Choosing which 14 golf clubs to have in your golf bag can be tricky depending on your golf skill level and the type of game you play. Low handicap players would probably opt for the 5 wood, while mid to high handicap players may leave the 5 wood out and put the 3 hybrid in.
The 5 wood will be longer off the tee and fairway. At the same time, the 3 hybrid is one of the most versatile clubs and can be used from the rough, the tee, and the fairway with a higher trajectory, and the larger sweet offers more forgiveness than the fairway wood clubs.
Let’s put these clubs to the test and evaluate them side-by-side to see which would offer you the best option in your bag for your game in terms of distance, control, and accuracy.
5 Wood Vs 3 Hybrid – Loft & Clubhead Size Comparison
As a rule, hybrids generally have higher lofts, and while this reduces the distance, it gives mid and high handicap players and senior players with lower swing speeds a greater chance of getting the ball airborne and down the fairway.
The 5 wood loft would range between 20 and 22 degrees, with the clubhead being larger than a hybrid. While it is smaller than a driver and the three fairway wood, it will be larger than the 3 hybrid clubheads.
For decades, the 5 wood has been an integral part of the golf club set along with the three fairway wood and the driver and is easier and more consistent to hit than the longer fairway woods in the golf bag.
While it doesn’t have the same size sweet spot as the hybrid clubs, the 5 wood is relatively easy to swing for all player levels, and modern fairway woods accommodate swing speeds and skill levels to make them useable for any player.
The 3 hybrid falls into the ‘rescue club’ category and is designed with a more prominent level of forgiveness and compact head than the five wood. The 3 hybrids would have a loft of between 19 and 21 degrees, but some may be lower than that.
The 3 hybrids typically replace a three long iron in the bag as they have similar lofts. As a club with a lower loft, the 3 hybrids are far easier to hit than the three iron, and because it is shorter than the five fairway wood but about 2 inches, it gives that much more control and confidence in the long golf clubs.
Many golfers prefer the easier to hit hybrid clubs option as it provides more solid contact than their golf irons. Both on their tee shots, improving their fairway hit percentage, and for approach shot distance shots, improving the average golfer GIR ratio.
5 Wood Vs 3 Hybrid – Distance, Accuracy, And Control
The lower lofted 3 hybrid golf club replaces the long irons in the bag, making long approach shots, tight tee shots, and long par 3’s easier to hit than using a three-iron or 5 wood.
When it comes to distance, the 5 wood may have an edge of the two clubs due to the longer shaft, plus the club head design of the hybrid will send the golf ball higher, losing some distance over a lower flighted five fairway wood.
If you prefer distance over height and need this for your game, then the 5 wood could be a better option, and considering the availability of shafts to match swing speeds, even players with a slower swing speed could find some joy with the 5 wood.
However, if you struggle to get the golf ball into the air and need that little extra height while losing a little yardage, then the three hybrids would be more suitable as the shorter shaft will provide a greater sense of control during the swing.
The 3 hybrid deliver more spin onto the ball, and this landing and holding greens that much easier with the hybrid than with the five fairway wood.
The 5 wood will have more roll out, so players targeting the green will need to consider landing the ball that much shorter to hold the green than with the 3 hybrid.
5 Wood Vs. 3 Hybrid – Forgiveness
In the category, the 3 hybrid wins hands down. The 5 wood as a smaller sweet spot and high CG and so off-center hits tend to be punished more severely, and any sidespin on the ball will be exacerbated. Leading to less consistent contact with poor swings.
This is another reason low, and mid-handicap players with good ball striking mechanics will opt for the 5 wood over the 3 hybrid. Many high handicap players struggle with good contact and consistent shots on long golf clubs, whether long irons or fairway woods; the 3 hybrid rescue clubs become a far better selection for many golfers.
Once ball striking improves and players become more consistent and confident with their striking on the long clubs, they may replace the 3 hybrid with the 5 wood golf equipment provides more distance with higher ball speed and control options are better.
5 Wood Vs. 3 Hybrid – Control And Shaping
Overall, the 3 hybrid rescue clubs are designed to promote the straighter ball flight, and this is why many high-handicap golfers will use this golf club as they have more chance of getting the ball on the fairway or the green on approach than they would with a 5 wood.
Where players struggle with the fade or slice and are looking to achieve the draw or push draw, the hybrid will be a better option. However, if you are mid to low handicap player, you may prefer the 5 wood to better shape your longer shots.
The 3 hybrid will probably deliver greater accuracy as it feels more like an iron than a fairway wood and plays like one, but for players with good swing speeds and require that level of shaping, whether fade or draw, the 5 wood comes out on top there.
It should also be noted that with the 3 hybrid, there is more chance of hitting the hook or excessive draw as the 3 hybrid is designed to make the power draw easier for high handicap players, but this can also lead to the dreaded hook.
