Recently, I was assigned to test the performance characteristics of a hybrid 3 wood and 2 wood. The goal was to find the best option for average golfer based upon distance, forgiveness, consistency, and speed.
This post will give you my thoughts to help you choose the right club for your game.
To begin, I will outline the differences between the clubs, including their head construction, shaft length, loft angle, and shaft length. I will also explain which one I found to be the most workable and rollable upon landing.
Overview of the 3 Wood and 2 Hybrid
In your long game, you can use a 3-wood or a 2-hybrid. You’ll know their most common use is for long approach shots on par-4 and 5 holes. The 3 wood is the strongest lofted golf club in your bag, after your driver. This theoretically means that it can go the second most distance.
Amateur golfers sometimes substitute the 3 wood for their driver. These clubs are easier to launch because they have shorter shafts and weaker lofts.
A 2-hybrid, on the other hand, is a combination of an iron and fairway wooden. It has the speed and ball speed of wood, but the shaft is shorter than an iron, making it easier to swing.
A 2-hybrid has a low and deep center-of-gravity (CG), which promotes higher flight. Hybrid clubs have an advanced moment of inertia (MOI), which helps to resist twisting during swing. This reduces sidespin, which causes hooks or slices, and not improves accuracy.
Differences between a 3-Wood and 2-Hybrid
The construction of the clubhead is the most significant difference between a 3-wood or 2-hybrid. A 3-wood has a crown with more weight in the head to create a larger sweet spot. This club’s beauty is its ability to maintain consistent ball speed, even on mishits.
Instead, hybrid golf clubs have the blade face and crown of an iron but a reduced crown adapted from fairway wood. This construction allows engineers to place the CG at the lowest possible position to ensure that your golf ball travels in the most efficient manner.
Hybrids have a higher offset and are designed to counter sidespin that can lead to sliced shots. This is a common mistake made by amateur golfers and encourages straight ball flight for maximum accuracy.
The shaft length is the second difference between a 3wood and a 2 hybrid. Graphite is the most popular shaft material for these clubs. It is lighter and easier to accelerate your clubhead speeds.
Despite its weight, a 3-wood shaft is longer than a 2-hybrid. This, most golfers believe, increases clubhead velocity. On average, the long fairway wooden measures between 42-43 inches. If you are having trouble in this area, I recommend a 3-wood rather than a hybrid.
A 2-hybrid, on the other hand, has a shaft length of 41 inches. A shorter shaft is easier for casual golfers to control, which leads to more strikes from the middle.
The position of your golf ball is another area where shaft length has an impact. As a rule of thumb: The longer your shaft is, you should place your golf club in a forward position.
For 3 Wood tee shots, the golf ball should be parallel with your stance. This will give you enough space to align the clubface for impact and to swish the ball off of the tee. If you are using a 3-wood to hit the deck, you must move your golf ball back towards the center.
When preparing for a hybrid shot, you should not place the ball in front of your stance.
After determining the shaft length difference, we then focus on the average loft for these golf clubs. A 3-wood has 15 degrees of loft while a 2-hybrid has between 18 and 20.
This data would lead you to believe that the hybrid launches much higher than a fairway-wood and spins more. Before I saw the results, that was my logic. And I was surprised. Both clubs achieved the same apex, but they had different levels of backspin. I’ll discuss this in the next section.
To my great surprise, the hybrid’s lofted 3-wood launched as high in my test as the lower lofted 3-wood.
Here is where the discrepancies become interesting. As I mentioned in the previous section, a 3-wood has a stronger loft than a hybrid. It should launch and spin lower than a higher lofted Hybrid, but my test revealed surprising results.
I achieved an average backspin rate of 4,000 rpm using the 3-wood, but only managed 3,100 with my 2-hybrid. It is even more amazing that both clubs reached the same apex despite the difference of 900 rpm in backspin. The hybrid’s lower loft gave it an extra launch at impact that sent it into the stars.
Your backspin rpm will determine how much roll your ball produces upon landing. This is a problem for firm layouts and in gale force winds where high flight and maximum run are encouraged.
The 2-hybrid has a higher degree of offset than a 3-wood, as you already know. While this offset can help you produce straight shots, it can also impact your ability to shape your ball on the green.
