Hybrid vs Iron: The Differences Between Clubs for All Golfers

Hybrid and iron golf clubs have their pros and cons. But choosing one or the other may be daunting for you if you’re not a pro golfer. Even if you decide to go for one, let’s say the hybrid, you still need to learn the different club types, brands, designs, features, and specifications available.

Our professional golf expert at TellMeMoreGolf will compare 5 iron, 7 iron, and their hybrid club counterparts and how many hybrids you should carry in your bag. You’ll also find answers to pertinent questions like hybrid vs iron that’ll help you make an informed decision when choosing between an iron and hybrid club. 

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Table of Contents

7 Hybrid vs 7 Iron: What's the Difference?

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If you’re after game improvement, I’m sure you’ll be very particular about the club you put in your bag. Both 7 hybrid and iron offer some form of improvement but you need to understand which one is the most suitable for you. 

The main difference between hybrids and irons is that 7 hybrid clubs are much bigger with a wider sole, compared to their 7 iron counterpart. This results in a bigger sweet spot which is important for consistent ball striking, straighter shots, and distance. That also means a 7 hybrid is more tolerant to play than a 7 iron. Additionally, hybrids are higher lofted and have a higher launch angle, which means superior carry distance.

Senior golfers who are struggling to elevate the ball will find the 7 hybrids a better option than 7 irons to add to their bags. A 7 iron, on the other hand, can deliver extra roll but launches slightly lower than a 7 hybrid, so it’s geared more towards better players with its shot-shaping capabilities and accuracy. 

Take the Mizuno JPX Fli-Hi Hybrid, for example. It has plenty of shaft options you can choose from. This club makes for great gapping because it only goes slightly more than their iron counterparts. And since the shaft is shorter, shots can be very straight. Depending on where you’re buying, you can get custom shafts on your 7 hybrids to fit your swing too.  

If you have slower swing speeds, you should go for a 7 hybrid because of its greater forgiveness and the extra yardage. You’ll get straighter shots and be more comfortable (and therefore confident) playing a hybrid than a 7 iron. If you’re an advanced player, a 7 iron might be more befitting as it helps you shape your shot and allows you to launch lower.

5 Hybrid vs 5 Iron Golf Clubs: Which One is Better?

If you’re still playing your 5 iron, you might be wondering what logic is behind dropping it from your bag in favor of the 5 hybrid. Would changing to a hybrid be game-changing for you or everything about them is just hype? Let’s find out: 

Historically, hybrid clubs have always used the same numbering system as irons. Although, there is no standard rule that equates hybrids to irons. In theory, you should be able to swap your 5 hybrid club for your 5 iron since it’ll generally hit the same distance. Moreover, the forgiveness offered by hybrid clubs is far better, which explains why they’re so popular now. 

A 5 hybrid head is bulkier than the longer conventional iron, which has allowed manufacturers to shift the center of gravity further back from the face of the hybrid club. This lower center of gravity results in a higher trajectory for a shot of a hybrid. What this means for you is that you’ll be able to hit the ball higher on your 5 hybrid than your 5 iron with the same loft. So if you’re thinking about choosing between 5 hybrid and 5 iron, go for the hybrid. It’ll give you better trajectory control, carry distance, and consistent hit. Or simply, if you don’t have the confidence to hit your 5 iron, you should consider swapping it for a 5 hybrid. Senior golfers will find the 5 hybrids fun and easier to hit, with mishits being less common and less punishing.

Typically, a 5 hybrid club will have a 5- to 10-yard increase over a 5 iron, granted a few degrees weaker loft. It’s also going to be a lot easier to hit. But remember, the conditions you’re playing in might affect performance. For example, playing in a windy condition can affect your tee shots and putt on both irons and hybrids, thus skewing the final results. 

You may be wondering why we keep mentioning swapping your hybrid for irons. Well, the benefits of replacing your 5 iron with the equivalent hybrid far outweigh that of keeping it.

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23 Degree Hybrid Golf Club vs Iron: How to Choose One

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The equivalent of a hybrid with a 23 degree loft is a 4 iron. A 23 degree hybrid club is 10 yards longer than the 4 iron. If you intend to replace your iron, you can build the hybrid to its spec (same loft, length, and shaft) to achieve a similar distance. All you need to do is just ensure the appropriate distance gap is covered when changing from the iron to hybrid. Maybe you have to hit both.

Moreover, the graphite shaft on a hybrid club is lighter and longer than that of its iron counterpart. When hit with the same swing, a 23 degree hybrid with these specs will go further. If you have a slow or moderate swing speed, the hybrid will benefit your game and you’ll start to see an increase in carry (and maybe roll) on the hybrid. You’ll also be able to play it from a different lie or launch angle.

