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Why more golfers should consider carrying a strong-lofted 3-wood

April 15, 2020

Unless your name is Cameron Champ or Bubba Watson, there’s a very good chance a 3-wood currently resides in your golf bag. For many, the club is a security blanket when the driver isn’t cooperating — a “fairway finder,” if you will. Everyone needs a club they can lean on when their confidence is waning. 

For many professional golfers, the 3-wood plays a similar role, keeping the round on track when little seems to be going right off the tee. There’s a reason why some elite players are so reluctant to replace a trusty fairway wood once they find something that works. Just look at Henrik Stenson’s incredible run with a Callaway Diablo Octane Tour 3-wood.

Kevin Na’s Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero 3-wood doesn’t have anywhere near the mileage as Stenson’s trusty fairway wood, which he retired last year, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable. The 3-wood is a confidence-building club for the four-time PGA Tour winner, and he believes it can play the same role for the recreational player.

“If you’re not too confident with a driver, go with the confident club,” Na recently told GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast. “It’s all about making a confident swing. If you feel confident with a 3-wood, you’re going to hit it better. There’s no point in hitting a driver when you’re not committed and don’t feel confident. That’s why I carry a strong 3-wood.”

Another thing the recreational player can learn from Na’s 3-wood setup? Consider the idea of playing something with a stronger loft. For Na, that means playing a Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero 3-wood with 13.5 degrees of loft.

In most cases, the average 3-wood has roughly 15 degrees of loft, a number that positions it nicely between the driver and 5-wood from a yardage gap perspective. But here’s the thing: not every golfer possesses the length of a Dustin Johnson or Rory McIlroy — Na included.

If you’re average off the tee, having a strong-lofted 3-wood essentially gives you a second driver (albeit with a weaker loft) to use. Considering the difficulty some golfers have keeping it in play, it makes more sense for a mid- or high-handicapper to have a tighter loft gap near the top of the bag instead of defaulting to the usual 3-wood loft.

And if you need proof that a strong-lofted 3-wood can get the job done, just look at Phil Mickelson’s decision to use a 13-degree Callaway X Hot 3Deep as his “driver” — it was the longest club in his bag that week — en route to winning the 2013 Open Championship.

With a strong-lofted 3-wood acting as a security blanket, you’ll be able to spend less time worrying where the ball is going and more time dialing in your short game.

To hear more gear insights from Jonathan Wall and True Spec’s Tim Briand, subscribe and listen each week to GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast: iTunes | SoundCloud | Spotify | Stitcher