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DeadMan

Hitting 3 Wood Off the Deck

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One of the shots I really struggle with is hitting 3 wood off the deck. I tend to have about 2 times a round where I want to hit this shot. Far too frequently, I tend up with horrible contact (like a top), or end up with a crazy bad miss. I'm wondering if there is some set up issues that I have when hitting 3 wood off the deck. I'm guessing that my inconsistency is because this is the hardest shot in golf, and you need to have a great swing to hit this shot consistently. Nonetheless, what is the proper way to set up for this shot?

For reference, I've tried the following to see if I could improve this shot:

  • Putting the ball more in the middle of my stance (like where I would play a wedge)
  • Putting the ball more forward in my stance (a few inches behind my front foot; pretty close to a driver)
  • Trying to sweep the ball more
  • Trying to hit down on the ball more
  • Choking up on the club

None of these have led to more consistent contact.

I'm not the only person who struggles with this, I know, so I figured this could be useful to lots of other people. Even though I suspect the answer is that it's more to do with the swing than any set up issues...

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I would love to hear thoughts on this as well, I struggled with this shot so much that I just pretty much gave up on it and never attempt it.

 

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I agree that it's probably more to do with the swing.  Not that every 3-wood off the deck is perfect, but what I learned with my swing is that when I top or push it right it's mainly because I think I have to give it a little extra, resulting in standing up instead of shifting weight forward or hitting fat when trying to hit down on it, but in reality a nice smooth swing works every time. 

I know, a lot easier said than done, but the next time you're practicing or on the course and have this shot, don't worry about how to make contact, slow your backswing down a bit and just focus on a smooth transition, when I do this I usually have good results.

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50 minutes ago, DeadMan said:

One of the shots I really struggle with is hitting 3 wood off the deck.

You and me both buddy. I can actually make really solid contact but it usually is a major push fade. I tried it once in a scramble yesterday, but no dice. I stick with the hybrid...

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Although my 3W off the turf is not a problem for me, my 5W off the turf is probably the worst swing/club in my bag. If I can, I stay away from using my 5W as much as possible. 

My 3W doubles as a driver for me alot of time. I tee the ball really low, maybe a 1/4" inch off the turf. I play the ball a little foreward of center, to catch it at the beginning of my up swing. This puts the low point of my 3W swing a ball width back towards my center, which is where I hit it off the turf. I think, because I use my 3W for alot of tee shots, it makes it easier for off the turf shots. 

My 5W, I tend to top the ball to much. If not a top, I will push a low liner way right of my target. I have worked on this shot to no avail. I have even had the club checked for a latent problem with it. Nothing wrong with it. I have had a couple of swing gurus look at my 5W swing. Nothing. 

I know what causes tops, and pushes, but I just can't solve this issue, with this one club. .  I have heard/read that every golfer has one club in their bag, that tends to cause them grief at most inconvient times. .I believe my 5W is this club.

It should also be noted that all my metal woods (D-7W) are a matched, fitted set. Same club heads, same shafts, same grips, same everything.

I am thinking that I will spend alot of time with this club next month, hitting balls off of those 1/4" inch tees like my 3W. Maybe that will iron out the problem. Couldn't hurt. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I built my 3 wood to match, as closely as possible, my trusty 5 wood:  same grip, shaft, model, etc... The only difference is the length.  The 3 wood is one quarter inch longer due to an error during assembly.

Bottom line...it works.  The clubs are so similar I have to make sure I've got the right one.  The 3 wood has 14 degrees of loft and the 5 wood has 18.  I choose one or the other based on wind and terrain.  Either way they feel, and look, the same.  I'm sold on the "single-length" fairway concept.

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38 minutes ago, Piz said:

I built my 3 wood to match, as closely as possible, my trusty 5 wood:  same grip, shaft, model, etc... The only difference is the length.  The 3 wood is one quarter inch longer due to an error during assembly.

Bottom line...it works.  The clubs are so similar I have to make sure I've got the right one.  The 3 wood has 14 degrees of loft and the 5 wood has 18.  I choose one or the other based on wind and terrain.  Either way they feel, and look, the same.  I'm sold on the "single-length" fairway concept.

Hmm, this is an interesting thought, actually. My 3 wood is almost the same length as my driver (I think it might be half an inch shorter, but I'm not sure), since I have a shorter driver shaft. Maybe I should look into cutting the shaft down a bit.

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I try to swing as sweeper-y as possible, and generally ball fairly forward in my stance (exactly like I would if I was on the tee box).  I tend to tee it just enough so it's almost like hitting off the deck just so that I can keep the idea of hitting the ball with that club as close to each instance (fairway/tee shot) as possible.

One thing I tend to struggle with for all of my clubs is trying to hit it too far.  Generally my 3wood isn't a "I need to hit this 230" club, it's a "I want to get as close to the green as possible" club so trying to hit it too hard takes me away from my proper swing mechanics.  When I think about the club as one that I want to hit a certain distance, I know my normal swing will get there and helps me keep my head steady and get my weight forward at the right time so that I'll have fairly steady contact.

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I had issues with hitting my 3 wood thin all the time. I ended up cuting my 3-wood down an inch and it helped me a lot (but I also play my driver at 44.5", so I like to play shorter woods). I think when my 3 wood was longer, subconsciously I had more of a driver swing with it (upwards) leading to constant thin shots. I also made sure my ball position was around the same as my 3 iron. When on the range practicing I tried to take very small divots and that helped, for me the idea of "sweep" always led to thin shots/no turf interaction at all.

If you're thinking of cutting your 3 wood down but are unsure, you can go to a golf shop and have them put a 5 wood shaft into yours/or another 3 wood.