Choosing which club to use will depend on your ball striking quality, and better ball strikers would usually not opt for the hybrid as they generally have more consistent swing mechanics and higher swing speeds.
However, considering that the average male golfer’s handicap in the USA is around the 16 mark, these players would find the three hybrids easier to hit consistently straighter than the five fairway wood.
For ladies, the three hybrids are a great choice as many have slower swing speeds around the 80mph mark, and the hybrid clubs are finding great favor there as, after all, golf is a game of how many and not how far.
The key to great scoring on golf is hitting fairways and greens, and where players can improve both FIR and GIR in their game, they will certainly opt for clubs that can provide that over ones that don’t.
The traditional ideas about golf clubs sets have changed considerably since the introduction of game improvement irons and the hybrids, as even the pros have seen the value of cavity back and muscle back irons. At the same time, ladies utilize the long hybrids for accuracy and consistency over the traditional long irons.
5 Wood Vs. 3 Hybrid – From The Rough
The 3 hybrid shine when playing shots from the first cut or the rough as the clubhead is designed to provide better interaction with the turf and cut through the grass as iron does.
The 5 wood will be more challenging to control in the rough and deliver quality contact as fairway woods are designed to sweep the ball up and not require the downward strike as the hybrid does.
Because the three hybrids are more like an iron, the downward compression and more prominent sweet spot and the clubhead and face design provide more consistent quality striking from the rough than the five fairway wood.
If you tend to find yourself off the fairway more than on it, then the three hybrids will be a better option than the 5 wood as you will find yourself more likely to get out of trouble successfully with the three hybrids the 5 wood.
5 Wood Vs. 3 Hybrid – Bump And Run
One of the great benefits of the low lofted hybrid clubs is the versatility they bring to the bag. You probably wouldn’t use your 5 wood for a bump-n-run shot when you are just off the green, but the hybrid has a similar feel and loft to the old chipping clubs, and players can opt to use the three hybrids around the green.
These types of shots elevate the application of the three hybrids to more than just long shots, more control, and consistently straighter shots. Still, they offer the golfer various options on shots where a 5 wood has no consideration.
Long hybrids present the modern golfer with a better opportunity to create imaginative shots where in the past, those kinds of shots around the green were limited to wedges, short irons, and the putter.
Because the hybrid is a longer club, it can also deliver the feel of a long putter even though the loft is not as low; the ability to chip the ball with a very short backswing and have a good measure of control adds a little more confidence to those lag shots.
Of course, this would need to be practiced before taking it to the golf course, but having a club with such great versatility certainly adds weight to the argument for having the three hybrid in the bag.
Fairway Woods vs Hybrid Clubs – How To Choose Which Club To Use
Before looking at either of these, you need to consider your game’s strategy and aspirations. Look at what irons you carry, what kind of distance you get as you don’t want to have clubs that overlap in that department, or you are simply wasting a club space in your bag.
Where you need to boost FIR and GIR figures to score better, the hybrid would be the choice, whereas if greater control and distance are the focus, then the 5 wood would be preferable.
If you are a mid-handicap to low-handicap player, your swing speed will be closer to that of the tour pros than seniors or ladies, and here, a 5 wood is probably the better option.
Slower swing speed would need the hybrid to deliver better distance, accuracy, and ease of launch from the tee, deck, or rough. Knowing your swing speed is essential, so if you don’t, get it measured before you spend money.
5 Wood Vs. 3 Hybrid Golf Clubs– Test Before You Buy
The best way to test which club would be better is to either take it to the range or use them on a simulator.
Because the hybrid gives more spin, it’s crucial to look at the spin rates on the monitor. If your spin rate with the hybrid is higher than 5500 rpm, that will cost you the distance.
The advantage of the simulator is that you can test different brands of hybrids and fairway woods in a session and then narrow down the choices to the best results. You would not have both clubs in your bag, so you need to pick one over the other.
The modern fairway woods have been designed with more forgiveness and can match your swing speed with the proper shafts. This makes them much easier to hit consistently than the older models, and manufacturers have recognized this demand and delivered accordingly.
Another less scientific measure is how the club feels in your hands and how the ball feels on impact, and while this is not a verifiable metric, it does play a role in choosing clubs.
When you are testing your clubs, you will get a sense of which feels better for you, and regardless of the metrics, you need to consider that side of it.
5 Fairway Wood vs 3 Hybrid Conclusion
The purpose of the long clubs is to get you far and straight, and whether it’s a three-hybrid or 5 fairway wood in your bag that achieves that for your game is immaterial- but at least you can now assess which would be the better option.
Swing and club confidence plays a significant role in the mental game of golf, and it’s important that regardless of whether you choose the 5 wood or three-hybrid when you step up to swing it, you have no doubts that you are going to flush it!