Many years ago in this column I wrote an article entitled “Death of the 3 Wood”.
At the time it evoked a fairly strong reaction, yet here we are still talking about it, although perhaps they are not quite so popular nowadays.
The large big-headed 46-inch drivers tend to hit the ball slightly further, often leaving say a rescue club distance to the green, so my point was unless you play at a very long course do you really require a 3 wood? After all a rescue/hybrid is actually much easier to hit.
Having said all that I have actually just changed my 3 wood for the first time since 2008. When I read recently that the world no 1 Jason Day had changed his 3 wood for “the longest 3 wood on the planet” I thought that perhaps it was time to bin my old faithful one and get one of those new ones.
The club in question, in the first picture, is the Taylor Made M2 3 wood which Jason reckons he hits at least 10 yards further than anything else. So hitting my old Mizuno on Trackman, my best recorded distance was a miserly 206 yards.
How did that compare to the new beast? Well the M2 went 216 yards on its first hit. I thought Jason was right, it does fly much further, even on the odd mishit shot it still flew well into the 200 yards scale, whereas my old one dropped into the mid 190s when I slightly misstruck it.
I am often asked where to position the ball in your stance with a 3 wood. It simply depends on the lie - from a good one, play it opposite your left heel, if the lie is poor then play it slightly further back as shown in this first picture.
Also set your body weight slightly on the left side 60-40, as you want to hit it slightly on the downswing for best results.
In the second picture, note how relaxed I am as the club approaches the moment of truth. So many players wrongly try to force the ball away for maximum distance. The tendency then is to top or duff it, and all the good work of the long drive has gone.
Playing a 3 wood off the ground is actually a very difficult shot, requiring good solid technique, and plenty of regular practice.