Why use either? Well, for many players, especially beginners, the long irons, say 1 to 4, are difficult to use, due to the small club faces, low loft and low trajectory. The solution was to use a 3 or 5 wood. Woods have been around forever but not so hybrids.
A hybrid is a type of club with a design borrowed from both irons and woods. Whilst unlike either, the idea is that it has the desirable characteristics of both.
A fairway wood was always unsuitable in certain situations, for example, in a tight lie with no room to swing or getting your ball out of the rough. The fairway wood clubface is designed to slide over the ground, not dig into the turf.
So, the question is, is it a fairway wood or hybrid for beginner and high handicappers? Let’s find out!
Hybrids came on the scene around the turn of the century. Cobra produced the “Baffler” utility metal in 1998 which has a patented sole designed to help players hit the ball from difficult lies.
TaylorMade “Rescue” clubs made their debut in 2003 which are credited with creating the mass appeal of these clubs.
The hybrid clubhead is not as deep as a traditional wood but provides a larger sweet spot due to a lower and deeper center of gravity. It produces a higher ball trajectory than a long iron, resulting in less roll. The shaft is usually shorter than a fairway wood and slightly longer than a long iron.
The hybrid’s popularity led to amateur golfers actually leaving the long irons out of their bag, and even some tour players started to include a couple of hybrids into their bag.
When To Use a Fairway Wood
With a fairway, you sweep the ball away, with a solid stance and a big wide swing.
Generally you would choose a fairway wood when:
There aren’t many hazards around the green
You are playing into the wind
Your lie is good, usually on the fairway
You are not in a tight lie
When To Use a Hybrid
With a hybrid, you hit down on the ball with a shorter, steeper swing, like using an iron, and create a divot.
Choose a hybrid when:
You are playing from the rough or a bunker
You are playing downwind
You want higher trajectory and a soft landing
You have to hit over a hazard
Check out the video below for tips on how to strike your woods and hybrids pure!
A Closer Look At Fairway Woods
Fairway woods serve as a great alternative off the tee for players who aren’t confident with their drivers. They are similar in loft to irons, but golfers usually get greater distance due to a larger clubhead and a more powerful swing. Fairway woods are most often used on the fairway obviously. When choosing a fairway wood, it really depends on what you are going to use it for. A versatile club will perform well off the tee and on the fairway – forgiveness should be an important factor.
Distance is another major issue for most golfers and therefore loft is an important factor. Most 3-woods on the current market can be adjusted to your desired loft. Lower loft gives you more distance. You will generally get more distance and roll with a fairway wood compared to a hybrid.
The F6 Fairway is a medium shaped fairway wood designed for all swing types. It combines loft adjustments with front and back CG (center of gravity) settings. The result is forgiveness with distance through optimum spin and higher ball speeds.
The King F6 is our first fairway wood that offers front and back CG setting adjustments. The front CG position delivers a penetrating ball flight with more roll, while a back CG position offers a higher, more towering ball flight with greater forgiveness. Dial in your distance with the King F6 Fairway Wood.
Speed Channel is an exclusive Cobra innovation. An engineered channel around the perimeter of the face minimizes thickness and increases ball speeds across the face for greater distance.
King F6 Fairways come with eight easily adjustable loft settings that help manage trajectory and fine tune launch conditions to maximize distance on any course, and with any swing.
Adjustable, Front to Back CG technology
Eight easily adjustable loft settings
Speed Channel, an engineered trench around the face increases ball speeds across the face
Designed for all swing types
An exciting new club, great feel off the tee. Customers love it.
A Closer Look At Hybrids
Matching the correct hybrid to your game can reduce the number of shots you take per round, but there are many factors to consider.
A hybrid, utility or rescue club is often more beneficial to use than a long iron due to the extra forgiveness and power-packed clubhead. They provide a great option on long par 3s, hitting shots out of tight lies or rough or when you want a higher trajectory and soft landing.
There are a few adjustments that you need to make to get the best out of a hybrid.
The first involves the grip. Playing out of the rough, it is vital that the face doesn’t move left or right as it passed through the grass. Grip the hybrid firmly in your fingers.
Next, play the ball in the center of your stance, unlike the ball position for a fairway wood. When hitting a hybrid, the downswing has a steeper angle.
Finally, don’t sway away from the ball during the backswing, turn on a fixed axis. At the end of the downswing, accelerate through the rough, keeping that firm grip.
The TaylorMade Aeroburner hybrid is built for distance and is well suited to high handicappers. It will advance the ball a long way down the fairway. This hybrid has a raised stripe in the center of the crown and a long alignment aid. It has a lightweight shaft but the head feels heavy. Its aerodynamic design, improved Speed Pocket and shallow face all improve the quest for distance. Golf courses aren’t getting any shorter, so this club may be a great help.
Advanced aerodynamic shape promotes faster club speed and greater distance
Raised center crown keeps airflow attached longer and reduces drag
Thin face and speed pocket combine for larger sweet spot
Above average distance, good feel at impact. Very impressive club.
Everything considered, we suggest that the hybrid is easier for beginners to improve their game and scoring. Sadly, beginners will get into more tight spots than the pros, so having a couple of hybrids with different lofts in the bag, means that they will get a lot of use.
More experienced golfers will tend to land their drive on the fairway and therefore the natural selection for the second shot will be a fairway wood or medium iron to sweep the ball towards the green.
The hybrid shaft is shorter than the fairway wood shaft, providing more feel and more control.
As a high handicapper, you’ll be able to hit more par 3s from the tee, and you’ll be able to hit longer approaches and land them softly on the green.
I'm Rob. I'm an avid golf enthusiast and golf tutor with over 40 years experience playing this beautiful but frustrating game. I'm here to offer advice (if you want it) and share my passion with golfers from around the world.