Golfers are often on one side of the heated debate: irons vs. hybrids. Many believe that you don’t need to carry hybrids at all as long as you have a long iron in your possession. Others; however, think that a hybrid is incredibly beneficial for any golfer.
Let’s just put it out there – we love hybrid clubs. They’re easy to use, can work in a number of situations, and give you the best of both worlds between an iron and a wood. However, they can often be misused which gives them a bad name.
When used incorrectly, a hybrid can cause too much spin and height which can make the ball unsteady depending on the wind conditions. Your shot might be ruined by the boldness of the hybrid you’re using.
Plus, hybrids can be rather unpredictable when you don’t get the angle quite right and hit the ball offside the clubface.
However, despite this, we still believe that every golfer should be carrying at least one hybrid club for special occasions. Today we’ll be looking at what hybrids you need to keep in your golf bag so that you have everything you need to experience your best game yet.
A word of advice from a professional
PGA master professional golfer, Dennis Clarke, has released a set of guidelines that you can use to determine what you need in your golf bag depending on your handicap.
- If you’re hitting a 7-iron 140 yards or fewer, your longest iron needs to be a 6-iron. You should carry 3, 4, and 5 hybrids.
- If you’re hitting a 7-iron between 150 and 160 yards, your longest iron should be a 5-iron. Carry the 3 and 4 hybrids.
- If you’re hitting a 7-iron between 160 and 170 yards, swap your 3 iron for a hybrid instead.
- If you’re hitting a 7-iron over 170 yards, you can use whichever mix of hybrids and irons you find best for your game.
As you can see from this advice, amateur golfers should carry between two and three hybrids during their games. These should replace the 5-wood and the 3 and 4-irons.
The number of hybrids you need will depend on your clubhead speed, the distance between each club, your personal goals, how you find using each club, and your budget.
At the end of the day, most people leave it at you should use whichever clubs you feel most comfortable with on the green. But for many beginners and even some experienced golfers, this isn’t very helpful.
So, you’ll have to do some trial and error to determine how many hybrids you should be carrying to enhance your game and reduce your handicap.
Looking at your driver speed
Traditionally, golfers would carry 3 woods – a driver, 3-wood, and 5-wood – and 9 irons, which would be 3-9 irons plus a pitching and sand wedge. Other clubs carried might be an additional 1-iron, 2-iron, or a third wedge.
However, the invention of hybrids changed this and the only sure clubs in a golfer’s bag now are the driver and the putting wedge.
Hybrids have now got golfers leaving their long irons at home (2 to 4-irons), as well as the 5-wood. Some golfers have even made the leap to replace all of their irons, even the short ones, with hybrid alternatives.
The 24/38 rule
The 24/38 rule states that most golfers will lose the consistency of their shots when using an iron with less than 24 degrees of loft, but over 38 inches in length. These measurements typically relate to the 3-, 4-, and 5-iron, depending on the manufacturer.
This is why many people have started ditching these irons and replacing them with hybrids, which have been designed to specifically target this problem and make it easier for golfers to hit their targets.
Less speed isn’t as much of an issue when you’re using a hybrid club because the thicker head and altered center of gravity allow the hybrid to hit the ball further up into the air, despite a lack of speed. This will allow the ball a much better trajectory than if you were to use a long iron with the same loft.
What’s your speed?
If you don’t know your distance with your 7-iron to use Dennis Clark’s method above, you can also use your speed. Measuring your average speed is often easier than your distance and there are professionals that you can enlist to get an accurate speed on your hits.
Alternatively, you can get a driver head speed reader online to find out how many miles per hour you’re currently hitting. Take your current speed and match it to the correct reading below:
- Under 85 MPH: Consider switching every iron below a 7-iron for a hybrid.
- 85 to 90 MPH: Look for hybrids for your irons below 6-iron.
- 90 to 100 MPH: Swap your 1- to 5-irons with hybrids.
- Above 100 MPH: Take the reins and create a golf club bag that makes you the most comfortable during your games. Consider using hybrids for your long irons.
Considering your handicap
If you don’t want to use your speed to determine how many hybrids you should carry and want to use your handicap instead, you should first know that this is a less effective way of determining how many hybrids you need.
Using the speed of your driver clubhead or the distance of your 7-iron will be much more accurate, which is why we advise you to use these methods rather than hoping for the best that your handicap is an accurate measure.
Overall, golfers will all find their own personal favorite mix of irons, woods, and hybrids. However, it’s undeniable that the presence of at least 2 hybrids in your golf bag will enhance your game, especially if you’re an amateur golfer.
The best way to determine how many hybrids you need is to either use your distance with a 7-iron or your driver’s speed. Use these statistics and plot them against the advice of professional golfers that we have listed above to get a good idea of how many hybrids you should carry.