If you play both clubs, you may likely hit the iron straighter (with closer proximity to the hole) but the hybrid will gain you a few yards above the iron. Expect the hybrid to be more forgiving than the iron and less likely to lose distance when you play. However, because it is longer, you may need to choke it up to keep the distance where your iron would be.

Ultimately when deciding, you should settle with the club that helps you gain distance, improve your shot accuracy, and is more consistent in getting that sweet spot contact.

How Many Hybrids Should I Carry?

It’s hard to quantify, but let’s look at what other golfers are doing. Most PGA tour players will have at least one hybrid in their golf bag. A huge number of amateur golfers have followed suit and now have one or more in their bags. Many others, even iron addicts, continue to convert to hybrids.

his popularity of hybrids has to do with the fact that they’re easier and more comfortable to hit than conventional irons. Many hybrid club designers have now adopted a similar iron numbering system for their hybrids to make switching to hybrids easier. Take out your 5 iron, put in a new 5 hybrid. 

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. You can get yourself a 5 hybrid first and test it. See how it does with your current swing. On another note, if you’re struggling with your 2, 3, 4, or 5 irons, you can try corresponding hybrids and if good, replace them with hybrids.

Go with as many as you can afford, there is no limit to how many you can have in your bag. If they keep your confidence level higher on the golf course, why not? Finally, we say 3 hybrids in your bag are good enough (we looked at what many others have in their bags on average).

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Why can I hit irons but not hybrids?

You should be hitting your hybrids better than your irons. If not, it maybe because of the way you’re swinging your hybrid clubs. Hybrids are designed to be easier and comfortable for players, and with more forgiveness than iron. So, if you’re hitting your irons but not your hybrids, there are a few reasons for that.

One of the major culprits is when you don’t play your hybrid like you play your iron. You need to swing your hybrid as you would your iron. Most golfers don’t usually have problems with iron/hybrid but their driver. 

If you take a sweeping stance, keeping the ball too far forward, you might be making a poor impact. When hitting your hybrid, make sure you’re hitting down on them, not sweeping the ball.

Additionally, your ball setup may be causing the problems. If you’re snapping your wrist or experiencing “nasty hooks” as golfers call them, then you need to adjust your ball position. Also, keep your takeaway low and slow and make a ball impact while playing the hybrid back in your stance.

Who makes a 7 hybrid golf club?

There are plenty of manufacturers that design 7 hybrid golf clubs. The likes of Callaway, Taylormade, Ping, Tour Edge, Cleveland, Cobra, Thomas Golf, Adams Golf, and many more. The most popular club in this genre is the Callaway Big Bertha 7 Hybrid Club. They may not be as popular as your regular 5 hybrids, but they are certainly out there if you know where to look.

Is hybrid better than iron?

The short answer: yes. The long answer: it depends. You shouldn’t conclude a hybrid is better than an iron until you consider (or test) the features as well as your need. Fortunately, that’s easy. Looking at the design of the hybrid, compared to iron, we can say that it’s better. But again, your mileage may vary. Here are some of the benefits a hybrid profers that may be absent with an iron:

  • More distance. Hybrids offer a higher trajectory than their iron counterparts, and as a result, more distance. Thanks to manufacturers distancing the CG from the clubface. So, your 5 hybrid is going to cover more distance than your 5 iron when you’re hitting the golf ball.
  • Longer and more forgiving. Hybrids come with increased MOI (moment of inertia) and a larger shaped head, which makes them more stable at impact, translating to more forgiveness off-center hits. A higher MOI also means your club is resistant to twisting, providing you straighter shots and better ball speed. Though they’re less accurate than irons, it’s a fact that your skill plays a part in determining your accuracy as a golfer. So, if you want distance gains, without compromising forgiveness, you want to go with the hybrid, over the iron counterpart.
  • More tolerant. Most high-handicappers don’t have the skills required to use irons effectively. So, if you’re a handicap golfer, your best choice is the hybrid. Although all golfers have different skills and unique swings, handicapped golfers will find hybrid more comfortable and easily accommodate their handicap.
  • Trajectory. This may not be as important as the others, but if you’re an average golfer, you may be looking for a better trajectory. And that’s what hybrid clubs offer you. They have larger club heads and lower/deeper CG than irons, which translates to improved ball trajectory.

Why use a hybrid instead of an iron golf club?

