Hybrids Vs Fairway Woods – Which Clubs Should I Carry?

You’re allowed fourteen clubs in the bag under the rules of golf, have you ever considered what clubs you carry and why? Many golfers put clubs in their bag without truly considering what their game needs.  One thing to properly consider is whether to carry hybrids or fairway woods.

It’s no doubt that Hybrids are becoming increasingly popular as the years go by. They combine the best aspects of fairway woods and irons for a club that’s easy to hit straight, high and accurately. They have smaller heads and shorter shafts than fairway woods and are benefitting beginners and even the top pros in the game with even Masters Champion Dustin Johnson carrying Hybrids in his bag.

In this article I want to help you with choosing between Hybrids and Fairway Woods for your game. We are going to look at some of the key things you need to consider before deciding what clubs to put in the bag.

A White Lie That Took Years To Figure Out

My dad handed me a Mitsushiba three wood, I was twelve, he told me that it used to belong to Dean Robertson. At this time, Dean was a European Tour player and a hero of mine. When my dad told me that it was Dean’s I fell in love with the club!

This club had pride of place in my bag for many years and I told so many people that that club had been used by a tour pro. It wasn’t until about eight years later that I realised that a European Tour professional probably didn’t use a Mitsushiba club.

When I told my dad I had figured it out he had forgotten all about it, so funny.

Characteristics Of A Fairway Wood

Fairway woods are designed to hit the ball long distances and are often used from the tee or the fairway. They have a shallower face than a driver and usually a shorter shaft too. The most common clubs are three and five woods. Features:

  • Large clubhead
  • Slightly longer than a long iron
  • Usually with a graphite shaft
  • Often adjustable loft and lie

Characteristics Of A Hybrid

Hybrids are the modern incantation of the old spoon clubs. The look like a halfway creation between an iron and a wood, hence the hybrid name. These clubs are fantastic from the fairway and great for getting you out of bad lies in the rough too. Features:

  • Small clubhead, chunkier than an iron

  • About the length of a long-iron

  • Usually a graphite shaft

  • Non-adjustable

Fairway Woods vs. Hybrids

Both have their place in golf bags and many golfers will find a use for both in their bag at the same time. Fairway woods tend to hit the ball greater distances with lower spin, they are clubs designed mainly for distance. Hybrids are clubs designed to be an easier to hit version of long irons and so they spin the ball more.

Hybrids tend to have a higher ball flight and so can stop the ball on the green faster. Fairway woods may be slightly harder to hit but can be a great club for playing from the tee. Try both and see how they can help your game.

The Case For Fairway Woods – Pros And Cons

Fairway Wood Image

Fairway woods are great for the super-long range attack at a par five or for playing safe from the tee. They are great clubs for helping you build confidence with the driver too or for stepping in when the barking dog is getting you into trouble. They also hit the ball lower than hybrids so they are better in windy conditions.

Fairway woods are harder to hit than hybrids and so can take a little more practice to give full benefits. They can also be hard to hold greens with due to the lower flight and reduced spin.

The Case For Hybrids – Pros And Cons

Hybrids are incredibly easy to use and very versatile clubs. You can hit them from the tee on long par threes, from the fairway when attacking the green from a distance, they are great out the rough and you can even chip with them.

One issue can be how much spin they put on the ball which can make them fly high and be tough to control in the wind. Long irons tend to go further than them if they are hit well because of this too. Make sure to get the right loft so they fit into your bag appropriately.

What Hybrid Would Replace A Three Wood?

A standard three wood is around 15 degrees, this is stronger than most hybrids on the market as they tend to go as low as 16 degrees with some exceptions. The 16 degree hybrid won’t go as far as a three wood, in general, however, you may gain control and accuracy for the distance you lose.

There can definitely be some real merit in giving up some distance to gain control like this, however this is something you need to consider for your own game. Knowing your game will really help you decide what club changes will best help you.

Hybrids Or Fairway Woods For Beginners?

When you are just starting out in golf, you want to make things as easy as possible so you can enjoy it most and learn the game quickly. Modern clubs are easier to hit than ever and hybrids are among the easiest of these. They are great for the bag of new golfers.

Fairway woods are also worth adding, many will benefit from carrying a three wood instead of a driver. This will be easier to hit and will help you be able to hit the driver well in time.

What About Mid To Low Handicappers? Do Pros Use Hybrids?

If you play a long course and are often left with long approach shots, then the extra length of a fairway wood could be useful. If you play a course with small greens that rewards accuracy then a hybrid could be best. It is something that only you can really know.

Tour pros change between hybrids and fairway woods depending on the course and the conditions in which they are playing. This is something you too can consider if you have the means.

Hybrids Or Fairway Woods For Slower Swing Speeds?

I think that slower swing speeds will work better with hybrids. These clubs are designed for a high launch angle and to maximise spin. It can be more difficult for players with slower swings to get fairway woods to fly.

