How to Swing a 3-Wood

by Robert Lee

    This article is one of our editor's top picks this month.

    Learning how to swing a 3-wood creates a powerful weapon in your golf game. Pro golfer Tiger Woods notes that his swing with a 3-wood isn’t as long or as fast as his swing with the driver but is a longer swing than he uses with his irons. Many golfers use a 3-wood when they have a long shot from the fairway, and some players also use the club on the tee box in place of a driver. A good swing with a 3-wood can create greater accuracy off the tee than a driver. According to Golf Magazine, amateur golfers use their 3-wood as many as eight to 10 times per round.

    Step 1

    Take a stance with the club in your hands and your legs spread about the length of your shoulders – but not as wide as the stance for your driver. Position the ball about 3 inches inside your forward heel. Focus on remaining relaxed, with no tension in your hands, arms and legs.

    Step 2

    Start the club back slowly and smoothly, as if rolling the clubhead on wheels. For a right-handed golfer, turn your left shoulder as you take the club back. Although some golfers may focus on keeping the left arm straight, Woods recommends allowing the left arm to bend slightly at the elbow as you turn and raise the club above your head. Bending the arm a bit helps keep it soft, allowing you to generate clubhead speed while maintaining control. Keep your arms close together as you take the 3-wood back in a wide arc to create power.

    Step 3

    Start the downswing once you are fully coiled and your left shoulder is where your right shoulder was at the start of the swing. This means you have rotated your shoulders so that, depending on your flexibility, the left shoulder is pointing to the ball or has moved past it. Some people may not have the flexibility to rotate that far. The key is to make as full of a turn as possible depending on your physical condition.

    Step 4

    Accelerate through the downswing at about the same speed you would use when swinging a 7-iron, or at about 80 percent of your maximum speed. According to Golf Magazine, holding back just a little gives you better control and possibly 20 to 30 extra yards because you should hit the ball more flush.

    Step 5

    Keep your eye on the back of the ball through the downswing until contact is made with the ball. Allow the momentum of the swing to fully extend your right arm as you bring the club up and around your body to a balanced finish.


    • Keep the clubhead level to the ground through impact when using the 3-wood from the fairway. Hit the ball on the upswing if you are using the 3-wood for your tee shot.
    • Swinging the 3-wood with precision takes practice. If possible, commit to a regular practice schedule with the 3-wood. Have a golf instructor check your swing once a month to monitor your progress.
    • Emphasize control over distance. Professional golfers can hit a 3-wood as far as 280 yards from the fairway with accuracy, but that is an unreasonable goal for recreational players. Practice your 3-wood to determine how far you can hit it with control.

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    About the Author

    Robert Lee has been an entrepreneur and writer with a background in starting small businesses since 1974. He has written for various websites and for several daily and community newspapers on a wide variety of topics, including business, the Internet economy and more. He studied English in college and earned a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Governor's State University.