5 Hybrid Vs. 4 Iron – Which Club is Better to Carry?


When it comes to prepping your golf bag for the game, it is essential that you have the best clubs on hand to really get the most out of your game. According to the USGA or Unites States Golf Association, you can only carry 14 clubs in your bag.

While this may seem like plenty of clubs, you might be surprised at how challenging it can be to narrow down the options. So, when it comes to choosing between a 5 hybrid or a 4 iron, which do you pick?

We will cover the details in this guide and let you make an informed decision on which club you should carry.


Choosing What Is Best For You?

Choosing the right golf club isn’t just about fitting in with the crowd and having the most popular clubs. It’s about preparing your golf bag to give you the best shot at having a great game.

Golf Drives got it right when they said “it’s easy to think buying the same make and model as your favorite professional will help you score well”.

However, when you go on to think about the details, you should be looking for a club that specifically works for your own needs, rather than just worrying about the brand or title.

Here are some things you should consider overall when picking out a golf club.

  • Shaft
  • Grip
  • Loft
  • Club head
  • Weight
  • Feel

You should plan to choose wisely and choose based on your own needs as well. While we will share some helpful details differentiating these two clubs, ultimately it will be up to you to determine which is best.


5 Hybrid Vs. 4 Iron – What Are They?

Before I get too deep in the details, it might be helpful to share a general overview of each of these clubs.

This section is just a brief description and isn’t meant to compare the clubs. I’ll get to that part later!


5 Hybrid Club

A hybrid club takes some of the best values of both the wood and the iron and mixes it all together.

In short, it’s a cross between woods and irons to work all of those best features into a single club, easier to hit, more consistent and achieves impressive distances.

According to Golf Span, a hybrid club can help make swings easier while also still utilizing the forgiving nature of a wood club with it’s wider sweet spot.

If you compare a 5 hybrid to a 5 iron, you can typically expect a similar loft between the two but a club that is more similar to a wood in club head build and design.

4 Iron

These clubs are identified by their thin heads from front to back. They are almost flat compared to a wood. The 4 iron is one that can be challenging to master but it’s more towards the middle so it is easier than say a 1 iron might be.

The 4 iron is considered to be a long iron but it is on the simpler side of the scale. It has a loft angle of 25 degrees, on average. According to Golf Week, most men can hit 170 yards with a 4 iron and most women can average about 120 yards.


So, What Is The Difference Again?

Here is a quick video from 2nd Swing Golf that gives you a full scale comparison of a 4 iron, a 5 hybrid, and even adds a 9 wood into the test so you can see just how they pit against each other.

The biggest difference that you will hear spoken about in regards to a hybrid vs. an iron, particularly the 5 hybrid as opposed to the 4 iron, is that the hybrid has far more control and versatility. 

A 5 hybrid is capable of giving you just as much distance but also a lot more control. Your swing is more likely to host more accuracy and yet gain distance in a similar, if not better capacity than the 4 iron.

In a study completed by ARCCOS, they found that players who used the hybrid as opposed to the iron typically had a lower score at the end of the game, with a smaller margin throughout the game.

Their study specifically compared a 4 iron and a4 hybrid, rather than a 5 hybrid but the results can be carried for comparison here. Yet another study from Shot Scope shared a similar finding with hybrids ruling as nearly twice as effective for long shots as opposed to long irons.

It’s certainly an interesting comparison.


Which Is Better Off The Deck?

The choice is up to you but if you want more control, better distance and a long stroke, you might as well play with the 5 hybrid.

A 4 iron will work fine off the deck as well but keep in mind that this will require a bit more skill to master. That is why you will still find a lot of pros using the 4 iron, they can stop the ball dead on the green more easily or add a draw and a fade.


Which Is Better From The Rough?

Golf Hybrids

Hands down, we recommend going with the 5 hybrid when you’re shooting off the rough.

The hybrid will work and feel more like a wedge and will be able to slice through the rough terrain without catching like an iron might.


Which Club Is More Accurate?

This sounds like a trick question! The accuracy will primarily depend on your level of skill as a golfer.

If you are an experienced or even a professional golfer, you probably have great accuracy even with a 4 iron.

If you want the certainty of accuracy, even at a beginner level, you should pack the 5 hybrid into your bag.


Which Club is More Versatile?

A 5 hybrid can do much more than a 4 iron. A 4 iron is great for drives and lofts from the fairway. It won’t do so well in the rough.

A hybrid can handle all of the above.


Which is Easiest to Hit?

A 5 hybrid is much easier to master. It is a forgiving club that even beginners can handle.

4 irons (and all irons 1-4) are challenging to learn and even some professionals shy away from these clubs.

When i started out in golf, I mastered the short irons much more quickly than woods or hybrids so again it is personal choice, but in general, hybrids are going to be easier to hit.


Pack Your Bag To Bridge The Distance

Pack your bag according to your skills so that you can hit every distance and shot appropriately. Pack your bag for gap management.

Plan to place your bag with traditional options like a driver, 3 wood, the 5-9 irons, a pitching wedge, and a putter.

Then, fill in the gap based on your needs. This is the perfect place to add a 5 hybrid, and possibly some other hybrids as well. Pick and choose your other favorites to fit every scenario.


5 Hybrid Vs. 4 Iron Pros and Cons

A 4 iron is a strong and steady club and it really has a lot of great benefits.

The same can be said of the 4 iron. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

4 Iron Pros:

  • Long and steady shot
  • Perpetual backspin
  • Optimal compression
  • Goes for the distance

4 Iron Cons:

  • Long and more challenging to master
  • Very little forgiveness in the swing


5 Hybrid Pros:

  • Forgiving even with a bad swing
  • Comparable distance to an iron
  • Backspin and control
  • Versatile for different plays

5 Hybrid Cons:

  • The average tee distance is slightly lower
  • For a low handicap, the accuracy might not be any better

The Perfect Packed Bag

So, how do you pack the perfect bag? Remember, this should be based on your skill and comfort. I’m not going to make you a list and say “carry these clubs!” because the truth is it varies.

Have a solid mix of clubs that include woods, wedges, irons, and hybrids. Oh yeah, and don’t forget your putter!

Most complete sets nowadays will come with a Driver, 3 & 5 Wood, 4 & 5 Hybrid, 6 – 9 Irons, PW, SW, Putter.


Accuracy & Control? 5 Hybrid Vs. 4 Iron

Justin Thomas Hybrid Club

When it comes to accuracy and control, the general consensus is that a 5 hybrid will be far more accurate and provide straighter shots

However, this is based on an average analysis. A low handicap golfer will have more control from a 4 iron as they do with a 5 hybrid.

Control, or stopping the ball dead is not as important in the longer clubs as it is the shorter clubs. That is why pros will carry long hitting hybrids and short hitting irons, to an extent. Some pros will carry all irons for their control and workability.

What works best for you will depend on your play level and skill.



If you are forced to choose between a hybrid and an iron when you pack up your golf bag, I personally would recommend the hybrid option.

However, irons can be really great if you have a low handicap and high level of skill. Don’t sell yourself short thinking an iron isn’t worth your while!

Remember when you pack your golf bag that you need to pack it according to your own needs and not just the needs and opinions of others.