Distance: Driver vs Three Wood


I’m seeing a big difference in distance between my driver (240 yards) and 3-wood (210 yards). Should I look at a high-COR 3-wood to help me reach more par 5s in two?

–Matt, WI


According to U.S.G.A. rules, the maximum allowable COR for clubs is 0.83. This is now measured using the pendulum test and defined as characteristic time, which is in essence the time the impacting hemisphere at the end of the pendulum remains in contact with the club face.

Most fairway woods have now taken advantage of relatively thin titanium face designs which provides a spring-like-effect increasing the ball speed by a little more than 2%. The difference that you experience is about what you would expect, understanding that the 3-wood is hit off the turf as opposed to the driver being hit off a tee and launched at its optimum launch conditions. A 30-yard difference between your driver and 3-wood is not too bad. If you don’t have one of the new fairway woods, try one but don’t expect to reach the par 5s in 2.

You can always make birdies by reaching the green in three shots. Maybe what you really need is a new wedge, a good putter, and a solid putting stroke.

 Putt well

Frank & Valerie


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