Driving (Utility) Irons Vs Hybrids – What’s The Best Option To Carry?
Fourteen clubs may sound like a lot, but when you think about it, it really isn’t. Many golfers have had to decide what club stays in the bag and what goes, it is like a football coach picking his starting line-up. One of the places that this decision commonly takes place is in the driving irons vs hybrids area.
There are pros and cons to each. Your golfing skills as well as your swing speed are important factors in this decision. Today we are here to help you with some more insights to make the decision easier.
The trusty 2-iron
For many years, I carried a strong 16 degree King Cobra hybrid. I loved this club, it had a bright yellow Fujikura Speeder shaft and was so easy to hit. I remember the day I had to make the decision to cut it from my golf bag though, it wasn’t easy.
You see, for all I loved the club, I hit it way too high. On an average golfing day in Scotland when the wind was all to present, that club was just gust-fodder. I replaced it with a 2-iron and the rest is history.
What Are Driving Irons?
Everyone knows that hitting a 1-iron is one of the most challenging things a golfer can do. Driving irons are basically long irons, usually 1-3, that have hit the gym and taken a few steroids. These meatier versions are easier to hit, tend to launch a bit higher and take the ball further than their standard equivalents.
Low irons can be quite daunting at address due to how thin the top-line is and how small the head can be. Driving irons help inspire confidence with their chunkier aesthetic, you just feel like the ball will go further. They often come with graphite shafts too.
Driving Irons Pros And Cons
They are easier to hit than normal long irons as they have a larger sweet-spot and are more forgiving on off-centre hits. They have a bit more meat on them which allows for a more active clubface, this helps you hit it further. Finally, they launch the ball higher, this adds to the improved distance from these clubs.
Although still easier to hit compared to standard long irons, they are still not the most forgiving clubs in the bag. These clubs are made for more skilled golfers, you need to be a ball striker to get the most from these clubs.
What Are Hybrids?
Hybrid means a mix between two things and in golfing terms it means a mix of a fairway wood and an iron. TaylorMade had a club years ago called the “Tour Spoon”, one of the coolest looking clubs in history and arguably the start of the modern hybrid movement. This club was more of a wood but its compact head was amazing through semi-rough and is a cult favourite.
The hybrid makes life easier for people who really struggle with long irons. It launches the ball high and helps you land long approach shots really softly into the green. These clubs look good and when you address the ball you know you can’t miss.
Hybrid Pros And Cons
Hybrids are arguably the most versatile golf club in the bag, they can be used for so many shots from the tee to around the green. They are very easy to hit and perfect for people who struggle with long irons. Hybrids can bring that par five into reach and set you up for more eagle putts than you’ve ever had.
One of the key issues with hybrids is that they launch the ball high, this can limit their performance especially in windy conditions. They put a lot of spin on the ball when compared to long-irons which some dislike.
Driving Irons Vs Hybrids – Which Wins On Distance?
The answer to this one really depends on the golfer hitting the clubs. If you are a mid-handicapper or above, you will almost certainly hit the hybrid further. If you are a low-handicapper then the driving iron will probably go further. Both club-types have respond to different swings so this is a tough question to answer.
On a scale, hybrids put the most spin on a ball, driving irons put a little less on it and regular long irons put the least spin on a ball. These clubs are here to give you forgiveness though, they are actually more about how far mis-hits go, think of it that way.
Driving Irons Vs Hybrids – Which Wins On Accuracy?
Hybrids filled the golf bags of amateurs due to accuracy and this is one of the key benefits of these clubs. For your average golfer, these clubs make long approach shots so much easier. The driving iron, as the name suggests, is more for tee shots than approaches.
On this front hybrids tend to win. They are a far more versatile club and will be more suited to the needs of more golfers. There is only a small proportion of golfers who will find the driving irons more beneficial.
How Do They Compare On Launch Angle And Carry Distance?
We have covered this in a roundabout way above, however, it is a really important aspect of this article. Hybrids tend to be high launching golf clubs, they help you lift the ball high for a soft approach into a green from distance or to escape a bad lie. They were even known as rescue clubs by many when they first got popular.
For most, the driving iron will go further, they are designed with distance in mind so this makes sense. Some refer to these as utility irons as they find them useful on long fairway shots too and not just from the tee. Try both and see what works best for you and your game though.
