3 Iron vs 3 Wood vs 3 Hybrid – Which Club To Use & When

Driving Irons vs Hybrids

Sometimes the driver isn’t working and you need a fairway finder. Sometimes you’re hitting the ball great and feel like you can reach a par five in two.

In each of these cases, you may have to choose between the 3 iron, the 3 wood and the 3 hybrid.

The main differences between the clubs will be in the length of the shaft, the size of the head and the angle of the club face. Hybrids are generally the easiest to hit but the other two clubs are going to suit a whole host of players better as well. 

In this article today I am going to discuss each of these clubs and the correct time to use them.

I’ll give you what you need to make a better decision next time you’re standing over your bag trying to figure out which of the three to put into action.


The Clubs And Why The Right Choice Is Important

3 Iron

Driving Irons 3

The 3 iron is often the strongest and longest iron in the bag.

At a loft of around 20 degrees, this is a club many can find hard to hit but if you put in the time and practice with it, it can be a huge asset to your bag. It’s piercing low flight is great for windy days.

3 Wood

A bit of an all-rounder wood, the 3 wood can be played from the tee or the fairway and is a great club to build trust with.

When the driver isn’t working, the 3 wood can give you good distance and more control. It can also hit spectacular fairway shots to the green.

3 Hybrid

This one sits between the two above in terms of looks and function.

The three hybrid makes long-range fairway shots easier thanks to it’s design and high ball flight.

It makes holding greens easier and can be used more easily from tricky lies in the rough.


Overview Of The Club Choice

The 3 iron is for ultimate control from the tee or fairway for better golfers.

The 3 wood is the best alternative to a driver from the tee and from perfect lies on the fairway.

The 3 hybrid is the perfect substitute for the 3 iron for golfers who struggle to hit the strong iron.


Loft And Distance Table

One important difference between these three clubs is how far they go.

The 3 wood obviously should go the furthest with the other two being quite similar and a little less yardage.

I went to the guys at Trackman to see what stats there was for PGA Tour golfers:



Ball Speed


3 wood


158 mph

243 yards

3 hybrid


146 mph

225 yards

3 iron


142 mph

212 yards


3 Wood Advantages Vs 3 Hybrid And 3 Iron

Fairway woods

This club goes the further, it is designed to, it is also designed to be played more from the tee and perfect fairway lies.

The 3 hybrid and 3 iron have the advantage in trickier lies.

The 3 wood also gives the lowest spin of the three so it can make it hard to hold greens from a distance.


Who Should Use It And When

This is a club that every golfer should get good at using from the tee as it can be a more controlled alternative to the driver.

When it comes to playing this club from the fairway, this skill takes practice so better golfers will be best suited to that. Other golfers should work on it though.


Advantages Of The 3 Iron Over The 3 Hybrid & 3 Wood

The 3 iron is a club that requires good ball-striking to perform well, but don’t let this put you off.

This club will tend to produce high spin and a low launch to create a strong ball flight on windy days.

Hybrids spin slightly less but launch higher, both can be great for long attacks at a green.


Who Should Use It And When

The 3 iron can be great from the tee on a par 3 or tricky par 4 and also from the fairway.

It can be a difficult club to hit from the fairway but, if you can hit it well you can hit any iron.

The 3 iron is a great club to be able to hit accurately as it can open up holes for you like a surgeon’s knife.


Advantages Of The 3 Hybrid Over The 3 Iron & 3 Wood

This is the easiest to hit of the trio and the most versatile.

The 3 hybrid can be played from the tee, the fairway and the rough, it actually becomes a better club in bad lies.

It is also the most forgiving club of the three, a factor that can be of huge benefit to many golfers.


Who Should Use It And When

This club is for everyone, it makes long-range approach shots so simple and will instill confidence in your long game.

The high launch and high spin will help you hold greens from a distance give you the confidence to attack from further out.


