You might be struggling with your longer irons right now, and someone may have convinced you to soldier on because the pros play the. But there is no need to anymore with the invention of hybrids and high-lofted fairway woods. Even the pros have switched.
In fact, there are two stress-free, easy to hit, long iron replacement clubs in the 7 wood and 4 hybrid. The question you may have is which one should you play? 7 wood has become a popular choice for golfers of all skill levels, even professional players on the PGA tour, including Dustin Johnson. The 4 hybrid may be an even more popular choice because of the wide availability of them. Today's 7 woods and 4 hybrids are the best, easiest to hit versions ever made.
But which of these two clubs is right for you, personally? In this guide we will break down the pros and cons between the 7 wood vs 4 hybrid. At the end you should have a better idea which club will find its way into your golf bag.
7 Wood vs 4 Hybrid which club should you carry?
I play a 7 wood and advise everyone who plays golf that the 7 wood is the ultimate 'cheat club'. It's easy to hit off the tee, easy off the fairway and flies high with a soft landing onto greens. The look of a 7 wood suits my eye when it sits behind a golf ball. It may be very different for you if you look at a fairway wood vs a hybrid, so always keep YOUR feeling and preference in mind.
This is how we will break this assessment down:
- Key differences between 7 woods and 4 hybrids
- 7 wood vs 4 hybrid distance
- Pros of a 7 wood and pros of a 4 hybrid club
- Which golfers should use a 7 wood or 4 hybrid
What's the difference between a 7 wood and 4 hybrid?
- 7 wood has a longer shaft than a 4 hybrid
- Seven woods generally go further than 4 hybrids
- 7 wood can have adjustable lofts between 20 and 23 degree while a 4 hybrid is usually fixed at 21 degrees
- 4 Hybrids have a tendency to move the ball right to left, while a fairway wood is quite neutral
- 7 woods need slightly less downward strike compared to a 4 hybrid which is the same as hitting a 6 iron
- Hybrids are good for long chips that run out while 7 woods have much hotter faces making chipping difficult
- 7 wood and 4 hybrid both have lofts of 21 degrees
- Both are replacements for a 3-4 iron
- Both go further than an iron of the equivalent loft
- 4 hybrids and 7 woods often have graphite shafts while irons have steel shafts
- Both are versatile clubs to use for all sorts of shots - including punch from the rough
7 wood vs 4 hybrid distance
You would think that as the loft of these clubs will be similar if not identical, then the distance the hit the golf ball would be the same. This isn't always the case.
A typical 7 wood or 4 hybrid will have a loft angle of 20-23 degrees, depending on the manufacturer. Most golfers with an average swing speed would be hoping to hit these clubs between 170 to 210 yards. The same golfer can expect to carry the 4 hybrid 10 yards shorter than a 7 wood. There are two reasons:
1. 7 wood will most likely have a greater total distance due to a slightly lower ball flight than a 4 hybrid.
2. The 7 wood goes longer than the 4 hybrid because the shaft is longer in the 7 wood which creates more swing speed for longer golf shots.
It is really key here to make the a differentiation between carry distance and total distance. Carry distance is how far the ball travels in the air before hitting the ground. Total distance is how far the golf ball travels including any roll out. When you test these clubs on a Trackman or similar monitor, you want to always check the CARRY distance.
You will be using these clubs to carry obstacles, carry onto greens, and carry to land softly. This is a very important metric.
The Benefits of a 7 wood and 4 hybrid
7 Wood Benefits
I got a 7 wood because I wasn't happy with my 2 iron as an approach club, and I struggle to hit hybrids.
The longer shaft in the 7 wood generates more swing speed and more distance as you would expect from a fairway wood. I use this club off the tee, for long approaches on par 4s and par 5s, and for tee shots on long par 3s. It's a great club for the purpose that it serves: a go-to tee club and a long approach club.
The bigger club head and deeper face make this golf club more forgiving on off-center strikes. The extra forgiveness of a fairway wood
The size of the head is also gives you more confidence because you can see a lot of the face when you look down at the club, which makes you feel like you can make consistent contact. You will also launch the ball much higher than an equivalent long iron, but not as high as the 4 hybrid.