Shot-Making With Hybrids
These are arguably the most versatile club-type in golf right now. They can be used from the tee, the fairway, the rough and even the fringe. I think that these clubs truly come into their own on two specific shots though.
If you are feeling strong and fancy attacking a green from a long way out, the hybrid is the perfect club for a soft landing. They are also incredible clubs for getting you out of a bad lie in the rough, the small head design just cuts through the long grass like a ‘get out of jail free’ card.
Shot-Making With Driving Irons
Driving irons have shorter shafts than drivers, they also have larger sweet spots. This combination makes them perfect for those tee shots that simply must hit the fairway. Everyone needs a club in the bag that they know will never miss the fairway and the driving can definitely be that.
Think of these clubs as your fall-back plan for when the driver isn’t working or the pressure is really on you. A well hit driving iron can take you 220+ yards down the fairway, you can’t complain about that.
Who Should Carry What?
It really comes down to how fast you swing the club and how consistent a ball-striker you are. For those with a slower swing or those who struggle for consistency of strike, the hybrid will give you the most benefit. Whilst the driving iron is easier to hit than a long iron, it is still for more advanced golfers, in general.
If you can get some speed on your clubhead and just need something to give you another set of options from the tee, the driving iron is for you. This is for player who strike the ball consistently though. Players who swing hard but miss a lot should still consider a strong hybrid instead.
Our Favourite Driving Iron
The Titleist U510 is a wonderful all-rounder and a club that many golfers could benefit from adding to their bag. This, as you would expect from Titleist, is a classic looking club designed for performance. At address, it looks like a normal iron, this inspires confidence at the time you need it most.
The tungsten weighting in the head of the iron helps optimise launch conditions. The super-thin club face and the insert behind it take care of the ball speed at impact. This is a seriously good club with a great range of lofts and shafts too, it could easily be your next favourite club.
Our Favourite Hybrid
The Cobra King Speedzone Hybrid is a seriously good hybrid that is packed with technology and looks so easy on the eye. Cobra have been making industry-leading hybrids for some time and this is the latest advance in their great line-up. The “Baffler” split rails are there to provide speed and stability through impact.
This club also features a forged steel face, another feature that adds to the performance. The face helps increase ball speed, forgiveness and fee, Cobra have been testing different face technology with great success. Expect great things with this club in your hand, it is a special piece of kit.
Is A Driving Iron Worth It?
Yes, if you struggle from the tee and often find trouble, this is the perfect club to get your game back on track. Another option from the tee that will keep you in the game and stop you losing balls. What’s not to love?
Is A Driving Iron Easier To Hit Than A Driver?
Modern drivers are easier to hit than ever before, it doesn’t meant they are easy to hit though. Driving irons are far more forgiving so you will hit more good quality shots and this makes them easier to hit in general.
Should I Carry A 5 wood Or 3 hybrid?
A 5 wood can be a useful club to carry and some top pros have recently been spotted with them in the bag. Woods, hybrids and driving irons all have their place depending on the conditions and the course you are playing. It can be useful to have options and invest in two out of the three of these club-types.
What Is The Most Forgiving Driving Iron?
The TaylorMade GAPR mid is a great club that will benefit any golfer. Even Tiger Woods has one that appears in the bag sometimes. This is a fantastic club that is adjustable, like your driver. The offset hosel helps you reduce your slice if that’s an issue too.
Should I Carry A 3-wood Or A Driving Iron?
I feel that you should always have a three wood in the bag and then the driving iron would be in place of another fairway wood. The three wood is a great second option from the tee and for the longest second shots on the fairway. It is, in my opinion, a staple of the golf bag and these options in the article are to be added to that.
Should I carry a 2-iron Or A Driving Iron?
This is a tough decision to make as they are quite similar options. This one has to just come down to performance data and personal preference when it comes to testing your options. See what works best and feels best to you, try them on the course too, then make your decision.
Like all decisions about what clubs to carry, nothing helps more than trying clubs and having an expert help with a fitting. By arranging a session on a launch monitor you will see which club-type suits your swing best and your own feel can add to that data. These are clubs that you want to feel good about when you are about to hit them so your personal preference is as important as the data.
These clubs are some of the most technologically advanced types of clubs on the market and they certainly make golf easier in their own special ways. Try these clubs, think about the gaps that exist in your bag and in your game. This could be just what your game needs.