A few hybrids can make your game a lot easier.
Don’t let your ego get in the way either; even professional golfers are opting for hybrids instead of hard to hit long irons. If it works for the pros, it’s probably a good idea for you too.
But selecting a hybrid isn’t always the easiest decision. There are many hybrid companies out there. You also need to consider head size, shaft, adjustability, loft, and other features.
For example, simply swapping a 3-iron for a 3-hybrid or 4-iron for 4H isn’t necessarily the right choice for your golf clubs.
Continue reading to find out how to choose a hybrid golf club to complete your set. The right hybrid golf club can help you close distance gaps and give you confidence from long range.
Debate: Hybrids vs. Iron Distances and Lofts
Golf requires a lot of calculations; whether it’s doing a bunch of math on your approach shot or putting together the right set of clubs so you don’t have any big distance gaps. This can lead to many players having the wrong set of clubs, making it harder to score well on the course.
Here’s an example… Let’s say you hate your 3 iron and want to replace it with a hybrid golf club. If you’re like most golfers, you assume that buying a 3-hybrid is the easiest way to replace your iron. While it makes sense, the math doesn’t necessarily add up.
If your 3-iron has 20 degrees of loft, swapping a 3-hybrid with 20 degrees of loft isn’t a good move for the average golfer. Why?
Because hybrids are more versatile than irons, even though they share the same loft.
According to Shotscope, “In general terms, a hybrid will travel 8 to 12 yards further than the corresponding iron, but in reality accuracy and consistency are the keys. Due to the fact that most golfers carry either a hybrid or an iron, it is very difficult to compare them directly.”
8-12 yards can make a big difference, and it can be difficult to pick correctly!
If you bought a 3-hybrid to replace your long iron, now you don’t have a club that goes your normal 3-iron distance. This is why it’s important to understand the different designs of each factor into total distance (and accuracy).
So why is a hybrid longer than an iron with the same length? Let’s review…
First, consider the loft of each club.
The loft of a 3-iron hybrid may differ from that of a 3-iron, depending on its brand and model. Unfortunately, there’s no set loft associated with each iron across the entire golf club industry.
For example, a 3 – iron might have 19 degrees of loft while others may make it with 22.
This is especially evident in game improvement tools that are designed for beginners and high handicappers. These types of irons have a higher loft, which helps golfers increase their average distance. The technology of the club helps high handicappers improve their ball flight. Additionally, the lower loft allows for greater distance.
Sometimes, a loft of a hybrid might even be less than the iron but it’s not always the case.
Before you buy anything, make sure to identify the lofts of all clubs that are in your bag.
Use a Launch monitorMake a personal distance chart showing how far each club is in the bag. This will help you to determine the best hybrid loft and the distance gap that you want in your set.
However, even if they share the same loft loft, hybrid clubs can still go 8-12 miles longer due to loft and the three reasons below.
While loft is important, there’s a lot more that goes into why hybrids go longer than irons, even if they are the same loft. Another reason is the longer shafts of hybrids.
For example, let’s compare a few 2023 Titleist golf clubs to see how shaft length changes:
- TSi2 Hybrid 3: 21 degrees loft, 40 inches in length
- U 505 Utility iron: 20 degrees of loft, 39.75 in long (but they use an hybrid graphite shaft rather than a standard steel shaft).
- T100 3-iron: 21 degrees loft, 39 inches in length
The 3-iron is an inch shorter that the hybrid, as you can see. The utility iron is closer in length to the hybrid because they use a standard iron shaft.
These shafts are not only slightly longer than irons of the same loft, but they are also designed to increase distance and swing speed. Many hybrid shafts are designed to increase ball speed and launch angles. This will also increase the hybrid’s average shot distance.
Golf Club Design (Lower Center of Gravity).
The club’s size is another reason hybrid golf clubs have greater carry distance. While hybrids are smaller than woods, they’re still much larger than irons (even driving irons).
You can read the full discussion here about how a Hybrid 3 compares to a 5-wood.
The more mass behind a club, the easier it is to create maximum distance (even if your ball contact isn’t great). This can also increase club head speed and allow you to hit the ball for longer distances. The distance you can travel is affected by your center of gravity.
Hybrids travel farther distances because they have more technology. The technology and club face of hybrids are optimized for greater distance. These clubs are designed to make it easier for golfers to hit longer shots.
Using the same example as before, the Titleist TSi2 can be identified as a scoring-distance club. According to Titleist, “For players with a sweeping delivery seeking a forgiving long iron replacement. Features headweight adjustability and a SureFit hosel for dialed-in shots that launch high and land soft.”
The club head also needs:
- A thin fastclub face to increase ball speed.
- Performance-tuned adjustability allows you to alter loft and lie settings.
