Golfers have been taking their long irons out of the bag (with my advice) and switching to hybrids for quite some time.
Is it for consistency?
The differences between the hybrid and the iron are significant. Not only will hybrid vs. iron impact your course management, but be prepared for it to change the loft gapping (I’ll explain) in your golf set.
As a golf professional, I love seeing amateur players push toward hybrids instead of the long irons; but it’s not for everyone.
I’ll show you the differences between hybrids and long irons, how far they should go, and why some golfers might want to KEEP the long irons in the bag.
Hybrid vs. Iron Comparison Chart
|Extra distance||Average distance|
|Increased forgiveness||Average forgiveness|
|Decreased workability||Strong workability|
|Higher ball flight||Mid to low ball flight|
|Graphite shaft||Steel or graphite shaft|
|Large sweet spot||Average size sweet spot|
|Mid to low spin||Mid to high spin|
|Bulky top down look||Streamlined top down look|
Why Use A Hybrid Instead Of An Iron?
Simple, they make the game of golf easier.
Hybrids replace long irons that are consistently known for being:
- Difficult to launch
- Hard to hit consistently
- Nearly impossible to capitalize on distance (with slower swing speeds)
A good hybrid golf club addresses all these problems.
Hybrid golf clubs’ advantages
To understand the hybrid vs. iron comparison, you have to look at the physical characteristics of the club and how those characteristics impact your interaction with the ball.
Hold a hybrid in your hand and then a long iron. Which one looks easier to hit?
10 out of 10 golfers will say hybrids look easier to hit than irons 100% of the time…about.
More greens in regulation
Even if you can hit a drive 220 yards, a 420-yard par 4 leaves you with a 200-yard shot into the green.
Do you have that shot?
For average golfers with long irons, this is tough; throw the hybrid in the bag, and you have a fighting chance.
This one is pretty simple; look at the size of the sweet spot on a hybrid compared to a long iron. In addition, the center of gravity is perfectly positioned in the hybrid to help make the club more forgiving.
Launch angle effect
The hybrid generates about 10 yards more distance than the corresponding long iron simply because of the launch angle and the club’s construction.
Distance matters in golf, especially when trying to bridge that gap between the irons and the driver.
Lofts on hybrids and irons vary considerably because of the lower lofted game improvement style irons that have come to market. This is why loft gapping becomes so important. However, for a standard 4 iron compared to a standard 4 hybrid, most players still see about ten yards more distance with the hybrid.
Hybrid vs Iron Lofts
Easier out of the rough
Hybrid golf clubs have extra weight in the clubhead which is carefully distributed so you never feel it when you swing (and the graphite shaft helps too).
Why is the weight in the head important?
It resists twisting at impact. Basically, you become a stronger player without actually having to go to the gym.
The hybrid resists against the grass that is trying to twist it and close the clubface. Ultimately you can make contact with more of the ball and less of the grass.
Long Iron advantages
Are there long iron advantages?
Long irons get such a bad rap, but they shouldn’t. All golf clubs are tools, and when the right golfer has the right tool. . .
Well you know the rest.
Better spin, the ball stops on the green
A long iron (in the hands of a capable player) gives you control over flight and shot shaping..
Hybrids are more about distance and forgiveness; long irons are for pinpoint accuracy (again, in the hands of a capable player).
Professional golfers will tell you that if they have to hit the ball on a pin from 200 yards away, they are more likely to take an iron than a hybrid.
Hybrids are super forgiving, right?
What’s the one major downside to forgiveness? Less workability.
Fades and draws are easier with long irons.. Think of it like the hybrid working to correct your clubface angle, even if you intended for the ball to go a little left or right.
Which club is better for a high handicap?
Most high handicappers thrive with hybrids.
However, there is a very simple method for determining whether you should keep a hybrid or a long iron in the bag.
(Get on a launch monitor for best results)
Ok, here is the method:
Take out your 7-iron and hit about 5 to 7 shots at a target, or use a rangefinder or launch monitor to determine your average distance.
- Let’s say it’s 145 yards.
- Now do the same with your 6 iron, and record distances.
- Repeat again with the 5 iron.
Golfers that should keep long irons in the bag will see distances like this 145 (7 iron), 155 (6 iron), 165 (5 iron), etc.
Notice the ten-yard increments?
Now, what if your yardages were 145 (7 iron), 153 (6 iron), 158 (5 iron)?
Do you see those gaps closing in?
This is when it’s time to put the hybrid in the bag. The hybrids give that little extra forgiveness at impact, which encourages higher launch, more distance, and increased confidence.
Hybrid vs. Long Iron Distance Chart
The difference between a hybrid distance and an iron distance is consistently between 8 and 15 yards. However, the total distances that you can hit your shots will vary based on your club head speed.
One thing to be careful of when choosing a hybrid is to look at the lofts of your current iron set. Some irons sets have incredibly strong lofts.
Why does this matter?
When you take the 4 iron out of the bag, you may actually need to replace them with a 3 hybrid.
Follow the loft progression in your iron set and find a hybrid that fits between the last iron and the fairway wood; this is your best chance at proper loft gapping.
|Low Swing Speed||3 Iron||180 yards||3 Hybrid||190 yards|
|Low Swing Speed||4 Iron||170 yards||4 Hybrid||180 Yards|
|Low Swing Speed||5 iron||160 yards||5 Hybrid||170 Yards|
|Mid Swing Speed||3 Iron||190 yards||3 Hybrid||205 Yards|
|Mid Swing Speed||4 Iron||180 yards||4 Hybrid||195 yards|
|Mid Swing Speed||5 Iron||170 yards||5 Hybrid||180 yards|
|Fast Swing Speed||3 Iron||200 yards||3 Hybrid||210 yards|
|Fast Swing Speed||4 Iron||190 yards||4 hybrid||200 yards|
|Fast Swing Speed||5 iron||180 yards||5 hybrid||190 yards|
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about the hybrid vs. iron.
Why use a hybrid instead of an iron?
A hybrid gets the ball up in the air with ease, increases total distance, and improves performance out of the rough. For most amateurs with mid to low-swing speeds, the hybrid is the better choice.
Is a 5 hybrid the same as a 5 iron?
The 5 hybrid and the 5 iron are similar. However, most players see about 10 yards more distance with the hybrid in their hand than with the long iron. Keep this in mind if you are working to build out the perfect set of golf clubs.
Should I hit hybrid or iron?
Take a look at the lie you have. If the ball is on the short grass and you want to get it to stop close to the pin, think about the iron. When hitting the ball out of any type of rough, the hybrid is the better choice.
What is easier to hit, hybrid or iron?
The hybrid is easier to hit than long irons simply because of the construction of the club.
Hopefully, you now feel a bit more confident about the hybrid vs. iron decision. Each of these clubs has impressive features to offer; it’s all about finding the right match for your game.
Take a close look at the weaknesses that you have in your swing and in your ability to strike the ball out of a variety of lies, and use that info to make your decision.