The hybrid’s design neutralizes sidepin whenever you try to induce it. These qualities may be disliked by lower handicappers, but they offer the average golfer exceptional forgiveness that allows for greater accuracy and longer distances in long games.
Modern 3-woods have an adjustable hosel that allows you to adjust the clubface angle to your liking. You can have your clubface in a draw biased position if you like to send your golf ball left to right. If you prefer, you can swing with a fade biased.
Draw or fade bias aside. The 3-wood construction encourages greater levels of sidespin which is necessary for curve your ball.
During my test, the Ping G425 17 degree 2-hybrid produced more roll than its counterpart the G425 3 wood. This is where the 900 rpm’s less backspin came into play, boosting the hybrid’s total distance.
Overall, the 2-hybrid produced 4 yards more roll than the 3hybrid. This is a great trait for windy and firm ground conditions. This allows you to maximize your distance and keep out of the wind while running.
Which Club Hits Typically More?
These clubs are equally matched from the fairway or rough.
As a moderately skilled golfer, I was able to average 205 yards with the hybrid and 3-wood. I was able to tee the wood for 217 yards, making it the longest club in the test.
Which club is easier to hit?
The 2-hybrid club is the easiest to hit. The 2-hybrid is the easiest club to hit. It has a shorter shaft that makes it easier to control and gives you greater chances of catching the ball in the sweet spot. Additionally, the clubface has a draw bias profile that restricts slice sidespin, which allows for a straight, long-range shot.
The hybrid construction allows for greater forgiveness across all clubfaces. This allows for ball speeds to be maintained and limits back and side spin on toe and heel mishits.
The 2-hybrid is more forgiving, allowing for straighter shots and higher launch. The 2-hybrid’s shorter shaft allows for better control and consistent ball striking.
Do You Really Need Both Clubs?
I was pleasantly surprised at the similarities between these clubs’ results and decided not to carry them both. Instead, save space for additional wedges. In my tests, the 3-wood, 2-hybrid and total distance achieved similar apex and ball speed. This makes them more like competitors than partners.
The 3-wood is a great tool for amateurs who struggle to generate enough clubhead speed. The longer shaft increases swing velocity and produces a powerful strike.
If you are still learning how to strike the ball, you might find greater consistency with the shorter shafted hybrid.
How to choose the right club
You can identify the best option for yourself by looking at your clubhead speed. If you generate sufficient swing pace, you shouldn’t be desperate for the assistance of the longer fairway shaft. A 3-wood may be a good choice if you struggle to swing speed.
A slow swing speed can limit your long game distance potential. This can lead to you being short on the green when you approach.
Next, consider your ball striking ability. If you can catch the odd shot well, you might feel comfortable swinging a fairway wooden. If you are an unpredictable ball striker who requires forgiveness, the 2-hybrid’s shorter shaft can provide superior control and consistency.
It boils down to a clean strike and accelerated clubhead speeds. Beginners must choose forgiveness, accuracy, consistency over all else when learning how to golf.
What shot shape do YOU want? Do you prefer straight flight and limited sidespin? Or do you prefer to have the freedom to move your golf ball around on the green? The 3-wood is a better choice if shot shaping is your top priority. It doesn’t do much to correct your flight or restrict sidespin.
The 2-hybrid also contains offset. This allows it to reduce side spin and the negative effects of off-center contact.
This promotes a straight shot and improves accuracy. High handicap golfers should stick with clubs that keep them in play. Lower handicappers may appreciate the control offered by a well-designed club.
After our tests, it was clear that the 2-hybrid produced fewer rpm’s of spin on average over the 3-wood. This caused it to roll excessively on landing, resulting in maximum distance. The optimal roll suits golf courses with firm fairways and windy conditions.
Your golf ball will need to spin slower because of the reduced spin. It rolls well on tight, fast greens. I recommend sticking with the 2-hybrid if you want more roll. The 3-wood has less roll, but greater carry distance. This is great for green, well-manicured courses where there is minimal roll.
Similar Reading: Learn more about other golf clubs if you are already familiar with which club suits your swing best. I recommend that you start with a 5-wood review vs a 3-hybrid.