Do pros use hybrids?
Yes! Some pros use hybrids in high-level tournaments while others choose to avoid them altogether.
In this detailed write-up, we’ll discuss when and why a pro golfer may pull a hybrid from their bag. We’ll also discuss why hybrids aren’t the most popular choice amongst PGA Tour players.
Why should I care about whether or not pros use a hybrid club?
If you’re an amateur or recreational golfer, it can be helpful to know what a golf professional has in his or her bag. It’s also just fun to obsess over the equipment that talented golfers like Patrick Reed and Collin Morikawa have in their arsenal.
After all, if you can buy the same equipment as a pro, you should be able to play like a pro, right?
I’m joking — it’s a bit more complicated than that, but getting some insight into what clubs pros play is a smart way to improve your game. As you learn more about each golf club, it can improve your decision making on the course.
So back to the question at hand, do pros use hybrids?
It may come as a surprise, but yes, some pros do use hybrids in competitive play. One could even make the case that they are growing in popularity.
Many PGA Tour players prefer the long irons over a hybrid because the irons allow them to have more control over their shots (this is sometimes referred to as “workability”).
Irons allow an experienced golfer to put more spin on the ball and shape their shots from left to right or from right to left.
That being said, there are times when a 3 hybrid (or something similar) is actually a better choice than a long iron. I’ll discuss that in more detail below.
Some PGA players that have been known to use hybrids include:
- Patrick Reed
- Marr Kuchar
- Lee Westwood
- Kevin Na
- Webb Simpson
- Jordan Spieth
All in all, less than 40% of the Tour players carry a hybrid in their bag (as of 2022), but that number should continue to increase.
Callaway and Titleist are the most popular hybrid brands amongst the Top 100 PGA Tour athletes. If you’re looking for the best hybrid golf clubs, start with options from those two companies.
So when will a pro golfer use a hybrid?
It depends. Although it’s not very common for a pro to replace their 5 or 6 iron with a hybrid, you will sometimes see pro use a 3 hybrid instead of the corresponding iron.
Some pros like hybrids because they like having a good go-to-option (or “rescue club”) out of the rough on a longer hole.
Hybrid golf clubs offer a number of benefits including:
- More forgiveness than low irons or a driving iron
- Better movement through the rough
- Lower and deeper center of gravity
- Higher launch angle
If a pro finds themselves in some trouble after their tee shot, a hybrid golf club may give them to opportunity to make up some lost ground on the golf course.
Overall though, pros know how to utilize the irons in ways that a recreational golfer does not.
Professional golfers have a fast swing speed and overall consistency that allows them to hit long irons brilliantly.
Most amateurs have slower swing speeds and difficultly hitting a long iron at the correct angle, so they don’t get as much distance.
Hybrid clubs can be a huge help in bringing down a high handicap and improving ball speed.
How far can pros hit with hybrids?
How far a pro can hit a hybrid will depend on what golf club they’re using. The lower the loft, the further the ball will fly. A low lofted hybrid will fly well over 200 yards for a professional golfer.
The LPGA estimates the following:
- 3 hybrid (170-220 yards for men, 125-180 for women)
- 4 hybrid (160-210 yards for men, 120-170 for women)
- 5 hybrid (150-200 yards for men, 115-160 for women)
- 6 hybrid (140-190 yards for men, 110-150 for women)
These are just rough estimates. Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods and the like will probably exceed those numbers.
Some golfers on the LPGA and Champions Tour are more likely to use hybrids. This is likely because their swing speeds are slower (though still impressively fast).
A hybrid can help these players power through an awkward lie or reach a long par four in two shots.
Why do some pros choose not to carry hybrids?
There are a few reasons why some pros don’t carry a hybrid.
Some pros may not have room in their golf bag. There is a limit of 14 clubs for most competitions. By the time a golfer has selected all their wedges, irons, and fairway woods, there may not be any room left for hybrids.
Recommended Reading: How Many Clubs are Allowed in a Golf Bag?
Hybrids aren’t always practical. A hybrid can be difficult to use if you’re trying to work the ball. Professional golfers usually like to shape their shots to fly left to right or right to left.
These shots make it so the ball will land in a specific location on the green as opposed to just going directly at the pin.
Since a hybrid is a bit heavier (as well as being more forgiving) it’s harder to control the golf shot. Pros often need to hit certain shots high and other shots low.
An iron gives the skilled golfer more options for each shot. With an iron, they can control not only the direction of the shot but the trajectory it takes as well. These attributes make an iron more practical in more situations.
Can you use hybrids in windy conditions?
Yes! In fact, hybrids can be a great club in any weather condition.
A hybrid is particularly good in windy conditions because it’s powerful and has a penetrating ball flight.
However, as good as hybrids can be for an amateur golfer, an iron club wielded by a talented golfer is still the better option.
For one, it’s a lot easier to slightly deloft a long iron and get the ball to run up to the hole. This is harder to do with a hybrid, since it has a lower center of gravity.
The hybrid produces a higher trajectory even when you are trying to keep the ball flight down. However, with some time and practice, you can learn how to control the trajectory of your hybrid a bit more.
Is a five wood easier to hit than a hybrid?
Not exactly, but five woods and hybrids have similar strengths and weaknesses.
A five wood will sometimes have the same amount of loft as a hybrid. Five woods usually have about nineteen degrees of loft and many hybrids also have nineteen degrees of loft.
A five wood and a hybrid are both very forgiving, but they are hit different ways. A hybrid should be played similar as an iron with the ball midstance and the golfer swinging down on the ball.
A fairway wood, on the other hand, targets the golf ball with a level sweeping motion.
Some are better at hitting down and through their shots, but if you’re a sweeper, we recommend a fairway wood rather than a hybrid.
Some golfers carry both a five wood and a three hybrid that have the same lofts but serve different purposes.