5-Wood Vs 3-Hybrid: Which One Should You Carry & Why


With only a maximum of 14 golf clubs allowed in your golf bag, picking the right clubs to suit your game can be very tricky, especially when picking between a 5-wood and a 3-hybrid. 

As a general rule, most golfers carry a 3-hybrid over a 5-wood. A 3-hybrid provides more versatility around the course, where a 5-wood is only useful off the tee and fairway. A 3-hybrid can be used from the tee, from a variety of cuts of rough, and also from the fairway. 

But which club is most beneficial to your golfing game?

In this guide, I will answer the tough question of whether you should carry a 5-wood or a 3-hybrid, what the key differences between both clubs are, and how and where you should use them.

By the end of this guide, you should have a good idea of which club you’ll want to take with you on your next round of golf. 

In most cases, a 3-wood like the Callaway Big Bertha will be your best bet. Its modern technology is designed to give you more distance and is far more versatile than a 5-wood. It’s served me well for years. Get it for a bargain on Amazon.

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Should I Carry A 5-Wood Or 3-Hybrid?

As a whole most coaches would advise players to carry a 3-hybrid over a 5-wood. A 5-wood, although a fairly forgiving and useful club, is limited to playing from the tee and the fairway. Hybrid clubs can be much more beneficial as both fairway finders and rescue clubs, making the 3-hybrid a better choice. 

Depending on how you play, picking a 5-wood or a 3-hybrid can be a difficult decision to make. Both clubs provide different uses for golfers, and both have their positives and negatives around the course. Yet, it is advisable for high and mid-range handicap golfers to use a 3-hybrid over a 5-wood. 

Hybrid clubs are firstly a lot more forgiving to use than perhaps a wood or a driver. While a 5-wood will be lofted to around 18-19 degrees, a 3-hybrid will typically be around 21 degrees in loft. That means when striking the ball with a wood; it’s a lot harder to lift the ball into the air because of the more acute angle of contact on the golf ball. 

Now here’s the science part hybrid clubs offer golfers a much higher MOI (moment of inertia) and a much lower center of gravity which means the clubhead will make a much more fluid connection with the golf ball and will not twist or turn as you make an impact with the shot.

The 3-hybrid has a slightly shorter shaft than the 5-wood, which also means it plays more like an iron and is why many golfers find it easier to hit. 

A 3-hybrid can be used on more surfaces and terrain than a 5-wood. 5-woods will give you a lot more distance than a 3-hybrid, but they are not used from the rough or uneven ground. A 3-hybrid can be a rescue club and can get you out of trouble in and around the fairway. 

You can strike your 3-hybrid off the fairway and from the tee, but it is a lot harder to hit a 5-wood off the deck than it is a 3-hybrid. That takes a lot of practice and is similar to striking a driver off the deck. The ball will travel at a much lower trajectory and usually requires players to have a fast clubhead speed to transfer enough kinetic energy to get the ball moving in flight. 

That makes the 5-wood a tough club to use for beginner golfers and those of high handicaps. It’s easier to use than a 3-wood, though, but it is still is a hard club to hit off the deck. From the tee, the 5-wood may provide golfers with greater distance and power compared to a 3-hybrid, with the 3-hybrid lifting the ball higher into the air. 

Yet the 3-hybrid is more versatile, forgiving, and has a lot more uses around the course than a 5-wood might. That’s why I recommend beginner golfers, and intermediate golfers use a 3-wood to help them get around the course. 

Having a club fitting is an excellent way to get a feel of a 3-wood, I wrote a post all about the benefits of a club fitting that I reccomend you to read!

What Club Does A 5-Wood Replace?

As a general rule a 5-wood replaces, 2-iron and a 2-hybrid which his lofted to 18 degrees. All these clubs have the same loft, but the 5-wood longer shaft and larger clubhead helps golfers strike the ball longer and further than a iron.

A 2-iron might be one of the hardest clubs to use in golf; angled at 18-degrees, a 2-iron has an almost flat face when you look at its appearance, making it a tough club use. Most golfers would strike a 2-iron 190-yards; you can use the same loft on a 5-wood to strike the ball another 20 yards and reach around 210-yards off the tee. 

Most golfers find the 2-hybrid the easiest club to use out of the 5-wood and 2-iron; looking at the shape of the 2-hybrid’s clubhead, players can use the club’s wide body and thick base to bounce the clubhead off the ground and still get a good strike on the golf ball, even if they are going to hit the shot fat.

You can’t do this with a 5-wood or a 2-iron, and that makes the 2-hybrid again perhaps the best club to use off the deck. 

Beginners should stay away from using very unforgiving clubs like a 2-iron or a 3-iron. Typically these clubs have forged iron club heads and, for that reason, can be extremely unforgiving and very hard to use. Instead of using a bladed iron, you may want to consider using a hybrid that can be a lot more forgiving and easier to use from more difficult lies. 

If your interested in how much a beginner should spend on golf clubs, I wrote a detailed guide explaining everything you need to know which I reccomend you read.

From the tee, nothing is better than a 5-wood. Compared to a 3-wood or a 2-iron, the 5-wood is perhaps the most forgiving driving wood you can play with as it’s a little higher in loft compared to a 3-wood and has a longer club shaft compared to a 2-iron helping the user get more zip through on the golf ball and generate a faster clubhead speed.

A 5-wood technically doesn’t replace any club because the 2-iron and a 2-hybrid still have uses that a 5-wood cannot fulfill.

