Recently, I was tasked with testing the performance qualities of a 3 wood vs 2 hybrid. The idea was to find the most suitable option for the average golfer based on distance, forgiveness, and consistency.
In this post, I report back on my findings to help you decide which club is best for your golf game.
For starters, I will highlight the differences between these clubs, which include their head construction, shaft length, and loft angle. In addition, I will explain which one I found offered the best workability and roll upon landing.
Overview of The 3 Wood and 2 Hybrid
A 3-wood and 2-hybrid are both used in your long game. You’ll know their most common use is for long approach shots on par-4 and 5 holes. A 3 wood is the next strongest lofted club in your golf bag after your driver, which in theory means it goes the second farthest.
Occasionally, amateur golfers may substitute the 3 wood or 2 hybrid for their driver. Since these clubs carry weaker lofts and shorter shafts, they are easier for the average player to launch.
A 2-hybrid on the other hand is a combination of a long iron and fairway wood. It is designed to produce the explosive ball speed of wood but contains the shorter shaft of an iron, which many find easier to swing.
Furthermore, a 2-hybrid contains a low and deep center of gravity (CG), which promotes higher ball flight. In addition, hybrid clubs are equipped with advanced moment of inertia (MOI) to resist twisting during your swing. As a result, it reduces sidespin that causes hooks and slices, rather than producing improved accuracy.
Differences Between a 3 Wood and 2 Hybrid
The clearest difference between a 3-wood and 2-hybrid is the construction of their clubhead. A 3-wood features a crown with additional weight in the head to create an enlarged sweet spot. The beauty of this club is that it maintains ball speed across the clubface for consistency, even on mishits.
On the contrary, hybrid golf clubs feature the blade face of an iron, and a reduced crown, adapted from a fairway wood. This construction enables engineers to place the CG low and deep to send your golf ball along the optimal trajectory.
In addition, hybrids tend to contain increased offset and are built to combat sidespin that prompt sliced shots. Since this is a common error of amateur golfers, it promotes straight ball flight for supreme accuracy.
The second clear difference between a 3 wood vs 2 hybrid is the length of their shafts. The most common shaft material used for these golf clubs is graphite, which is lighter than steel and makes it easier to accelerate your clubhead speed.
Despite the weight, a 3-wood has a longer shaft than the 2-hybrid, which most golfers find accelerates clubhead velocity. On average, the long fairway wood measures between 42 and 43 inches. Therefore, if you struggle in this department, I recommend operating with a 3-wood over the hybrid.
Conversely, a 2-hybrid features an average shaft length of 41 inches. The shorter shaft is often simpler for casual golfers to control, leading to increased strikes out of the middle.
The other area that shaft length impacts is the position of your ball. As a rule of thumb, the longer your shaft is, the further forward you place your golf ball in the stance.
Your golf ball should sit parallel to the center of your stance and your front heel for 3 wood tee shots. This gives you sufficient space to square the clubface up for impact and sweep the ball off the tee into the air. When you hit off the deck with a 3-wood, you must move the golf ball back towards the center of your stance.
Contrarily, you set the ball towards the front center of your stance when preparing for a hybrid shot.
After assessing the difference in shaft length, we focus on the average loft of these golf clubs. A standard 3-wood contains 15 degrees of loft, whereas a 2-hybrid sits between 18 and 20 degrees.
With that data, you would be forgiven for thinking that the hybrid launches significantly higher than a fairway wood and spins more. That was my logic before I viewed the results, and I was surprised. Both clubs achieved the same apex but different levels of backspin, which I will cover in the next section.
The point is, the lower lofted 3-wood launched as high as the hybrid in my test, to my absolute surprise.
This is where the discrepancies became interesting. As I mentioned in the last section, a 3-wood carries a stronger loft than the hybrid. This means it should launch and spin lower than a higher lofted hybrid, but my test returned surprising results.
I generated an average backspin of 4,000 rpm with the 3-wood but managed 3,100 with the 2-hybrid. Even more interesting is that both these clubs achieved the same apex, despite the 900 rpm difference in backspin. The weaker loft on the hybrid provided added launch at impact to send it into the heavens.
The higher your backspin rpm is, the less roll your ball will produce upon landing. This is detrimental for firm layouts or in gale force winds, where low flight and maximum run are welcome.
You already know that the 2-hybrid contains an enhanced degree of offset compared to a 3-wood. Although this helps you produce consistently straight golf shots, it impacts your ability to shape your ball around the golf course.
