1 club amateurs should ditch (and how to replace it) for 2023

We asked the game's best teachers which club amateurs should replace in their golf bags, and the majority of them had the same answer.

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Looking to get better in 2023? How about drop five shots in 2023? That seems like a good place to start. Here, as we creep closer to the New Year, we’ll use this five-part series to explain how you can kiss those five strokes (and possibly more?) goodbye in no time.

Part 1: How to maximize a quick warmup
Part 2: 10 dumb mistakes that ruin your round


If you are looking to get into the game or upgrade your gear next season, start by thinking outside the box. Sure, you want a new driver, but don’t automatically think you need to go right down the list — 3-wood, 5-wood, etc. — to complete your bag.

That’s a common trap most amateurs fall into, according to Sean Hogan, a GOLF Top 100 Teacher and director of instruction at the Leadbetter Academy. Because he says if there is one club amateurs (especially high handicappers) should remove from their bags (and replace it), it’s actually a 3-wood.

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“I would say a very delofted fairway club [they could replace],” he said. “That varies from player to player, but if we are generalizing, I’d say a 3-wood. If you look at most recreational players, a 3-wood loft on the low side is 13 degrees, up to 15 degrees, that’s a tough club to hit off a tight lie and off the fairway to launch. Obviously the most skilled player produces more speed and hits down on it a little more preciously to get it to launch, but I would say for me a 3-wood, why it’s a very important club for some players, it can be a very costly club for others.”

Hogan discussed this topic and others while at GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers Summit at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., last month. The majority of teachers echoed his thoughts when it came to which club amateurs should replace.

Mike Adams, a World GOLF Teachers Hall of Famer, wasted no time answering this riddle.

What club don’t amateurs need?

“A 3-wood.”

And what should they replace it with?

“A 5-wood,” he said. “It has more loft, it’s easier to hit. It’s a shorter shaft.”

Will they lose distance?

“No, because if you are hitting a 3-wood on the ground, how much distance are you losing? They can’t get it up in the air,” he said. “They’re better off hitting a 5-wood or a 7-wood than a 3-wood.”

Enough said.

Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.