I like hitting driver off tees where the more prudent play is a 3-wood. At tour courses, the setup is often such that I hit my 3-wood from the turf only once a round, or maybe even not at all, depending on how the par 5s are playing. So how can I say that the 3-wood is the most important club in my bag—or yours?\n\n The reason is, it sets the tone for the day. Whereas you hit driver on the upswing and catch irons and wedges with a downward blow, a 3-wood demands a neutral strike: You can't be steep or shallow. Some guys out here—Hunter Mahan is one—stand on the range and hit nothing but 3-woods off the deck until they start flushing it. That's when they know they're ready to head to the first tee.\n\n I recently got a new 3-wood. It has more loft and a smaller head, so it feels like a 4-wood. I still rip it just as far off a tee peg, but the more playable design gives me more shots from the fairway.