When faced with a shot around 200 yards, many golfers ponder whether they should pull a fairway wood or hybrid to hit the proper shot.
There are different scenarios on the course including how well you swing the club, what you want to achieve with the shot and how you are feeling during the round that can contribute to the decision.
This article will explain the differences between the clubs and when you should use one or the other.
What Is A Fairway Wood
A fairway wood is a type of golf club in the “wood and driver family”. It is constructed similarly to a driver with its round type head but is much smaller. The sweet spot is closer to the ground compared to a golf driver. It also has a flatter clubface.
Fairway woods are often 3-woods and 5-woods. 3-woods are usually between 15-18 degrees and 5-woods are found around 20-22 degrees.
There are 4-woods and 7-woods as well but they are rarely used and more difficult to find.
What Is A Hybrid Golf Club
Hybrid clubs are designed to substitute a golfer’s 2-iron through 5-iron depending on their preference. Many players have trouble hitting long irons so they swap to a more forgiving hybrid as an alternative.
Players are supposed to be able to hit hybrids easier than fairway woods.
Hybrids are literally the definition of a “hybrid” between a long iron and a fairway wood. In appearance, build and purpose.
Hybrids are also called rescue clubs. So if you see for example: “rescue hybrid vs. fairway wood” the rescue hybrid is just another name for a hybrid. Fairway wood is also another name for wood.
Difference Between Fairway Wood And Hybrid
Hybrids are typically shorter in length and lighter than woods. Woods are typically longer similar to the driver. For example, a normal 5-wood is 42 inches in length versus a 2-iron that is 39 inches. Golfers sometimes struggle with longer shafts in maintaining a consistent swing.
Hybrids golf clubs feature a lower center of gravity than woods allowing them to be more forgiving and easier to reach higher ball flight.
A fairway wood features a much larger sole than a hybrid golf club making it easier to hit the ground before the ball causing an wayward shot.
When hitting a fairway wood, the ball should be near the front of your stance. Hybrids are smaller and play more like irons, with the ball closer to the middle of your stance.
When swinging a fairway wood, a golfer should take a more level swing. The clubface should be “parallel to the ground as it sweeps the ball off the fairway.”
With a hybrid, a player can attack the ball at a steeper angle similarly to how they would hit an iron. A good shot with a hybrid should entail a divot slightly further than where the ball lied.
Hybrid Vs Fairway Wood Distance Chart
3-wood distance vs 3-hybrid distance
The average 3-wood distance for a man is 210 yards. For a woman it is 180 yards.
The average 3-hybrid distance for a male is 190 yards. For a female it is about 160-170.
5-wood vs 3-hybrid distance
The 5-wood and 3-hybrid are very similar in terms of distance. Both are hit about 190 yards by male golfers. For females 160-170.
When To Use A Fairway Wood
- Off the tee on a narrow fairway.
- Off the fairway into a green with little trouble around it.
- If you’re facing the wind.
- You have a good lie.
- When you’re trying to be aggressive such as reaching a par-5 in two strokes.
When To Use A Hybrid Golf Club
- When you’re struggling while hitting your woods or long irons.
- You’re in the rough or don’t have a good lie.
- To chip with it on a flat area leading onto the green.
- When you’re playing downwind.
- When you need the ball to bite more than a wood.
Do I Need A Hybrid And A Fairway Wood?
At the end of the day, it is all preference for what a golfer wants to carry in his or her bag. Although, since tournament rules state that you can only have 14 clubs in the bag, it isn’t recommended to carry two clubs that perform extremely similar.
For example, it might not be wise to carry both a wood and hybrid that reach 190 yards. This could take away the potential to have another club in your bag that you might need around the green such as an extra wedge.
What Hybrid Replaces 3 Wood?
A 15 or 16 degree hybrid would help replace a 3-wood although it would be difficult to find one. Most 3-hybrids are sold with higher lofts. Regardless of what hybrid you choose replacing a 3 wood with a hybrid will entail a sacrifice in distance.
Having a 3-wood and a 3-hybrid is ideal because they don’t have the same yardages or lofts.
A 3-hybrid or 5-wood is more similar in loft and length off the tee. Having these two together in the bag might not be logical.
What Hybrid Is Equivalent To A 7 Wood?
The average loft for a 7-wood ranges from 20-24 degrees. Depending if it is closer to 20 degrees then a 3-hybrid would be an appropriate comparison. If it is closer to 24 degrees then a 4-hybrid would be its equivalent.
The difference between a 7-wood vs. a hybrid or vs. a 5-wood is that the heads of the 7-wood and hybrid will be smaller and more versatile than the 5-wood.
After reading this article you should be able to know next time what situation to use a 3-hybrid or a 5-wood. Both hybrids and woods can be used in many different ways from many yards out to chipping on the green. It is up to the golfer which one they would rather have in the golf bag or if they want both.
Be sure to share your experiences with woods and hybrids in the comments section.
Lawrence Smelser is part of the Golfible editorial staff and is a freelance golf writer. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour and most recently the 2019 Masters. He holds a journalism Bachelor's degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas