Fairway Woods Vs Hybrids – Which Club Are Better To Carry

Fairway woods and hybrids are extremely important clubs to have in your bag. They are designed to hit the ball further than an iron, and are easier to hit off the ground than a driver.

Both of these clubs are extremely versatile, meaning they can be used to hit a number of different shots from high and low and fades or draws. They can also be used from different lies like the tee box to fairway and rough or even around the greens.

Choosing the right club for your game is very important, because if you have the wrong club, they can actually do more harm than good. Below we will break down everything you need to know, to help you make your next purchase that much easier.

What Are Fairway Woods Good For Traditionally

As the name states, fairway woods were initially designed to hit off the fairway, the shape of the head being more shallow allows for solid contact with the ball off the ground, unlike a driver. From there the fairway wood has evolved, with more lofts added like the 5, 7 and 9 wood they became more versatile. See fairway wood loft table below:

        Number          

     Fairway Wood   

Loft

3

15

5

18

7

21

9

24

*based on TaylorMade Stealth Fairway wood

The 3 fairway wood is used more off the tee and sometimes on par 5s for your second shots. It has the least loft which means it goes the furthest and lowest, the 3 fairway wood is great to use on shorter tighter par 4s, where accuracy is needed over distance.

The 5, 7 and 9 fairway woods go shorter and higher than the 3 fairway wood. This makes them easier to hit from the fairway and rough.

They all go different distances, the 3 fairway wood going the longest and the 9 fairway wood goes the shortest.

What Are Hybrids Good For Traditionally

The hybrid is probably golf’s latest invention, in the early 2000’s the hybrid club was invented. The hybrid was designed to make the game easier.

It is a club that replaces your long irons, most manufacturers make hybrids from 2 to 9 hybrid, see our chart below. The weight of the head is moved away from the face and put towards the back of the head, this makes the club more forgiving and easier to launch

     Number     

  Hybrid Loft  

   Traditional   

   Iron Loft

     Modern     

Iron Loft

2

17

19

 

3

19

21

19

4

21

24

21

5

24

27

23.5

6

27

31

26.5

7

30

35

30.5

8

33

39

35

9

36

43

40

*Hybrid based on Callaway Rogue ST Max OS *Traditional loft based on TaylorMade P7MB *Modern Loft based on TaylorMade P790

You can use a hybrid from any lie, that is the best thing about it. It will go slightly shorter than a fairway wood, however it will be a lot more accurate. It can be used from the tee, fairway, rough and even to bump and runs around the greens. It is the most versatile club in our bag.

Key Differences Between Fairway Woods And Hybrids

The main differences between a fairway wood and hybrid are the following

  1. The length – fairway woods are longer in length compared to a hybrid
  2. Size of the head – a fairway wood has a bigger head size compared to a hybrid
  3. Distance – because of the two differences above, a fairway wood will go further than a hybrid
  4. Accuracy – naturally because a hybrid is shorter than a fairway wood in theory it will go straighter.

Key Similarities Between Fairway Woods And Hybrids

The main similarities between a fairway wood and hybrid are the following

  1. Both are made from steel, however there are a few fairway woods made from titanium
  2. Both are designed for distance
  3. Both are designed to get the ball up in the air easier than an long iron

What’s Better From The Tee

They can both be used from the tee, however a fairway wood would be the best. Generally you need to hit the ball far off the tee, so a fairway would go further than a hybrid making it the better option. If distance isn’t needed off the tee, opting for a hybrid could be the better option as it is more accurate.

What’s Better From The Fairway

You would think that the fairway wood is better off the fairway, but the hybrid should be your preferred choice when hitting off the fairway, unless you are hitting a 5 wood or less. A 3 fairway wood is too difficult to hit from the fairway, the majority of tour professionals don’t even do it. The low loft and longer length combined make it very difficult. Going with a 5 wood or hybrid is a much better choice

What’s Better From The Rough

The hybrid should be your go to from the rough, it slides through the rough much easier than a fairway wood. Similar to hitting from the fairway, going with a 5 fairway wood or less would be a better choice from the rough if you don’t have a hybrid.

Should You Carry Just Fairway Woods, Hybrids Or Should You Carry Both?

This all depends on your playing ability. We recommend all mid to high handicap players to play with a fairway wood and a hybrid. Just make sure you have the correct lofts so you don’t hit two different clubs the same distance. For example a 5 wood and a 3 hybrid have the same loft.

When it comes to a low handicap player or professional, you rarely see them with hybrids, this is because better players don’t have an issue hitting their long irons. Most would either have a 3 or 5 fairway wood, and sometimes both. Having a hybrid for better players all comes down to preference.

Is A Fairway Wood Or Hybrid Better For High Handicappers

We would recommend high handicap players stay away from a 3 wood, the length and loft make it difficult to hit off the ground. From 5 fairway wood and down is fine to use, as well as all hybrids. If you have to choose we would stay stick to hybrids if you are a high handicap player, they are much easier to hit.

Is A Fairway Wood Or Hybrid Better For Mid Handicappers

If you are a mid handicap player you should be able to hit a fairway wood and hybrid equally well. Again we would recommend being cautious with a 3 fairway wood. Definitely try it out, but if it doesn’t work opt for going with a 5 wood or 3 hybrid instead.

Is A Fairway Wood Or Hybrid Better For Low Handicappers

A fairway wood would be the better option if you are a low handicap player. You should have enough skill to hit a fairway wood. For the better player it is much easier to hit a long iron, and a hybrid tends to go to the left because of the way the club is set up. But that is not to say low handicap players should not use a hybrid. If it works for you it works. At the end of the day we need to try to make the game as easy as possible.

Loft & Distance Comparison Table

Number    

  Hybrid Loft  

  Traditional  

Iron Loft

    Modern    

Iron Loft

 Fairway Wood 

Loft

2

17

19

   

3

19

21

19

15

4

21

24

21

 

5

24

27

23.5

18

6

27

31

26.5

 

7

30

35

30.5

21

8

33

39

35

 

9

36

43

40

24

*Hybrid based on Callaway Rogue ST Max OS *Traditional loft based on TaylorMade P7MB *Modern Loft based on TaylorMade P790

Hybrids Vs Long Irons

Irons generally have a much smaller profile compared to a hybrid. This means the majority of the weight in the head of an iron is close to the head, this does a few things, it produces a lower ball flight, decreases spin and makes it unforgiving.

A hybrid has a larger head, this allows the weight to be pulled away from the face, increasing launch, spin and makes it much more forgiving compared to an iron.

You can see why it is recommended for a high handicap player to use a hybrid instead of long irons.

Does A 5 Wood Hit Further Than A 3 Hybrid?

Yes, but only because of the length and the slightly larger head size. A 5 fairway wood and 3 hybrid generally have the same loft, meaning they should go the same distance, but the 5 fairway wood has a longer length and head sizes giving it a slight edge on distance over the hybrid.

Conclusion

The fairway wood and hybrid were both designed to make the game easier. Having one in your bag can make a massive difference to your scores, but having the wrong one in your bag can do some unwanted damage.

The rule of thumb is a hybrid is more forgiving than a fairway wood, however it will go shorter. We highly recommend going to a fitting to test out a few options. If you can’t make it out to a fitting, test out a 5 fairway wood or 3 hybrid before moving onto a 3 wood.