3 Wood: Cons
- Harder launch
- Less forgiving
Our Favorite 3 Hybrid
3 Hybrid: Pros
- Easier launch
- More precise
- More forgiving
3 Hybrid: Cons
- Less distance
Hybrids Grow in Popularity
When first introduced, hybrids, or rescue clubs as they are sometimes called, were seen as game improvement equipment. Beginners and intermediate players mostly used them. This is because they are infinitely easier to hit than the longer irons.
The size of the head and the design give the golfer a lot more confidence at address. They have a higher launch angle and are much more forgiving than long irons. This should improve accuracy, consistency, and distance.
Hybrids have grown in popularity and are now used by players at all game levels, including many pros.
Read More: What Are Hybrid Golf Clubs?
3 Wood vs 3 Hybrid
The loft difference between a 3 wood and 3 hybrid is substantial. Therefore you are unlikely to hit the ball the same distance with both of these clubs. The trajectory and the distance that the golf ball travels is dependent on the loft angle of the club.
So what degree is a 3 hybrid?
A 3 hybrid’s loft degree is frequently between 26 and 23. A 3 wood, by comparison, is usually between 15 degrees and 18 degrees. This should indicate that the two clubs are not competing with each other but provide you with two vastly different options.
3 woods are commonly manufactured from similar materials that go into the construction of a driver, but many manufacturers still use stainless steel for their 3 woods. The 3 hybrid club is harder and made from a combination of graphite, iron, and steel.
The shaft lengths of the 3 wood and hybrid are not too different. The shaft on the 3 wood is often around 2 inches longer than the shaft of the 3 hybrid. The 3 hybrid is also normally slightly heavier than that of your driver and 3 wood.
Unlike irons that generally come standard with steel shafts, the 3 wood and 3 hybrid both generally come standard with a graphite shaft to make them lighter.
While some 3 wood hosels are adjustable you will not find the same adjustability on the 3 hybrid hosels. This is likely to change in the future to make hybrids more flexible.
The clubhead on a 3 wood vs hybrid is more voluminous. The clubface is also wider and provides a larger sweet spot than the clubface of the 3 hybrid. On the other hand, the sole of a 3 hybrid is more forgiving than that of a 3 wood.
The center of gravity (CoG) of a 3 wood is located towards the back end on the clubhead to achieve the longest distance possible. Conversely, the CoG of a 3 hybrid is much closer to the clubface for better control and accuracy. And these differences aren’t unique to these specific clubs at all — they are common differences between all fairway woods and hybrids.
Accuracy and Consistency
A shorter shaft and well-balanced clubhead make the 3 hybrid better for consistently hitting accurate shots rather than pushing for extra distance. Good golfers can hit a 3 wood perfectly accurate, but it is more likely to go offline on a slight mishit.
The distance you can achieve is another big difference between a 3 hybrid and a 3 wood. A 3 wood will produce far greater yardage than that of a 3 hybrid, provided you strike it correctly. As the 3 hybrid replaces the 3 iron you can expect to achieve somewhere between 180 and 210 yards.
The goal of the 3 wood is to make reaching the green of a par 5 much easier. It can achieve a distance of up to 240 yards (although 210-230 yards is typical). Some golfers can even hit it further. And just so you know. Due to the apex difference between the two clubs, the roll-out distance with a 3 wood is greater than that of a 3 hybrid.
When to Use a 3 Wood and 3 Hybrid
Of the two, a 3 hybrid is the most versatile. You can use it on any swing where you need good penetration — the head shape is designed to be able to cut through grass and dirt. A 3 hybrid allows you to hit approach shots every time confidently.
The 3 wood, on the other hand, is more specialized. It works well on grassless surfaces and for punch shots, but it’s perhaps most commonly used off of the tee. This is because an extra bit of elevation makes a 3 wood far easier to hit — a 3 hybrid is a poor choice here.
Should I Carry a 3 Wood, a 3 Hybrid, or Both?
To carry or not to carry a 3 wood or 3 hybrid, that’s the question! Carrying a 3 hybrid is almost a lock given the amount of versatility it offers. It’s also super forgiving which is appealing to all skill levels. However, whether you carry a 3 wood is more up for debate.
The reality is that there are not that many situations where you will want to choose a 3 wood, so it’s probably not deserving of a slot in your golf bag. Given that a 3 wood is difficult to use on the fairway, it’s likely to be tee shots that you’ll most likely use it for. But should you pick it over a driver? For most people, it’s a flat no. However, it could be worth carrying one if you have a slower swing speed. Juniors, ladies, and seniors, I’m looking at you.
On the other hand, right at the other end of the spectrum, we see plenty of pros carrying a 3 wood. The two most recent winners of events at the PGA Tour Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler carry one, for example.
Of course, there are some people who may want to carry both. Ultimately, these clubs don’t have much overlap in utility, so they bring different benefits to your game.
Is It Better to Have a 3 Wood or 3 Hybrid?
A 3 hybrid is the more complete club so it is what we recommend. You'll find yourself reaching for it far more often due to the versatility and forgiveness that it offers, and this is true for beginners all the way up to the pros. So in the debate of 3 hybrid vs 3 wood, the 3 hybrid comes out on top.
What Hybrid Is Equivalent to a 3 Wood?
Given the loft angle of a 3 wood is usually between 15 and 18 degrees, you'll want to choose a low-lofted hybrid if you want a direct replacement. The Lazarus Golf 2 hybrid is a good option.
Does a 3 Wood Go Farther Than a 3 Hybrid?
If you strike the ball cleanly, a 3 wood will almost always go further than a 3 hybrid. On average, a 3 hybrid can generate 180-210 yards whereas a 3 wood can produce 210-230 yards.
There is a stark difference between the design and aim of a 3 wood vs a 3 hybrid. The 3 wood is a fairway wood that keeps the ball lower than a hybrid and travels further. The 3 hybrid, on the other hand, is more versatile, forgiving, and precise.
You are likely to have both a 3 wood and a 3 iron or 3 hybrid in your bag but not a 3 iron and a 3 hybrid. The 3 hybrid should replace your 3 iron if you wish to add it to your collection.
The best way to decide which to carry is to study the holes in your game and see what your current golf club set is lacking.
Read more: If you want to check out the best hybrids or learn about the 5 wood vs 3 hybrid, we have full write-ups for both.
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.