- Optimized weight distribution for a lower CGI and higher MOI.
The technology of a hybrid club makes it easier to hit them longer.
You might be thinking… What about accuracy though?
Hybrid vs. Iron Accuracy
Since hybrids have a bigger head than an iron, it’s easy to think they’re less accurate. However, the data shows that hybrids can be used instead of long irons to regulate more effectively.
According to the Shotscope article: “From over 200 yards a hybrid is almost twice as effective compared to a long iron. The hybrid is still more efficient between 180 and 200 yards, but the gap closes in 180 yards. This proves that most golfers should not be carrying irons which they can hit over 180 yards – instead, swap them for a hybrid.”
While I knew hybrids led to better shots and typically more greens for the average player, I didn’t know it was 2X as many greens! If you’re more than 180 yards out and aren’t a single digit or scratch golfer, use a hybrid to have more birdie opportunities.
Chart of Iron vs. Hybrid Distances (Average Distances).
Now that you understand why hybrids work better than irons, here’s a comparison of long and hybrid irons of the same kind. This is why it’s important to buy your hybrids and irons at the same time. It will ensure that you don’t have any big gaps in your game and don’t waste any money on clubs you won’t use.
For example, don’t spend an extra $150-$200 on a long iron set that includes a 3 or 4 iron when you don’t plan to use it. These clubs aren’t easy to resell (as most golfers opt for hybrids or utility irons) and won’t help your golf game either.
This article will discuss whether or not you still need a 4-iron.
The Club Champion study was featured in Golf Digest discussed this topic in detail saying, “80 percent of Club Champion’s iron fittings do not result with a player walking out with a 3-iron. Golf Datatech research shows that 80 percent (on average) of serious golfers own at least one hybrid. That’s nearly double the percentage from 15 years ago.”
This data is amazing and shows that the average golfer has at least one hybrid club in their bag.
Why the Average Golfer Should Retire 3 and 4 Irons
Unless you’re a strong golfer, with a consistent swing, and have a single digit handicap, there’s no reason to play a traditional 3 or 4 iron. Utility irons are fine. might make sense as they’re easier to hit and create a higher trajectory, traditional irons aren’t worth it for beginner golfers. To replace traditional clubs, even the best players will choose driving irons, hybrids or 7 woods.
But don’t just take my word for it, let’s review a study done by Arccos golf who studied what happens when a golfer uses a 4H vs. a 4 iron. The Arccos study found that:
- “For hitting into greens, the 4-hybrid is the best play for most.
- All golfers hit more fairways using a 4-iron.
- The 4-iron is more effective for the 0-5 handicap bracket than any other bracket. Almost every other bracket hits it longer and records more GIRs with the 4-hybrid.”
This is the second study to show that a hybrid is easier than a single-shot shot. This results in more birdies and lower scores on longer holes.
Hybrids are more precise than long irons, and have a larger sweet spot!
The second finding by the Arccos is somewhat misleading. Although golfers found the fairway more often using a four iron than a hybrid, they also found that 4H players had lower scores. This shows that accuracy is more important than distance when it comes to scoring average.
Finally, the overwhelming majority of golfers who aren’t a 0-5 handicap hit it longer and record more greens in regulation with a hybrid.
Hybrids vs. Fairway Woods
While it’s not recommended to swap an iron for a hybrid, fairway woods are a little different story. High loft woods are more durable than hybrids for the same reasons as above.
Fairway woods can be significantly larger, longer and have more loft. This is why it’s important to consider these factors when replacing a fairway wood for a hybrid.
I just had this issue in my own game as I needed to replace my 5-wood as I felt it wasn’t a great fit for my game. It was able to go almost as far as my 3-wood, but it was significantly longer than my 4-iron. This left a huge gap of 200+ yards. This made it difficult for par 5s to be hit in two shots, or for long par 3s to reach the green.
Finding a replacement for my 19-degree 5-wood wasn’t easy though. A 4- or 5-hybrid went much faster due to a smaller clubhead.
I found the perfect solution with an 18 degree hybrid Callaway Rogue ST Max, which is a 2H hybrid. After spending a lot time on the driving range I was able close the gap.
Now, here’s how my longer club breakdown:
- 3 wood = 15 degrees, 260-280 yards
- 2 hybrid = 18 degrees, 235-250 yards
- Utility 4 iron = 21 degrees. 215-230 yard
While I don’t have a traditional 3-iron or 3H, my distance gaps are perfect. Because I feel more confident with my longer clubs, my overall score is higher.
If you are replacing a fairway wooden for hybrid clubs, it is better to go up one club than to go down when replacing an iron.
Other Hybrid Benefits
Are you still not sure if a hybrid is right? These are some of the other advantages that hybrids can offer.
