Since the introduction of hybrids, long irons have slowly been disappearing from sets. The benefits hybrids offer over long irons have led to this increase in popularity. However, long irons still have their place in many bags. In this Tip Of The Week, I’ll help you answer the question of hybrid vs iron, which is best for your game.
Hybrid vs Iron
Technology in hybrids has improved vastly since their earliest forms. They have new design aspects, such as hollow construction, an improved center of gravity, and wide soles. These latest features make them generally much easier to hit than a long iron. Who doesn’t want a club that’s easier to hit in their bag?!
Hybrids also incorporate roll and bulge on the clubface, which is what makes the clubface curved. A curved clubface design causes a shot not hit in the sweet spot to curve back toward the intended line of the shot. One reason golfers struggle with long irons is because they tend to swing hard to get the distance. Overswinging is corrected by the forgiveness of roll and bulge on the face. Therefore, you can take your normal swing and still get the distance you are looking for.
The larger clubhead on a hybrid also instills confidence at address. Long irons tend to be small and unforgiving. As you step up to the ball with a hybrid, you know you can hit the shot you want.
With all of that in mind, the big question is, “Why would anyone not use a hybrid?” As one of those few people out there who still carry a 2 iron, here are my reasons for sticking with the long irons as opposed to using a hybrid.
Confidence in hitting a long iron
When hybrids were first introduced, they were primarily geared toward higher handicap golfers. They featured a certain amount of offset in order to help eliminate the dreaded “s” word (the miss right, for a right-handed golfer). I tried some of these early versions and would almost always hit a hard hook due to the offset. With golf being such a mental game, that idea got into my head. Even now, when hitting the hybrids without the offset, I still feel I will hook the ball.
All that is to say that golfers who still use long irons do so because they like to. They don’t need the benefits that a hybrid gives and they have the confidence to hit them.
Another reason to stay with long irons is the ability to keep the ball lower and shape shots. For players who make solid contact or easily get the ball up in the air, the workability of long irons can outweigh the forgiveness of hybrids. I do wonder, though, if it is only a matter of time before long irons become extinct in golf, like persimmon woods before them. Technology advances and the more iron-like look of hybrids would suggest that.
To answer the question of hybrid vs iron; if you still carry a long iron but use it more to hack shots out of the trees than the fairway, give a hybrid a shot. I think you may be surprised at how easy they can be to use.