How To Compare Senior Hybrid Golf Clubs To Standard Irons

Making the comparison between hybrids and irons is important for the senior golfer as it's the only way of knowing if incorporating hybrids into the bag would be beneficial.

The best way of making a direct comparison between the two is to find a professional or golf store with launch monitor technology which uses radar to track a ball's flight giving figures on swing speed, ball speed, ball spin, distance, direction and many other factors. If, however, there are no professionals or retailers nearby with such technology, there are other ways to compare senior hybrids and irons and find out if hybrid clubs would be worth the investment.

Impact tape

Every PGA professional or club fitter will have impact tape somewhere in their club or store. The tape is placed across the club face and gives instant feedback about where on the club face the ball is being struck from; toe, heel, top, bottom or centre.

This is important as different strike patterns can indicate problems with the club and swing. Using impact tape during a club comparison between hybrids and irons can give feedback not only on good strikes but bad strikes also.

When using impact tape, take note of what is happening to the ball during its flight. This is very important as the senior golfer will be able to see how the two different style of club react to centre, toe, or heel strikes. By using impact tape, the senior golfer could find the hybrid club more forgiving and it provides better distance on off centre hits. Senior golfers could also find that there is no difference in distance and flight when comparable lofts of iron or hybrid are struck from the middle of the club face. Whatever the findings, the senior golfer will get a good indication of the differences between hybrid clubs and irons and be in a better position to judge whether they should carry hybrids.

On course

There are ways to also compare hybrids to standard irons when out on the course.

Find a distance of shot which both the iron and hybrid could be used for, a long iron approach for example. Practice hitting shots to the target with both the iron and hybrid and take note of the resulting shot. The senior golfer is looking for how the ball flew through the air, different shot shapes and differences in trajectory that the ball takes when alternating between the irons and hybrids. After this initial foray, senior golfers should test the irons and hybrids from different lies such as light rough, heavy rough, sand etc.

By directly comparing the results, the senior golfer will be able to compare the difference between hybrid clubs and long irons out on the course. By comparing the clubs out on the course, senior golfers will be able to analyse hybrids against irons during a match situation.

How to Compare Hybrid Golf Clubs to Standard Irons

How to Compare Hybrid Golf Clubs to Standard Irons

As you know by now, hybrid golf clubs have become very popular over the past 10+ years. What was once a niche club has made its way into the mainstream, and hybrids are now seen in the bags of some of the best golfers in the world. Even if you don't yet have a hybrid club in your bag, you certainly know someone who does. Whether you decide to carry a hybrid or not, it is worthwhile for every golfer to consider what this category of clubs could offer his or her game.

In this article, we are going to aim to solve a common problem that golfers face when trying to swap out long irons for hybrid clubs. That is, how do you know which hybrid to use to replace a specific iron? As you may know, simply comparing the lofts of the two clubs is not a very effective method. Given an iron and a hybrid of exactly the same loft, the hybrid club would almost always hit the ball farther. If you are trying to replace the distance of an iron with a hybrid that will be easier to hit yet send the ball the same distance, you are going to have to do a bit of work. Not to worry – this can be done, and it actually isn't very hard. Once you have a plan, you should have no trouble replacing as many irons as you wish with hybrid clubs that are up to the task.

Before thinking about how you can properly replace your standard irons with hybrids, you first need to determine which of your irons is in need of replacement. After all, it would be a mistake to take a club out of your bag when that club is already working well out on the course. The best thing you can do in this case is to keep your decision simple. When you take a club out of your bag, does that club give you confidence? Do you feel like you are going to hit a good shot? If you do, it is probably a good idea to keep that club in the bag. If not, it may be time to go in search of a replacement.

For most amateur golfers, it is the long irons that pose a major problem. Clubs like the three and four iron are usually trouble, as it requires a perfect strike and plenty of speed in order to get the ball up in the air effectively. Even if you do get the ball off the ground, you need to strike the ball with a perfect swing path to hold your intended line and actually hit the target. Small mistakes tend to be badly magnified when you are hitting a long iron shot. Unless you play this game at a high level, it is probably best that you take the long irons out of your bag in exchange for some forgiving hybrid clubs.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Creating a Profile

Creating a Profile

In order to accurately compare hybrid clubs to irons, you are first going to need to have an accurate profile of your current set of clubs. You might think that you know roughly how far you hit each club, and how those clubs perform, but your knowledge might not be as complete as you would like to believe. Taking the time to create a formal profile of your current set will go a long way toward helping you make the right decisions.

To outline the performance of the set of clubs you currently carry in your bag, use the following tips.

