As a senior golfer, it is a smart move to look to technology to help solve some of the problems you may be having in your game.

Senior Hybrid Irons Lesson by PGA Teaching Pro Dean Butler

Modern golf tech can’t play the game for you, of course, but it can make things easier in a variety of ways. For example, if you are having trouble hitting some of your irons – especially the long irons – you can turn to hybrid irons for a little assistance. These clubs tend to be easier to hit than traditional irons, something that you may appreciate if you have lost a bit of swing speed over the years.

In this article, we will discuss the topic of hybrid irons from a couple of different angles. First, we’ll talk about why these clubs can be a good choice for senior players. Golf clubs aren’t cheap, so it’s important to do your homework before spending hard-earned money on new equipment. What do you stand to gain by using hybrid irons? What are the drawbacks? We’ll answer those questions and more later in the article.

Also, we will spend some time talking about how you should use these kinds of clubs. You won’t need to make dramatic adjustments to your swing technique in order to use hybrid irons effectively, but you will need to tweak things just slightly to optimize your swing. In addition to offering some basic advice on hybrid iron swing technique, we will also cover some troubleshooting topics if you have trouble adjusting to these clubs after adding them to your bag. We have a lot of ground to cover in this article, so let’s get started!

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.

Why Hybrid Irons?

Why Hybrid Irons?

Some golfers make the mistake of frequently changing clubs for no other reason than hoping that a change will cause them to improve. There is nothing wrong with seeking out new gear, but only if you have a reason for doing so. You need to think about where your game needs help and then look for gear that is going to address those problems. If you are just randomly buying clubs and hoping for progress, you’ll be unlikely to make much improvement in the end.

So, with that in mind, we need to first talk about why you would want to switch to hybrid irons in the first place. The list below highlights some of the problems that may be solved by adding these kinds of clubs to your set.

  • Getting the ball up off the ground. For some players, part of the challenge that comes with playing golf comes down to the task of getting the ball up off the ground. If you are a senior player who struggles to get your iron shots airborne regularly, consider switching to hybrid irons. Generally speaking, hybrid irons are going to offer you a lower center of gravity than traditional irons, meaning they will be able to get the ball off the turf with greater ease. That doesn’t mean it’s automatic, of course, as you’ll still need to make good contact. The reason that hybrid irons are such a useful option for many senior golfers is because it can be difficult to move traditional irons down through the turf as your age. When using a ‘regular’ iron, you typically will hit down on the ball in order to create the backspin that lifts the ball up into the air. If you are no longer producing the kind of speed to make this work – or if pains in your hands and wrists make it uncomfortable to hit down – hybrid irons might be a good solution.
  • Picking up some distance. This is something that golfers of all ages can relate to. It seems that every player would like to hit the ball farther, and senior players are certainly no different. Whether you feel like you’ve lost a few yards over the years or you would just like to add some distance to better handle longer courses, hybrid irons might be able to help. Of course, the idea of adding yards is closely linked to the goal of picking up distance, since a shot that gets nicely up into the sky is probably going to travel farther than one which stays close to the turf. You don’t want to obsess over distance since there are many other important parts of the game but adding a few yards by switching to hybrid irons would be a nice gain.
  • Dealing with various lies. Another one of the many benefits of using hybrid irons is the fact that they can handle shots from a number of different types of lies. Obviously, a hybrid lie will work just fine if you are playing from the center of the fairway. Also, it will perform well if you are in the light rough, or even playing from a bare lie. The only area where you’ll likely have a bit of trouble is when your ball is down in the deep rough, as the leading edge of this club might not cut through the grass quite as well as a traditional iron. With that said, most golf courses these days don’t allow their rough to grow very long, so you probably won’t end up facing this issue very often – if at all. Knowing that your hybrid irons are ready to handle most of the different lies you’ll draw on the course is a great confidence boost and something that should help you play at a higher level.
  • Added forgiveness. We have left this point until the last spot on our list, but in reality, this is one of the biggest reasons to use hybrid irons. Standard irons are generally not very forgiving, meaning your miss-hit shots will be punished in the form of lost yardage or a shot that strays off the intended line. With a hybrid iron, the clubhead is going to have additional volume, and that extra volume is almost always going to equal greater forgiveness. Sure, you still need to make a good swing to hit a good shot, but you should be able to get away with a bit more when the ball strays from the sweet spot.

