Hybrids Vs. Long Irons – Which Clubs Should I Carry?

With the popularity of hybrids, more and more players are taking the long irons out of the bag. It can be a difficult choice deciding if you want to keep the long irons in play or replace them with hybrids. Luckily there are some basic considerations that will help you decide if this is the proper choice for your game.

Hybrids hve become very popular with beginners, average players and slow swingers because the lower center of gravity and bigger face allows for more accurate shots with a better flight trajectory. As players get really good, however, they will want greater control and feel over their clubs and gravitate towards the longer Irons.

As a golf professional, I have seen many golfers playing with long irons when they shouldn’t be. Some players think that just because they hit their 3 iron a long way here and there, it is the best choice to keep in the bag. This is just not the case.

When you look at how far you can hit the 3 iron out of the rough, or when you consider consistency, chances are the hybrid will win. Let’s take a bit more of a deeper look into which is better for your game, hybrids or long irons.

Why Hybrids Are Increasingly Replacing Long Irons In Golf

The game of golf is challenging. Most people that take up golf end up quitting at some point because of pure frustration. As golfers, we can certainly understand how and why this happens.

Hybrids have made the game more accessible for most golfers. Those that could not reach long par 4’s in two now have a chance, long shots out of the rough are much easier than they ever were, and seniors have an option to replace irons all together with the use of hybrids.

Hybrids Vs. Long Irons Overview

A case can be made for both hybrids and long irons. Some golf traditionalists are going to claim that nothing can replace the long irons. Others will tell you that hybrids are going to be the better choice. Here are some of the pros and cons of each.

Hybrids Vs. Long Irons Distance Chart




3 Iron


21” – 24”

3 Hybrid


21” – 24”

4 Iron


25” – 28”

4 Hybrid


25” – 28”

5 Iron


28” – 32”

5 Hybrid


28” – 32”

The Case For Hybrids – Pros And Cons

Hybrids are the absolute best choice when it comes to forgiveness. You will be able to get the ball up in the air regardless of the lie due to the lower center of gravity, bigger face and larger sweet spot. Hybrids travel quite a long distance as well.

The hybrid clubs have made the decision to remove irons from the bag all that much easier. When you use a hybrid, you can really start to attack pins from the fairway, as opposed to having to use a fairway wood.

With the number of companies now starting to manufacture hybrids, you can find them in a variety of styles and types, and there will be something that should work well for your game.

The only real downside of a hybrid is that it is just another club to learn how to hit.

When you learn the game, you will eventually get the feeling of what it takes to hit an iron and a wood; when you add hybrids into the mix, it is yet another skill that you must learn.


  • Easy to hit out of the rough
  • Higher ball flight
  • Easier to land on the green
  • Comes in a number of different styles and models
  • Can increase confidence for higher handicappers


  • Doesn’t always have as much feel and accuracy as the long irons

The Case For Long Irons – Pros And Cons

Golf sets in the past were always sold with a 3 iron through a pitching wedge. The 3 iron was considered a staple in the set, and it bridged the gap between the irons and the fairway woods. More and more golfers started realizing that the 3 iron was just too difficult to hit, and the sets started being sold as 4-PW.

Today many golfers are choosing golf sets with 5-PW. The long irons are being phased out for many of the mid to high handicappers. This mostly comes down to the difficulty that golfers have of getting the ball up in the air.

Long irons, when hit well, are going to feel really pure. They will allow you to go after a pin and stop the ball quickly on the green. Long irons are also great for difficult windy conditions where you need to keep the flight of your golf ball down.

Overall, if you have the skills and the swing speed, it can be worth keeping both a hybrid and a long iron in your golf bag.


  • Increased accuracy
  • Ability to control the ball flight
  • Can hit a draw and a fade much easier


  • Hard to hit out of the rough
  • Need lots of swing speed to hit well

Hybrids Or Long Irons For Beginners

There is no question that beginners should be using hybrids as opposed to long irons. For a beginner, the hybrid is clearly the better choice because of its forgiveness and ease of launch. It is nearly impossible for a beginner to hit the ball with as much loft or control with a long iron than with a hybrid.

Beginners should probably choose a set of clubs that has nothing higher than a 5 iron.

If the beginner turns into a great player and finds that adding a 4 iron into the bag at some point can be helpful, then that is understandable. However, before that, it makes sense to stick with the hybrids.

What About Mid To Low Handicappers – Are Pros Hitting Hybrids Or Long Irons?

Typically the better a player gets, the more likely they are to carry a long iron in their bag. Better players like the long irons because they have more control over them.

Mid to low handicappers will have to choose a hybrid and long iron set makeup that works best for them.

Since lower handicappers like to play shots like fades and draws, the long irons are going to be the best choice. The hybrids don’t have quite as much versatility as the long irons.

What’s Better For Slower Swing Speeds?

Golfers with slower swing speeds are going to need hybrids. Hybrids have a lower center of gravity that helps the ball get up in the air. When golfers with slower swing speeds try to get a long iron off the ground, it doesn’t go all that well.

