If you want to shoot lower scores on the golf course you need a hybrid club (or multiple hybrids). These clubs are great for the average golfer who doesn’t have the swing speed (or consistency) to hit long irons.
Even professional golfers in the world prefer to hit a golf ball with a hybrid vs. a long iron. Hybrids make it easier to increase club head speed, launch it higher, and hopefully hit more greens in regulation. They also make approach shots easier with more distance, easier to get the ball higher, and still land softly.
But how many hybrids should you carry? We’ll help you answer that today so you can buy a hybrid club with confidence.
What Hybrids Should I Carry
Amateur golfers should carry hybrids thanks to their average swing speed.
This one club (or two clubs) can improve ball speed, help launch it higher than long irons, and ultimately make playing golf easier. However, finding the right club to go the same distance is a balancing act.
- Hybrids are a great alternative for hard to hit long irons as they are easier to hit and higher launching.
- They’re great for tee shots, from the fairway, and the rough as they’re much more forgiving than irons.
- Since the design of these clubs are different it’s recommended to not swap a 3-iron for a 3-hybrid (more on that later).
- Carrying more than one hybrid might help your game but it depends on several factors which we’ll cover today.
Keep reading to learn more about hybrids and how they can help your game fast.
What is a Hybrid Club?
First off, you might be thinking… What is a hybrid club anyway? This club is a newer design that has made the game significantly easier for the everyday golfer.
A hybrid golf club is part iron, part fairway wood. It has the length of an iron but a much bigger clubhead… however it’s still a lot smaller than a wood.
Hybrids, also known as rescue clubs, are a replacement for hard to hit long irons (typically 2, 3, 4, and 5 irons). These clubs have become so popular that some iron sets are known as “hybrid-irons” thanks to their larger design. And some combo sets replace the long irons entirely and use hybrids instead.
Simply put, these clubs make golf easier. A hybrid is easier to launch higher, hit off almost any lie (fairway, tee, rough, and even fairway bunkers), and are much more forgiving than irons.
But how many hybrids should you have in the bag? We’ll answer that question and everything else you need to know to complete your golf bag setup.
Hybrid Loft and Club Design
If you’re like most everyday golfers you might think you can just swap your 3-iron for a 3 hybrid. Or your 4-iron for a 4 hybrid… but unfortunately, it’s not that simple. While you can make this replacement, it’ll likely lead to a big gap in your longer clubs.
Here’s why… hybrids travel longer distances than long irons, even if they’re the same loft. This happens for a few reasons.
First, hybrid shafts tend to be longer (½ to an inch) longer than their iron counterparts. Plus, the shafts are often graphite and higher launching vs. steel shafts in irons. Since graphite is lighter, they tend to travel longer and also launch higher on long shots.
Second, hybrids have a much larger clubhead than an iron (even cavity back irons). More mass behind the golf balls means more clubhead speed and longer distances.
This is why you shouldn’t just swap a long iron with its hybrid counterpart. Learn more about 5W vs. 3H here.
How to Pick the Right Hybrids
Instead, you first want to identify which long irons you want to replace. For example, let’s say you have a 4-GW SW, and LW as your iron set. But the 4-iron is giving you grief so you want to replace it.
Start by first figuring out the loft of your 4-iron by checking the specifications on the website (as most aren’t listed on the iron like wedges). The Titleist T200 (a great club for mid-handicappers) has a 4-iron of 22 degrees loft and 38.5 inches long while the 5-iron is 25 degrees.
If you want to buy the Titleist TSR3 hybrids, you have to decide between 19, 21, and 24 degrees (2H, 3H, and 4H). For this example the 19 degrees is too little of loft and is closer to a 5 or 7-wood.
Instead, you’d want to opt for the 21 or 24 degree hybrid. The 21-degree might work but if you want to replace the distance of your current 4-iron, it’ll likely be too long. Since the club is the same loft but a more forgiving head… not to mention it’s 40 inches long (1.5 inches longer than your current 4-iron).
This is why the 24 degree might be a better option. Despite being only one degree stronger than the 5-iron, it’ll still go much further thanks to the design. Plus it’s 39.5 inches, a full inch longer than your current 4-iron and likely the better replacement.
But it also depends on the next longest club in your bag – whether it’s a fairway metal, other hybrid, or driving iron. The good news is that the TSR hybrids have adjustable loft sleeves so you can fine tune it to fit with the other clubs in your bag. This is why it’s important to do a little research and get the specifications right so you have equal distance gaps between your longer clubs.
How do I choose a hybrid?
Choosing a hybrid is a very important decision to help your long game. Think about these three things when choosing a hybrid:
Most brands offer 1–3 hybrids in their lineup. For example, Titleist has the TSR1, TSR2, and TSR3. Each hybrid is made for a certain type of player and has different clubhead profiles.
The TSR1 is the biggest model which is more like a wood than a hybrid. It’s built for maximum forgiveness and comes with a lightweight shaft that makes it easier to launch higher.