Every time you attempt to induce sidespin, the design of the hybrid springs into action and neutralizes it. Lower handicappers may despise these qualities, but it offers the average golfer exceptional forgiveness for improved accuracy and carry distance in your long game.
Modern 3-woods often contain an adjustable hosel which allows you to reposition the angle of the clubface to your personal preference. If you enjoy sending your golf ball from left to right, you can set your clubface in a draw bias position. Conversely, if you prefer you can always swing with a fade bias.
Draw or fade bias aside, the 3-wood construction encourages higher levels of sidespin, which is necessary to curve your ball.
During my test, I found that the Ping G425 17-degree 2-hybrid produced further roll over the G425 3-wood. This is where the 900 rpm’s less backspin came into play, boosting the hybrid’s total distance.
Overall, I found the 2-hybrid produced 4-yards more roll than the 3-hybrid. This is an ideal trait for firm ground and windy conditions. The added run helps you optimize your total distance while staying out of the breeze.
Which Club Typically Hits Further?
These golf clubs are evenly matched from lies off the fairway or rough.
As a moderate swinging golfer, I produced an average of 205-yards of total distance with both the hybrid and 3-wood. However, when I teed the balls up, I managed an average of 217-yards with the wood, making it the longest club in this test.
Which Club is Considered Easier to Hit?
The 2-hybrid is the easiest club to hit. For starters, its shorter shaft is simple to control, giving you a greater chance of catching the ball out of the sweet spot. In addition, the draw bias profile of the clubface restricts slice sidespin prompting a straight, long golf shot.
Furthermore, the construction of a hybrid helps it enhance MOI for greater forgiveness across the clubface. That means it maintains ball speeds and restricts back and side spin on heel and toe mishits.
Ultimately, the 2-hybrid is forgiving and promotes straighter shots and a high launch. Plus, its shorter shaft increases control for more consistent ball striking.
Do You Need Both Clubs in Your Bag?
After noticing how similar the results from both these clubs are, I do not feel you need to carry both in your bag. Instead, you should save space for additional wedges. During my tests, the 3-wood and 2-hybrid achieved a similar apex, ball speed, and total distance, which makes them competitors rather than partners.
Amateurs who struggle to generate sufficient clubhead speed should think about improving their skills with the 3-wood. The lengthened shaft accelerates swing velocity to produce a powerful strike and maximum yardage.
However, you may enjoy greater consistency operating with the shorter shafted hybrid if your ball striking is a work in progress.
How to Figure Out Which Club is Right for You
Your clubhead speed is an ideal starting point for identifying the correct option for you. If you generate sufficient swing pace, you shouldn’t be desperate for the assistance of the longer fairway shaft. However, if swing speed is a challenge, you may appreciate the boost provided by a 3-wood.
Operating with a slow swing speed reduces your long game distance potential, which can leave you short of the green on approach.
The next factor to consider is your ball striking ability. If you catch the odd shot cleanly, you may feel comfortable taking the risk of swinging a fairway wood. But, if you are an erratic ball striker who needs forgiveness, the shorter shaft on the 2-hybrid will offer superior control and consistency.
Basically, it comes down to a clean strike or accelerated clubhead speed. When you are a beginner, you must select forgiveness, accuracy, and consistency over everything else.
What shot shape are you after? Are you satisfied with limited sidespin and straight flight? Or, do you prefer the freedom to curve your golf ball around the golf course? If shot shaping is a high priority, then the 3-wood is a superior option to look at. It does little to restrict sidespin and correct your flight.
Conversely, the 2-hybrid contains offset. This sets it up to combat side spin and reduce the ramifications of off-center contact.
As a result, it promotes a straight shot for improved accuracy. I advise high handicap golfers to stick to clubs that keep you in play. However, lower handicappers may cherish the control provided by a workable club.
After our tests, it was clear that the 2-hybrid produced fewer rpm’s of spin on average over the 3-wood. This propelled it to roll excessively upon landing, leading to maximum total distance. Optimal roll suits golf courses with solid fairways and windy conditions.
However, the reduced spin makes it challenging for your golf ball to sit rapidly on approach. Therefore, it rolls off of tight and pacey greens. If you demand excess roll, I recommend sticking to the 2-hybrid. Conversely, the 3-wood produces less roll but increased carry distance. This is perfect for lush, well-manicured golf courses, where minimal roll is provided.
Related Reading: If you already know which club is best for your swing, you should learn more about other golf clubs. I suggest starting with a 5-wood vs 3-hybrid review.