3 Hybrid vs 7 Wood: How to Pick The Right Club for You

I have carried a 7-wood for most of my life. In fact, it is my favorite long game, thanks to its high launch and forgiveness.

Despite these exceptional qualities, they are rarely spotted in amateurs’ bags and have given way to hybrids. In this guide, I provide feedback from a recent test of a 3 hybrid vs 7 wood.

I will explain what makes these clubs different and detail their launch, ball flight, distance, and accuracy. After covering this guide, you will have a clearer idea of which one works best for your game.

 

Overview of The 3 Hybrid and 7 Wood

The most common use for these clubs is on long par 3s and par 4 approach shots. Hybrid clubs are a cross between irons and fairway woods. They feature an enlarged head construction, which produces exceptional moment of inertia (MOI) to resist twisting during your swing.

A 3-hybrid is the second strongest, lofted hybrid and typically carries a loft of 19 degrees, equivalent to a 3-iron.

The 3-hybrid is forgiving, easy to launch, and promotes a draw bias shape to combat slices. That means it produces straighter ball flight, causing you to sacrifice workability. However, if a draw is your natural shot, this can lead to more curve than intended.

Conversely, the 7-wood is a longer golf club with a weaker standard loft angle of 21 degrees. Therefore, it produces a higher apex and a few yards less than the hybrid. In addition, it creates an element of sidespin, enabling you to shape your long shots.

Besides their differences, the 3 hybrid and 7 wood are built to maximize your long game distance. Moreover, they often contain low and back CG to promote a high trajectory for maximum carry distance.

 

Differences Between a 3 Hybrid and 7 Wood

Construction

The first difference between these clubs is their head construction. The 7 wood contains the standard crown design of a fairway wood, which is wider than the profile of a rescue club.

In addition, a 5-wood is longer from back to front and carries a flexible face for added spring into impact.

The added flex provided by a 7-wood helps you maintain ball speed on off-center strikes to ensure consistent distance.

On the contrary, a hybrid is shorter and narrow, showcasing its fairway wood-iron roots. Although it is forgiving, there is less room for error, given the reduced surface area of a hybrid face.

Furthermore, a standard 3 hybrid golf club contains a flexible sole, which boosts turf interaction and accelerates ball speed on low-face strikes. As a result, you produce consistent distance on contact low off the clubface.

Lofts

The loft differential between the 7 wood and 3 hybrid is marginal but enough to make a difference. A standard 3-hybrid is set with 19 degrees of loft, compared to the 21 degrees of a 7-wood club. My trusted 7-wood is slightly weaker at 22 degrees. However, on average, you can expect one degree stronger.

At 19 degrees, a 3-hybrid carries the same loft profile as a 3-iron and therefore launches lower than the 7-wood. Thanks to its weaker loft, the fairway wood shoots higher and lands fast for added control on approach.

In his review on the Ping G425 Max 7-wood vs the G425 3-hybrid, Ali Taylor Golf showed the difference in apex between the two clubs. He sent his ball 37 yards in the air with the wood, compared to 28 yards with the hybrids:

Shaft Length

Shaft length is the next factor that sets these clubs apart. If you look at the Ping G425 Max 7-wood and the G425 3-hybrid, you’ll notice they are separated by 1¼-inches. The 3-hybrid totals 40¼ inches, while the 7-wood is 42-inches long.

Despite its stronger loft, the hybrid has a shorter shaft, which some amateurs find easier to control. The shorter shaft enables these golfers to consistently find the sweet spot for optimal distance and accuracy.

Conversely, the longer shaft is more challenging to control. But, it helps you accelerate your clubhead speed. Therefore, when the stars align and you catch your ball out of the middle, it flies high and long.

Aside from the control of your golf clubs, shaft length impacts your ball position at address. The longer fairway wood shaft demands the golf ball sit forward in your stance. That gives you sufficient time to square the clubface at contact, and clear your hips.

On the contrary, you should place your ball closer to the center of your stance for a shorter shafted hybrid shot. Placing the ball on the incorrect point can produce topped hits, hooks, and slices.

Spin

Considering the loft difference between the two clubs, it is unsurprising that the 7-wood produces a higher rate of backspin rpm over the hybrid. Generating additional spin leads to a high trajectory encouraging a soft landing without compromising distance.

In his test on the two clubs, Ali Taylor Golf found that he produced more than 600 rpm backspin with a 7-wood compared to the hybrid. As a result, the 7-wood topped 37-yards in the air, while its competitors only managed 28-yards.

Surprisingly, the fairway wood still rolled an extra yard further on average than the hybrid. Although, the latter achieved a longer total distance.

