I have never liked the 7 wood, although I have used multiple 5 woods over the years. I have found that when it gets to the distance needed for a 7 wood, I like the hybrids and long irons better.
That being said, let’s break down the differences between these two woods to help you figure out what works best for you.
The main differences between the 5 wood and 7 wood are that the 5 wood is longer, has less loft, and will hit the ball further and lower, while the 7 wood is shorter, with more loft, and suitable for getting the ball high in the air from the fairway or the rough.
Looking at both of these clubs, we find some good arguments to have both in your bag, especially if you have a slower swing speed player or are a senior player who may struggle to hit long irons or aren’t particularly partial hybrids.
Fairway Woods Comparison – Loft
The 5 wood generally has a loft of around 18 degrees, while the 7 wood is lofted at around the 22-degree mark. If you have ever hit either of these, you will know that both are easier to swing and hit than a three wood.
This is because both the 5 wood and 7 wood are shorter, and between the two, the 7 wood is about half an inch shorter than the 5 wood. Because the 7 wood has more loft, it will be easier to get the ball airborne.
In golf, the rule of thumb is that the higher the loft, the shorter the club length and the easier it is to swing and get the ball into the air. The higher the attic, the higher the ball will fly, and the lower the loft, the lower the flight trajectory.
In general, higher lofted clubs will impart more spin, which adds to the height and the club’s ability to hold the green as it will have less roll out on the landing.
This is why many golfers don’t struggle with the shorter irons, but as the clubs get longer, the inconsistencies in the swing technique become more apparent, and this is also why the 5 wood and 7 wood are easier to hit than the three wood and driver.
5 Wood Vs. 7 Wood Fairway Wood – Distance
If you look at the fairway wood set, you typically have a three wood and 5 wood and then the option of a 7 wood. In modern times, the woods don’t stop there as you can get nine wood and even an eleven wood!
Before hybrids were invented, the seven, nine, and eleven woods were used as long iron replacements, giving higher handicap players another option for longer clubs and longer yardage shots instead of struggling with 2/3/4 and 5 irons.
Because the 7 wood covers the loft gap from the 5 wood, you can expect a club length difference of around 10 yards between the 5 wood and 7 wood.
A typical 5 wood would travel around 195 yards, with long hitters reaching about 215 yards. The regular hitter would reach around 185 yards for the 7 wood, and a long hitter would get around the 205-yard mark.
From those distances, you can see a clear club length difference between the two, and if you struggle with irons at around the 185-200 yard mark, then a 7 wood could be a definite contender for a spot in your bag.
5 Wood Vs. 7 Wood – On The Course
Starting with the 5 wood, it is a valuable club from the tee, the fairway, or the rough. Compared to the three wood, for example, the 5 wood would be far easier to hit out of the first or second cut of rough, but the 7 wood would be even easier.
Where you need more accuracy off the tee to narrow landing areas or those longer par 3’s, the 5 wood can certainly take on that role, and even where the three wood or driver aren’t behaving; it gives enough distance off the tee to keep you in the game.
When the ball has a good lie on the fairway or first cut, the 5 wood will get it high into the air and to a reasonable distance as well, and because it is shorter than the three wood and generally has more forgiveness, straighter shots are more consistent with the 5 wood.
Of course, a poor swing or other technical faults will result in the occasional hook or slice, but the five is more forgiving than the three wood, but not as forgiving as the 7 wood.
The 5 wood can cut through light rough from the rough, but because of the lower loft, it may struggle in heavier grass to prevent being grabbed through the strike zone, leading to some thin strike or getting underneath the ball to swing harder and get it airborne.
The 7 Wood – On The Course
7 woods often replace three or four irons which high handicap players or those with slower swing speeds may struggle to hit consistently. Because the 7 wood is that much more forgiving and shorter than the 5 wood, it becomes an excellent option for players that need the length, height, and spin.
It would be a little short from the tee compared to the 5 wood, but from the fairway, it is another ideal option for straighter, more consistent approach shots that fly higher with more spin and land softer than the 5 wood.
From the rough, the 7 wood is generally a better option as the higher loft will make it more likely to get good contact on the ball and get it up and out of there without too much struggle.
Because the 7 wood is more forgiving, it appeals to players who find the feel of fairway woods better than those of long irons and players who don’t enjoy the feeling and swing of hybrids.
While the seven wood can be a club more suited to higher and mid-handicap players, this is not the case as some low handicap players and pros carry this club and put it to good use.
