Hybrid golf clubs were introduced into the game in the late 1990s. They are without doubt a major step forward in golf club design. They help golfers who have difficulty finding success with the long 3 and 4-irons – the average golfer has always found these irons difficult to use.
Hybrids are easier to hit in the center of the clubface. The ball flies higher and lands softer than with your long irons, which helps place and control those important lengthy approach shots. They also are versatile, and can be hit from the rough, from bad lies.
Woods’ club heads were originally made of wood, hence the name. Woods resemble a driver in terms of club head shape, head size, and loft and distance characteristics. Woods are designed for hitting off of short grass.
Irons’ club heads are usually made of metal. Irons are distinct in appearance from woods and drivers, having small, angled faces, usually scored with grooves. Irons are designed for hitting off of short or tall grass, and generally produce greater loft but less distance than woods.
Hybrids are a combination (“hybrid”) of woods and irons
You can tell just by looking at a hybrid. Its club head is larger than an iron but smaller than a wood, and its shaft is longer than a wood but shorter than an iron.
Hybrid clubs combine the best swing and performance characteristics of woods and irons:
Hybrids produce greater distances than long irons
Hybrids are easier to hit than long irons
Hybrids yield similar loft to irons
Hybrids can be hit from more surfaces (long or short grass) than woods without much loss of distance.
In other words, hybrids are a fantastic club to use if you’re stuck in a difficult location or at a difficult distance
This is why hybrids are sometimes called “rescues” or “rescue clubs” by golfers and golf equipment manufacturers.
Hybrid and Long Iron Distance Comparison Table
Even though generally a 3-hybrid replaces a 3-iron, an average golfer will probably hit the ball a bit further distance using the hybrid, typically 10 yards further. Why? For several reasons. The average golfer finds it easier to hit the ball with a hybrid rather than a long iron. The average golfer will most likely make better contact using the hybrid. So, our average golfer will be more confident of success using a hybrid.
Here is a hybrid golf clubs distance comparison chart.
You can see from this chart that a hybrid will give you roughly 10 more yards distance. But how and why?
It is true to say, the lower the loft, the more difficult it is to hit the ball properly. But, hybrids and irons have roughly the same loft. So, why are hybrids easier to hit and why do they achieve more distance?
It’s in the clubhead design and trajectory.
The depth of the hybrid clubhead, from clubface to the back of the club, is clearly much more than a typical long iron and, in fact, resembles a mini-wood.
Visual Comparison of Club Head Depth: Iron Club vs. Hybrid Club vs. Wood Club
This design allows the center of gravity to be positioned much further back from the face than in a long iron. This results in a higher ball trajectory for the hybrid club compared to a long iron with the same loft. Hybrid shots will fly higher, land softer and stop quicker – good news if you’re aiming at an elevated green! Also, with hybrid clubs, the average golfer is less likely to mishit the ball.
Hybrids are easier to swing!
It is also worth noting that long irons require the golfer to strike the ball with a downward motion, compressing the ball. Whereas, the natural tendency when using a hybrid is to sweep the ball off the turf, much as you would with your driver. This swing action is likely to have much more success for the average golfer. Remember though that when using a hybrid, the ball position should be more in the center of your stance.
Here’s a useful video from Rick Shiels on the difference in swing between each style of club.
If you are confident hitting a 4-iron from the fairway with great success, then well done, you are lucky to have developed the difficult skill to achieve this shot. For the rest of us mere mortals, using a hybrid will be the answer.
Best Hybrid Clubs (2021)
You know what a hybrid is and understand the distance differences between long irons and hybrids. It’s time upgrade your clubs and upgrade your game. But what are the best hybrids? We’ve identified and reviewed the top 3 hybrids.
Don’t have time to read our reviews? Here are the top 3:
The TaylorMade SIM Max hybrid is designed to take your shot making to the next level. This latest model unveils an advanced face curvature with a corrective face angle for off-center hits, side spin reduction, and improved accuracy. The V Steel™ sole enables precise and consistent grass contact allowing you to hit out of just about any lie. The speed pocket sitting just behind the club face creates a huge sweet spot, driving faster ball speeds while also reducing spin.
TaylorMade remains the best manufacturer of irons and their dominance now extends to hybrids too.
ADVANCED MATERIALS: C300 Ultra-Strong Steel Face and V Steel™ sole design deliver high performance
TWIST FACE: Get consistent spin even from common mishit locations on the club face
THRU-SLOT SPEED POCKET: Higher sole flexibility means greater ball speeds even on mis-hits on the low face of the club.
The Wilson D9 Hybrids are designed to forgive mishits and increase shot distance, so they’re perfect for beginning to average golfers. The D9 Hybrids are engineered from the ground up to add distance by improving your club head and ball speed.
VARIABLE FACE TECHNOLOGY: Milled from top shelf steel, these clubs nearly guarantee high ball speeds and high launch angles
WILSON LABS + ADVISORY STAFF: The Geeks and the Players designed these clubs together
PROGRESSIVE HEAD SHAPE: Weighted to sit square at address and give you easy-launching confidence anywhere on the golf course.
Purpose designed for beginners and high handicappers
6 loft configurations and 3 shaft flex options give you a ton of choices
Far easier to hit than long irons and woods
High price for a club targeting less experienced or lower skill golfers
The Tour Edge Bazooka Platinum hybrid is a great bargain while also still delivering many of the benefits you’d expect from a hybrid. This club has been around since 2012 and has proven its worth, but its also a pretty low risk purchase that won’t break the bank. Designed to be highly forgiving, this is a great club for anyone, but highly experienced golfers won’t see big performance improvements.
TUNGSTEN SOLE WEIGHTS: Plenty of forgiveness for off-center hits
OVERSIZED HYPER-STEEL HEAD: Low CG for high launching shots
Easier to hit than an iron
Attractive sound and feel for on-center hits
May not produce big distance gains over irons
Lower quality grip (this is a budget club!)
From my experience, hybrids provide more consistency, more distance, better accuracy and give you more confidence when attempting those long shots towards the green. If you haven’t already done so, try a hybrid next time you play.
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.