Hybrid or long iron?

The Scoop

In Association with Golf Care... Should you use a hybrid or a long iron? The NCG team discuss...

Steve Carroll: There’s a memorable episode of Father Ted – it’s Speed 3 for anyone who is interested – where Father Beeching is offered a simple choice.

‘Biscuit or cake?’ Mrs Doyle enquires. The hapless priest spends an eternity pondering, while, nearby, Father McGuire circles a roundabout with a bomb attached to his milk float.


This is how I feel about the question – hybrid or long iron?

The purist in me wants to be Ben Hogan. I want a plaque to mark the spot on the 17th hole at my club where I striped a 1-iron into the green on my way to winning the club championship.

The realist understands that hell has more chance of freezing over than I have of getting a solid strike out of such a square-faced club.

I hit hybrids really well but that hasn’t stopped me amassing a combination of (or all at the same time, actually) a 2-iron, 3-iron and two Crossovers.

Am I completely out of my mind? Should I just go driver, 5-wood hybrid and be done with it? Or can I squeeze in a beloved 3-iron?

Dan Murphy: I love the idea of a stinging, fast, direct long iron negating a headwind and bounding down baked links fairways. The reality is poorly struck, hand-tingling affairs resulting in rather embarrassing divots and second shots of over 200 yards.

That brings us to the hybrid, a life-saver so often and almost impossible to duff. And yet. When you need a stinger, or something related to it, out comes the moon ball. In windy British conditions you just don’t have the control.

That brings us to the Crossover, Ping’s new category which offers the look and control of a long iron and the forgiveness and playability of a hybrid.

It’s a great idea and I’m a huge fan.

James savage: As Dan rightly says, there’s no doubt a hybrid is much easier to hit. Especially from the rough. Conditions are a huge factor too.

If I’m hitting downwind and want maximum carry, then it’s a hybrid all day long for me. I tried hitting a hybrid into the teeth on a very windy evening at Crail last year and the ball very nearly finished behind me.

In similarly blustery conditions at Bradford earlier this year I was hitting my 4-iron further than my driver at times. So basically, I want a 4-iron or a 4 Crossover in my bag as well as couple of hybrids.

Will Shucksmith: All about the conditions and course on whether it gets a nod into my starting 14.

When I first got a 3 crossover it was the best thing I’ve ever hit, however a month in and something has changed, it is now the worst performing club in the bag and I’m debating whether to carry it (I genuinely can’t tell if it is a bad swing or the club just doesn’t suit), the penetrating ball flight is undeniable, but it just doesn’t have the control and consistency of a long iron.  For some strange reason I don’t want to drop it, I just can’t let go…

Mark Townsend: You can tell a lot about someone by their longest iron. ‘I just hit my 2-iron these days blah blah’ as they splutter their way round the course and get overpowered by 5,800 yards of hard-baked terrain.

Unless you’re Category 1 stick the 2-iron back in the garage, and then take out the 3 and 4 as well. And then have a think about a lesson and see whether you should get a couple of hybrids or lofted fairway woods. Why doesn’t the poorly 7-wood get more of a mention? Is like a holding midfielder, steadies the ship when everything is going arse about face and yet gets no praise.

James Savage: Why would you opt for a 7-wood over a hybrid?

Mark Townsend: Easier to hit

Will Shucksmith: Can you still buy them? My mum wanted one and I don’t think even possible to get an L-flex these days.

Mark Townsend: It’s not a spoon from the late 19th century, you can get them anywhere (though can’t promise Mrs Shucksmith will be able to locate the correct flex and torque)

Dan Murphy: Yes, they are essentially what we used to call 5-woods. Some people are better with fairways, others with hybrids. I think it largely depends on whether you are a sweeper or a digger.

James Savage: It is possible Will, most game-improvement fairway models will have an L-flex 7-wood.

Yonex EZone XPG, Ping Rhapsody, Cobra Max, TaylorMade Kalea are a fee that spring to mind.

That’s the beauty of hybrids as they work whether you are a sweeper or a digger. Maybe that’s why they are called hybrids.

Mark Townsend: I’m a ‘sweeper’ and don’t hit them very well, hence why fairway woods suit me more

Will Shucksmith: I’m a steeper and I don’t hit think they suit that type of swing either.

James Savage: Both of you are plenty good enough, technically, to hit a hybrid well. Mentally, you’ve talked yourself out of it.

Tom Lenton: I like to dig and often top woods

If I need to hit a fairway I favour a long iron. Just bought a Crossover and so far so good


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