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