When do you hit hybrids, when do you hit irons?

Here are a few scenarios of when it is recommended to hit a hybrid and when it is recommended to hit an iron.

First – A Hybrid is best thought of as a long / mid iron replacement.  It is a club with a wider sole and typically more weight on the bottom / sole of the club which makes it much easier to hit the longer shots (with the hybrid vs. the mid to long iron).   And it is much easier to hit the longer shots with height (due to lower center of gravity in the club) which typically allows the golf ball to “hold” on the green easier.

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Scenario #1: Ball in Rough

Depends how ball is sitting in the rough.  If the ball is sitting on the top or middle of the rough, can use a hybrid.

If the ball is sitting at the bottom of the rough (or in deep rough) – use an iron.  Might need iron with a lot of loft (wedge, etc.) if rough is deep enough need to get the ball up quick to get out of rough and back in fairway.

General Recommendation from the rough (when not buried in deep rough):

When distance is more important – hybrid.

When accuracy is more important – iron.

Always remember – if there is a question if hybrid will get ball out of rough or not, use an iron and get back into fairway.  Hybrids are great clubs from “mild” rough, but can get you in trouble if rough is too deep.

Scenario #2:  Ball in Fairway Bunker

A hybrid is a great club to hit out of fairway bunkers.  If you are hitting out of bunker and there is a minimal lip on bunker (don’t have to hit up fast) use the hybrid.

If the ball is sitting down in sand (buried type lie) or you have to get up quick (high lip on the bunker) – use an iron.

Scenario#3:  Hitting into the Wind

If it is minimal wind and you can account for the wind vs. added height of the hybrid – hit the hybrid.

If very windy and must keep shot down / low – use an iron.  It is relatively difficult to keep hybrids low and not very good clubs into a lot of wind.

Scenario #4:  Hitting below a Tree / Punch Type Shot

If you are hitting a low shot (punch type shot) below a tree, etc.. it is recommended to hit an iron.  Hybrids are built to get height fast, they are not good clubs to punch shots out below trees.  Would recommend hitting your longest (least lofted) iron vs. hitting an hybrid in these situations.

Scenario #5:  Chipping when ball is sitting into the Grain

Many times when a shot comes up short of a green and is on an uphill slope to the green, it is sitting “into the grain”.  Grain of the grass typically goes the way the water would roll off the hill.  In other words if your ball is sitting on a spot the water would roll away from the hole, your ball is probably sitting into the grain.

To test this, take a couple of practice strokes with an iron and “feel” the grass / grain.  If it feels “sticky” – like the club will not cut through the grass clean and with ease, your ball is sitting into the grain.  This type of shot, many times will be hit fat or “chunky” because the club will not get through the grass clean.  Use your hybrid for chipping in these situations.  The wider sole of the club will glide across the grass and will not get “stuck” into the grain.

Like any “specialty” shot – they require some practice.  Using the proper “tool” (hybrid vs. iron) is the first key to hitting the specialty shot.  The more you practice with the proper club in each scenario, the easier it will become.

If you can think of other scenarios of a hybrid vs. iron, let me know – happy to give recommendations in upcoming practice tips.