Of course, if you are certain that you want to play a fairway wood there are things that can help. A good custom fitting technician can help you choose a club and a shaft that will improve how you launch a ball.

Hybrids vs Fairway Woods Distances

For well-performed studies into golf, there are few places better to go than MyGolfSpy. They did a great study on distance and accuracy with a host of different golfers. They compared hybrids, fairway woods and long-irons.

Here is a link to the incredible study. You can see how different hybrids and fairway woods compare.

What’s Better Off The Tee?

As a replacement for a driver, a three wood is definitely a better choice for distance. If you are looking for another option for long par threes, the hybrid will give you greater control and accuracy. Both clubs have great benefits depending on the situation.

What’s Best From The Fairway?

Fairway woods

From the fairway the fairway wood will go further but at the expense of being slightly harder to hit. If you need something that goes far then it is your best bet.

The hybrid will be more consistent as it is easier to hit and you will gain control for those shots approaching the green from a distance.

What About From The Rough?

I don’t need to be so on the fence on this one as there is a clearer winner from the rough. In this situation, the hybrid is a clear winner. The spoon-like design of the clubhead helps it scythe through the longer grass and helps the ball fly to safety.

Fairway woods are really quite difficult to hit out of the rough unless you have a really good lie. The semi-rough can be a great place to hit a fairway wood from but the second cut is for hybrids, irons and wedges only.

How Do They Compare On Accuracy?

This is another win for hybrids. The shorter shaft and smaller head make these clubs easier to control as well as the fact that you get more spin with hybrids. They are easier clubs to make hit the sweet spot with too so you’re more likely to be more consistent with them.

How Do They Compare On Launch Angle And Carry Distance?

More skilled golfers with higher swing speeds will find better launch characteristics and carry distances with fairway woods.

These clubs help keep the ball from flying too high and this helps increase carry distances too.

Which Club Suits Which Kind Of Shot?

Best shots for a fairway wood include tee shots where distance and accuracy are required, long second shots or approach shots with room to manoeuvre and from a nice lie of the fairway.

Best shots for hybrids are tee shots on long par threes, escaping from rough, longer approaches requiring a soft landing and chipping around the green.

Who Should Carry Which Club?

Only really you can work out this answer by thinking about the gaps in your game and your golf bag. If you hit the ball high and far then fairway woods will be good for you. If you like the idea of something giving you a little help to get the ball in the air that will be easier to hit, the hybrids are for you.

Many golfers will see a benefit from having a three wood and having a more lofted hybrid. This will give you all the benefits and nice options through the bag. Seek a club technician to help you get the best lofts to cover distances.

Our Favourite Fairway Wood 2021

Callaway Mavrik

This is one that has taken the world by storm thanks to an incredibly hot face and Callaway’s patented “Jailbreak” technology.

This club hits the ball wild distances and is impressively forgiving. The whole Callaway Mavrik range is impressive but the fairway woods are a real highlight.

Check Out More Reviews Here:

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Our Favourite Hybrid 2021

Titleist TS Hybrids

Titleist make some of the greatest hybrids on the market and have done for a few years. They are designed to look classically beautiful whilst performing better than anything else on the market.

The super-thin faces on the Titleist TS hybrids make them hit the ball so far whilst retaining the accuracy you need from a hybrid.

Check Out More Reviews Here:

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Frequently asked questions

Fairway Woods Image

Are Hybrids Worth It?

Yes, they definitely are. Almost all golfers would benefit from adding at least one to the bag. They aren’t expensive clubs either, they are actually cheaper than equivalent fairway woods.

Is A Hybrid Easier To Hit Than A Fairway Wood?

Yes. You will tend to be able to hit the middle of the face with a hybrid more often thanks to their design. This makes them easier to hit and often a more consistent club to use.

What Is The Easiest Hybrid To Hit?

The easiest hybrid to hit is the one that has been custom fitted to you by a trained professional. When someone has picked out the correct club for your swing and paired this with the right shaft and set-up for you, you will have the best possible chance of hitting that hybrid well.

Do You Hit Down On Hybrids?

Hybrids should be hit like you do your long irons. That means that yes, you do hit down on them through the ball. You should take a small divot after the ball for the most crisp contact and best strike.

What Hybrid Should A Beginner Use?

The Callaway X-Hot hybrid is great value and has a slight offset to make it a little easier to hit. This is a great combination for beginners as they don’t need to spend too much money to get a club that can really help them on their journey in golf.

Conclusion

Many golfers wonder what combination of fairway wood, hybrid and long irons are best for them in their bag. The truth is that an article like this can only help get you halfway there and that you need to work this out. Speak to your club pro and book a fitting session.

Work with your pro to figure out the best clubs and set-up for your game and you will soon fill the gaps with some great clubs. Hybrids and fairway woods are great clubs with very distinct benefits. With a bit of experimentation and some playing, you’ll figure out the best clubs for your bag, enjoy!