Three-Wood vs. Three-Hybrid: What’s the Difference and Which One Should You Use?

Ask any golfer that’s played for a long time, and they’ll likely tell you the invention of the hybrid has been the greatest breakthrough in golf equipment in the last 25 years. 

Instead of having to struggle with traditional long irons that are hard to hit, hybrids make it easy to get the ball in the air out of any lie. 

While most recreational golfers have at least one hybrid in their bag today, fairway woods are still in the picture too. 

Beginning golfers might not know the difference between the two so we’re here to tell you everything you need to know. 

For purposes of this article, we’re going to examine the differences between a three-wood and a three-hybrid.

Three-Wood vs. Three-Hybrid

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The most marked difference between a three-wood and a three-hybrid is loft.  Three-woods have less loft than three-hybrids, usually between 14 and 16 degrees.  On the other hand, three-hybrids have anywhere from 21 to 23 degrees of loft. 

As a result, three-woods fly lower, but farther.


Three-Wood vs. Three-Hybrid:  What’s the Difference and Which One Should You Use?

Most three-woods employ the same materials as drivers in their composition.  We’re talking about titanium, stainless steel, and carbon fiber. 

While some three-hybrids employ some of these materials, more common substances are graphite, steel, and even tungsten to an extent.


The length of shafts in three-woods and three-hybrids is similar; three-woods are normally ½” longer depending on the manufacturer. 

Three-wood shafts are almost exclusively made of graphite.  While this is also the case with three-hybrids, they occasionally can be found with steel shafts.

Some three-woods come with a hosel that’s adjustable for loft and lie angle.  This is almost never the case with three-hybrids.

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Three-woods are designed to go farther than three-hybrids.  This has to do with larger clubheads, lower loft, and a slightly longer shaft. 

Though modern technology has made three-hybrids a club that golfers can utilize for distance, their design promotes accuracy and consistency above all else.


Clearly, there’s a stark difference between three-woods and three-hybrids.  Though they might seem similar on the surface, their designs and purposes are quite different.

Three-woods are meant to help golfers achieve distance for the reasons mentioned above and can’t be hit as consistently out of difficult lies. 

Three-hybrids are more versatile and easier to hit. 

While this article provides a guide about the differences and uses for each club, it’s up to you to do some experimenting and practicing to learn when and how to use each one.

Paul Liberatore
Paul Liberatore

As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry. 

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