  • Take notes. By far, the best thing you can do in order to learn about your game is to take notes. Place a small notebook in your golf bag and use it to record key pieces of information as the round develops. Most players find it easiest to write down these notes in-between holes. So, when you arrive at the next tee box, take just a moment to write down some notes from the previous hole. You are going to write down which clubs you hit, how far they went, which direction they missed (if they missed), and anything else you might feel is relevant. With a little practice, you should be able to make these notes quickly while the others in your group are hitting their tee shots. Once this becomes a habit, you won't even have to think twice about completing the task before moving on to play the next hole.
  • Be brutally honest. There is no sense in taking notes if you aren't going to be completely honest with yourself. Don't round your yardages up or anything like that – write down exactly how far the ball traveled, and be honest about any other important details as well. Golfers have a tendency to tell their preferred version of events, rather than telling the whole story. If you hope to actually improve as a result of this habit, you are going to need to be completely honest from start to finish. You might not always like the numbers that you write down in your notes, but that's okay. They are what they are, and you can work toward making them better as time moves on.
  • Record every shot. This process isn't going to work if you skip rounds or even just holes along the way. You really need to record every single shot you hit in order to get an accurate overall profile of the way you perform on the course. If you can keep this habit up over the period of a few rounds, your profile will start to take shape. Even better, keep it up for a season or two and you will have an extremely accurate picture of your abilities. This is the kind of project that provides you with more and more accurate information the longer you keep it up.

Once you have collected at least a few rounds worth of data, it will be time to do something with that information. We recommend taking a high-tech approach – using a computer spreadsheet – but you can keep this on a piece of paper if you would prefer. If you do opt for a spreadsheet, organize your data by club and record the distances that you have hit those clubs on each shot. Then, using the mathematical functions of the spreadsheet, calculate averages for each club. These numbers might surprise you – and not in a good way. Most golfers think that they hit the ball much farther than they actually do.

At this point, you will know exactly how far you hit each one of your clubs. These numbers will be meaningful because they will have been gathered out on the course during actual rounds of golf. These aren't best case scenarios based on a perfect strike on the driving range. Rather, they are what you have actually done during your rounds, so they can be trusted as accurate. Armed with these numbers, it will be time to work on finding hybrid clubs to replace the irons you decide to eliminate from your set.

Making Some Changes

Making Some Changes

So, you now have a collection of numbers that can help you make changes to your set of clubs. As you get ready to compare hybrid options to the irons you have in your bag currently – or some of the fairway woods, for that matter – you need to identify clubs that are ripe for replacement. Look back through your records and see if you can spot clubs that are consistently leading to poor results. Do you hit any good shots with your three iron? What about your four iron? How do you do with your most-lofted fairway wood, such as a five-wood or seven-wood? It is in this area of the bag that you should begin looking for clubs that may need to go.

The idea here is to work your way up your list of irons until you reach a club that you have enough confidence to keep in the bag. For some golfers, it will only be the three iron that needs to go. For others, it will be the four iron, the five iron, and maybe the six. There is no right or wrong answer here – you just need to be honest with yourself and determine which of the irons you can actually hit properly. It is important to not make any decisions based on shame or embarrassment. There is nothing at all wrong with carrying several hybrid clubs. The goal of the game is to get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible, and you need to carry clubs which will help you do just that.

Pretty soon, you should have a list of clubs that you are thinking about taking from your bag. Of course, before you can do that, it will be necessary to find replacements in the form of some new hybrid clubs. To get started, visit your local pro shop or golf store to check out the options. You are going to be trying to find hybrids which will nicely replace the distances you will be taking out of your bag when those old irons are removed. You don't have to replace your yardages exactly – you might want to use this opportunity to fix any holes you had in your set – but you want to keep distance gapping in mind. Make sure the new set you assemble doesn't leave you with any major yardage problems.

At your local golf store, you should be able to try out some of the hybrid clubs for yourself. Most facilities will allow you to 'demo' their clubs on the range, and some will even let you take them out on the course. Playing on the course would be optimal, obviously, as you'd be able to hit your own golf balls and get a true measurement on the distances. Judging distance on the range is trickier, but it can work in a pinch. Speak with the employees at your local golf shop, explain what you are trying to do, and see how they can help.

Remember, there isn't much point in comparing the lofts of these new hybrids to the lofts of the irons you are replacing. Forget about loft and think only about distance. How far are you able to hit these clubs? Once you find some hybrid clubs that you enjoy hitting and will give you the distance required to fit into your set, you will be ready to make a purchase. If you are buying more than one hybrid, the pro shop might even give you a discount on the deal.

Adjusting to Your New Set

Adjusting to Your New Set

It is exciting to purchase some new clubs, but the results you get from your purchase might not be everything you hoped for – at least, not at first. This is a common complaint among amateur golfers, and it leads to many frustrating rounds for the average player. Even if you buy the right clubs, you can't expect those clubs to immediately provide you with an improved level of play. There are adjustments to make, and you have to spend some time building your confidence before you can plan on these new clubs paying dividends.

