3 Wood vs 2 Iron vs 5 Wood – Which Club To Use And When?


Sometimes when you’re out on the course your driver goes on strike. You can’t get it to work and you lose all confidence, at this point it is really important to have other options from the tee. Not only this, you need these clubs to be able to perform on the fairway too, you only have fourteen.

This is where the 3 wood, the 2 iron and the 5 wood come in, they fill a gap at the top of the bag and give you options from the tee. How do you know what is best for your game though? Today we are going to drill into this and give you more information to help you make the decision.


Overview Of The 3 Wood

This is a club that all golfers should carry and learn to be comfortable hitting. It is great as another option from the tee and for long range approaches to greens on par fives.

The 3 wood can be a huge asset in your game and be that trusty fairway finder when the driver isn’t working for you.


Overview Of The 2 Iron

Tiger Woods Iron

A club that has fallen out of fashion, the 2 iron is a gamer’s club.

It takes a skilled golfer and a solid ball striker to play a 2 iron but it can be a fantastic club to have in the bag, especially on windy days when you need to keep it low.

The 2 iron is a great gap-filler before the fairway woods.


Overview Of The 5 Wood

Fairway woods

The 5 wood is starting to find itself in the bags of more and more tour pros and is a great club for long range approaches to the green.

This club is an easy to hit option from the fairway that will inspire confidence in you when you set up at address. Fly it high and land soft, that’s the 5 wood.


3 Wood vs 5 Wood

For the purposes of this article, the 3 wood is a lower flying club that is a better option from the tee.

The added loft of the 5 wood makes it perfect for approaching greens from a distance and trying to hold the greens.

The 3 wood is tends to go further due to loft and it’s a bit longer.


When Does It Make Sense To Carry A 2 Iron?

Tom Watson famously uses the 2 or 3 iron as his warm-up club, he says that if you can hit that you can hit anything.

This club is great for playing in the wind, its super-low trajectory helps beat the wind. It is also a great option from the tee for golfers who are confident in their ball-striking.


Loft And Distance Comparison

The average distance that golfers hit their clubs often surprises people, the following data came from work done by ReachPar.com.

Here you can see how 3 woods, 5 woods and 2 irons stack up in terms of most common lofts and rough average distances for men and women.




Men’s Average

Ladies Average

3 wood

15 degrees

210 yards

180 yards

5 wood

19 degrees

200 yards

170 yards

2 iron

18 degrees

190 yards

160 yards


3 Wood Vs The 5 Wood And 2 Iron

The biggest pro for the 3 wood is that it’s the best alternative to a driver. It is a fantastic club for playing from the fairway too, although this will take a little bit of practice.

The 3 wood can also make it easier to control shot shape and so is a great club for shaping the ball around doglegs.

The cons for the 3 wood include the fact that it has a very strong trajectory which can make it difficult to hold greens when you attack them from a distance.

It can also be a tough club to hit from the fairway if you haven’t practiced the shot enough.


2 Iron Vs The 3 Wood And 5 Wood

The 2 iron gives the most amazing option from the tee when you’re playing into the wind, that famous stinger from Tiger Woods can help you fight the breeze.

It is also a fantastic club on tight courses as it can give you added control of the ball when there isn’t much room for manoeuvre.

We’ve already discussed how hard it can be to hit a 2 iron consistently, it is a club for the better ball strikers out there.

The trajectory that the 2 iron produces can make it difficult to land the ball softly on the green and hold it. Finally, it is so similar to a 3 iron that it could be a wasted club.


5 Wood Vs 3 Wood And 2 Iron

The 5 wood is a great club for hitting high-flying and long distance approaches that land softly and stop quickly.

The added loft on the 5 wood inspires confidence at address and will inspire you to take aim at the flag. The 5 wood can also be used for chip shots around the green.

One of the main cons of the 5 wood is that it can often fly too high, especially on windy days.

The other issue with the 5 wood is that it may not be the best club to use from the tee, the added loft can cause you to lose distance from the tee.


What’s The Perfect Mix Of Hybrids, Irons And Woods?

This is a very personal thing and something you should talk to your club pro about. By mapping out the distances of all of the clubs in your bag, you can work out where big gaps are in your yardages which will help you see if your bag set-up is perfect or not.


What Should High Handicappers Be Carrying?


High handicappers would benefit most from carrying a 3 wood, a 5 wood and a 3 hybrid.

These clubs are all designed to maximise forgiveness and help players build confidence in their abilities as they learn how to develop their game.


What About Low Handicappers And Pros?

I think a 3 wood is a great club for everyone to carry from high handicappers to pros. Some pros carry 5 woods to bridge the gap between the woods and the irons.

2 irons and other long irons are best for pros as they can benefit most from the control these clubs bring when hit well.


Can Hybrids Replace Low Irons And Woods?

Many golfers will find great benefits by replacing low irons and woods with hybrids. The hybrid is one of the most versatile clubs in golf and they are so easy to hit.

They are also fantastic from bad lies, this is where they really come into their own as a type of club.


What Is The Difference In Shaft Length?

The average length of a men’s 3 wood is 43 inches, a woman’s 3 wood is 42.25 inches.

The 5 wood tends to have a length of 42 inches and the standard 2 iron has a length of 39 inches.

Obviously custom fitting can alter these lengths.


Which Is Easiest To Hit?

Of the three clubs listed the 5 wood is the easiest to hit, the smaller head and generous loft make them lovely from the fairway. The 3 wood is second with the 2 iron being the hardest to hit of the three.


What Gives The Most Accuracy, Feel And Control?

Golf Hybrids

This depends how good you are, for top players, the 2 iron would give you the most accuracy, feel and control.

However, for most golfers this would probably be the 3 wood or the 5 wood as they are easier to hit out of the sweet spot.


What’s Best Off The Tee?

The 3 wood is a fantastic club to carry as an option from the tee. 2 irons can also be useful but you will lose a lot of distance.


What Shafts Are Best For Each?

Graphite shafts are great for the woods and some even like graphite in their 2 iron. I prefer steel shafts in my irons and graphite in my woods.


Our Favourite Fairway Woods

King Speedzone Tour Fairway

I can’t recommend this club enough, it is such great value, looks fantastic and performs better than anything else out there.

It feels so good at impact and will revolutionize your fairway wood game. This range is great in both 3 wood and 5 woods.

Overall Score: 96/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:



Our Favourite 2 Iron

Titleist U510

This club is just phenomenal, it plays like a 2 iron but is made to be more forgiving. It goes miles and even has come characteristics of a hybrid thanks to its wider body.

This is a club that you will want to use again and again.

Overall Score: 98/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:




Many golfers have been through a period of the driver not working and it becomes tough to find a club to install confidence in you to find the fairway again.

The 3 wood or the 2 iron can be the clubs that get you there. Then your 5 wood can help you with a long-range attempt at the green.

Your club set-up in your bag is a very personal thing and each golfer will require different clubs. Take your time and properly review your yardages with a pro, this will help you find where your major gaps are. Get fitted for the perfect club to fill the gap and make your long game bulletproof.