Hybrid Golf Clubs – Technologically Advanced or Avoiding the Issue with 3 and 4 Irons?

Next time you are on the golf course and have a few spare moments, check the bag of any amateur hacker. It is a good bet that while the 6, 7, 8 and 9 irons will be well used, the driver showing marks of hundreds of errant drives and fairway woods the same, a quick look at the 3 or 4 iron will make you wonder if the club had been bought only yesterday.

For the amateur golfer, the 3 and 4-irons are their playing nemesis. Most amateurs would prefer to try and smack a 5-iron beyond the limits of human capabilities, or choke down awkwardly on a fairway wood, than try to hit a 200-yard 3-iron into a tight green.


In some cases, golfers would rather perform dentistry on an angry alligator without anaesthetic, than entrust their round to a thump with one of the offending clubs.

Certainly, in terms of hitting the ball cleanly, the low irons provide a stern test for the amateur golfer. While woods will give us distance and the nice, rounded shape of the neck allows us to take a leisurely swing in a more open stance, place a 3-iron in the hand of a new golfer and suddenly everything changes.

Most golfers get used to hitting 5, 6 and 7 irons on the range. They can sweep the ball away in a satisfying arc after relatively little effort and tuition. Drivers are teed up with monotonous regularity and even fairway woods are given undue attention to get right. However, five disastrous shots with a low iron often sees them merely shiny passengers in the bag on a round of golf.

Of course, why this state of affairs exists is not too difficult to understand. Blast a 3-iron into a driving range mat and the reverberation around your body is enough to rattle the fillings in your teeth. Similarly, shanking the ball or not striking it cleanly, sends a shockwave up the club that is the golfing equivalent of sticking a fork into an electrical socket. Your hand vibrates so much afterwards that when you fling the club back in the bag, the vibrations cause the other clubs in the bag to chime like tubular bells.



Yet, despite this and perhaps because of its rarity for the amateur golfer, a truly well hit 3-iron or 4-iron is often one of the most beautiful, cleanest and graceful shots you can play. Once you can put all your concerns out your mind and time your swing to perfection, you barely feel the contact as the ball is swept away down the fairway, climbing high into the air before landing perfectly in position for the approach.

For the professional of course, such shots are mundane reality. For the amateur, they are almost the Holy Grail of a round. Tales of a fantastic 3-iron approach are the staple of a golfers’ stories for many years.

Now though, many amateurs 3-irons will sit in their bags, or will now be taken out of them thanks to a singular development in golfing technology – hybrid golf clubs.

Certainly for the amateur, hybrids make striking the ball over these distances much easier. They may not be the purists’ choice and they may not offer the same feel or control for the low handicapper or professional golfer, but for amateur hackers who viewed the 3-iron as a nemesis, they are ideal.



That said, it is also a great sadness. Learning to hit low irons was a real skill and one that radically helped improve your game. Now, that skill is being replaced by hybrid golf clubs who offer an alternative. Effective, perhaps, but as romantic and challenging? It is difficult to say.  Technology has provided golfers with an alternative to learning a critical skill and improving it, but is that evidence of progress, or avoiding the issue?

As Lee Trevino once remarked (now a pretty standard joke on the course…); “If you are caught on a golf course during a storm and are afraid of lightning, hold up a 1-iron. Not even God can hit a 1-iron.”

On the other hand. Low irons are great for getting out of the trees….

And now, thanks to hybrids, fewer golfers will experience that joy too.


Images by Gorilla Golf Blog©



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Adrien September 16, 2011

Awesome review, I like your site.


Tommy Priest October 22, 2011

Thank you.


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