To summarize you will get:
- More distance on tee shots
- More swing speed
- More forgiveness
4 Hybrid Benefits
JMac from my YouTube channel carries a 4 hybrid and he uses it for lots of different shots. This one club is one of the most versatile hybrid golf clubs in his bag because he can use it for so many shots.
You can use this club for tee shots, and your second shot (or third or fourth) from the fairway when approaching the green. You can use it from the rough or fairway bunker. Hybrid clubs are also known as "rescue" clubs and are made to be easy to escape from bad lies everywhere on the course.
It's easier to get the golf ball up in the air because the high loft combined with the more flexible face and encased body of the club creates more trampoline effect. The club is also designed to get under the ball with a low center of gravity. This is ideal for golfers who struggle to hold greens with their approach shots with long irons. High handicappers and average golfers with moderate swing speed will benefit from this as they aren't generating the spin rates on the golf ball needed to make a normal 4 iron stick to a green.
The shorter shaft on a hybrid may be something that golfers prefer, especially if their swing style is steeper. The sweeping motion needed to hit a 7 wood doesn't suit steeper swings and can produce a lot of sidespin. It's also harder to get the ball out of the rough with a sweeping swing.
I would recommend that the average golfer carry a mixture of hybrids and fairway woods. A driver, higher lofted 3 wood, 5 wood, 7 wood or 4 hybrid could be complimented by another hybrid. I've played with some golfers who have a bag full of hybrids! They just don't see the need for other clubs.
To summarize the pros of a 4 hybrid you will get:
- A higher ball flight
- A more versatile club
- Straighter shots
- More options for an approach shot
- A club for punch shots under trees
Which golfers should use a 7 wood or 4 hybrid?
A lot of mid and high handicapper golfers would benefit from carrying at least one hybrid in their golf bag. It just makes the long approaches easier and provides more versatility for the many weird shots you encounter on the golf course. A hybrid reduces the number of inconsistent shots you hit when you have longer approaches into greens, which will lower your scores by default. No more chunks and shanked long irons!
A lot depends on your swing speed and confidence to generate speed. It also depends on your ball flight tendencies.
Who should play a 4 hybrid:
- Golfers who struggle to hit an iron longer than a 4 iron but like the look and feel of an iron at address.
- Most hybrids pull the ball right to left because of how they're made so if your ball flight is left to right, the hybrid can straighten your shot shape.
- If you're in the rough a lot, and need to hit punch shots or long low shots, the 4 hybrid will work for you.
- Players who like a shorter more upright club as the hybrid has a shorter shaft
Who should play a 7 wood:
- My opinion is that everyone should play a 7 wood
- Golfers who are worried that a fairway wood will not get he ball airborne easily
- Players who like to adjust the loft in modern fairway woods
- Golfers looking for a go-to tee ball instead of a driver on tighter holes
- Anyone who prefers a larger clubhead at address for extra confidence.
We should get the most out of our 14 permitted clubs to allow us to score better and have fun on the golf course - always improving. Here's how you could add hybrid golf clubs or fairway woods to your bag depending on your skill level.
- Tour Professional: (1-2 clubs) 3 wood and a 3 hybrid/5 wood.
- Lower Handicap: (2-3 clubs) 3 wood, 3 hybrid, 4 hybrid
- Mid handicap and high handicap: (3-5 clubs) 3 wood, 5 wood, 7 wood or 4 hybrid, 5 hybrid
- Beginner: (5-7 clubs) Combination of fairway woods and hybrids, with irons starting at 7 or 8 iron
If you are a new player looking for the easiest way to enjoy the game more and lower your scores, the 4 hybrid is probably the best club for you. You can now buy a complete golf club set with a 4 hybrid included and it will be a great way to learn the game without having to hit long shots with temperamental iron clubs.
If you are a more experienced player looking for more distance from the tee, then the 7 wood is a good choice. Get some experience hitting the ball and then give both a try - you never know, you might just find your favorite club of all time.
You can't go wrong with either of these two clubs so get out on the golf course and see which one works the best for you.