How to Choose Hybrids

Hybrids can replace your hard-to-hit long irons and fill the gap between forgiving fairway woods and the easier-to-hit mid-to-short irons.


Hybrids incorporate the forgiving hollow construction of a metal wood head, but the shorter overall club length of an iron to promote greater control. The wider, fairway wood-like sole forces the weight lower in the clubhead to deliver accuracy and trajectory that a traditional long iron just can't deliver.


If you can't hit your long irons (Nos. 2, 3, 4 or 5) consistently and you struggle to get the ball in the air, it's time for a hybrid. More importantly, extensive Golfsmith player testing reveals that golfers with driver swing speeds under 85 mph enjoyed improved play after switching from long irons to hybrid clubs. These players simply can't generate enough ball velocity at impact to get shots airborne with less forgiving long irons. Interestingly, half of all golfers who have participated in Golfsmith player testing over the last decade generated swing speeds under 85 mph.


Choosing the right shaft flex is also important to maximize distance and accuracy. In general, a slower swing speed player should use a more flexible shaft (L, A, R) to maximize distance and players with higher swing speeds should choose woods with stiffer shafts (S, X) to increase accuracy.

Use the table below to find the right flex shaft for you:

Driver Swing Speed (mph) Driver Carry Distance (yds.) Club From 150 yds. Recommended Flex
105-plus 260+ 8 or 9-iron Extra-Stiff (XS)
90-105 240-260 6 or 7-iron Stiff (S)
80-95 210-240 5 or 6-iron Regular (R)
70-85 180-210 4-iron Senior (A)
Less than 70 Less than 180 3-iron/wood Ladies (L)

Frequently Asked Questions: Golf Hybrids

Q: Why should I put a hybrid in my bag?
A: In simple terms, hybrids are easier to hit than long irons. They have a broad sole, reminiscent of a fairway wood, which allows for more consistent ball striking from a variety of turf conditions. The face characteristics keep shots more on line than traditional long irons. You'll hit it better, more often, with a hybrid in your bag.

Q: How many of my long irons should I replace?
A: The answer to this question varies by golfer. If you can hit your 4-iron with great accuracy and control but struggle with your 3-iron maybe you only need to replace your 3-iron. Perhaps you struggle with the 3- and 4-iron and want to replace them both. The goal is to maximize accuracy on approach shots to the green. So figure out the longest iron you can hit well and consider changing out all the others with hybrids.

Q: I see PGA Tour players using hybrids. Why would they put a hybrid in play since they already hit it so well?
A: Hybrids give tour players the ability to attack the flag more often. They can hit hybrids into greens knowing shots will land softer than with traditional long irons. Hybrid construction moves the center of gravity lower and farther back for higher flying, softer landing shots.

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