The Perfect Mix Of Hybrids, Irons And Woods

This is a personal decision, I used to carry a 2 wood, a 3 hybrid and a 2 iron.

Now I carry a 3 wood and a strong 3 iron. Consider the courses you play most, the clubs you’re most confident with and the shots you need most.

Don’t be afraid to have a floating club that can be added.

Everybody is going to hit each club differently. I personally like the control I get from a 3 Iron, but it’s crucial that you find out the perfect clubs for your game and use them when need



What Should High Handicappers Be Carrying?

I think that high handicappers should be carrying a 3 wood and a couple of hybrids instead of long irons.

This will allow them to build confidence in the low end of the bag whilst not losing distance. The 3 wood is a club that every golfer should work hard to strengthen their skills with.


What Should Low Handicappers And Pros Be Carrying?

If you are a highly skilled golfer, it depends on how high you hit the ball and what style of course you play most.

If you like to play it lower and run the ball more, say you’re a links player, then the 3 wood and 3 iron approach is good.

Hybrids certainly have their place if you like to play it high.

It’s no secret that even masters winner, Dustin Johnson is carrying hybrids now, a time he thought would never come in his career.


Can Hybrids Replace Low Irons And Woods?

Hybrids can be a great replacement for low irons, especially for golfers who struggle with these.

They can also be a good replacement for clubs like the 5 wood and up, I don’t think they are a replacement for 3 woods.

Those clubs are too different, you shouldn’t choose between them.


What’s The Difference In Shaft Length?

Although customization allows you to alter this, the average length of a 3 wood is 43 inches.

The standard shaft length for a 3 hybrid is 41 inches and a 3 iron is 39 inches.

This starts to explain the distance and accuracy differences between these clubs.


Which Is The Easiest To Hit?

Golf Hybrids

In my experience, the 3 hybrid is the easiest club to hit of the three in this article.

It is more forgiving and creates launch conditions that help you get the ball in the air especially from tough lies in the rough.

The wide sole also works to keep you from hitting those chunky shots.


What Gives Most Accuracy, Feel And Control?

If you are a good ball striker, then the 3 iron will give you the most feel.

This is a reason many prefer them, they will also give elite players more control and accuracy.

For other golfers, the hybrid will give you the most control and accuracy, they certainly develop the most spin.


What Shafts Are Best For Each?

The 3 wood will work well with a graphite shaft, these clubs are designed for distance and this will help here.

The 3 hybrid will equally work well in graphite, whilst the 3 iron will be better in steel to help with feel.

This is a personal preference and a custom fitter can help you with what you need.


Our Favorite 3 Wood 

Cobra King Speedzone

Cobra use “Baffler rails” in their hybrids and woods to help speed the club up through impact whilst providing stability.

The King Speedzone fairway woods are outstanding and will give many golfers distance and accuracy that they didn’t think was possible.

Overall Score: 98/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:



Our Favorite 3 Iron

Titleist U500

The Titleist U500 was made famous by Jordan Spieth when he won The Open Championship in 2017.

This iron is great from the tee and fairway alike, it is more forgiving than normal 3 irons too.

This is a club that could really make you fall for long irons and give your game an edge.

Overall Score: 97/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:



Our Favorite 3 Hybrid

TaylorMade GAPR Hi

The TaylorMade GAPR hybrid is a beautiful looking club that has the performance to match.

These clubs look great behind the ball and feel incredible when you strike the ball.

TaylorMade have taken the knowledge of their old “spoon” clubs and developed the modern equivalent.

Overall Score: 98/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:




There is a place for all of these clubs in the bag of most golfers. The challenge is deciding which is right for your style of play and skill level at the time.

This article should help you make that decision and you should also spend some time with a pro to help you decide.

Also, whilst you are only allowed to carry fourteen clubs, you can have reserve clubs for different conditions so it is worth having all three of these clubs to choose from.

Have a play around and, with the help of your club pro, you will find the right clubs for your bag.