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2 Iron vs 3 Wood: How to Pick The Right Club for You

2 Iron vs 3 Wood: How to Pick The Right Club for You

Surprised by a reasonable question from high handicapper, who asked which club was better between a 3 wood and 2 iron, I was stunned.

I was not surprised by the 3-wood, but the thought of a beginner hitting a 2-iron. Because of their higher launch and accuracy, most high handicappers switch to hybrids over their long irons.

The 2-iron is my favorite due to its low launch and control. This helped me on the windy Cape Town golf courses. However, I also carry a 3-wood to supplement my driver on days when it isn’t firing.

This article will help you to choose the right club for you.


Overview of The 2 Iron and 3 Wood

For long strikes, a 3-wood and 2-iron can be used, regardless of whether you are approaching par 5s or a 4 tee shot. Shorter hitters may also swing one of these clubs on longer par 3’s. A 3-wood is your second strongest lofted club, after a driver. This means that it should be second in terms distance.

A 3-wood has a lower loft than a driver, making it easier for amateurs to launch high and far. It can be used in place of the driver’s big stick.

If you want a lower trajectory, a 2-iron can be a good substitute for your driver. You may see them called driving irons. Your utility iron is a bit different from the 3-wood, which has a similar flight speed to a driver. It flies low and runs fast. It has been a great tool for me when playing in high winds, as I mentioned.


Differences between a 3 Wood and 2 Iron?

Head Construction

You can clearly see the differences in their clubheads when you look at these sticks. A 3-wood has a wide clubface and a regulation fairway wood crown. A 2-iron has a blade shape.

Irons are designed with perimeter weighting to improve forgiveness, consistency, and safety. However, there is less surface area available for ironing, which leaves little room for error.

A 3-wood has enough space to allow engineers to add innovative technology. Modern 3-woods have a larger sweet spot and a low CG to encourage a long shot for maximum distance.

Woods are also made with a flexible clubface by manufacturers to maintain ball speed when struck low off the face, the heel, or toe.

Shaft Length

The shaft length is the second major difference between a 3-wood and 2-iron. The average men’s 3-wood steel shafts measure 42.5 to 43-inches, while their graphite counterparts range from 43 to 43.5.

Contrary to popular belief the graphite shafts of a 2-iron average 40 inches, while the steel constructions vary between 39- and 39.5-inches.

A 2-iron’s shorter shaft length should make it easier to strike the ball from the sweet spot. It requires enough swing speed and ball velocity for your ball to be consistently launched high and far. This is why high handicappers struggle with the long iron.

The longer shaft of a 3-wood helps you swing faster and makes it more powerful. This allows the average golfer to hit the ball from the sweet spot, which helps them get the best distance.

Your ball position at address is determined by the length of your shaft. To ensure you have enough time to square your clubface at impact, the longer 3-wood requires a forward ball position. If you want to catch the ball from a tee ball, it must be in a forward position so that you can catch it after the low point.

To hit the ball off the tee with a high-flying shot, you need to have a lot of speed and spin. If you fail to do this, the ball will spin low, fly low, and travel only a short distance.

For a 2-iron, the ball should be placed towards the front-center. The shorter shaft takes less time to square through impact than a 3-wood, so it shouldn’t be too forward.

The bottom line is that a 3-wood has a longer shaft length than a 2-iron. For 3-wood shots, the ball should be placed towards your front heel and for 2-iron strikes, the ball should be closer to your center.


The degree of loft is the next major difference between these golf clubs. A 3-wood is more lofty than a 2-iron and produces more distance on average. The standard loft for a 3-wood clock clock is 15 degrees. It is the second most lofted club in your bag, after the driver.

Golfers who prefer a lower launch and less loft can make the face stronger to 13 or 13.5 degrees. Slow swingers, on the other hand can cause the setup to lose 16 degrees of loft.

Contrary to popular belief, the loft of a 2-iron averages 18 degrees. Therefore, you would expect it to produce a higher apex that a 3-wood. My experience is that the 3-wood achieves a higher apex on shots off the tee or the deck.

My 16-degree 3-wood can be sent 32-yards in the air on a good day. Surprisingly, my 2-iron, which has 18 levels of loft, produces 5-yards less height.

The 3-wood has a higher launch speed than the 2-iron, but it has a stronger loft. Golf coach, Gary Player, further emphasizes this point. Michael NewtonHis test involved the two clubs.

