How Replacing Long Irons with Hybrids Can Benefit Your Game

December 5, 2022
3 min

Amateur golfers often turn to the professionals on the PGA Tour when looking for some frame of reference on how to do things correctly when playing the game. While I also subscribe to this thought pattern, I would caution the vast majority of amateurs in fully trying to adopt all the things that makes a Tour professional great and somehow make it work into your own game. There are certain things that Tour professionals do that most of us can’t. Actually, scratch that. There are MANY things that Tour professionals do that most of us can’t. Let’s dig into this a little bit more.

Copy away when looking at aspects of a Tour professionals swing. Copy away in trying to mimic their short game and putting technique and approach to playing those shots. The professionals of the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, and DP World Tour can absolutely be your prototypes for doing things correctly in all of these areas.  

Where I stop you in trying to mimic them is in the equipment area. When a Tour pro plays a 4 iron, 3 iron or even carries a 2 iron, resist that urge! I beg of you, please resist that urge. Long irons have become more and more obsolete in the amateur game for a reason. That reason is simple. These clubs are hard to hit. The advent of the Hybrid is largely said to have come in 1998, when Cobra Golf launched their “Baffler” utility metal. This club was more or less a spin-off of their Baffler utility wood whose design dated back to the late 1970’s. The club offered a patented sole-design engineered to help players hit the ball from difficult lies.

How Replacing Long Irons with Hybrids Can Benefit Your Game

It is pretty simple. Hybrids are easier to hit than a more traditional long iron. The biggest reason why long irons are harder to hit for the vast majority of amateurs is because they lack the speed necessary to have the club work in their favor.

A long iron may really only be helpful to most amateurs when they are hitting something from out of trouble, where they need to hit something low and chasing. When a player with lower, or even average swing speed hits say, a 4 iron, the ball can’t even sniff reaching the maximum height that a Tour professional can with that same club. Without that speed, the height the ball can reach in flight will not be enough to get the maximum distance and spin that a Tour professional can. For most, its not even in the same ballpark.

When the Hybrid was introduced, we saw a revolution in the game.

Golfers with lower swing speeds were now able to hit shots into greens from 170, 180, 190 and 200 plus yards out. The design of hybrids not only help golfers launch the ball higher with more spin, but a larger sweet spot also made them more forgiving than most long irons. They also assist the average golfer in their attempts to escape thick rough. When you can launch shots higher you allow the ball to land at a steeper angle, and because of that, it stops quicker. When that happens, you now have the ability to hold the green, something that was not possible with your 4-iron.

Circling back to the PGA and LPGA Tour professionals. Hitting hybrids is not only something we widely see with amateurs anymore. Many Tour professionals carry hybrids. Obviously, these players can swing with much higher clubhead speeds, but many still see the benefit that comes with an easier to hit club. Perhaps, just maybe, the best in the world are taking notice of what you have in your bag…then again, maybe not.

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