Do Pros Use A 7 Wood
Considering their range and options for clubs, you may not think that the seven wood holds much appeal for players with better swing speeds, but the reality is a little different.
The 7 wood and 5 wood offer pros and single figure players some additional options that their irons may not.
Firstly, because the 7 wood is shorter, it is easier to swing and make significant contact with – and secondly, it gets that ball flying high and far and coming down that much more softly – so control and accuracy are a factor.
Players on the PGA Tour like Jason Duffner, Tommy Fleetwood, Marc Leishman, Bubba Watson, and even Dustin Johnson carry 7 fairway woods. Using shorter shafts on a longer club is nothing new at the pro level, so the 7 wood fits nicely into that option.
With the power and distances involved and less stress around swinging a shorter wood than a longer iron, what works for your game at that level is all about. While it may not be an overly popular choice, some notable names in golf carry it makes a case for one being in your bag.
5 Wood Vs. 7 Wood – Choose One Or Both
Golf is usually about distance, but it all depends on your swing and the course you are playing most of the time. If distance were the sole factor for golfing success, the long hitters would dominate, but we all know this is not the case.
When looking at either a 5 wood or 7 wood, you need to think carefully about the kind of game you play and the course layout you will be spending most of your game time on.
If your course is tight and requires more accuracy than distance, perhaps the 7 wood would be a better option, while the converse would be true if your course is broader and more open to longer shots.
It would be best to consider having both in the bag and removing the three wood as an option. On shorter courses, the three wood may not be the right club to have in your bag, considering it is more difficult to hit than either the 5 wood or 7 wood and would not be as accurate.
The truth is that golf for all players, recreational golfers included, is about keeping the ball in play, and that means hitting fairways off the tee and greens off the fairway.
If your ego keeps you hitting driver and three wood into trouble, then it’s time to take a humble pill and hit the 5 fairway wood or even the 7 wood off the tee and keep the ball on the deck, albeit with less average distance.
But, you also need to be realistic about your swing ability here. If you are flushing your fairway woods and tend to struggle with long irons, then the 5 wood and the 7 wood is a great club with the same loft. As you can replace a three or four iron with the 7 wood and still have the 5 wood available.
Using The 7 Wood To Replace A Four Iron In Your Golf Bag
Most modern sets don’t come with a three-iron, and this would be the loft replaced by the 7 wood and then have the standard 4i-PW club configuration. However, we have seen a dynamic called ‘loft migration’ happen with club sets over the years.
Today, the modern 4 -iron has a loft of between 21 and 24 degrees; in fact, a recent survey shows that the average four-iron has a loft of 20.6 degrees, making it the modern version of the traditional three-iron!
The typical three-iron has a loft of around 18-20 degrees. Still, with removing the three iron from the standard set and the loft of the four iron having decreased, one degree of loft is more than manageable when covering the loft and distance gap.
So, if you are going to opt for a 7 wood, you could take out your four iron, use the 7 wood and still have some extra wiggle room for an extra wedge or even a longer hybrid club or rescue iron.
From the rough, the 7 wood will be easier to hit than the three iron, four iron, and 5 wood, plus you still get great distance on it! So if you haven’t considered this option for your bag, perhaps it’s the time!
Fairway Wood Versatility
Aside from playing out of the rough, both clubs offer some versatility on the golf course and the 7 wood. Because both clubs have a shorter shaft length than their predecessors ( the three wood and 5 wood, respectively), gripping down on them provides some additional shot options on the course.
For most golfers in tight situations where the 5 wood may be too much, the 7 wood can get your golf ball up quickly and far with better chances of success than you could have with a long iron, and its clubface profile means good clean turf interaction well.
5 Wood Vs. 7 Wood – Which One Should You Choose
Between new and used clubs, there are an almost infinite number of clubs out there to choose from, and before deciding between them or putting both in your bag, it would be worth test driving both.
Use different models and brands, get some advice from your club pro or fitting pro at the local shop, and spend some time on the range or your simulator to see how you hit each one compared to the iron or hybrid equivalents.
While the golf clubs, balls, and clothing may have changed in the modern golf game, one thing has not, and that is that golf is not a game of how far, but how many and if taking out your four iron and replacing it with a 7 wood saves you strokes, then do it.
The same applies to the case of having both golf clubs in your bag and being confident in your ability to hit them from the tee, the fairway, or the rough as you need- after all, the only judgment of your game is the score on the card at the end of the round.