Tell me if this sounds familiar…
You’re on a par 5, you hit a decent drive, and with your second shot, you can reach or get really close with a solid 3 wood.
You pull out your 3 wood with a little trepidation running through your body and take a couple of practice swings.
You swing..only to top or duff the 3 wood. The ball dribbles forward a bit and the frustration sets in. The anger is real!
I don’t know why, but my fairway woods are more terrible than good. Not sure if it’s lack of confidence, lack of practice, or I just suck at fairway woods. Regardless, I decided to find an alternative.
Enter the hybrid club.
In this post, I want to discuss fairway woods vs hybrids. I’ll discuss the difference between each and when might be the right time to break out one over the other.
Difference Between Fairway Wood and Hybrid Irons
The biggest difference is the swing. With a fairway wood, you’re using a more level swing and brushing or sweeping the ball up off the fairway. The hybrid swing is more like an iron, so you’re striking down on the ball.
A hybrid club tends to be about 2-3 inches shorter and is hit similarly to an iron. Typically, the shorter the club, the more control you have, which explains the increasing popularity of hybrids over the years. The slightly bigger head of the hybrid is meant to replace the mid or long irons.
If you can connect with the fairway wood, the lower loft and bigger club head can carry further than a hybrid. Again, this is if you can connect.
When to Use a Fairway Wood
The low loft of fairway woods allows the ball to carry and roll farther than any irons in your bag. If the green is protected well by water, bunkers, or rough, a fairway wood might not be an ideal choice.
Also, if you’re hitting out of the rough, the low loft could prevent you from getting the ball up. Ideally, you can use a fairway wood off the tee or if you have plenty of room for the ball to roll up on the green.
The low loft of the fairway wood is also better for playing against a headwind. Keeping the ball down a bit, and out of the wind will ensure a better carry.
When to Use a Hybrid
On the flip side, hybrids are designed to get under the ball a bit and launch it out of any rough. If you’re on a hole where a driver is too much, or aim is more important, a hybrid might be your best bet.
The hybrids can be easier to stop due to the extra spin compared to the fairway woods. If you’re going over hazards but need to stop the ball quickly, hybrids will perform better. Another advantage of hybrids vs long irons is the ability to hit from uneven terrain.
The longer shaft can help when you’re above the ball, and the ability to choke down a bit when you’re below is an option.
Fairway Hybrid Setup
As mentioned earlier, hitting your hybrid is a similar swing to using a long iron. You still want to be striking down on the ball, so it should be placed about the middle of your stance. Again this might vary a bit based on your swing.
A little bit of a divot is common and indicates good contact. If you’re hitting your hybrid off the tee, it’s commonly tee’d up just a bit off the ground, enabling you to make easier contact with the center of the club.
Fairway Wood Setup
HItting your fairway woods is similar to your driver. You should be set up the same with the ball slightly behind your front foot (about 2-3 inches). Your swing is also similar in that your club head will barely make contact with the top of the grass, sweeping the ball off the turf.
Rarely should there be any divots. If you’re hitting your fairway wood off the tee, it’s usually tee’d up just a bit, but no more than an inch. This will depend on your swing style.
Most clubs come with a fairway wood, but hybrids usually need to be purchased off the shelf.
If you’re looking to add another tool to your golf bag, here are some of the best hybrid golf clubs available.
When I can I try to put a couple different vendors so you can get the best deal available.
Best Hybrid Golf Clubs
1) Pinemeadow Hybrids – I’m going to start this small list with the most economical hybrid on the market. Pinemeadow is known for putting out a solid club at a very reasonable price. Available in several different lofts, you’re sure to find one that fits well into your bag. Each hybrid features a nice balance of weight throughout the entire club head that increases and widens the sweet spot. The shape of the club head allows you to use these clubs from various lies, good or bad.
2) TaylorMade RBZ Rescue – No surprise that TaylorMade has one of the most popular hybrids on the market. Their RBZ Rescue is available in a few different loft ranges, and shafts to suit every player. Users are loving the large sweet-spot, and think it works great for a longer par 3. If your long irons give you grief, this hybrid might replace your 3, 4, and 5 iron. Check for yourself.
3) 2018 Cobra Golf King F8 Hybrid – let’s not forget Cobra providing a reliable hybrid. As Cobra becomes more of a big-time player in the industry, golfers are loving their hybrids too. Available in a few different lofts and shafts, you’re sure to find one that will work for you. The Baffler Rail Technology provides improved versatility and forgiveness from any lie.
Which Hybrid is Best?
Look at it this way. You can carry 14 clubs in your bag…or more if you’re a hacker like me. The hybrid might be a tool to add to your bag or it might replace a club or two…or more. Hybrids don’t have the negative connotation they had in years past, so golfers are comfortable breaking them out. Especially if you’re posting more pars and birdies than your competitors.
Conclusion of Fairway Woods vs Hybrids
It really comes down to the individual. I find more success with my hybrids compared to my fairway woods. If you can crush your fairway woods and mid to long irons, a hybrid might not lower your score. If you’re looking for another club to help you out of the rough or out of a jam, a hybrid might be the difference between breaking 80 or 90.