 

Which Club Typically Hits Further?

Overall, the 3-hybrid generates further distance than the 7-wood, which is to be expected. However, there is less in it than you think.

The 7-wood carries a weaker loft and a longer shaft, creating excess spin and making it challenging to control. During his test, Taylor discovered that the fairway wood flew 212 yards and rolled a further 9 to achieve a total of 221-yards.

Conversely, the shorter shaft of the hybrid makes it simpler to catch the center of the clubface for optimal yardage and accuracy. Plus, it launches lower and produces less spin. The Ping G425 3-hybrid landed after 215-yards and rolled for an extra 8, resulting in 223-yards.

As you can see, there is only a 2-yard difference between the clubs, despite the 2-degrees loft variation. Obviously, the results will vary depending on your clubhead speed, smash factor, coefficient of restitution (COR), and ball speed.

 

Which Club is Considered Easier to Hit?

Although the hybrid carries a shorter shaft which is a breeze to control, I feel a 7-wood is the easier launching club. The higher loft and increased backspin rpm help moderate to slow swingers consistently get the ball airborne.

In addition, the expanded surface area gives you more room to work with. Therefore, the 7-wood produces consistent flight and carry distance.

 

Do You Need Both Clubs in Your Bag?

I do not suggest carrying both clubs in your bag, as you should always leave room for more wedges than long golf clubs. Despite their performance differences, these clubs deliver similar distance results. Therefore, it makes no sense to operate with the two.

If you want an easy, high-launching golf club for long holes, then the 7-wood is the way to go. However, should you prefer a lower launch but despise long irons, I suggest sticking to the 3-hybrid.

 

How to Figure Out Which Club is Right for You

Shaft Length

Earlier I discussed the difference between the length of a 5-wood and 3-hybrid shaft. The longer shaft accelerates clubhead speed but can be a challenge to control. Conversely, you may generate less clubhead speed with the shorter shaft, but it makes life easier for the average golfer.

Amateurs find it easier to strike the ball in the sweet spot with shorter shafted clubs. That is why mid and high handicappers are more likely to flush a pitching wedge than their long irons. Those who feel this way about their game should opt for a 3-hybrid.

On the contrary, golfers looking to increase their swing speed should test a 5-wood. The longer shaft will boost your velocity, and help you strike the ball with optimal force, for a long shot. Unfortunately, the lengthened shaft can reduce your COR and smash factor leading to lost yards.

In the case of Ali Taylor Golf, he is a solid player. Therefore, he achieves consistent distance results with the hybrid and fairway wood.

The story differs for less prominent ball strikers who may generate ample clubhead speed but consistently catch the ball off-center. That weakens your contact and hampers your launch, accuracy, and distance.

Overall, if your ball striking is up to par, but you could use added clubhead speed, I suggest the 7-wood. On the flip side, I urge less consistent strikers to operate with a 3-hybrid for its easier control.

Ball Flight

The second factor that will help you find the correct club is the personal preference of your ball flight. If your ball generally launches lower than desired, you need a flexible shaft and a weaker lofted club.

That setup encourages a consistently high launch for optimal carry distance results. Plus, it propels the ball to land faster for increased control on approach.

The downside of the added loft is that it can cause some golfers to produce excess backspin and balloon their strikes. Your ball launches into the air and is held up by the wind before falling to earth. This costs you distance and can leave you significantly short of the green on approach.

Contrarily, a 3-hybrid produces lower flight, thanks to the strength of its loft profile. This suits golfers seeking reduced backspin and controlled flight. Generating inadequate backspin rpm causes your ball to fly low and roll hard. Therefore, you risk running off tight greens and losing out on a birdie putt.

Shot Shape

Mid and high-handicappers require a forgiving golf club that helps them combat the common slice shot. The hybrid is the top performer in this department because of its draw bias profile. It fights slice sidespin to promote straighter flight.

Its clubface angle helps fight left-to-right side spin, which induces a slice and enhances your frustration. Ultimately, this design promotes straighter shots for serial slicers. This is welcome news for most amateur golfers struggling with the left-to-right shape.

However, if you play a natural draw, your clubface angle at impact combined with the draw bias can produce a hook. I know several lower handicap players who struggle with this exact issue. That is why they prefer not to carry hybrids.

The lack of workability is another mark against the hybrids. Low handicappers prefer the control of shaping their shots which is why they may shun hybrids. A 5-wood is a better option if you desire the ability to curve your ball left and right. It enables the side spin required to shape your ball. However, that can lead to disaster on heel and toe mishits.

 

Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years.