For today’s golfer, there has never been more choices in terms of technology to build out your golf bag.
It used to be easy: Driver, 3 wood, 5 wood, 3-PW, SW and Putter.
But with the evolution of new products, there are now decisions that each individual golfer must make when assessing the 14 clubs they are going to take out on the course.
One of the biggest questions is should I carry a 5 wood or 3 hybrid?
Each club offers its own set of advantages, but why should you choose one over the other?
Should you consider carrying both?
We are here to help you settle that debate depending on your individual skill set and goals.
Below we lay out the top reasons you may consider a 5 wood vs 3 hybrid.
Should I carry a 5 Wood or 3 Hybrid in my bag?
Are they the same? Which one is easier to hit?
Most recreational golfers will end up choosing the 3 hybrid to carry in their golf bag.
It provides the most versatility from both the fairway and rough.
It can also be used around the greens for bump and run shots.
The 5 wood does offer some advantages off the tee and can be a great option out of the fairway as well, depending on your skill level.
Most PGA Tour players carry a 5 wood over a 3 hybrid.
Here are some of the top benefits for both the 5 wood and the 3 hybrid.
Pros to carrying a 5 Wood in the Bag
- Alternative option to driver off the tee
- More Distance – Lower Loft 18-19 degrees, shaft length
- Doesn’t have the propensity to hook like a Hybrid
Pros to carrying a 3 Hybrid in the Bag
- Versatility – Easier to hit out of the rough, fairway and around green
- Higher loft options – 21 degrees, ability to hold greens from longer distances
- Ability to hit a draw – shorter shaft and offset
- Overall Forgiveness – High MOI and lower CG
- Let’s take a closer look at the 5 wood.
5 Wood – Alternative Option to driver off the tee
The driver can be a golfer’s best friend or worst enemy.
Most recreational golfers are unaware that standard drivers come with a 46inch shaft.
Although this is great for distance, it comes at the expense of accuracy.
Most PGA Tour players use a driver with a shorter shaft, with some exceptions.
One way to counteract this is to consider the use of a 5 wood off the tee.
The 5 wood head is larger than the 3 hybrid and provides a more forgiving experience when the golf ball is placed on a tee.
The 5 wood is affectionately known as a “fairway finder”.
5 Wood – More Distance
As we mentioned above. The 5 wood comes with a larger head than the 3 hybrid.
The 5 wood also plays with a slightly longer shaft than the 3 hybrid.
When you combine these two features, club head speed will increase, which will ultimately result in more distance off the tee.
Out of the fairway, the 5 wood provides greater distance to reach more Par 5’s in two shots, setting you up for more chances at birdie.
5 Wood – Doesn’t have the propensity to hook like a Hybrid
Most recreational golfers choose the 3 hybrid.
Most PGA Tour players choose the 5 wood.
Because of the dreaded pull hook.
Single digit handicap golfers try to take half the course out of play on their misses.
Eliminating the left side of the hole (if you are right handed), is a big part of lowering your overall score.
Although the 5 wood can be more challenging to hit out of the fairway and rough, the propensity to miss left is much less than with the 3 hybrid.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the 3 Hybrid
3 Hybrid – Versatility
It says it right in the name, hybrid.
The 3 hybrid is the more popular option for recreational golfers due to its versatility.
It can be used off the tee, in the fairway, in the rough and even around the green for bump and run shots.
The smaller head design allows for cleaner contact when the golf ball is resting on the turf, even in poor lies off the fairway.
It can also be a reliable option off the tee on short par 4’s and long par 3’s.
3 Hybrid – Higher Loft Options
A traditional 5 wood typically comes in around 18 to 19 degrees of loft.
The 3 hybrid can be anywhere between 19 to 21 degrees of loft.
The higher loft and smaller head allows you to get the golf ball up higher in the air.
The higher the golf ball is in the air, the steeper the descent angle will be on the shot.
It can be very difficult to hold your golf ball on the green from 190-200 yards out.
The 3 hybrid will give you a better chance to create more spin and a steeper angle of approach on longer shots.
3 Hybrid – Ability to hit a Draw
The ultimate shot in golf is the high, towering draw.
Because the 3 hybrid has a shorter shaft and a slight offset, it naturally helps guide the golfer’s swing path to produce a draw.
A draw, as opposed to a fade, typically results in a longer golf shot.
If done correctly, the 3 hybrid can sometimes produce more distance than a 5 wood.
3 Hybrid – Overall Forgiveness
Let’s talk science for a moment.
The 3 hybrid has a higher MOI and lower CG than the 5 wood.
MOI stands for moment of inertia. MOI is a basic measurement of how much resistance a club head has to twisting at impact.