There are plenty of selling points for hybrid irons. These aren’t going to be the right clubs for every senior player, of course, but they are a strong enough option to warrant your consideration. Take some time to think about whether or not hybrid irons may be a good option for you and check into some models if you are interested.

Technical Keys

Technical Keys

So, at this point, we are going to proceed with the article as if you have decided to use hybrid irons in your own game. That may or may not wind up being the case, but the next couple sections of the discussion will be focused on how to make these kinds of clubs work for you on the course. Having a good plan going into it will make it far more likely that you’ll succeed in the end.

Let’s work through a few technical keys which you’ll want to keep in mind, first as you practice, and then when you head out to the course.

  • Sweep, don’t dig. One of the biggest differences between hybrid irons and traditional irons is that you will likely want to sweep the ball off the top off the turf when using a hybrid iron. With regular irons, you will usually hit down through impact, taking a significant divot after you have struck the ball. You might still take a little bit of a divot with a hybrid iron, but you will probably want to use a flatter angle of attack at the bottom of the swing. What does that mean for your technique? It means a few things. First, you are going to want to play the ball slightly further forward in your stance, which will help you to sweep the club through the hitting area. Also, you might want to stand slightly further from the ball at address, which is going to encourage a flatter swing plane and a motion that picks the ball off the top of the turf. Basically, you are going to think about swinging these kinds of clubs more like fairway woods than traditional irons. It may take some practice, but you should get used to this technique soon enough.
  • Keeping turning through the shot. To be fair, this is a point which can apply to pretty much any shot that you hit in golf, regardless of what club you are holding. We want to emphasize it here, however, as it is particularly important to keep turning through your hybrid iron shots all the way to a full finish. With a traditional iron shot, you might be able to cut the follow through a bit shot and get away with it, particularly if you hit down nicely through impact. That isn’t going to work with a hybrid iron, since you probably aren’t hitting down in the same way. Right from the top of the swing, commit yourself to turn the lower body through impact and onto your left side. It will be tough to make this commitment at first, especially if you aren’t used to swinging all the way to a full finish. When you do get into this habit, you should notice that the quality of your ball striking improves and the distance of your shots may improve, as well.
  • A long, smooth swing. Again, this is where hitting hybrid iron shots has more to do with fairway woods than it does irons. If you are like most golfers, you probably feel that your iron swing is a bit shorter and quicker than your driver or fairway wood swing. When you make the transition to hybrid irons, however, you may want to transfer that feeling of a long smooth swing into your iron game. Taking plenty of time at the top of the swing to allow your lower body to get moving is a good idea. Let the club hang up at the top for just a moment, begin your lower body turn toward the target, and then let the club follow. This rhythm may take some time to learn, especially with some of the shorter clubs, but it can produce impressive results when you get comfortable.
  • Choke down to flatten it out. Just like when using a traditional iron, you can choke down on the club to flatten your ball flight. This isn’t going to have as dramatic of an effect as when you do it with a regular iron, since the volume of the club head is still going to work to get the ball airborne to at least some degree, but you should be able to flatten out your flight a bit. That’s good news for a couple of reasons. First, it will help you take a bit of distance off your shots, which is good when you are stuck between clubs. Also, hitting a flatter shot is useful in windy conditions, which you are bound to face from time to time. Practice choking down on your hybrid irons on the range, so you are comfortable with this move on the course.

Overall, you don’t have to make any dramatic changes to your golf swing in order to get hybrid irons to work for you. The biggest thing is that you will want to think about swinging these clubs a bit more like fairway woods than traditional irons. With that concept in mind, and with plenty of practice, you should start to see nice results sooner rather than later.