It takes a lot of swing speed applied correctly in order to get a long iron up off the ground. When you are a slower swinging player, you will not be able to get the full distance that you need out of the shots that you are hitting with the long irons.

Hybrids help the slower swinging players get the ball out of the rough as well. Overall if you struggle with swing speed, the hybrid is the better choice.

What’s Better Off The Tee

The long irons and the hybrids are equally good from the tee box. Since one of the issues with a long iron is the ability to get the launch that you need, a tee can certainly help.

By placing the long iron on a low tee, you are able to work a little less hard at compressing the ball and launching it into the air; therefore, the hybrid and the long irons are more equal.


From the fairway, you will find that the hybrid is generally a little bit easier to hit than the long irons. If you get a great lie in the fairway, the long irons are still going to be relatively easy to hit.

The real issues happen when the lie is sloped, or you end up in a divot. This is the situation where you will want to use the hybrid.


A hybrid is almost always going to win when it comes to hitting shots out of the rough. Hybrids tend to have a bit more weight on the bottom, and they will twist less in your hands as you get through the impact position.

Hybrids also have better loft out of the rough than a long iron. Although hitting a shot in the rough will affect your distance regardless of the club you are hitting out with; the hybrid is a better choice.

How Do They Compare On Accuracy

Both a hybrid and a long iron can be very accurate. Most lower handicappers will agree that the long irons can be a bit more accurate when struck correctly.

A 4 iron hit squarely at a pin will likely stop in place. A 4 hybrid may roll out a few more feet, and therefore you will notice that it is harder to get it as close to the pin.

How Do They Compare On Launch Angle And Carry Distance

Since the hybrid is a bit easier to hit overall, the distance that you can carry the ball will be impacted as well. The hybrids tend to fly about ten yards further on average than a long iron.

Again this has a bit to do with the higher launch angle and the increased forgiveness as well.

Our Favorite Long Irons

1)   Callaway Mavrik Max Irons

With the flash face and jailbreak technology, the Callaway Mavrik clubs have set themselves apart this year. We love the Mavrik Max when it comes to forgiveness.


  • Fast ball speed
  • Great feel
  • High launch


  • Not as appealing to the lower handicappers

Check Out More Reviews Here:


2)   Callaway Mavrik Pro

The Callaway Mavrik Pro is a better choice for the lower handicapper that still wants to keep long irons in their bag. With a bit of forgiveness, the Mavrik Pro is a better choice than a blade.


  • Improved sound and vibration
  • Lower ball flight
  • Solid distance


  • Not as forgiving as other long irons

Check Out More Reviews Here:


Our Favorite Hybrids

1)   Cobra Speedzone Hybrid

The Cobra Speedzone Hybrid is adjustable, easy to hit, and very long. The baffler rail technology helps to get the ball out of the rough with ease.


  • Adjustable
  • Easy to get out of the rough
  • Works for a wide range of players


  • Not available in a full hybrid set

Check Out More Reviews Here:


2)   TaylorMade Sim Max Hybrid

The SIM Max Hybrid is an excellent choice for those who are looking for pure distance. Distance and forgiveness from any lie is going to be possible with the Sim Max Hybrid.


  • High ball speed
  • Good launch
  • Higher launch


  • Priced a bit higher than other hybrids

Check Out More Reviews Here:



Here are a few questions that are commonly asked about the hybrid vs. long iron argument. If you are still deciding which of these makes the most sense for you, these may help to clear things up.

Short Hybrids Vs. Short Irons

Players with very low swing speeds who have difficulty launching the ball may benefit from using a short iron hybrid. Some brands make hybrids available in a 6, 7, 8, 9 iron and even a pitching wedge and as part of a full hybrid set.

It takes a bit of getting used to when you start hitting these clubs as they tend to roll a bit more and have less feel than a short iron. Stick with the short irons over the hybrids for as long as you can.

Driving Irons Vs. Hybrids

For golfers that can’t get the hang of hybrids, the driving irons are often a good choice. You will have the look of a club that looks more like an iron but the performance that is similar to a hybrid.

With a driving iron, be very careful of what loft you choose; something with a low loft is going to be just as difficult to hit as a long iron.

Are Full Hybrid Sets Any Good?

Golfers that fall in love with the performance and feel of a hybrid will sometimes wonder if it makes sense to go with all hybrids. When you switch to all hybrids you have to be prepared to lose a bit of feel in the short irons. Many golfers like the ability to control the short irons, and this is harder to do when they are hybrids.


The decision of hybrids vs. long irons is going to be a personal one. You have to make sure that you choose something that is going to work for your game. Consider your swing speed, your handicap, and your preferences regarding the game of golf.

When you are able to determine what matters most to you, you can make a smarter purchase. It’s worth keeping one long iron and one hybrid in the bag if you want our opinion. This gives you the versatility that you need and the ability to hit any shot.