The more resistance it has, the higher the MOI, the more forgiving it will play.
CG stand for center of gravity.
The lower the CG, the higher the golf ball will launch in the air and the more spin will be generated.
This is especially advantageous on longer approach shots into the green.
And the Winner is…
The 3 hybrid! The overall versatility and forgiveness makes the 3 hybrid a great choice for most golfers out there.
Go out and do some testing
There are several options when it comes to testing clubs.
Find a local golf store that has an indoor simulator.
A local golf store will give you the ability to test different makes and models for both the 5 wood and 3 hybrid.
They may also offer some options for used equipment to help save some money.
When testing in a simulator, pay attention to a few critical statistics.
Obviously, distance will be the most prevalent stat.
But also take into consideration club head speed, ball speed and spin rate.
If you happen to know someone who owns either of these clubs, you can also take them out to the range and do some outdoor testing as well.
Access to club fitting has become much more prevalent over the last few years.
The recreational golfer now has access to all the technology that modern golf offers.
A typical fitting will account for all your unique physical abilities and limitations.
You will also get the opportunity to test the latest in golf technology from all the major brands, including after-market shaft options.
Although this option will ultimately be the most expensive route, it will give you the certainty that you are playing the clubs that fit you the best.
Personal Game Assessment
When it comes to maximizing the 14 clubs you carry in your golf bag, it is important to do an honest assessment of your golf game.
What are your strengths? What are your areas for improvement?
When deciding between a 5 wood or a 3 hybrid, it may come down to your comfort level between the two clubs.
Many golfers who are contemplating this decision are looking to replace a long iron.
The 3 Iron can be one of the most challenging clubs to hit consistently.
At the end of the day, you are looking for the right mix of clubs that put you in the best position to shoot your lowest scores.
If you are not confident in your ability to make consistent strikes with a 3 or 4 iron, the 3 hybrid is a great alternative to add to your golf bag.
What is your current handicap?
I mentioned earlier that most PGA Tour players choose the 5 wood over the 3 Hybrid.
One main reason is the resurgence of the driving iron and the extreme length they get with a 4 iron.
With an iron, you typically can control the ball flight more and eliminate the big miss.
But it takes an extreme amount of skill and precision to execute this shot on a regular basis.
If you are a single-digit handicap player, you may consider forgoing the 3 hybrid and utilizing a driving iron mixed with a 5 wood.
If you are a double-digit handicap player, it may make more sense to utilize the technology built into the 3 hybrid and take the chance with the occasional wayward shot.
How to take your game to the next level
I believe there are three ways you can improve your game quickly, without breaking the bank.
- Find an Instructor or Coach
- Train for Speed
- Practice with Purpose
Find an Instructor or Coach
Not everyone has the time or money to take lessons at their local golf club.
Luckily, there are more resources than ever online that you can leverage to improve your game at home.
Here is a list of the top four that I have reviewed.
All four provide their own unique take on how to build your best golf swing and how to take practice to the course:
- Mike Malaska
- Eric Cogorno
- George Gankas
- Clay Ballard
Train for Speed
PGA Tour Pros average upwards of 110 mph of swing speed.
Scratch golfers average about 106 mph.
High single-digit handicappers come in around 97 mph.
And the average golfer checks in at 93 mph.
Faster swing speed translates into more distance and higher spin rates.
More distance and control will lead to consistently lower scores.
There are several products on the market that can help train swing speed.
But you can also develop faster swing speed by training at home.
Exercise and diet are the quickest ways to develop swing speed.
It often goes overlooked but improving your physical wellness will translate to better golf just as much as expensive training aids.
Practice with Purpose
This is a topic you can spend hours researching and developing.
What is the best use of your time in practice?
After all, golf is a game of repetition.
The more practice the better, right?
I believe you should break your practice down into three phases: plan, execute, learn.
Each practice session should be no longer than 90 minutes, and this includes warm up and cool down.
Golf is a game played in three areas: Driving, Approach Shots, Short Game (including Putting).
Don’t just grab your clubs and head to the range to whack a few buckets of balls out into the sky!
Before going out for a practice session, sit down and write out what you want to accomplish for the day.
This will allow you to maximize your session and get the most out the day.
Spend most of your practice time on two phases: Driving and Short Game.
If you have 60 minutes set aside, spend 40 minutes on wedge play.
100 yards and in should be your focus.
You need to know what it feels like to hit 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100 yard shots.
Dialing in your distances is the fastest way to improve your game.
Every practice session is different.
Sometimes your swing feels great, other times it feels like you can’t find a good rhythm.
Take something away from each session that you can apply to the next.
This will help you with planning and creating a practice schedule that keeps you improving.
Most of all, enjoy the process!
Golf is a journey, not a destination…