When should you switch from irons into hybrids?

degree loft of golf clubs

Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach Ged Walters asks when should you switch from irons to hybrids. He hits shots at different swing speeds to find out and the answer might surprise you!

In this piece we wanted to answer a simple but very important question – that is, when should you switch from irons into hybrids? There comes a point for every player, whether you are a high handicap beginner or Rory McIlroy, when less loft equates to less distance. This is physics. The answer to the question when should you switch from irons into hybrids, revolves around swing speed.

To help illustrate the point we conducted a simple equipment test. I hit my 4, 5 and 6-irons at full speed. As you can see from the results below, the 10 yard gaps between my long irons is exactly what every player should be looking for. However, my swing speed is higher than average. My long iron swing speed is over 90mph but this is not the case for most golfers.

When should you switch from irons into hybrids

As you can see, there is a nice distance gap between each iron – 10 to 15 yards is roughly what you should be looking for. At my swing speed I can go up to a 4-iron and each club goes further than the previous one. But what happens when you swing the club at a more average pace.

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To find out, I then swung the club at around 75mph with my 4, 5 and 6 irons. The shaft was the same so I would be able to find a little more distance with a softer shaft in each but the point remains the same. At this lesser speed, the results are dramatically different.

When should you switch from irons to hybrids

As you can see, the 6-iron is travelling further than both the 5 and 4-irons. This is because, with less speed you need more loft to get the ball up and away. Without the speed you lack the spin to keep the ball in the air and it falls short.

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This illustrates just how important it is to switch into clubs with a centre of gravity that is further back in the head. Hybrids will help launch and spin the ball higher with less loft. For the majority of average golfers my advice would be to lose the 5 and 4-irons and move into hybrids after your 6-iron.

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As always, it makes sense to go through this process with a fitter but it illustrates how important it is to go into a fitting with an open mind about the outcome.

When asking, when should you switch from irons into hybrids, the truth for many of golfer is sooner than you think!

Neil Tappin
Digital Editor

In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."

Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X