The modern day golf bag contains a great variety of clubs that the player will use in order to overcome all types of difficult situations encountered on the golf course. For years the top professionals were tied to one club manufacturer, but in recent times players have not restricted themselves and will now use a variety of clubs sourced from different producers.
Fairway woods and hybrids are similar in the distances they can produce but different in many other ways. Hybrid vs wood – let the battle begin!
Difference Between Fairway Woods and Hybrids
Let’s start the hybrid vs fairway wood battle with a history lesson. Fairway woods have been used by golfers for a long time whereas the hybrids are certainly the “new kids on the block”.
The hybrids were introduced to actually replace the long irons such as the 2 iron and 3 iron.
These clubs are difficult for the golfer to hit sweetly whereas when striking a hybrid it is easier to find a purer contact.
One of the most striking differences between the two clubs is that different swing techniques are needed for each club in order to achieve the best results.
To be rewarded with a good contact when hitting a fairway wood the ball should be placed closer to the front foot, similar in position to when using a driver. When striking a hybrid the place should be more in the center of the stance similar to when striking a long-distance iron.
When striking a fairway wood a long sweeping shallow swing is required similar to the one used when using a driver. When hitting a hybrid the swing needs to be steeper and some players will even take a divot out of the fairway.
The hybrid is definitely the club to use in deeper rough conditions and it is actually sometimes referred to as a rescue club.
The steeper swing means that the club is able to cut through the longer vegetation. The longer swing employed by a fairway wood is best suited on shorter grass and is ideal for the longer distances.
The club head of the hybrid is denser and deeper than the fairway wood. The fairway wood’s club head is broader which means that when it comes to the sweet spot it is far greater on the hybrid making it more reliable.
However, although the sweet spot on the wood is not as wide it is actually more powerful which means that greater distance can be produced when using a fairway wood.
Length and weight
Fairway woods are longer and heavier than hybrid clubs. The average size of a fairway wood is 42 inches while the hybrids are the same length as the irons they are supposed to have replaced.
This is important for many players who feel more confident in swinging a shorter club.
There are different angles of loft available for both fairway woods and hybrids. However, generally, the ball will fly higher with a hybrid than for a fairway wood.
As well as the club head on the hybrid being denser and deeper it also has its center of gravity at the back of the club.
This will send the ball naturally on a higher flight path than the fairway wood whose center of gravity is found nearer the front of the club.
Fairway woods are generally longer than the hybrid clubs but they are not as reliable. When hitting a ball with a fairway wood the ball tends to roll further forward on impact as a result of the low trajectory of the ball.
The hybrid’s distance is virtually all in the air as when it lands it does so softly, so stopping very quickly.
Attacking the flag
The hybrid club is definitely the better club to use when attacking the flag from over 160 yards. This is due to the accuracy of its strike and also its natural loft.
The ball will land softer on the green when it comes from a higher flat path. When the ball approaches when struck by a fairway wood it will often run through the green as a result of its lower flight path.
The TaylorMade M5 fairway wood is popular among many players and Woods has made it a vital club in his game.
He likes to use the Callaway Apex hybrid and he was one of a growing number of PGA golfers who now use the hybrid variety.
Justifying using both clubs
There is definitely a case to argue that there are certain situations where the use of a hybrid is ideal yet there will be other times where the fairway wood will be the correct club to choose.
On the whole most club players today will choose the hybrid as they feel they are in greater control of the club. It is also useful in getting the ball up and out of the rough and it also holds up well on greens.
However, fairway woods are popular on long wide fairways and every professional golfer carries at least one in their bags. If the conditions are right the ball can roll major distances and many eagles have been recorded as a result of using these clubs.
They are also handy when playing into strong winds. Good players can use the fairway woods in hitting low shots under the winds and valuable yards can be gained.
One of the leading hybrids has been the Callaway Epic Flash and the company has spent both time and money in fine-tuning their product.
The same attention to detail is seen in the productiontion of fairway woods. The Ping G410 is a best selling fairway wood and its high-end production has attracted many customers.
There are clearly many potential buyers for both clubs as these companies would not waste money on research and development for products that are not likely to sell.
Hybrid vs wood: And the winner is…
Trying to compare the fairway woods to hybrids is a difficult task because the outcome is entirely subjective.
There are times when a particular club is clearly going to be the best option and one’s own particular preference can change from golf course to golf course, and even from day to day.
Many golfers have done away completely with their low irons and replaced them with a variety of fairway woods and hybrids.
A golfer is only allowed 14 clubs in their bag but they can choose what type of clubs they wish to carry. At the end of the day, the player’s own personal preference will be the major factor if he, or she, wishes to decide between the two clubs.
Check out the best selling fairway woods here
Best selling rescue clubs in 2024
There is clearly not a definitive answer but I hope this article cleared up the main differences between these two clubs. Let us know in the comments if you prefer hybrids or woods!
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