Hybrid or long iron? How to judge your lie

how to judge your lie

Golf Monthly Top 25 coach Keith Wood asks how to judge your lie and offers some simple guidance on when a hybrid is a better option than a long iron

How to judge your lie

When you arrive at your ball in the fairway, rough or bunker, your first challenge is to judge the lie. If it’s sitting on a good lie in the fairway, no problem – you can continue to work out your yardage and strategy from there. But if the lie is anything but perfect, you need to make decisions about the sort of shot you are going to hit.

One of the key choices you’ll need to make is over when a hybrid is a better option than a long iron and vice-versa. Remember the hybrid is designed to help you cut through some of the rough and heavier ground before the ball. The curved sole makes the rough less likely to snag around the heel – one of the main problems to look out for is the hosel getting caught, closing the face through impact and causing the ball to go left. The hybrid is less likely to suffer this fate than the long iron.

Also the hybrid has a slightly deeper face than the long iron. That will help the club get under the ball and aid the launch of the shot. With the mass lower and deeper in the head you'll create the spin required to get the ball up for a high launch and plenty of carry.

However, most importantly of all, you have the forgiveness of the head to fall back on. Your mishit should perform far better with a hybrid than a long iron.

The only occasions when a long iron might be a better option is if you want to shape the shot or, in particular, keep it low. The long iron is designed to do that and certainly the faster swingers amongst you will notice that benefit. The best thing to do is test both from a range of lies and you'll seethe results clearly...

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