How Far You Should Be Hitting a 5 Wood (Based On Skill)
Written by Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1

Updated on January 12, 2024

A 5 wood can travel a variety of distances based on your swing speed, your timing, your accuracy, etc. In addition, the club that you have in play will also impact the total distance you hit the ball.

Another category to look at is a player handicap. It should go without saying that the majority of lower handicap players get more distance than beginners.

If you’re new to having a 5 wood in your bag or just wondering if you’re getting all you can out of your club, then I have all the info you need.


A beginner golfer who is new to the game may hit some really great shots with their 5 wood; the problem becomes consistency. Beginners struggle with hitting the golf ball in the center of the clubface.

When you miss the center of the face, you can’t get as much distance.

Many beginners also have a slightly slower swing speed as they are still trying to learn how to strike the ball. When you are worried about different positions in your swing, the ability to swing fast diminishes.

In the end, beginners see distances in the 170 to 180-yard range with their 5 wood. Some beginner golfers come from other sports and are highly talented, and obviously those beginners could see 200 yards.

High Handicap

High handicappers struggle with consistency just as much as beginner golfers. The high handicappers can have slightly more swing speed and get a little extra boost but expect yardages to still be in that 185-195 range.

Mid Handicap

The mid handicapper is the average golfer. If you have been around a lot of golfers, you are aware that some mid handicappers have incredible distance capability. However, these players often struggle with something like their short game, and that keeps their scores up.

The mid handicapper usually considers the 5 wood to be the 190-205 yard club. The golfers that are closer to the lower end of the mid handicap range often see the club consistently fly over 200 yards.

Low Handicap

Low handicap golfers tend to have the best chance at long distances with the 5 wood. Remember, the 5 wood is a little bit of a longer club than the irons, and therefore it becomes a little more difficult to remain accurate throughout the entire swing.

With the low handicap golfer, the extra shaft length is not a problem as long as the shaft flex is properly matched to their game.

Low handicappers get 200 yards or more with the 5 wood. Most of them are in the 210 to 215-yard range. Low handicappers notice that the ball flight produces a slightly higher launch when hitting the 5 wood from a tee, so longer distances can be observed.


When to Use Your 5 Wood

A 5 wood happens to be a really versatile club. It’s packed with distance-producing technology as well as forgiveness.

From The Tee

On a shorter par 4, the 5 wood makes a great selection off the tee. The chances of hitting the 5 wood straighter than the driver and keeping it in play are quite high. I like the 5 wood for dog leg holes, where positioning is more important than total distance.

Remember that from the tee, you may notice a bit more roll from the 5 wood. In addition, hitting the center of the clubface and making cleaner contact is easier from the tee box.

Some players admit to getting almost as much distance as their driver on a day that they are struggling with accuracy from the driver. The 5 wood is just a great golf club for keeping the ball in play and increasing the chance of being in the fairway.

From The Fairway

As an approach shot to the green on a longer par 4 or a par 5, the 5 wood can be a great club to hit. I caution you that with the loft of this golf club and the lower spin, you will want to let it land just short of the green and have it roll up to the pin.

Some lower handicap golfers that can put a lot of spin on a shot will generate spin from tight lies, but most players won’t.

From The Rough

The 5 wood is one of the best fairway woods for hitting out of the rough. When hitting out of the rough, your swing speed will be slightly lower as the rough slows you down. In addition, there are times that hitting can deloft the club and leave you with a shot that only travels a few yards.

Luckily the 5 wood has just enough loft and stability in the club head to help golfers get extra distance even when hitting out of a bad lie.

I will not try to hit a 5 wood if the golf ball is entirely buried. However, if you can still see it, and the ball is sitting up like it should expect that the 5 wood will be a smart choice.


Other Clubs That Could Replace a 5 Wood

If you don’t share the same love for your 5 wood that I do, then there are other options out there for you. The 5 wood generally has 19 degrees of loft; here are some other clubs that players are trying.

3 Iron

The 3 iron is the least forgiving of the alternatives to a 5 wood. However, some great players find that the accuracy of the 3 iron makes it a great choice for them. A low-lofted iron is difficult to launch, so you may need help with ball flight and maximizing distance.

Slightly slower swing speed players notice that when they move from a 4 iron to a 3 iron, they often see no change in total distance. This is a sign the 3 iron is not the best fit for your game.

3 Hybrid

The 3 hybrid is the most obvious alternative to the 5 wood. Although there are some performance differences between hybrids and woods, it is important to understand that some of this comes down to personal preference.

Try hitting with both the 5 wood and the 3 hybrid and see which gives you better results.

I have always found that the 3 hybrid is better out of the rough and that the 5 wood is best for getting those few extra yards of distance.

In addition, the 3 hybrids can be more accurate if you are going after a pin.

Utility or Driving Iron

The utility iron is very similar to the 3 iron except that it has a wider sole and a lot more forgiveness built in. The utility is best for golfers with higher swing speeds who prefer something other than the look of hybrids or fairway woods.


Tips for Hitting Your 5 Wood Further

It’s common to want more distance out of your 5 wood. In fact, if you find that your average distance is below what it should be for your swing speed and handicap, here are a few tips for getting that 5 wood to fly further.

Check Ball Position

The ball position when hitting a 5 wood should be slightly forward of center. Not until the ball is just forward of center can you get the proper impact positioning and results. Ball position is such an easy adjustment to make and can have a huge impact.

Think About More of a Sweeping Motion

Take more of a driver swing with the 5 wood. If your swing is steeper and has a descending blow like it does with an iron shot, you will struggle with distance on the 5 wood.

I always strike the ground when I hit a great 5 wood shot, but the divot is very shallow, and sometimes even just looks like I brushed the grass.

Ensure You Have The Right Shaft on Your Clubs

A custom golf fitting can help you determine if you are playing with the proper golf shaft. If you don’t have a shaft that matches your golf swing speed, it isn’t easy to maximize your distance.

Not only are there flex-related problems with the shaft, but there could also be weight and even torque issues.

Shaft fitting can be a little complicated, but players that are looking to maximize distance will greatly benefit from investing in a shaft-only fitting. I highly recommend this if you have a clubhead you love but feel as though you are missing out on distance.


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Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1