Fairway wood or hybrid?

The Scoop

It's a tough choice. Take a fairway wood or reach for the hybrid? Should you carry both? The NCG team get stuck in to another debate...

Steve Carroll: It was a halcyon day for my game at the weekend. After years of commitment issues, I’ve finally taken the plunge.

I’ve bought a 3-wood.

Outside of the driver, I won’t have consistently had a club with a loft this low in my bag for the best part of a decade.

I’ve just not been able to hit a fairway wood, producing an ugly low hook that’s done for more than one unfortunate bird down the years.

If I’ve needed a bit of length off the deck, I’ve always preferred a hybrid – for its shorter shaft and ease of use in the rough.

But I’m on the verge of single figures now, my winter game is in very good shape and, if I’m ever to see the number 9 after my handicap, I’ve got to get more aggressive on long par 4s and shorter par 5s.

So I’ve opted for a TaylorMade M1, the high launching model. I can keep it at 17 degrees, or alter it to either 15 or 19.

fairway wood

I’m expecting a degree of discomfort and am going to have to resist the urge to reach for the hybrid every time I fail to get a stellar contact off the deck.

Did I do the right thing? Is a fairway the right option or have I merely wasted my money when I’ve got two perfectly good hybrids sitting in the bag?

Mark Townsend: In the words of one manufacturer my bold advice would be to LOFT UP.

None of us can flight a fairway wood so have a few more degrees in the locker.

My simple way of thinking, away from TrackMan and spin rates and other numbers that most people haven’t got any grasp of, is to have a club that travels 225 yards which will look after the longest of par 3s and some sort of respectable respite from unsheathing the driver every time.

I have also just last week reinstated a 3-wood which I can’t hit off the fairway but is worth it for the reassurance that I can still manage if the driver breaks down.

Dan Murphy: This is why I could never fail to take up my maximum permitted allocation of clubs in competition.

The answer is not either/or but both. I agree with Mark that the 3-wood is there as an insurance policy.

I also find it helps my rhythm and encourages me to play within myself to pull a 3-wood out off the tee sometimes rather than hammer driver all day.

From the fairway, I’d rather be using a 5-wood really. But then I’d also like at least two hybrids in the bag too. And some Crossovers. And maybe a long iron. Nurse, nurse…

Ping crossover v long iron

Will Shucksmith: 4-wood every day. Crossover if I wanted to hit something more penetrating off the tee but I couldn’t fathom hitting a 2 iron – or because they don’t make them anymore!

 

Craig Middleton: If I had to choose I’d go with a hybrid.

Think it gives you a few more options rather than just off the tee and on a longish par 5.

Also, there’s a chance you can hit a hybrid out of a fairway bunker, I wouldn’t even entertain the thought of trying that with a fairway wood.

SC: I don’t think I’ve ever thought about hitting a hybrid out of a bunker…

CM: Oh I have. Failed miserably but I know its possible. I’ve seen my good friend Peter Finch do it.

Georgina Simpson: Having had both in the bag in the last 3 years, a year ago, during a PING fitting at Gainsborough, I tried a 7-wood.

After seeing the difference in flight and hold in the air, instead of the flatter flight I had got used to seeing with the hybrid, my mind was made up to change.

I have since got so much more out of the G30 7-wood than I ever did with my hybrid.  When I need to hit it high to a tight pin on a long par 3, this club has become invaluable.

Equally if I need to get out of long rough, it’s the club!  It is now my favourite club in the bag and very versatile. Before Christmas we did some filming for a one club shoot out for NCG and I even got out of a bunker with it!

CM: I remember hitting my hybrid really well at Ganton when me and James Savage took down former Tour pro Georgina Simpson and scratch golfer Tom Irwin.

JS: You need a couple of hybrids Craig. That gap of 4-iron to 3-wood in your bag is absolutely ridiculous.

CM: I know. The thought of the gap sickens me personally. Luckily I have a Ping G 4-hybrid back in the house.

TI: I remember wanting to wrap my 3-wood around Craig’s head at Ganton, when his season long sandbagging came to fruition. The larger head gave it the edge over the hybrid.

Alex Perry: I’ve never hit a good shot with a hybrid. I just can’t get on with them. I always want to swing them like a wood, rather than an iron.

Why is that? I think I need to get down to The Shack. The likelihood, however, is that I’ll continue to hit a three-quarter 5-wood…

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