There are plenty of reasons you may want to use a hybrid instead of an iron. Remember that the hybrid is here to serve you the pros of the iron… they are easy to use, have decent angle and sweet spot, have excellent forgiveness, and offer more distance. Having said that, let’s look at some of the reasons you should be using a hybrid instead of an iron:

  • If you’re a high handicapper, you won’t be able to hit long irons as effectively as you would a hybrid. This is because you don’t have the ball speed or clubhead speed to hit an iron for a good spin, high ball flight, and soft landing on greens. All of these are easy to achieve with a hybrid, which is essential for an average golfer.
  • If you’re getting a lot of thin shots or are missing right, you need a hybrid. And the reason is that you’re swinging your iron too steeply into the ball. On the downswing, you glide past the ball while forcing your iron down to make an impact. The result is a swing that goes far behind the ball, hitting the ball too thin. You can solve this with an iron but that comes with plenty of practice. Hybrids, on the other hand, are higher lofted and forgiving, allowing you to hit down at your ball and get all that confidence-inspiring ball speed. 
  • Senior golfers will see their ball speed continuously drop as their clubhead speed drops over the years. The less ball speed you can achieve, the flatter your ball will launch and the more difficult it is to stop on the greens. When you swap out your longer irons for hybrids, you’ll be able to hit the ball farther, consistently, and comfortably.
  • If you can’t hit solid shots with your irons, it may be time to switch to hybrids. Hybrids often have bulkier faces, wider soles, and a lower back CG, which helps with vertical gear that’ll increase your spin on shots. Because hybrids are highly playable and more versatile, they’re easier to hit and give you better control and impact.

What is the difference between a hybrid and iron?

It’s a known fact that most golfers will either play a hybrid or iron on the field. There are technical and non-technical differences between a hybrid and an iron. Consider the important ones:

  • Hybrid is marketed as being more forgiving, longer, easier to hit consistently, and with a better chance of hitting the ball higher in the air. Iron clubs, on the other hand, are touted as being more accurate, shot shaping, offering far more control on the greens.
  • Another cogent difference is in the clubhead design and shot height of both clubs. It’s a fact that the higher the loft on a club, the easier it is to hit the ball high. If that’s the case, and both hybrid and irons have the same loft, why then is the hybrid easier to hit? Well, it’s because to maintain their fairway wood-like profile, the center of gravity in hybrids are pushed down and lower in the clubhead, making way for an extra spin and higher launch. This is useful for players with slow swings and ideal for hitting shots from the rough. On the other hand, club designers have created the hollow-body design and high-toe shape in irons, making them the better choice for players with faster swing speeds.
  • Another difference is that traditional long irons require a golfer to have a high swing speed to be able to get the ball higher in the air and score a long distance. In the case of a hybrid, it’s more forgiving and allows slow swing golfers to at least get their desired ball flight and distance. That’s to say that hybrids are much more beginner-friendly than a typical long iron. Modern irons are continuously being designed with forgiveness and distance in mind. So, we may start to see irons that will compete at this level with hybrids.
  • Another difference is that with hybrids, you’re hitting the ball with a descending shot, while you’ll have to make a sweeping or ascending shot with a traditional long iron.
  • There is also a difference in how you can hit both clubs. With a long iron, you’re going to need a clean strike with a good amount of speed and a downward swoop. If you’re an amateur, you’ll need quite a bit of practice before you can consistently score solid shots with your iron. With hybrid, you don’t need all that hard work. You can make good contacts easier, have higher shots, and more distance. The small margin of error and the extra forgiveness will keep your confidence level high. As a sort of benefit, you can either sweep the ball off the ground or down on it, with a small divot, giving you the power of an iron-like or fairwood-like shot anytime you want it.
  • Again, if you’re looking for a better penetrating trajectory or greater workability, a long iron may be most suitable for you. However, if you’re looking for consistent face contact or help with higher ball flights, you might do better with a hybrid club.

Is 5 hybrid the same as 5 iron?

No, there are significant differences between them. Even just looking at the two, it’ll be obvious they are not the same thing. But we need to look beyond just the clubface. 

5 irons are typically the longest in a golf set and often hit further in a modern set. They hit the ball farther than your older sets of irons and manufacturers now engineer them to be easier to hit. 5 hybrid, on the other hand, fall in between a 5 iron and wood. They have a few iron traits and a few wood traits. They’re designed to help golfers at all levels to hit the ball better, higher, easier, and more consistently.

These clubs are performance enhancers, they help tour pros and beginner golfers easily hit the ball better, higher, and more consistently than when playing with an iron. Yes, they aren’t designed for only amateur/beginner players. Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, and Webb Simpson (all of them PGA players) have all used hybrids.

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