Women’s Hybrids vs Irons
With so many options in golf clubs these days, a very big question has become “should I be using irons or hybrids?” and “what is the difference?”.
It really depends on a number of factors. Namely, how you hit them and the results they provide to you personally.
The reason I mention this first is that every golfer is different and has their own unique swing. Because of this, they are going to get a different result and feel from their various clubs. And with hybrids and irons being so different in their design and purpose, everyone is going to have a different experience with them.
For example, I tend to sweep the grass in my golf swing, rather than hitting down on them. For this reason, I tend to hit my hybrids really well compared to my longer irons. Yet, I have friends who love their irons and will only use a hybrid for distances longer than 150 yards in place of a 3 iron, which is harder to hit.
In this post, I’ll cover other factors to think about when deciding which club to use or to carry in your bag.
How Are Hybrids and Irons Different?
Let’s look first at how hybrids and irons are designed differently and what their purpose originally was and build from there.
Irons or what they used to call blades have been around for quite some time in golf history and historically, have been the most versatile and most used club in your bag. It can be hit from anywhere on the golf course. Off the tee, in the fairway, from the rough, and as an approach shot onto the green.
The hybrid only came out around 30-40 years ago as a utility club, giving a golfer another option to help them get out of trouble areas on the golf course. When they first came out, a golfer might have carried one of these utility clubs to save some strokes.
Today, you can find hybrids to replace any one of your irons, as well as full hybrid sets or combination sets comprised of both irons and hybrids. The choices are endless.
The designs of both types of clubs are extremely different in how they look, feel, and how they are hit.
Whereas irons are made of a hard metal material, have a thinner bladelike clubhead to help golfers hit down into the ground and take a divot, hybrids are fuller and look like a smaller half size version of a fairway wood and are meant more for hitting and sweeping the ground.
Irons are designed to provide a clean, accurate high golf shot with a good amount of spin. With the number of irons in a golf bag, a golfer can pick and choose their distance accordingly.
Long irons (low numbered like 1, 2, and 3 irons) have always been much harder to hit as they are designed to produce more distance, but less lift in the air. These are not forgiving clubs meaning it is easy to skull or mishit these clubs.
Hybrids were originally designed to be easier and more forgiving to hit, thus being referred to as a “rescue” club. The weighting and center of gravity of the bulb-like clubhead in a hybrid is designed to be heavier farther back in the clubhead, producing a more forgiving and higher launch.
Today, golfers can choose to carry as many hybrids as they want. Hybrids are offered in the same numbered clubs as irons. I would say the majority of golfers carry at least one hybrid and many carry even more because of how easy they are to hit especially for the average recreational or weekend golfer.
Why Should You Use Both Hybrids and Irons in Your Golf Game?
With 14 clubs allowed in your golf bag, it is best to carry at least one hybrid. The reason is that they are meant to help your game. They are truly a utility or rescue club that can help you in certain situations on the golf course.
Professionals on tour prefer to use their irons, but like to have a hybrid or 2 in the bag as an option. Since these players are pin hunting and need to be exact, they may find a situation where they need to fly a ball up over a tall tree and land softly on the green. A hybrid may be the perfect answer for this.
Lower handicap players may still use their irons, but replace their 3 iron with a 2 or 3 hybrid.
Why? Because hybrids are easier to hit and can help the ball get into the air.
But hybrids aren’t just a replacement for long irons. As I mentioned, I carry more hybrids than irons in my bag. I haven’t gone all hybrids though, as I like to still use my 8 and 9 iron for approach shots onto the green. Even if you prefer to hit irons, it is still smart to carry at least 1 or 2 hybrids to give you more choices and options on the course.
When Should You Use a Hybrid or an Iron?
Let’s now look at some different situations of when to use a hybrid versus an iron. There are many factors to consider when thinking about your next shot, what result you want and which club will get you the best results.
Best Scenarios To Use an Iron
- If you have a fast swing speed, then it might suit you better to hit irons as you can get more spin and loft on the ball.
- If you hit down on the ball as you should with an iron, and do this well, then irons are a good option for you.
- If you can create and need backspin on your approach shots on the green, good to use an iron.
- If there is a lot of wind, a lower lofted long iron that doesn’t go as high but can cut through the wind would be good to use.
- When the rough is really thick and high, an iron can help cut through the thickness of the rough.
- If you have a 100 yards in fairway bunker shot with a medium lip, you could use an iron.
- If you have a 40 yard or less chip shot, you could use an iron to chip and run the ball onto the green as long as there aren’t any hazards or penalty areas in the way.
Best Scenarios To Use a Hybrid
- If you have a slow swing speed, hybrids can give you more distance.
- If you tend to sweep the ball in your swing, a hybrid will help provide more loft and give you more forgiveness for mishits.
- If you tend to hit your ball low, hybrids could give you more loft and height on your shot.
- If you have an approach shot onto an elevated green, a hybrid can give you more height to get it up onto the green for a soft landing.
- If you have a shot where you need to get over water, a hybrid can give you more loft so you don’t risk hitting a low skimmer across the water.
- If you are in rough that is not too thick, a hybrid can give you extra weight in the clubhead to help get you through the rough and give you loft to get the ball up into the air.
- If you have a long fairway bunker shot and need some extra distance and loft to get the ball out and far, you could use a mid range hybrid.
- If you are 50 or 60 yards out, you can use a hybrid to chip and run the ball up onto the green. Using a hybrid will give you more distance, so it is best to use it when you have a longer 50 yard or more pitch shot.
Does a Hybrid Provide the Same Distance as an Iron With the Same Number?
Yes, for the most part.
A hybrid will go about the same distance as a corresponding iron. In other words, a 5 iron should go about the same as a 5 hybrid. If there is any difference, a hybrid might provide a little extra yardage. The reason? A hybrid is more forgiving so you might be able to make better contact with the ball in the sweet spot.
The biggest difference between these two types of clubs with the same number will be a higher launch in the air with the hybrid.
What Hybrids Should You Carry?
That’s a very good question and one that is debatable by many golfers. Depending on what type of golfer you are and what you prefer is going to dictate the number and which hybrids you carry.
Currently I carry 4 hybrids. A 4H, 5H, 6H, and 7H. This is because I love how I connect with hybrids and the accuracy I get from them. I only carry 2 irons (8 and 9 irons) plus my wedges. Most golfers carry at least 1 hybrid, with the average around 2 hybrids in their bag. The 4 or 5 hybrid is the most typical club to carry as a rescue club. If you want to replace a 3 wood or a long iron, it is good to think about a lower numbered hybrid like a 3H or 4H.
Test Them Out
This last 20 years of golf has provided great technological advances and greater choices in club designs. All these different options makes for a much more enjoyable golfing experience. Anything that helps a golfer score better or help launch the ball better is good for the golf game.
If you are curious about hybrids or irons, the best way to determine what is best for your game is to test them out on and off the course.
There is no right or wrong in this area as everyone is different. And once you decide, you can always change it up. I am actually thinking of adding a 7 iron back to my bag as I saw some great shots hitting it on the driving range this past year. So, I might as well test it out.
If you are interested in reading more about either one, read my Club Guides in Best Hybrids for Women and Best Irons for Women where I answer FAQ’s and provide more in depth information on each club type and what to look for when making a purchase.