To help you make this transition as smooth as possible, we have assembled some tips below. Use these ideas to get used to your new set of clubs in short order.

  • Prioritize your new hybrids. During your first few rounds – assuming they are not competitive rounds – make it a point to hit your new hybrid clubs as often as you can. If you are going to hit something less than a driver off the tee of a par four, for example, reach for one of your hybrids rather than a fairway wood. Or, when hitting your second shot on a par five, consider a hybrid if you have one which will travel an acceptable distance for the shot. These might not always be the perfect club selections for the situation at hand, but that's okay. You shouldn't be too worried about your scores for these first few rounds anyway, so make that sacrifice in favor of hitting your hybrids as often as possible. Even if you have spent plenty of practice time on the range with these new clubs, there is nothing like hitting actual shots on the course to build confidence and familiarity.
  • Pay close attention to your ball flight. The ball flight you produce with your hybrid clubs may be different than the flight you are used to with the rest of your set. There are a number of variables at play here, including the shaft that you have chosen for your hybrids, the club head design, and more. When hitting shots on the course, be sure to pay close attention to the ball flights you are producing, and consider making notes so you can remember each shot after the round is over. Before long, a pattern will emerge and you will be able to reliably predict what your hybrid shots are going to do in the air.
  • Work out the kinks. When you pick up some new equipment, you probably think about heading first to the driving range to practice with those new clubs before trying them on the course. There is nothing wrong with that plan, but you might actually have more success the other way around. Head out and test your new clubs on the course as soon as possible, then return to the range to correct whatever is going wrong. For example, if you find that you are missing to the left with your new hybrid clubs, you will have something specific to address on the range during your next practice session. Taking your problems from the course back to the range for work can help you improve any aspect of your game, and you'll become a better player in time if you stick with this method.

No matter what the circumstances, it is always a mistake to expect immediate results in this game. Golf is hard, and it takes time to improve. Picking out some hybrid clubs to replace a few of your long irons is a great strategy, but it isn't going to lead to immediate success. You will need to practice with these new clubs, and you'll need to get familiar with how they perform on the course. This transition period shouldn't last long, so stay positive and look forward to shooting some better scores in the near future.

Taking Advantage of Hybrid Versatility

Taking Advantage of Hybrid Versatility

One of the best things about adding hybrid clubs to your set is the versatility they bring to the table. There are simply more shots you can play with a hybrid club than there are with a long iron. To get the most possible value out of your hybrids, you should learn to use them in a number of different situations. Sure, they are effective from the tee and out of the fairway, but that is only the beginning. The list below provides you with some other ideas on where you might be able to put your hybrid clubs into action.

  • Shots from the short/medium rough. While hybrids and long irons alike are virtually useless in the long rough, you can use your hybrids successfully from short- or medium-length rough. That is not something that can be said about long irons – at least, not for most golfers. When you draw a decent lie in the rough and you have a considerable distance remaining to reach the green, you might find that one of your hybrids is a good choice for the job. The design of a hybrid will allow the club to glide through modest rough, allowing for a relatively clean strike. Also, the low center of gravity in these kinds of clubs is going to help you get the ball up off the ground. You shouldn't expect to hit the same kinds of shots you hit from the fairway, but a hybrid can allow you to move the ball up toward the green without too much trouble.
  • Bump-and-run shots. This is one of our favorite ways to put a hybrid club to use. When your ball comes to rest just off the side of the green, take one of your hybrids from your bag and hit a simple little bump-and-run shot up toward the hole. There is more margin for error with this kind of shot than when trying to chip with a wedge, so you should have more confidence while making the swing. Practice this handy short game shot a few times before you use it on the course so you can learn how to control your distance properly.
  • Low runner off the tee. You already know that you can hit tee shots with your hybrid clubs, but you may not know that you can alter those tee shots to suit the conditions. When swung normally, a hybrid club is going to produce a high ball flight which comes down softly and has very little roll out before coming to rest. That is fine in some situations, but not when the wind is in your face or when you want to take advantage of firm and fast conditions. To hit a low runner off the tee with a hybrid, move the ball back in your stance and close down the face to reduce loft. Then, hit down through the ball and hold off your finish – meaning, you won't swing up to a full finish. This shot takes some practice, but it can be quite effective when executed properly.

For the average golfer, there really is no comparison between long irons and hybrid clubs. Hybrids are easier to hit, get up higher into the air, and provide more forgiveness on poor swings. If you are tired of hitting ugly shots with your long irons, give some hybrids a chance – it is very likely that you will like the results. Good luck!