Golf is a game of nuance and technique. To those new to the sport or those who aren’t avid followers, it might come as a surprise that many golfers can hit their 3-wood further and with more consistency than their driver.

But why is this?

Let’s delve into the intricacies behind this fascinating observation.

1. Loft Makes a Difference

One of the most significant differences between a driver and a 3-wood is the loft. Drivers typically range between 8-12 degrees of loft, while a 3-wood is generally around 13-18 degrees.

For players who struggle with generating optimal launch conditions with a driver (e.g., those with a downward angle of attack), a 3-wood’s extra loft can help get the ball in the air and allow it to carry further. This loft not only aids in launch but also imparts more backspin, which can stabilise the ball in flight and lead to straighter shots.

2. Club Length and Control

Drivers are the longest clubs in the bag. This increased length can generate more clubhead speed, but it also introduces more room for error. The longer the club, the harder it can be for some golfers to control. On the other hand, a 3-wood is shorter, making it potentially easier for players to hit the sweet spot more consistently and maintain control throughout the swing.

3. Tee Height and Strike Location

When using a driver, the optimal strike location is high on the clubface. This is why teeing the ball high is commonly recommended for the driver. However, if the golfer doesn’t have a consistent angle of attack or if they struggle with their tee height, they might not consistently strike that optimal part of the driver’s face.

In contrast, with a 3-wood, especially when hit off the deck, the ball is generally struck closer to the center of the clubface, which can be more forgiving and lead to more consistent shots.

4. Mental Factors and Pressure

There’s something about pulling out the big stick (driver) on a tight hole that can make even experienced golfers feel a bit anxious. Sometimes, the mere thought of using the driver brings added pressure, especially if past experiences haven’t been positive.

On the other hand, many golfers view the 3-wood as a “safer” choice, leading to a more relaxed and controlled swing. This mindset can sometimes result in better shot outcomes.


While the driver is engineered to be the longest club in the bag, golf is an individual sport, and what works best for one player might not work for another.

Many factors, from swing mechanics to equipment choices and even the mental aspect of the game, play a role in why some golfers find more success with their 3-wood over their driver. If you’re one of those golfers, know that you’re not alone.

The key is to play to your strengths, understand your equipment, and always aim for continuous improvement on the green.

Use the Toptracer Range

Next time you are at the range, use the Toptracer to see how much difference there is in distance between your driver and 3 wood.

I highly recommend playing the Driving Challenge, it’s just 9 tee shots that simulate the same kind of pressures as when you play on the course.

Finally, if you would like help with your tee shots then book a lesson with your PGA Professional.
At Dunes we give lessons to golfers of all abilities. To book call 01346 510693 or go to

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  • Peter Myers

    PGA Golf Professional since 1997 Director of entertainment at Dunes Golf Centre in Fraserburgh Passionate about creating opportunities for everyone to play and enjoy golf Proud Yorkshireman Loves Leeds United and enjoys a BrewDog or two Myers Peter