- Larger sweet spot
- Higher launch angle
- Accuracy is key
- Higher ball trajectory
- Help with ball speed increase
- It’s much better to have off-center hits
- It is easier to consistently hit the fairway well on the golf course
- Add distance (a few extra yards never hurt anyone)
- These help players with long shots, even if they are swinging slower (making them great for seniors golfers).
Hybrids live up to their promises and will make your average score drop significantly. Get rid of the long irons as soon as possible.
FAQs about Hybrids vs. Irons
Learn more about hybrids and how to choose the right combination for your golf bag. For more information, please see our frequently asked questions and answers.
Are hybrid clubs better than irons?
Hybrids are more versatile than irons for several reasons.
First, the ball is heavier than an iron or hybrid. It’s easier to hit the ball harder and for a longer time.
Second, hybrids have a longer shaft length than iron of the exact same loft. A longer shaft contributes to greater distance.
Third, hybrids have a greater mass than long irons which allows for more distance. The clubhead has more technology than the long iron to make it more flexible and allow for more distance from the tee.
Can a 4 mixed go as far as an 4 iron?
A 4-iron hybrid would usually go as far as a 4-iron, if not further, due to the reasons mentioned in the previous question. The loft of the clubs is what you should be evaluating as each manufacturer makes clubs with different lofts.
For example, game-improvement irons are more forgiving than traditional blades or cavity backs. They have higher lofts than traditional ones. A loft that is stronger or lower will increase its distance.
The typical 4-iron lofts range from 20-24 degrees and can vary depending on the manufacturer. This is why it’s so important to check the lofts online if you can’t easily identify them on the club itself.
Don’t just swap your 4-iron for a 4-hybrid (even if it is the same brand) without doing a little research first.
What iron is a 4 mixed equivalent to?
Based on the manufacturer, a 4 hybrid has a loft of 20-24 degrees. This loft makes it comparable to a 3 or 4 iron in terms of loft and club maker but it’s not such a simple answer.
As we’ve discussed, there are many factors to consider when comparing hybrids to irons.
Is a 5-iron a 5 hybrid?
Maybe but it’s not such a simple answer. As discussed in the previous points, it’s not a great idea to swap out an iron for the same hybrid to get a similar distance. The data shows that hybrids can go 8-12 yards further than irons of the exact same loft. This is due to a variety reasons.
Lofts change between club manufacturers. Your 5 iron from TaylorMade might be different from a 5-iron loft from Callaway, especially if they’re a different type of iron (cavity vs. muscle back).
A 6H is a better choice if you are looking to replace your 5-iron. This will have more loft that your 5-iron, but it will also cover the distance gap.
What hybrid replaces the 7-iron?
You should generally choose a higher-iron hybrid depending on what iron you are replacing. An 8H hybrid is the best choice if you are looking to get rid your 7-iron. This should help you replace this iron easily and give you more confidence in your “iron” game.
Is a 5-hybrid the same as a 5-wood hybrid?
No, a 5-hybrid is equivalent to a 4- or 5-iron in terms of loft. This can vary depending on the manufacturer. A 5-wood has 18-20 degree of loft.
Swapping a 5W for a 5H isn’t a good idea as you would likely hit it 20-30 yards shorter and leave a big distance gap. A better option is to replace your 5W with a 2 or 3-hybrid.
They have approximately the same loft as fairway wood, so they should travel about the same distance.
Utility irons are more versatile than long irons?
Utility irons can be a great alternative to long-irons. They’re much easier to hit thanks to a thicker topline and more forgiving clubface.
Some golfers don’t enjoy hybrids or high lofted fairway woods and instead prefer the look of irons. Utility irons are a great alternative as they’re more compact and easier to hit from the fairway and rough. Check out our These are the best driving irons.
When should I use an Iron instead of a Hybrid?
While hybrids are known as a rescue club, they’re not great in every situation. This is a good time for an iron, especially if the golf ball is in tallgrass.
Learn how to hit hybrids for solid contact Here.
Final Thoughts about Hybrid Golf Clubs
Hybrids can make golf easier and think it’s a no-brainer decision for high handicapper and most amateur golfers. There’s no point in trying to swing hard to hit long irons when there are so many alternatives that make golf easier from long range.
The key is to ensure your hybrids are compatible with your fairway woods, irons, and fairway woods. Simply replacing a 3 or 4 iron with a 3 or 4 hybrid isn’t always the best idea.
Since hybrids go further thanks to loft, clubhead size, and technology, it’s not as easy as swapping them out. Instead, determine the distances you need for fairway woods or iron.
Next, go backwards to find the hybrid that will fill that hole. This should help you have confidence, even when playing over longer distances.