For example, if you want more distance from the rough, you might play a 2-hybrid over a 5-wood or even a 3-hybrid. You may also be playing in tough, windy conditions, and that’s when it might be advisable to hit a low stinger shot with your 2-iron to get the ball cutting through the wind to land on the green. 

The 5-wood is the best of the three clubs to play with when you’re on the tee or if you’re able to use the club when on the fairway comfortably. If you’re stuck on having to choose on using one of the three clubs, I would suggest starting by using a 2-hybrid, which is the most versatile and dextrous of the three.

Naturally, it is a lot harder to hit a lower lofted club, and without any forgiveness playing with a 2-iron or a 5-wood can be pretty brutal at the best of times. When you use a 2-hybrid, you’re not only getting a lot of dexterity in the club; you’re also getting a much more forgiving and easy-to-use club which is used in a variety of scenarios. 

To understand why it’s harder to hit a lofted club I reccomend you read my article that goes into a lot more detail including how to calculate driver loft.

What Is The Difference Between A 5-Wood And A 5-Hybrid?

A 5-wood will hit the ball further than a 5-hybrid due to having a lower loft and being less forgiving. A 5-hybrid is easier to strike from the floor and will have a higher trajectory than a 5-wood due to lower loft.

A 5-hybrid is the hybrid version of a 5-iron sitting at 27-degrees in loft; the 5-hybrid helps players lift the ball into the air a lot easier than you might find when using your 5-iron, which is a naturally unforgiving club, simply because of its flat clubface. 

Many golfers prefer to use the 5-hybrid as if struck slightly fat, you can still use the club’s wider heel to bounce the club onto the golf ball and lift the ball down the fairway, compared to a 5-wood, the 5-hybrid is a much less forgiving club, which won’t travel quite as far as the 5-wood, but will give you great distance off the tee of around 180-yards. 

Beginner golfers looking for a new 5-wood should check out the Cleveland Launcher Turbo. This is a brilliant club you can use to develop and enhance your driving skills from the fairway and the tee and is available at a great price of around $229 (£170) from Amazon.

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One key discrepancy between the 5-wood and a 5-hybrid is the different angles of the loft. A 5-wood has a much lower angle of attack than a 5-hybrid which is pretty lofty in comparison. The 5-wood 9 degrees difference between the 5-hybrid strikes the ball at a more extreme angle, shooting the ball at a lower trajectory than a 5-wood. 

You’ll then need to alter your stance and how you hit each club. With a 5-wood, the shaft is a lot longer, and that means you’ll have to stand a little further away from the ball. Plus, striking a 5-wood is a lot different from hitting a 5-hybrid. A hybrid swing is very similar to how you should hit an iron because the club’s shaft is a very similar length to your 5-iron.

golfers need to use the right club for their height. If you’re using a club that’s either too long or too short, you can end up hitting more fat shots or even topping the ball more often.

If this is a problem you’re having please see my guide on if shorter clubs are better where I discuss how shorter clubs are better or worse depending on your size.

But when striking your 5-wood, you’ll need to stand with the ball a little further forward in your stance. That will enable you to strike upwards on the golf ball and lift the shot into the air, putting more height and allowing you to carry the golf ball a lot further.

To understand why you might hit your driver further than a hybrid please see my complete guide on the topic where I go into more detail on how to hit the ball to help you strike more fluid shots.

Aside from loft and distance, the way you play each club is perhaps the biggest difference between the two clubs.

The 5-hybrid is a more versatile and easy to use club than the 5-wood, but it does sacrifice a lot of distance off the tee. If you’re an accomplished golfer, I would advise against using a 5-hybrid as a 5-iron is just as useful and perhaps more beneficial for beginner golfers who may struggle to get a good connection on the ball with their 5-iron. 

What Hybrid Is Equivalent To A 5-Wood?

A 2-hybrid is the equivalent club to a 5-wood. Both clubs are angled at an 18-degree loft angle and will provide golfers with around 170 to 190 yards off the tee and 150 to 180 yards from the fairway. 

Interestingly, some golfers can strike their 2-hybrid a lot further from the ground than they can hit their 5-wood off the floor. Generally, it would be best to hit your 5-wood further off the tee, but as hybrid clubs are so forgiving, you can often get a much sweeter connection on the ball with a 2-hybrid than the beefy face on a 5-wood can provide you. 

And that’s not uncommon with many golfers. Striking your irons and hybrids feels a lot more natural than playing with your woods or driver.

For more information on why you might be hitting your hybrid further and sweeter than your 5-wood, I reccomend taking a look at my detailed instructional guide here!

Off the tee, both clubs are fairly similar to strike, although you may find you get a little more loft on your shots with your 5-hybrid. It’s also a lot easier to put shape onto your 5-hybrid shots, with a lot of players finding it easier to draw the ball when playing with a 5-hybrid, while many struggles with slicing the ball when they hit their 5-wood. 

Golfers, do not need both clubs in their bags when they’re playing 18 holes of golf. You’re only allowed to take 14 clubs with you when you embark on your round.

To know how to choose wisely which clubs you need to use as a beginner or intermediate golfer please check my ultimate guide so you don’t spend too much money on your clubs.

Are you an accurate fairway finder who likes to play safe shots? Maybe the 5-wood is a great club for you to keep the ball on the fairway and consistently strike 190 yards on a par 4. Or are you more erratic? Do you think you’ll need to play a get out of jail card on your round? Perhaps you should consider using a 2-hybrid instead that will help you hit the ball from difficult lies but will provide you with greater forgiveness around the course. 

Pick the club that suits your game and can help you save shots from tee too green. 

See the latest pricing for the best golf equipment on Amazon below.

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