Woods, Hybrids or Long Irons?


Should I replace my 5- and 7-woods with hybrids?

Mark, MA


Because they are larger, fairway woods will have a higher moment of inertia than hybrids, so they’ll be more forgiving on the same mis-hits. But because a hybrid is about two inches shorter than a fairway wood of the same loft, it will be easier to control, and you’ll mis-hit it less often. My advice to you is to replace the 7-wood with a hybrid, but keep the 5-wood in the bag.

You’ve touched on an interesting topic: A 7-wood, hybrid and 3-iron are commonly found in the same loft, about 21 degrees. So what should you choose?

The choice becomes clearer when you understand center of gravity. CG is measured on two important axes: height from the sole and depth from the face.

A ball will fly the highest off a wood because its CG is low and far back in the head. The CG of a 3-iron is relatively higher and closer to the face, which allows a faster-swinging, low-handicap player to achieve a low and penetrating trajectory, but it’s the least-forgiving CG placement. A hybrid, as the name suggests, is the marriage of these two CG extremes.

Hope this helps,


What do you prefer to use…a long iron, a hybrid or a fairway wood? Share your thoughts with other Frankly Friends by replying below.


The center of gravity moves slightly lower and deeper as you move from long iron to hybrid to fairway wood, but don’t  forget shaft length and moment of inertia change, too.

13 thoughts on “Woods, Hybrids or Long Irons?

  1. Agree with frank on 5 wood and 21 hybrid. Have noticed that modern fairways are very hard to get up in the air compared with older fairway woods. Older wood fairways were very easy to hit off the ground. Now anything less than 18 degrees is a low burner. I wonder if the quest for distance has made these new ones impossible to hit. Not really sure that if I dropped the fairway metal I would even notice a difference.

  2. for me a 15 hdcp. and slow swinger i prefer woods and have an eleven wood in the bag have 2 hybrids 28 and 32 which i love . have tried hybrids of lower loft but do not hit as well as high loft woods.

  3. I agree with the choices above but there is one other factor and that is how the clubs perform in the rough. A fairway wood, as the name implies, is meant to be hit from the fairway and I have found that my hybrids perform much better in the rough. Thus although I keep my 3 wood in the bag I have replaced even my 5 wood with an 18 degree hybrid. This tells you that I spend way too much time in the rough but that is a different topic.

  4. Never could hit fairway woods well, especially a 3 wood. Dropped the fairway woods and now carry 20* & 23* hybrids. (being short long irons were always a problem) I still maintain a 6 handicap and am able to play most any course under 6500 yards without a problem.

  5. Currently a 9 handicap and a bit wobbly at that! Using a Callaway Mini 1.5 12 degrees and 44″ off most tees. Have 16, 21 & 24 degree fairway woods in the bag. Swapped out the hybrids for the fairway woods this season and don’t regret it. Fairway woods seem to be a better fit for me, launch a little higher and more forgiving. Hybrids are a great option, would encourage players to experiment and find out what works best for them! Big news, just bought a Frankly Frog putter (Signature 08, center shaft) to replace my 35 year old Bulls Eye. Should deliver this week, can’t wait!!!

  6. Arriving at 66 and moving up to the next tees has enabled me to trade the 3 wood for a 5 – losing very little distance. The 3, 4 and 5 hybrids come next, followed by the 6-AW irons. The next tees up have also enabled me to stay well ahead of my younger partners off the tee, at least for a few more seasons. I haven’t purchased a 3 iron in 15 years and my 4 and 5 gather dust. Hybrid technology has been progressing and it’s the only way to go. Staying competitive also includes getting better from 100 yards in and putting….hence, the Frog!

  7. Hi Frank,
    I transitioned long ago to hybrids. My longest iron is a 5. Recently, I have been moving toward clubs with lighter shafts in an effort to get more ball speed and distance with less effort. But, it is hard to find hybrids that I like with lighter shafts. Also, with the drought out here in CA, full sole hybrids are harder to hit off of hardpan than narrower sole hybrids. I had Titleist 915 hybrids but hated digging dirt out of the slot in the sole. I am presently in search of hybrids that I like.

  8. I got rid of my 5 wood altogether and carry a 3 wood, 3 hybrid, and 4 iron. This allowed me to add a gap wedge to give me more options on a full swing within 100 yards. I can hit the 4 iron about 190 and the 3 hybrid goes 200-210. 3 wood will carry 230 or so. Realistically, if I’ve got more than 215 left to the green, I either screwed up my drive, or am contemplating going for the green in 2 on a par 5. In either case, my goal from that distance is more about keeping it in bounds and/or getting in the vicinity of the green. If conditions aren’t favourable and I’m that far out, I’m probably laying up.

  9. I agree with Fred’s comment. As a three time Club Champion (2 hc) the hybrids are a must if you want to get the most out of your game. I carry a one iron, a three, and a four hybrids as long irons are now deserving of the traditionalist. Hit your three iron ten times on the range then hit a three hybrid and you won’t hit your long iron again. If you can’t get the most of of your game then your playing for second as the technology is just too good not to use. I’m 69 years young ((hitting Driver 250-260 range) and the hybrids keep me in the game with the flat bellies, ha! Remember, the shaft is important along with any club offset as it’s critical to fit your game. All my clubs are tailored to my swing with shaft weight, mid flex, no offset and torque. Off the rack purchases is a guessing game and requires some effort to find what works for you for maximum distance and control.

  10. My bag is now Driver (Titleist 905t, 8.5 degree), 1,2,3 hybrids (16/18/20 degree King Cobra bafflers, 4-gap wedgein KC Baffler irons. old Hogan BeCu ‘Special SI’ and an original, ancient Ping Anser putter. The 16 hybrid goes higher, further, and straighter than the 15 degree 3 wood, for me anyway.
    I’m now 75 years old, and just recently shot a 79. My goal, of course, is to shoot my age.
    Of course, I still have in the garage persimmon Citation Driver and 3-wood, 2-SW Hogan Apex pcs, another Hogan SW bent back to 61 degrees and a no-name aluminum blade. Used once this year, shot 88 from the back tees.

  11. I’m a 7 handicap, shoot my age frequently, and replaced all my long irons last year.
    I carry a 15 degree three wood, 18, 21 and 24 degree hybrids. My shortest iron is a Ping i 6 iron which has less loft than older model 6 irons.
    The hybrids are much easier to hit than the 3 wood.and much more accurate. i usually reserve the 3 wood for trying to hit greens that are farther than 210 yards. My swing speed with a driver is 88 mph. I hope this isn’t too much information but I think hybrids are more suitable for all but the very best players.

  12. Normally, I have 3 and 5 wood in bag, and a 22* and 25* hybrid. Irons start at #5.
    But if I play a course with long forced carries I will replace the 22* hybrid with the 7 Wood. As Frank says above the 7 wood gets the ball up in the air more easily. The 25* hybrid is in the bag and forever.

    • I have carried 4 to 5 and sometimes as many as 6 hybrids. They range from 16* to 31*, my longest iron is a 7 iron. Depending on the amount of wedges I carry will determine the # of hybrids I carry.

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