3 Iron vs 7 Wood – What’s The Difference And What’s Best To Use?

They say they’re nothing new under the sun, golf is not immune to this rule.

I remember when I was a young junior, my grandad came home with his new Callaway Big Bertha seven and nine woods. He was proud as punch with his purchases and was keen to show them off.

Long irons aren’t fashionable right now, hybrids have been and gone, as have utility/driving irons. The new/comeback kid on the block are the high-loft woods like the 7 wood. Today we will put these clubs to the test against the classic 3 iron and help you decide what you should game.

What Should We Be Looking For In Our Longer Clubs?

Consistency. It’s a simple yet vital one word answer and something that I don’t think enough golfers prioritise at the top of the bag.

Your long irons are there to help you attack the green from a distance or maybe just to progress the ball as far up the hole as possible.

For both of these shots you absolutely must be able to trust that the ball will go where you hope. The other issue is that these clubs can be amongst the hardest to hit in the bag so gaining this confidence can be tricky. Your longer clubs should prioritise forgiveness over all else.

Overview Of 3 Iron Vs 7 Wood

To begin, both of these clubs have similar lofts, something around 21 degrees or there about.

From there the similarities end. The wood is made to sweep the ball off the deck with a shallow attack angle, the iron will do better with a slightly steeper attack and compression.

Also, the 3 iron will give you more of a piercing flights whereas the wood will send the ball into the air. This means that the 7 wood will tend to stop more quickly on greens. It also means, however, that it won’t be as useful from the tee as the 3 iron, but that is harder to hit so can be risky.

Why Would You Choose A 7 Wood Over A 3 Iron?

As just mentioned, the 3 iron will, for most golfers, be a harder club to hit.

This will reduce the consistency and make it less appealing. The 7 wood, on a calm day, will tend to go further too as it is a longer club and so should create more ball speed during the shot.

Some much prefer the look of a lofted wood at address than the long iron. It can instil more confidence as it looks easier to hit than the 3 iron. Finally, another appeal of the 7 wood is that they tend to be lighter due to graphite shafts and composite materials.

What’s Better For Beginners?

The 7 wood will tend to be a better bet for beginners.

It is more forgiving, better for launching the ball into the air optimally, and doesn’t require a lot of clubhead speed to be effective for that reason. Golf is a hard enough game to start anyway, take the advantages that come your way.

What’s Better For Mid Handicappers?

I would tend to go with the 7 wood for this group.

There may be some, especially the sand baggers amongst us ie the guy/girl you want on your scramble team, who can hit the iron well but most won’t see the benefit. You’ll appreciate the added distance and forgiveness of the wood.

Which Is Easier To Hit?

The 7 wood is considerably easier to hit.

It is far more forgiving and, thanks to the joys of modern fairway metal technology, misses will tend to fly impressively far. Even some of the best players in the world are starting to appreciate the forgiveness of these clubs!

Which Gives More Accuracy And Control?

Well of course this comes down to the golfer hitting the shot, some will prefer the iron and some the wood so I will be talking in very general terms to answer this one.


In terms of general accuracy, the iron will fair better in the hands of those who can use them well. The wind will affect the ball less from a long iron due to the lower ball flight and the shorter shaft will mean a tighter dispersion pattern. That being said, many golfers find these clubs intimidating.

The high ball flight and quick stopping power of the 7 wood can actually make it more accurate for attacking greens. The ball, coming from a more steep angle toward the green, will stop faster and be able to hold onto the dance floor more easily.


The iron is the clear winner here. An iron is far easier to impart side spin on, part of the reason many find them difficult to play with, which means it is much more efficient at shot shaping and control. I would far rather try to play a low 3 iron into the wind that try to control a 7 wood.

What’s Better Off The Tee?

The 3 iron wins this one for me.

Whilst many will feel more comfortable with the 7 wood, you will get a very high ball flight that can be weak in windy conditions. The shorter shaft of the 3 iron may can help give you more control over the ball, although you may give up a little yardage.

A well-struck long iron from the tee is a shot that takes time and work to master, it is worth putting the effort in though. A 7 wood from the tee is a decent option and for many it will be the easiest option, I’m just saying that with some practice you could have a better play in the bag.


The 7 wood is a very satisfying club to hit.

The light ping as you clip it away from the mown turf is just sublime. I love my long irons but I can absolutely understand why a lot of golfers would rather not play those clubs and look elsewhere. The 7 wood is a strong contender to be in many bags.

Unless you are a confident iron player or have the time and patience to become one, the 7 wood is probably going to help your game more by giving you that added consistency and forgiveness. All that really matters here is that you pick a club that makes you confident you’ll hit it well.