Hybrid vs Irons | Full info - Golf Sidekick

Hybrid vs Irons | Full info

Last Updated on December 31, 2023 by Matt Greene

Hybrid golf clubs make the game of golf so much easier for the average golfer. They help you to get the golf ball in the air quickly and are very forgiving from tricky lies like deep rough and sand.

If you are thinking of putting a hybrid club into your golf bag you might be wondering which hybrid club replaces which iron. A hybrid may have the same loft as an iron, but do that mean it will go the same distance and give you the same ball speed and club head speed?

In this article we will see which hybrid clubs match up to which golf irons to help you make the best decisions and hit great shots on the golf course.

Comparison chart for irons and hybrids

Longer carry distanceStandard distance
More forgivenessStandard forgiveness
Shot shape right to left
Shot shape depends
Higher launchLower launch
Graphite shaftSteel or graphite shaft 
Huge sweet spotSmall sweet spot in blades, large in cavity back
Low spinningHigher spinning
Large club headThin, smaller club head

How hybrids are better than long irons

Easier to hit than long irons

Long irons usually make golfers try harder to help the ball into the air. The hybrid was created to make a downward strike on the golf ball, like with an iron, but easier to make the ball fly high. Every mid to high handicapper will agree that a hybrid changed their game when they replaced their 4 or 5 iron with their hybrid equivalent.

Hybrids are easier to hit out of long grass

Irons get caught in the blades of grass in the rough. The hybrids thick, flat sole glides through the grass, and the rounded edges slide through the tangling grass. Golfers can prevent those nasty shots that stay in the long grass by using hybrids from the rough more often.

Long par 3s are reachable

It's terrifying for a lot of golfers to hit a long iron from a tee, or the fairway. Par 3 holes with lengths over 180 yards are the most difficult holes if you have no confidence in a long iron. Hitting the ball off a tee peg with a long iron can mean hitting the ball high in the club face and staying short of the green.

The hybrid is so much more forgiving and if you hit it higher in the face, it will still carry a decent distance, putting you on the front edge of the green instead of well short of the green like with an iron. In fact, it's encouraged to tee the ball higher with the hybrid compared to the equivalent iron.

Hybrids prevent big slices

Hybrids usually have a tendency to pull the ball shape right to left. That is a huge advantage for golfers, especially higher handicappers, who slice the golf ball. The hybrid is much easier to hit straighter than a long iron. Long irons usually move left to right for almost every golfer especially in the beginning of their journey.

How long irons can be better than hybrids

Irons are easier to manipulate ball flight

Hybrids usually launch the ball high and make the ball move right to left. Long irons are very easy to move left to right but more importantly, are easy to keep low or hit higher. You can manipulate the ball flight much easier with an iron than you can with a hybrid.

The wide sole and flat bottom of the hybrid makes the turf interaction more about keeping the ball straighter and higher than an iron. An iron can be manipulated easily. A word of warning: this only applies to lower handicap golfers and high handicappers should not be attempting to shape the ball with any long irons. There is no immediate benefit to learning that skill.

Irons give more spin

A 3, 4 or 5 iron will have much more spin on the ball than a hybrid. The hybrid will however hold the greens due to the steep angle of descent. When the ball falls out of the sky after a hybrid shot, the ball lands steeply on the green, and this helps to stop the ball.

Long irons can fly much lower, but because of the spin imparted from the deep grooves on the irons face, the ball will land on the green and stop quickly despite the lower ball flight. Side spin is also easier to impart on the long irons especially if you would like to hit a fade shot. 

Which iron does a hybrid replace?

To put this list together, we've based the lofts of the irons against the lofts of the Srixon ZX7 golf irons. These are not super game improvement golf clubs with very strong lofts, but they're also not butter knife blades with very traditional loft values. We want to compare forgiving irons to hybrids.

Modern lofts for irons

Notice the loft in the 2nd column in the image below. These loft numbers are the modern lofts used on iron sets and will serve as the baseline for the list below.

srixon zx7 iron specs

Which hybrid is equivalent to which iron?

  • 17 or 18 degree hybrid would be equivalent to a 2 iron golf club.
  • 19 or 20 degree hybrid would be equivalent to a 3 iron golf club.
  • 21 to 23 degree hybrid would be equivalent to a 4 iron golf club.
  • 24 to 26 degree hybrid would be equivalent to a 5 iron golf club.
  • 27 to 29 degree hybrid would be equivalent to a 6 iron golf club.
  • 30 or 31 degree hybrid would be equivalent to a 7 iron golf club.
Hybrid loftEquivalent iron
30-31° 7-iron 

Comparing Hybrid vs Iron Distance

Hybrid clubs have had the biggest impact in improving so many golfers iron games. They replace those hard to hit long irons and help you get the golf ball into the air, increase your average distance and boost confidence.

Does a hybrid golf club go the same distance as an iron? There are a few factors to consider such as loft, head shape, center of gravity and shaft length, all of which we'll explore in this article. 

So how does a hybrid distance compare vs an iron?

Hybrid clubs vs Irons Equivalent Distance Chart


Loft (Degrees)
Carry distance (Yards)

3 iron


3 hybrid


4 iron


4 hybrid


5 iron


5 hybrid


6 iron


6 hybrid


These numbers were gathered by Matt our editor. The data was collected using a golfer with a swing speed of 100 mph on the most accurate radar machine, the Trackman monitor. The settings were normalized. The number here is carry distance which excludes roll-out.

The irons he used were the PXG 0311 P irons and equivalent PXG 0317 X Gen4 hybrids. Despite having higher lofts, the hybrids always travel further than the iron with the same number printed on the bottom. 

The 4 and 5 irons travelled much shorter than a hybrid club with a similar loft. Off center strikes with the long irons went much shorter than the same mis-hit with a hybrid club of the same loft. 


The decision to choose a hybrid vs. iron will be based on the information in the article. We covered every aspect of the differences and similarities between both types of clubs. Think about what would benefit your game the most and explore your options. 

You might find you hit the long irons really well, or you might hit everything up to a 5 iron well. That leaves some space in the bag for a hybrid or fairway wood even. Don't take anything as gospel because a lot of people do not like hybrids. It's all about what fits you specifically. You are the main character. 

Last Updated on December 31, 2023 by Matt Greene