When To Use A 5-Wood In Golf: The 5-Wood Explained

Have you ever stepped up to the tee and not known what club to pull from your bag?

Are you trying to gap your golf bag and need to know the benefits of every club?

Well you’ve come to the right place!

The 5-wood is a club that in recent years has come under much discussion. Some love to rely on the 5-wood, and some would prefer to use a more modern hybrid, like a 3-hybrid.

Whatever your preference, it’s always useful to know how and when to use different clubs so that you can plan accordingly for every course you find yourself up against.

So without further ado, here’s our guide to when to use a 5 wood, how to use one, and why you should!

Let’s get started!

5 woof golf club guide

What is a 5-wood?

Woods are golf clubs with large clubheads, like a driver.

The purpose of a wood is generally to hit the ball further than an iron. Woods are therefore most commonly used to tee off, or on exceptionally long fairways, or even a fairway with a dogleg.

The 5-wood sits in between the 3-wood and the 7-wood in terms of loft and length. This is why many golfers like to use the 5-wood, as it is generally thought to be more versatile than other woods.

In general: the lower the number, the longer the drive. so a 5-wood is a mid-distance club.

Some golfers may also choose to carry a 5-wood in their club bag due to the height and distance you are able to achieve with a 5-wood.

The Loft of a 5-wood

The average loft of a 5-wood is between 18-20 degrees.

In comparison to the 3-wood, which has around 15 degrees of loft, the 5-wood loft angle can help create a higher arc of your ball’s flight trajectory.

The 5-wood will also, therefore, have less roll when the ball land. In other words, the ball will not run as far down the fairway once it lands, assuming the ball is hit well.

When To Use A 5-Wood In Golf: The 5-Wood Explained 1

The Length of a 5-wood

The 5-wood is on average 42-43 inches long, around 2.5 inches longer than the average golf iron.

This is in comparison to the longer 3-wood, which is around 42-43 inches long on average, and the 7-wood, which is around 40-41 inches long.

Some golfers find a shorter shaft easier to use, which is why many opt to keep the 5-wood in the bag.

However, a longer club helps with a faster ball speed and creating more spin on the ball. This can be very useful in hitting the ball further or hitting shots like a draw or a fade.

Distance chart of a 5-wood

As with any shot, distance can be affected by a number of factors, including weather, ball age, and the physical ability of the golfer. 

However, the average distance of a shot with a 5-wood is around 195 yards.

The average distances with a 5-wood, from small hitters through to large hitters, are as follows: 

  • Male Average: 170-210 yards
  • PGA Average: 230-288 yards
  • Female Average: 115-170 yards
  • LGPA Average: 185-205 yards

The 5-wood will generally yield a distance of around 45 yards less than your driver.

Regardless of what other golfers are able to play, it’s always worth practicing in a driving range to find out what your average distance with a 5-wood is.

When To Use A 5-Wood In Golf: The 5-Wood Explained 2

When to use a 5-wood

You can either use your 5-wood to tee off with or hit from the fairway, it all depends on the situation.

The most common use of a 5-wood from the tee box is when you want to hit a shorter drive due to a hazard, which is called laying up.

This can be for a number of reasons, maybe you are playing on a course with a short green and plenty of san bunkers around the apron, or perhaps you are playing a course with a dogleg.

Since a 5-wood has a decent amount of loft, compared to a driver or a 3-wood, the ball trajectory should also be steeper. This should make shots like the flop easier or can help with trying to hit into the green as there will be less run on the ball once it has landed.

You may also choose to use a 5-wood if you are teeing off on a course around 200 yards long so that you can hit an up and down once you are close enough to the green.

You may also want to choose a 5-wood if you are playing on an uphill course, due to the loft of the club.

There are so many reasons to use a 5-wood, but more important than that is how to use a 5-wood.

5 wood golf club guide

How to setup with a 5-wood

As with all woods, it’s likely that you will either be setting up at the tee or on the fairway.

Both shots will require slightly different set ups to account for the tee height or the terrain.

For both shots, however, your foot position should be slightly wider than shoulder width to account for the rotation or turn in the swing necessary for a longer club.

This is to help you ensure that your swing plane will be correct, meaning that your club should connect with the ball in the sweet spot of the clubface.

Let’s go over how to set up for either shot!

How To set up with a 5-wood from a tee:

  • Take your normal golf stance with a slightly wider foot position.
  • The ball should be set up further forward in your stance, closer to the inside of your front foot, but not as close as a driver to allow for the extra loft in a 5-wood.
  • To make sure you are the right distance away from the ball to compensate for a longer club, set up your club head behind the ball and step back until there is around 6 inches of air between the end of the club shaft and your belt buckle.

This position will help you hit the ball further and allow you to hit the ball with a swing closer to how you would swing with a driver, in comparison to an iron.

It should also ensure that you don’t just hit the ball straight up in the air and can still achieve a good distance with your swing.

5 wood golf club guide

How to set up with a 5-wood from the fairway:

While similar to setting up at the tee, setting up with a 5-wood from the fairway is notably different, and setting up as you would from the tee can result in a number of swing errors.

  • You want to step back from the ball, as you would from the tee, using your club head to guide you.
  • You may want to include more knee flexion when playing from the fairway to account for the lower ball height.

How to use a 5-wood

You want to swing your 5-wood as you would a driver, which good rotation in the swing, and lag in the swing.

Here are some swing thoughts you can try to ensure you’re on the right track with your 5-wood swing.

Low and slow:

playing from the fairway with a wood can be tricky for many golfers and can sometimes lead to the golf whiff, or a number of other common mistakes.

Keeping your backswing low and slow will keep you on the swing plane and help with your swing accuracy, as rushing your shot is the most common cause of a topped or thinned shot.

Hit down to hit up:

While it might seem counter intuitive, a steeper downswing can be useful when playing form the fairway with a 5-wood as it leads to your swing requiring less bodily rotation to be completed.

Hitting down on the ball can also help you create backspin and hit flop shots.

It’s in the legs:

Just like when you are using a driver, using your legs in your 5-wood swing is very important, especially when playing from the fairway or in the rough.

Just like a steeper downswing, using your legs can help you get under the ball more solidly to ensure that the ball has a high trajectory.

Golfers like Tiger Woods almost squat down in their swing to generate massive power with their club. You don’t quite want to hit a full squat in your swing, but keeping your knees flexed slightly more than usual can be a great technique to create more power and distance.

Knowing how and when to use a 5-wood can be a score-saving skill to keep in your pocket for any course you come up against.

With enough practice, you can start implementing skills like putting backspin on the ball or hitting draws and fades, with your 5-wood.

It’s always good to know how to use every club in your bag, so if you have a 5-wood that you don’t use often, take it down to the driving range and have a practice! It just might become your favourite club!

Keep reading to learn about illegal golf clubs that you can’t try on the course!

Photo of author
Adam is a writer and lifelong golfer who probably spends more time talking about golf than he does playing it nowadays!

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