3 Iron Vs 3 Hybrid: What The Stats Say Is Best For You

We look at what the Arccos data tells us is best to use for your handicap

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Which club is best in your bag? Arccos has analysed its millions of shots to determine which club would work best for you

3 Iron Vs 3 Hybrid: What The Stats Say Is Best

It’s a conundrum many golfers face but it can be tricky to know which route to go down for this crucial slot in the bag.

Our data partnership with Arccos gives us greater insight into the actual performance differences of both these clubs from data set of more than 300 million shots recorded over 5 million rounds and it unearthed a few interesting trends.

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The first is that the 3-iron is not dead. In fact, handicaps of 10 and below hit their 3-iron further than their 3 hybrids. It isn’t until a 17 handicap where the 3 hybrid becomes the longer club.

And even then, it’s nominal, with 17 handicappers averaging 166 yards with their 3-irons and 167 with their 3-hybrids

This is possibly because 3-iron shots will have lower spin and therefore run out more after landing. The second trend is that golfers are selecting the 3 hybrid on shots where a 3-wood is actually the correct choice!

Handicaps of 5 and under typically pull their 3 iron or 3 hybrid facing shots of 220-230 yards but actually average 197-210 yards with their 3-wood. With a 3-wood, they could decrease the disparity between how far they think they hit the ball, and how far they actually hit it, by 10 to 15 yards.

Interestingly, for higher handicap Arccos players in the 20 to 25 range, the extra distance provided by the 3-wood’s loft, lie and shaft length is negligible (five to seven yards) over the 3-iron and 3-hybrid and with the 3-hybrid being a much easier club to get airborne off the fairway, and it’s dispersion being lower, it’s the smarter play for bogey golfers.

Arccos players with 20-handicaps (bogey golfers as defined by the USGA) select 3-irons on 213-yard shots but only end up hitting it 162 yards. For 3-hybrid, it’s 220 and 163 yards, respectively.

Food for thought!

Joel Tadman
Technical Editor

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.


One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 87 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.3.


Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: TaylorMade P770, 4-7 iron, TaylorMade P7MC 8-PW 

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 50°, 54° and a Titleist Vokey SM9 60° lob wedge 

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2021 Titleist Pro V1x