5 Wood vs 3 Hybrid Differences and Similarities - Golf Sidekick

5 Wood vs 3 Hybrid Differences and Similarities

Last Updated on February 4, 2024 by Matt Greene

Both the 5 wood and 3 hybrid are replacement clubs for long irons. 

They are much easier to hit than a long iron. 

3 hybrids were supposed to replace 5 woods in golf bags but 5 woods are as popular as ever. 

There's a good reason for that.

So let's get into the meat and potatoes of the 5 wood vs 3 hybrid debate.

5 wood vs 3 hybrid

Differences between 5 wood and 3 hybrid

Below is a video from my Youtube channel explaining the differences betwen a 5 wood and a 3 hybrid and how they work differently.

Shaft length

The 3 hybrid comes with a much shorter shaft length than the 5 wood which often makes the 3 hybrid easier to control.

5 wood shaft length: 42 inches

3 hybrid shaft length: 40 inches

Generally, a shorter shaft in a golf club makes it easier to hit straighter with more control. A two inch difference makes a controlling a ball with the 3 hybrid easier than with a 5 wood.


3 hybrids come with moderately more loft than 5 woods.

A club with higher loft and a shorter shaft will always perform more reliably than a longer club with lower loft.

5 wood loft: 16-19 degrees

3 hybrid loft: 19 degrees

The longer shaft of the 19-degree 5 wood produces more distance than a 19 degree 3 hybrid.

The extra 2 inches on the 5 wood shaft means you can generate more swing speed and the ball flies further, at the same lofts. If you reduce the loft on the 5 wood down to 16 or 17 degrees, the 5 wood goes much further than a 3 hybrid at 19 degrees. 

Club head design

The design of the 3 hybrid head comes from the look of an iron club head combined with the body of a fairway wood. It is a hybrid of the iron and the fairway wood. 

5 woods remain standard fairway woods, designed to prefer a sweeping swing action.

The sole or underside of a 5 wood is much larger than a 3 hybrid.

The smaller sole of a 3 hybrid allows you to hit down on the ball as if you are hitting an iron. Meanwhile, you must produce a sweeping action with a 5 wood, because of the larger flat sole of the club likes to glide through and above the turf.

Draw bias

The majority of 3 hybrids feature an offset hosel to help you stop slicing the ball.

The hybrid can help pull the ball toward the left side because of the design of the club face.  

If a 5 wood features an offset hosel, it can also pull the ball left.

Generally though, 5 woods often come with a neutral face.


The 3 hybrid is a more versatile golf club. They allow you two more shots in your arsenal. 

3 hybrids can come in handy for: tee shots, approach shots, chipping around the green, and punch shots out of the trees.

5 woods offer you: tee shots and long approach shots only.

Should you use a 5 wood or a 3 hybrid?  

In my opinion most golfers should definitely play a 3 hybrid if they pick only one out of the two clubs. 

But I would suggest you put both a 3 hybrid and 5 wood in your bag for their potential in so many situations on the golf course.  

They serve similar purposes on long shots. The 5 wood has the edge for extra distance off the tee, and longer approach shot distance.

The 3 hybrid can perform both those function with 2 additional usages for the short game.

Technical factors of the 5 wood and 3 hybrid

Hybrid vs wood distance chart

The 5 wood will go 5 to 10 yards further than a 3 hybrid. At a moderate swing speed, a 5 wood carries 185-190 yards while the 3 hybrid carries about 180-185 yards for male golfers.




Avg male distance

185 yards

180 yards

Shaft length

41 to 42 inches

40 inches

Shot shape tendency




Tee shot, Fairway, Rough

Tee shot, Fairway, Rough, Punch, Chip and run

Is 5 wood or hybrid best for a high handicapper?

Hybrids have much shorted shafts, typically like an iron and most people would find an iron replacement easier to control and hit straight, especially as a beginner. 

The longer the club, the harder to swing correctly so a 5 wood may prove less controllable for you. 

You should try both because early in your golf career, you will establish quickly which you prefer: hybrid or fairway woods.

Next steps after 5 wood vs 3 hybrid

It's a close one to call, but I think most players should game the 3 hybrid.

It's very versatile piece of golf equipment and helps with a number of different shots on the course.

If you don't feel confident that you know how to hit a hybrid, a 5 wood is always a good option.

But check out the comparison between 7 wood and 4 hybrid which is actually more important for most golfer.

Last Updated on February 4, 2024 by Matt Greene