While the TSR2 is smaller and more “workable” and has a traditional hybrid design. The TSR3 is even smaller and less forgiving, making it a great fit for more skilled golfers who make solid contact consistently.
Make sure to get the right model for your skill level. The more forgiving, the less “workable” it is and why most golfers will benefit from a mid-model like the TSR2.
The second thing to consider is loft. As detailed in the example above, it’s important to find a loft that will help you with the right distance. Replacing a 4-iron with a 4H might not be the right choice.
Also, don’t forget that a lot of hybrids are adjustable which makes it easier to tweak the club to fit your distance needs.
The final thing to consider is the shaft which plays a big role in launch, distance, and spin rates. Most hybrids have 1–2 shafts to choose from so make sure to check the launch characteristics to see which one will benefit you the most.
How Many Hybrids to Carry
As you can tell there isn’t a “right” answer but instead depends on your current setup and skill level. Beginners and intermediate golfers will benefit from more hybrids (2 or 3) while more skilled golfers might only need one.
A lot of single digit players prefer a hybrid and/or a driving iron too. For example, here’s my setup:
- Driver (10 degrees) and 3 wood (15 degrees).
- 2-Hybrid (18 degrees), driving iron (22 degrees), next longest iron 25 degrees.
I like to have a mix of fairway woods, hybrids, and driving irons to hit all types of shots from different distances and different trajectories. But there isn’t a one size fits all approach, it’s about figuring out which distance you need a hybrid for and reverse engineering the process.
FAQs About Hybrids
Do you have more questions about hybrid golf clubs? If so, keep reading through the most frequently asked questions and answers now.
Do I need to carry a 3 and 4 hybrid?
You might – a 3 and 4 hybrid is a great choice for mid to high handicap players who want to replace long irons.
Do I need a 2 and 3 hybrid?
Most golfers don’t need a 2 and 3 hybrid but a good setup for more skilled golfers. A 2 hybrid is typically a 5-wood replacement so you might use a 2/3H or a 5-wood and 3-hybrid. It’s important to check the lofts, length, and more before swapping clubs.
Is it better to have a 3 or a 5 hybrid?
Both can be helpful additions to your golf bag but it depends on the type of hybrid, the skill level of a player, and more. Test out different clubs at a golf store to see what works best for your game.
Do I need a 5-wood if I have a hybrid?
Yes and no – it ultimately depends on your hybrid loft. For example, some golfers might love their 5-wood and then have a 4 or 5H as their next longest club. But if you have a 5-wood and a 2H it wouldn’t make much sense as they’re very similar in terms of length, lie, and distance.
How do I hit a hybrid?
A hybrid is part iron, part fairway wood so it’s a little trick on figuring out how to swing it sometimes. Do you play it like a fairway wood? Or like an iron?
You want to play a hybrid like an iron more so than a fairway wood as the clubs are more comparable in length to irons. With fairway woods you want to barely take a divot and clip the grass instead. But with irons and hybrids you want more of a descending blow.
This happens from the right ball position more so than anything else. Play it more like a long iron (in terms of ball position, stance, posture, etc. to hit it correctly. For more details make sure to read “How to Hit a Hybrid” now.
Hybrids make the game easier and couldn’t recommend them more for 99% of golfers. Unless you’re a wildly consistent iron player, I’d say you can benefit from carrying at least one hybrid in your arsenal.
A hybrid is so much easier to hit from long distances which is needed on tough par 4s and reachable par 5s. Don’t try to hit long irons (especially ones that match your set compared to driving irons) as they’re difficult to hit consistently. Remember, even PGA Tour players carry a mix of hybrids and driving irons instead of longer irons in their sets.
When I was a 5-7 handicap I carried two hybrids – one was 19 and the other was 23 degrees. But as I evolved in my career and became a scratch golfer I started playing one hybrid (18 or 19 degrees) and one driving iron. I’ve found that having a mix of fairway woods, hybrids, and possibly one driving iron gave me the most flexibility in my game.
This is why I suggest testing out different types of hybrids and seeing what works best for you. These clubs can help inspire confidence on tough shots and make a huge difference in your scores. Plus, you can even putt with a hybrid too from the fringe.
Final Thoughts on Hybrids
As you can tell it’s not as simple as swapping out a 3H for a 3-iron (or any other direct replacement). Instead, it’s about figuring out which club will fill the gap properly in your set and fit with the rest of your clubs.
In general, you’ll want one less hybrid to replace a long iron (if you’re looking for similar distances but a more forgoing club and one that launches higher). This means replacing a 3-iron with a 4H or a 4-iron with a 5H.
Don’t forget a hybrid rescue club can help with improved ball flight, better carry distance, and better mishits. For more consistent contact in your long game, check out the best hybrid clubs here.
How many hybrids do you carry in your bag?
Let us know in the comments below.