Over the past 10-15 years, there has been a massive rise in popularity of the hybrid clubs. These clubs have helped many golfers launch the golf ball higher and hit it further allowing them to get rid of their harder to hit long irons. Although these new easier to hit clubs are now mainstream I have still found people confusing 3 hybrids with the 3 woods.
It’s time to clear up the confusion and look at what sets these 2 clubs apart. 3 wood vs 3 hybrid – what are the main differences? Which club should you use? Let’s find out!
What Are The 3 Wood and 3 Hybrid For?
The 3 wood and 3 hybrid differ massively in the reasons why they were created.
A 3 wood has been around forever and was designed as a club to hit long shots into par 5s and par 4s and is also notoriously the hardest club to hit off of the ground (driver excluded).
A 3 hybrid was created as an answer to the question of someone who wanted something that was easier to launch than a 3 iron but didn’t want to have to use a very high lofted wood such as 7 or a 9 wood.
The hybrid was born to fill a hole in the market and has since mainly taken over higher lofted woods as the primer answer to long replacement clubs.
Difference Between 3 Wood and 3 Hybrid
The most noticeable difference in these clubs comes in the head design. The term hybrids comes from them being hybrids of iron and wood style clubs.
A hybrid will have increased head size over an iron but not be as large as the head on the 3 woods meaning it falls somewhere in between.
This increase in size over the iron makes the 3 hybrid much easier to get up in the air and makes it more forgiving than even the most friendly of iron head designs.
Usually, a hybrid will have a head size of around 100cc with a 3 wood head size of close to 180cc.
The size of the heads is not the only difference between the heads. As the head of a 3 wood is larger unless any of the mass is moved around the Centre of Gravity or C.G will be located closer to the back of the head.
This will help in generating more launch with this harder to hit club. The larger head of the 3 wood also allows for there to be more adjustability of the C.G placement giving more draw or lower launching options in fairways than in hybrids. Although, this is changing in the more modern hybrid clubs.
The only other real difference is in the materials used. In most cases, a 3 hybrid and a 3 wood will be made of steel, but many 3 woods will incorporate titanium or carbon fibre into their design to lessen the weight of the club to help increase distance.
One of the most noticeable differences is the overall playing length of these clubs.
A traditional standard modern 3 wood will have a playing length of around 43” whilst a hybrid will play at around 40-40.5” depending on the manufacturer.
The reasons for this huge difference in length is linked back to what the expected performance of the clubs are. As the 3 hybrid is expected to replace a 3 iron it must go a certain distance and not exceed that distance, by making the club to long the player may find themselves hitting the ball to far and the club not fitting into their set properly.
3 woods are longer as they are designed to hit the golf ball further and will sit closer to the driver in the set.
It is the length of the 3 wood that often gives people the biggest issues when it comes to striking this club consistently. The shorter length of the 3 hybrid is much easier to control thus making the 3 hybrid very popular with the average golfer.
The lofts on these two subsets of golf clubs differ massively although not as much as they used to.
The loft of a 3 wood has stayed much the same over the years generally sitting around 15 degrees, sometimes getting as low as 13 and sometimes as high as 17 but on the whole the standard loft of a 3 wood is considered to be 15 degrees.
This tiny amount of loft makes this club incredibly hard to hit as it becomes more difficult to launch the golf ball with such a little loft present.
With most golfers, it would make more sense for them to lean towards the higher loft options available. As the increase in launch will usually result in more carry distance which most often will lead to more total distance.
A 3 hybrid began its life with a loft of around 21 degrees. This was set to match the standard loft of a 3 iron (which was aimed to replace) at the time.
But over the years the loft of irons has gotten progressively stronger so to respond to this change the 3 hybrid has had to move with it.
Some variants now come as low as 18 degrees with a more standard loft being 19*.
Even with this decrease in loft a 3 hybrid is still incredibly easy to get airborne and makes it the ideal replacement for the longer irons.
Loft also has a huge effect on the distance the golf ball will travel as loft is the largest contributor to distance.
This means that a well hit 3 wood will always go further than even the strongest of all the 3 hybrids.
If you’re looking for a 3 wood or 3 hybrid, these ones are the best rated in 2023
3 wood vs 3 hybrid: So, which one should you use?
The 3 wood and the 3 hybrid are clubs that often get banded together as being very similar clubs but the truth is they could not be more different.
A 3 wood is almost a max distance club for approach shots into longer holes and has an aggressively larger head profile, longer shaft, and more often than not much less loft.
A 3 hybrid was never intended to be a long-distance club. It was intended to replace the harder to hit 3 iron in your bag offering a larger head profile making launching the ball easier and giving added forgiveness on off centred strikes.
Although these clubs do differ in their purposes it makes them both very useful tools in a golfers bag.
As there are multiple different options in the market with each manufacturer offering different designs a golfer can fit each of these clubs into their games and come away with clubs that suit them perfectly.
It would always be beneficial to try multiple options and see how these clubs can benefit your game.