It’s looking like the end of a long and frustrating love-hate affair with my 3-wood.
Since the days of the spoon, the 3-wood has been considered a standard-issue piece of equipment without which no self-respecting golfer _ particularly one who enjoys taking a poke at a par-5 green in two _ would want to be caught dead, regardless of how often he or she hits it well.
We are talking here about a golf club that’s only slightly easier to hit than a driver _ a couple of inches in length and a couple of degrees of loft is all that separates the two _ and which you most often need to hit off the deck, rather than from a two-inch tee.
I generally hit my driver well (today notwithstanding; long story, some other time). My 3-wood, not so much. Not that it was for a lack of trying.
I’ve carried around a lot of different 3-woods over the years _ a steel shafted Nike Sasquatch, an old Cleveland QuadPro 15 that I loved until I ruined it by extending the shaft, and a finicky Titleist 906F that had a bad habit of going south at the worst possible time _ and I’ve never been very confident with any of them.
It’s a lot like being able to consistently hit the driver well: you’ve either got it, as the old saying goes, or you don’t. And my 3-wood and I were fair-weather friends.
Even my personal fave, the Titleist PT-15 _ a small-headed, old-school precision weapon with a lovely UST Proforce 65 shaft that helped to make a few eagles in its time _ could be accused on more than one occasion of a divided sense of loyalty.
So, in an act that smacked more of desperation than of any robust setting aside of ego, I benched the 3 and replaced it with a Callaway FT Tour 4 wood _ a gorgeous, compact, lofty-looking club that will appeal to anyone who prefers the sight of an iron behind the ball.
The FT Tour leads with its chin: two more degrees of loft make the clubface’s hitting surface more directly visible at address, with a prominent leading edge that makes the sweet spot more accessible and helps promote a more ‘iron-like’ sense of hitting down on the ball and cutting it from the turf, rather than the vague, unsatisfying sweep one has to make with a 3-wood.
This, folks, is a club to take a divot with.
Seventeen degrees of loft is a very civilized number, I’ve found, and the FT’s Fujikura 160 shaft has proven a very robust engine. Twin rails running along the sole help the FT Tour play at times like a utility club, handling lies in the rough, hardpan and even unfilled divots better than that shallow-bottomed 3-wood ever could.
Sure, there’s a sacrifice of some distance _ between 10 and 20 yards, in my experience. But when you consider the infrequency with which a typical player uses the 3, and how often it actually performs as intended, switching to a reliable 4-wood becomes a highly logical decision.