Roaming the practice range at GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers Summit earlier this week, I picked up dozens of tips and useful nuggets from some of the best teachers in America. Some are better for scratch players, others for high-handicappers and a couple — like this one on lag putting — I have already put into use myself.
But one of my most intriguing findings came when I asked Todd Sones if there’s a club too many amateurs are carrying that they shouldn’t. I could hardly finish my sentence before he answered.
“If you aren’t a single-digit player, most people don’t need 3-woods,” he said.
“If you take a TrackMan out and actually test people with a 5-wood and a 3-wood, they hit the 5-wood farther, because they’re not hitting with enough speed to get the 3-wood in the air long enough to carry it,” Sones said. “Unless the ground is really hard, it’s not going to race out far enough to carry the 5-wood. And plus, you gotta have a great lie, a little bit of an uphill lie. So a lot of people pull out a 3-wood when they should never pull out a 3-wood — it’s a tight lie, it’s a little downhill, de-lofted, they hit a bad shot, it costs them shots versus gaining shots.”
This was news to me and I was glad I asked the question, mainly because I consider my 3-wood one of the best clubs in my golf bag. I’ve had the same one for years and with it a consistent low, piercing ball-flight. But I have never had any other wood in my bag in my life besides a 3-wood (or hybrid). Now it’s something I plan to look into this offseason to see if a switch would benefit my game. Sones offered an alternative for the 3-wood.
“Typically, I’ll tell most amateurs, unless they are really good players, to use 4- and 7-woods instead of 3- and 5-woods,” he said. “I really try to keep low-lofted clubs out of peoples’ bags.”
Sones said there is one exception to his no 3-wood rule for double-digit handicappers. He’s OK with players using it if they hit their driver poorly and use a 3-wood off the tee as an alternative. But when the 3-wood is used primarily off the fairway, he isn’t a fan.
Additionally, taking out one of those low-lofted clubs also affords you room for more wedges, Sones says.
“You score with your wedges,” he said. “You don’t score with your 3-woods.”
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