Driver Vs 5 Wood – What’s Better To Use Off The Tee

Driver Vs 5 Wood

To let the big dog eat or to give him a smaller snack, that is the question.

Should I tee off with my trusty driver or opt for the more versatile 5 wood? It’s a decision that can significantly impact your game, and it’s essential to make the right choice. How do you decide?

In this article, we’ll dive deep into the debate between the Driver and the 5 wood.

We’ll explore their respective pros and cons, examine shaft length and weight, and even discuss who should consider hitting a 5 wood instead of a driver and when.

Driver Vs 5 Wood

Normally sitting between 9 and 12 degrees, the driver is the least lofted club in the bag, putter aside.

The 5 wood is normally around 19-21 degrees and is often more considered a fairway club but it can have good use form the tee.

When It’s Better To Use A 5 Wood Off The Tee And Why?


Choosing the right club to hit from the tee can make a huge difference on how you play a hole.

The driver is the no-brainer play but sometimes we need to consider other factors and make another choice.

Wind direction, length of the hole and the size of the landing zone are all to consider when you are working out what club to play.

A tight fairway and a lack of headwind tend to favour the 5 wood. Also, on a short par 4, a 5 wood from the tee can leave you a nice full shot to the green.

5 Wood Vs Higher Lofted Driver Off The Tee?

When it comes to choosing a club for your tee shot, there are several factors to consider.

A 5 wood and a higher lofted driver are both viable options, but they cater to different needs on the course.

One gives more control but less distance, the other is for power and yardage.

As both of these clubs carry more loft, neither will be brilliant into the wind but in that particular case you will want the driver as it should fly better into the breeze.

Lower spin rate will help the lofted driver fly on windy days.

What Are The Pros Of The Driver Off The Tee?


Maximum Distance:

The driver is designed for one primary purpose – to full send the ball. Its longer shaft and lower loft generate maximum distance, making it ideal for long par 4s and par 5s. It’s the yardage machine.


Modern drivers come with adjustable features that allow golfers to fine-tune their shots. You can customise the loft and weights to optimise ball flight according to your swing.

Confidence Booster:

There’s nothing quite like the sound of a perfectly struck drive. Hitting a great shot with your driver can boost your confidence for the rest of the round.

Ripping one miles up the fairway always gets a bit more swagger in your stride.

What Are The Pros Of The 5 Wood Off The Tee?


Controlled Distance:

The 5 wood offers a compromise between distance and control. It’s easier to control your shot and keep it in the fairway compared to the driver, making it suitable for tighter tee shots.


Golfers who struggle with slicing or hooking their drives often find that the 5 wood is more forgiving. Its smaller clubhead is less prone to unwanted side spin.

It is also great for giving yourself a specific distance for your second shot.

Fairway Finder:

When accuracy is paramount, the 5 wood shines. It’s a reliable choice for hitting fairways and positioning yourself for a strong approach shot.

What Are The Cons Of The Driver Off The Tee?


Less Forgiving:

The driver’s large clubhead can magnify mishits, leading to wayward drives into the rough or out of bounds. It demands a higher level of precision.

Low Trajectory:

For some golfers, the driver’s low trajectory can result in less carry distance. This can be a drawback when trying to clear hazards.

Tee Height Dependency:

Using a driver effectively requires consistent tee height adjustments. If you struggle with tee height control, it can lead to inconsistent drives.

It may sound subtle but many golfers should pay more attention to this.

What Are The Cons Of The 5 Wood Off The Tee?


Limited Distance:

While the 5 wood offers control, it sacrifices significant distance compared to the driver. It might not be the best choice for long par 5s where you need maximum yardage off the tee.

Fighting The Wind:

On windy days when you’re hitting into the breeze, the 5 wood is going to be more likely to stall in the air and kill your distance further.

It is also more likely that your ball will become a passenger in the wind and you’ll lose control.

Swing Speed Dependency:

Achieving adequate distance with a 5 wood depends on your swing speed. Slower swingers might struggle to maximise its potential.

Why Am I Hitting My Driver Too Low?


Low drives can be frustrating, but they’re not uncommon. Several factors can contribute to hitting your driver too low.

If your driver has a lower loft or a shaft that is too stiff, it can lead to a lower launch angle and less carry. It comes down to a factor called dynamic loft, read about it here.

Teeing the ball too low can limit your driver’s potential height. Experiment with tee height to find the sweet spot.

Related to this, a steep angle of attack can result in low drives. Try to strike the ball on a more upward angle as if you are lifting the ball into the air.

Why Am I Hitting My 5 Wood Too High?

Hitting your 5 Wood too high can also be problematic, especially on windy days or when trying to control your shot.

Here are some reasons why this might happen. The 5 Wood inherently has more loft, which leads to higher ball flight. If you need to keep it lower, consider adjusting your swing.

Also, an incorrect impact position, such as striking the ball too high on the clubface, can increase launch angle.

Higher swing speeds can also produce higher ball flight. Try to control your tempo for a more controlled trajectory. Taking speed off the strike can reduce spin and make it go low.

Driver Off The Deck Vs. 5 Wood From The Fairway

Obviously the driver is made for hitting from the tee whereas the 5 wood is more of a from the deck specialist, that being said, in certain cases we can reverse the roles.

A driver from the fairway is probably the hardest shot in golf, it takes a lot of practice!

The 5 wood is far more suited to playing from the fairway. This is a shot with at least 4-5 times the margin for error than hitting the driver off the deck.

The more lofted fairway wood is going to be the best shot for you 99% of the of the time.

Who Should Carry A 5 Wood And Not A Driver?

Not every golfer needs to carry a driver in their bag.

If you are looking for another option from the tee then a 3 wood is probably more favourable than a 5 wood.

I would recommend carrying a driver or 3 wood for tee shots and a more lofted fairway wood for long approaches.

Should You Always Carry A 5 Wood?


While a 5 Wood has its merits, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Consider your playing style, course conditions, and objectives before deciding whether to include it in your arsenal.

Driver Vs 5 Wood Shaft Length

The length of your club’s shaft can significantly impact your swing and, subsequently, your game.

A driver is usually around 44-45 inches and a 5 wood is 40-41 inches. This is a significant difference.

Driver Vs 5 Wood Shaft Weight

Shaft weight is another critical factor that can affect your shot performance.

Driver shafts tend to be a bit lighter say, 60-70g, and they are made for speed whereas the 5 wood is more for accuracy so they often have heavier shafts, 80-90g.

How Important Is Shaft Flex?

The flex of your club’s shaft is a crucial aspect of your swing.

Getting shaft flex right will help you gain distance, control and consistency.

Getting it wrong can make it a lot more difficult to hit your club and can cause you to lose a lot of control over you shots.



In the debate of Driver vs. 5 wood for tee shots, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

Each club has its unique strengths and weaknesses, and the choice ultimately depends on your playing style, skill level, and the course conditions you tend to encounter.

For those seeking maximum distance and are confident in their accuracy, the driver remains the go-to choice.

On the other hand, the 5 Wood offers a reliable compromise between distance and control. It’s an excellent option for golfers who choose accuracy over distance.

Remember, the key to making the right choice is understanding your own game and objectives.

So, the next time you stand on the tee box, consider the factors we’ve discussed, and select the club that best suits your needs and helps you achieve your golfing goals.