Golf is a tough game, we know that. Thankfully golf gear in recent times has been designed in a way to allow beginner golfers and the average golfer to enjoy the game. Hybrid clubs have had the biggest impact in this area. They replace those hard to hit long irons and help you get the golf ball into the air and increase your average distance!
But does a hybrid club go the same distance as an iron? There are a few factors to consider in this decision such as loft, head shape, center of gravity and shaft length, all of which we'll get stuck into in this article.
So should most golfers be gaming hybrid golf clubs? Let's look at some stats.
Hybrid clubs vs Irons Equivalents Distance Chart
Carry distance (Yards)
These numbers were gathered by site contributor Joe. He's a 14 handicap from the UK. He has a driver swing speed of 100 MPH. He he hit 10 shots with each club on a Trackman monitor. The settings were normalized. The number here is carry distance NOT total distance.
For reference he was using PXG 0311 P irons and equivalent PXG 0317 X Gen4 hybrids. All clubs have stiff shafts and are 1/2 inch longer than standard length. He was hitting a 2 piece Srixon range ball.
As you can see from the numbers, Joe hit his 4 and 5 irons shorter than a hybrid club with a similar loft. he also noticed that his off center strikes with the long irons were penalized in terms of maximum distance much more than poor strikes with a hybrid.
His dispersion numbers were similar with both types of golf club, but he felt he had more control with the shorter irons.
As we can see from the data above, a hybrid golf club will go on average around 7 yards longer than the equivalent iron. This increase in average distance could be a big benefit to the average golfer.
There are a number of reasons a hybrid will got longer than an iron. They are;
- Ball speed
- Golf club design
- Shaft length
The sweet spot on a hybrid is bigger and the size of the head creates much more ball speed on center strikes. Joe saw his ball speed increase by 4-5 mph with a hybrid in his hand. A hybrid looks more forgiving at address which can create a more confident swing and more speed.
The clubhead design of a hybrid makes it behave like fairway woods with a hotter club face and more aerodynamic features. These all contribute to increased ball speed.
Golf club design
The center of gravity is much lower in a hybrid than a corresponding iron. This increases launch angle and makes it far easier to hit the ball into the air. Higher ball trajectory and launch angle will mean more distance, even if you don't generate that much club head speed. This is why hybrid clubs are so popular with senior golfers who struggle to hit their long iron in the air.
The lie angle of a hybrid is also usually more upright than a long iron, encouraging a draw shape golf shot. Most golfers will hit a weak fade ball flight with their long irons which decreases shot distance.
A longer shafted hybrid will produce more clubhead speed and this will increase your average distances, even with the same loft. High handicappers may struggle with longer clubs, but a hybrid doesn't tend to be as long as a fairway wood so it's the best of both worlds. Joe's hybrids are the same length as the corresponding iron he has replaced and he finds them easier to hit.
Should I play a hybrid or an iron?
I believe that the average golfer who is shooting in the 80's or 90's will benefit from having at least one hybrid club in their golf bag. Hybrids are very versatile and provide more shot making options for most golfers than long irons.
I don't recommend playing a full set of hybrids and replacing all of your irons unless you are a total novice golfer or a senior with a really slow swing speed. Shorter irons are easy to hit with practice offer more options on the golf course.
But if you struggle with your medium and long irons you should definitely consider replacing them with hybrids. If you're looking to add distance and gain forgiveness in these clubs, a hybrid will do that without having to adjust your swing. If you need more accuracy and ball flight control, an iron will give you this.
Professional golfers will use long irons because they can guarantee a solid strike and land to be able to control the ball contact, trajectory and spin rates on their long shots.
Hybrid clubs are also much more forgiving out of tall grass and other hazards. I find it nearly impossible to hit my 4 iron out of the rough or sand. I either hit the ball fat or the club head gets tangled in the grass. A hybrid will always perform better than a long iron from these lies as it has a wider sole, lower center of gravity and bigger club face.
Do You Hit A Hybrid Like An Iron?
Hybrids are designed to be hit like an iron. They may look like fairway woods but the amount of loft on a hybrid club mean you need to hit down on the ball.
Players who have trouble hitting hybrid golf clubs will often try and sweep the golf ball and this can lead to thin or weak shots. A hybrid will naturally promote a higher trajectory so expect to see the ball flight look similar if not higher than the iron your hybrid replaces.
Hybrids are very versatile though, and can be used a tee shot clubs if you struggle to hit a long iron or fairway woods consistently enough to get the ball into play.
What Iron Does A 21 Degree Hybrid Replace?
A hybrid with 21 degrees of loft is called a 4 hybrid and is a great replacement for a 3 iron which will have a similar loft (19-21 degrees). The hybrid will have a slightly longer shaft and a bigger head size, making it easier to hit consistently.
There are 21-degree hybrids available out there but the trend nowadays is towards hybrids with 22 degrees of loft. Many modern hybrids now have loft adjustment technology built into the head allowing you to tweak the club.
I game a 21 degree hybrid as a replacement for my old 3 iron. It travels a similar distance but is far more forgiving. This is the one club i turn to the most on the course and I really believe it has reduced my average score in the past few seasons. It is so versatile, I use it from the tee, fairway rough and sand. Off the deck I can hit a lower trajectory shot if needed and I feel like I can use it like a pitching wedge for some middle distance shots. I love it!
Hybrids will go further than long irons and are a must for a high handicapper or senior player. I think any golfer who wants to lower their overall score and hit the ball solid more often should put a hybrid in their bag. As always see if a hybrid is a better option than a long iron by testing these golf clubs out at a driving range. Remember, golf is meant to be a fun hobby, not a constant struggle so play the equipment which gives you the maximum amount of help you can get.