Edited by JxQx

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@DeadMan
You hit your 3 wood pretty well off the tee a couple of times last week when we played.
I used to do a couple of things when practicing with fairway woods which I often mention to others who struggle.
 

Try these practice procedures.
Tee the ball high (very high, like 4") hit it 7 times
Next, tee it 3" high, again 7 times.
Then 2" 7 times, then 1" seven times.

When you are able to squarely hit it consistently, tee it turf level.
Then try it laying on the turf.

I used to hit it off the wooden divider at the range to simulate hitting it off a cart path.
I also practice hitting out of bunkers.

I have always loved fairway woods and played a 13* wood for years with no driver in the bag.

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Wish I could give you some advice as I crush my 3 wood off the deck and actually prefer it to having a short tee sometimes when I use it off the box. Played today and used it on several holes to tee off on. Literally just tossed the ball down on the box, lined up, and gave it a ride. For whatever reason I am very confident with it and my other longer irons as well. As long as I take a hard and fast swing I generally square it up very well.

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@DeadMan Just a thought here, but have you tried the Callaway Epic Flash 3 hybrid? It is 18 degrees, easy to hit, and crazy long. I can get 210 carry with it. I don't know how far you hit your driver. I have a 94ish swing speed with my driver just for reference which gives me a 220ish carry.

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@DeadManI don't know your swing speed, and you're obviously a better player than I am.  Have you given a 4-wood a try?  Two years ago when I went to get fit for a 3W and 5W from Titleist, the fitter suggested a 4W instead, which I was hitting far better than the 3-wood.  I do have some poor shots with it now and then, and I won't hit it during a round if I've hit a bad hybrid earlier that round.  But I'm a lot less afraid of it than I am of my older 3W. 

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Swing slow and easy. Hit 40-50 half swing shots off the soft stuff on a range. Don't try and hit it hard. Get the feeling of contact. It'll demonstrate how the loft does the work. Bad 3W shots I see a lot of the time is folk hammering wildly at it to give it absolute max. As soon as you're off balance with the extra distance and clubhead speed you get with a longer shaft you're dead. Practicing at 50% sorts out that sense of wanting to smash the fek out of it.

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18 hours ago, DeadMan said:

Hmm, this is an interesting thought, actually. My 3 wood is almost the same length as my driver (I think it might be half an inch shorter, but I'm not sure), since I have a shorter driver shaft. Maybe I should look into cutting the shaft down a bit.

Try gripping down a little before actually cutting the shaft shorter. Once the shaft is cut, it's cut. 

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1 hour ago, limbo said:

Swing slow and easy. Hit 40-50 half swing shots off the soft stuff on a range. Don't try and hit it hard. Get the feeling of contact. It'll demonstrate how the loft does the work. Bad 3W shots I see a lot of the time is folk hammering wildly at it to give it absolute max. As soon as you're off balance with the extra distance and clubhead speed you get with a longer shaft you're dead. Practicing at 50% sorts out that sense of wanting to smash the fek out of it.

Dang I'm the exact polar opposite. If I try to swing easy I mess up. I really gotta go after it to flush it every time. Maybe because my driver is so much longer that the 3 wood feels really short and controllable.

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15 hours ago, Club Rat said:

@DeadMan
You hit your 3 wood pretty well off the tee a couple of times last week when we played.
I used to do a couple of things when practicing with fairway woods which I often mention to others who struggle.
 

Try these practice procedures.
Tee the ball high (very high, like 4") hit it 7 times
Next, tee it 3" high, again 7 times.
Then 2" 7 times, then 1" seven times.

When you are able to squarely hit it consistently, tee it turf level.
Then try it laying on the turf.

I used to hit it off the wooden divider at the range to simulate hitting it off a cart path.
I also practice hitting out of bunkers.

I have always loved fairway woods and played a 13* wood for years with no driver in the bag.

This is a really good idea, John, thanks. I do hit my 3 wood really well off the tee. There is something strange that happens when I try to hit it off the deck, and I think this teeing exercise is a really good idea. It will get me to focus a bit more on controlling my low point with the fairway wood, which is what is the issue is when I hit it off the deck.

10 hours ago, DrvFrShow said:

@DeadMan Just a thought here, but have you tried the Callaway Epic Flash 3 hybrid? It is 18 degrees, easy to hit, and crazy long. I can get 210 carry with it. I don't know how far you hit your driver. I have a 94ish swing speed with my driver just for reference which gives me a 220ish carry.

Good thought, but the 3 wood fills a gap at the top end of my set. I think the 3 hybrid would be duplicative of my 3 iron, and would be a direct replacement for that club only. I also have a 3 hybrid that I can adjust for less loft, but that doesn't give me the distance that I get with my 3 wood.

9 hours ago, Shindig said:

@DeadManI don't know your swing speed, and you're obviously a better player than I am.  Have you given a 4-wood a try?  Two years ago when I went to get fit for a 3W and 5W from Titleist, the fitter suggested a 4W instead, which I was hitting far better than the 3-wood.  I do have some poor shots with it now and then, and I won't hit it during a round if I've hit a bad hybrid earlier that round.  But I'm a lot less afraid of it than I am of my older 3W. 

Since it's an Epic Flash 3 wood, I can adjust the loft up. I currently have it adjusted one degree higher than standard, so it's pretty close to a 4 wood. I'm also not really that afraid of the club, unless it's off the deck. Off the tee, I have close to zero problems with my 3 wood.

3 hours ago, Patch said:

Try gripping down a little before actually cutting the shaft shorter. Once the shaft is cut, it's cut. 

Good point, yes.

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