Solving Problems

Solving Problems

It would be great if everything went smoothly in the game of golf – but you know that isn’t how it works. This is a hard game, and you are going to have to put in plenty of work if you want to make progress. That means that the switch to hybrid irons isn’t guaranteed to so smoothly, and you are likely to encounter some struggles along the way. When you do hit a rough patch, don’t let it get you down – instead, embrace the challenge and work to get better one swing at a time.

While there are many different potential problems that could come up, the list below covers a few common issues.

  • Hitting the ball fat. If you seem to be hitting the ball too heavy at the moment of impact, robbing you of distance and making it difficult to get the ball of the turf, you might need to shallow out your swing path. Swinging down too steeply is an easy mistake to make, especially if you have been using traditional irons for many years. Don’t be surprised if this issue comes up early on, and just keep working to get through it. In addition to making sure you are swinging on a relatively flat plane, also pay attention to the way you are turning through the ball. A poor turn toward the target is another problem that can lead to fat shots.
  • Struggling with distance control. This is perhaps the issue that you are most likely to face early on after making the swing to hybrid irons. A big part of success in the iron game is hitting the ball the right distance, and you have most likely gotten used to the distance your regular irons can hit the ball over the years. When you make a big change like this, those distances are going to be all thrown off. You may hit your short irons further, which sounds like a good thing until you realize that means you’ll be struggling to figure out which club to hit for your approach shots. The only thing to do about this issue is to keep accumulating experience and get used to your new yardages. In just a few rounds, you should gain enough knowledge of your distances to be able to pick the right club most of the time.
  • Hitting shots too high. One of the advantages of using hybrid irons is that they make it easier to get the ball up into the air. However, that benefit can go too far, if you start to hit the ball way up into the sky. Most players find their best results with a medium ball flight that is comfortably off the ground but not floating so high that it’s hard to control the shot. If you find that your hybrid irons are flying too high, there are a couple potential solutions. It might be that the shafts in your hybrid irons are too soft for your swing, in which case you might need to have that equipment issue addressed. Also, it could be that you are simply trying to help the ball off the ground, using your right hand at impact to ‘scoop’ the ball and add a bit of loft to the club. If you are trying to help the ball up off the ground, remember that the point of switching to hybrid irons was in part to make it easier to get the ball into the air. There is no need to do anything extra to get the ball off the ground – just make your swing and trust the club to do the work.

The best thing you can do when faced with a challenge in golf is to meet it with a positive attitude. Rather than seeing struggles as a negative that you have to deal with, look at them as an opportunity to learn something about your game and develop yourself as a player. Without struggles, there would be no opportunity to improve. Think carefully about the issues you are facing with your hybrid irons and work toward finding solutions.

The Big Picture

The Big Picture

It’s one thing to learn how to hit your hybrid irons properly. These are clubs that are designed to be easy to hit, so you shouldn’t have to work too hard to make progress from a ball striking perspective. But that’s only half the battle. Perhaps the bigger issue is learning how to use these clubs on the course in order to produce lower scores. You will have to get used to the way these clubs perform, from how far they hit the ball to how much your shots spin, how the ball responds out of the rough, and much more.

The on-the-course piece of the puzzle is the one that many golfers forget about when making any kind of equipment change. No matter which part of your set you have swapped out for new gear, there is going to be a transition period when you don’t perform quite as well as you would like. Even if you are hitting the ball beautifully on the range, you should still expect to have some struggles before you start to see your scores improve. Before even thinking about purchasing a set of hybrid irons, make sure you are okay with this transition period, and understand that you might have to take a step back in order to take a couple steps forward.

We hope this discussion of hybrid iron sets has been helpful as you decide how you are going to move forward with your game. There is plenty for senior golfers to like about hybrid irons, but that doesn’t mean they will work for everyone. You know your game better than anyone else, so it’s only appropriate that you make this decision for yourself. Now that you have a bit of information on what these clubs can do and how they are used, you can start to think seriously about trying them out. With any luck, hybrid irons will improve your performance in a number of ways, and you can take your game to a higher level in the near future. Good luck!