His results showed that the 3-wood was launched at 9.7 degrees, while the 2-iron was launched at 9.3 degrees. The average ball from the fairway wood rose 32 yards in the air. In contrast, the 2-iron was able to reach 26-yards.

As you would expect the 3-wood was launched at a high rate of speed due to the increased backspin. The ball rolled less with the 2-iron because of this. The 2-iron had balls rolling for 19 yards, while the 3-wood was 17 yards. Although 2-yards is not significant, it could make the difference between an eagle or chip for 3 on a Par 5.


Which Club Hits More Often?

I can hit my 3-wood farther than my 2-iron when the weather is perfect. My 3-wood’s average distance is 224 yards, while my 2-iron’s average distance is just 207.

Although I was 17 yards short of my 3-wood on a clear, windy day, the results were different. To increase air time, the 2-iron shot’s lower flight and spin keeps the ball out of wind.


Which club is considered easier to hit?

It is easier to get your ball up with a 3-wood than a 2-wood. Its lower center gravity (CG), flexible face, larger sweet spot and increased launch speed promote consistent launch for improved distances and accuracy.

Amateurs have a difficult time striking 3-wood shots from the deck. This is due to an incorrect stance. If this is a problem, you can read our 5 steps to a better position.

Casual golfers will use the same setup whether they are playing from the fairway or the rough. This causes the ball to be too forward in your position, which can lead to you having to top the golf ball.

Your objective off the tee is to strike the ball as soon as you reach the low point of your swing. This allows the clubface the opportunity to catch the ball on its up and send it high and far. The mission is different off the deck.

To increase compression, you must strike the ball at a low point in your swing. This increases ball speed, promotes greater carry, and increases total distance. This is possible by placing the ball in front of your stance. This allows you to square your face at impact and strike the ball cleanly at the bottom.

An iron is easier to strike off the green than a 3-wood, because they don’t have to alter their ball position as often as a 3-wood. An iron is more consistent off the deck, while a 3-wood can be launched off the tee faster.


Do You Really Need Both Clubs?

To have the option of a low or high launch club, I keep both clubs in my bag. My 2-iron serves as a recovery and chip shot tool, while my 3-wood is an alternative to my driver. As far as the setup goes, I don’t think the average golfer requires both.

It may be difficult for the average slow swinging amateur to launch a 2-iron high or long. If this is the case, I recommend a hybrid rather than long irons. However, I believe that a 3-wood should be included in your bag. It can be used as an alternative to your driver or bridges the gap between a 5-wood or a big stick.

I don’t believe the average player should follow me. The 3-wood is the best option, but leave the 2-iron out.


How to find the right club for you

Swing Speed

I mentioned that slow to moderately swinging amateurs have trouble launching long iron shots high up and far. Due to the clubface’s reduced flexibility and a narrow sweet spot, each strike requires precision.

Inaccurate strikes will further reduce your spin rate and ball speed. This will encourage a low flying ball, which can cause you to lose yardage. If clubhead or ball speed are an issue, I recommend the 3-wood.

The shaft is longer and has a flexible face that promotes faster ball speed. Even if you catch it off your heel or toe, the ball will still travel at a faster speed.

Golf Ball Flight

Next, consider your preferred flight. A 3-wood is a great tool for those who struggle to hit the ball in the air.

The longer shaft will increase your clubhead speed while the flexible clubface with expanded sweet spot and clubface will keep you on track. This allows your ball to fly high and long. This is a great option for average golfers who struggle with consistent distance and ball flight.

A 2-iron, on the other hand, is a great option if you want to fly the ball below radar. Although you won’t get the same distance as a flushed 3-wood shot it eliminates the possibility of ballooned shots.

Home Golf Course

Apart from the performance characteristics of the clubs, it is important to consider the layout of your own home golf course. Are you playing on a well-manicured, low-rolling course? Is your home course a links layout where you get maximum run?

You will need to get as much carry distance as possible if your home course follows the PGA-affiliated layouts. The lush turf means that your ball has a low roll. A low-flying ball can cause you to lose yards. This is why a 3-wood is the best for these layouts.

Conversely, a low-flying golf ball is best on a links course because the firm ground gives your ball extra yardage after landing. In this situation, I believe a 2-iron will be the best for you if you consistently hit the ball in the sweet spot.


Related Reading: A hybrid club is a better option than a 3-wood if you don’t want to swing longer irons. This review compares a 5 wood to a 3 hybrid. It will teach you everything you need to.