Keep Company with Your 3-Wood


Henrik Stenson had about as good a weekend driving the golf ball as one can, and he did it almost exclusively using his 3-wood. Stenson called on his 13-degree Big Bertha wood on all but one driving hole Sunday – the par-5 11th – and hit 13 of 14 fairways en route to a bogey-free 66 and a four-shot victory at The Players Championship. He hit 26 of 28 fairways for the weekend playing a slight right-to-left draw, a shot perfectly suited for TPC Sawgrass’ fairways.
It was a wise move by Stenson for several reasons: 1) He’s had the 3-wood in his bag for several seasons, so obviously he has confidence in it; 2)it’s a much easier club to draw than a driver because it creates more launch and spin; and 3) because of the firmness of the fairways, he was able to get tons of roll and thus was sacrificing very little distance. Indeed, Stenson averaged 294.8 yards off the tee for the week, good for 18th.
Just because you’re hitting 3-wood off the tee doesn’t mean you’re giving up any yardage. And, if you are, isn’t it better to be in the fairway and have a shot at the green with one extra club versus hacking out of the trees?
If you favor a draw off the tee the 3-wood is an excellent option. Make sure to tee the ball a “little” higher – about one-quarter inch – than you normally would for a 3-wood. This ensures that the clubhead’s center of gravity will get underneath the center of the ball, creating a higher launch and more spin. The other reason I like the 3-wood for amateurs is because it creates a different mindset and a much better swing tempo than the driver. When most people get a driver in their hands, they try and hit the ball as far as they can; with a 3-wood, they’re just trying to put the ball in the fairway.