5 Iron vs 5 Hybrid – What’s The Difference?

In this article we take a look at the 5-iron and the 5-hybrid to understand how they differ, what similarities the have and which club you might choose depending on your style and experience.

Hybrid golf clubs first appeared in the late 1990s to aid golfers at all levels of the game to strike the ball better and achieve a higher ball trajectory.

The forgiveness offered by a hybrid has made them easier to hit and this made them very popular. This piece will guide you in the selection of the most suitable one, if not both, for your bag.

The distance and ball trajectory is dependent on a few factors and the launch angle of the club is one of them. If all other factors such as swing speed, and ball contact remain the same you should achieve the same distance every time.

The maximum carry distance a golfer can hit a ball with a particular club will vary widely, depending on the golfer’s experience and skill. However, you will add between 5 and 8 yards to the carry distance with a hybrid with a similar launch angle.

Hybrid golf clubs have a lower center of gravity than their iron counterparts resulting in a higher trajectory. Since the trajectory of the iron is lower than that of the hybrid you will get more roll out of a shot struck with a 5-iron.

What is a 5-Iron?

A 5-iron falls into the mid-iron category with a metal clubhead with a thinner club head than the hybrid version of a 5 -iron. The 5-iron is most often used off the fairway, semi-rough, and sometimes from the rough.

When you are on an uphill and do not want your shot to balloon the 5-iron comes in handy to keep a lower trajectory. Knowing how to hit a 5-iron can be extremely beneficial for your longer approach shots.

5-Iron Advantages

  • The 5-iron provides more control due to increased thickness of the face
  • Good for fairway, rough, and very hilly areas

5-Iron Disadvantages

  • Not suitable in very thick rough

5 Iron Vs 5 Hybrid

There are some substantial differences between the 5-iron and the 5-hybrid. The trajectory, control, carry distance, and roll out can vary. If you are uncomfortable hitting your 5-iron it may be time to invest in a hybrid.  Should you experience more mishits with the hybrid it may be more beneficial to stick with your 5-iron.

When you decide to replace your iron with a hybrid try and stay within a similar launch angle that may be a little stronger. This will keep the hybrid in a similar range as your iron and ensure that your bag mapping is not disturbed too much.

The trajectory of the ball struck by a 5-iron differs a bit from a ball struck by a 5-hybrid. The iron produces a lower trajectory thus will be able to go under trees from the rough where the hybrid is more likely to go higher and into the trees.

The higher trajectory of the hybrid will provide more control and stopping power on your long approach shots while the 5-iron shot will roll further. The carry difference can make the difference whether you go for the green or not if there is water in front of the green.

Loft

There is no industry standard defined for the loft of each club. Manufacturers experiments with the loft of the set to provide less gap between clubs. Your new set of clubs could have different launch angles that you have to get used to and map your bag from scratch.

A typical 5-iron loft is between 27 degrees and 28 degrees and is best replaced with a 24-27 degree hybrid.

Standard Length

The length of the shaft is also not standardized across all manufacturers. The length of the shaft is important and an incorrect length will affect the effectiveness of your swing. When replacing your 5-iron with a 5-hybrid try and keep to the same length shaft but try and avoid more than ½ inch difference.

Most manufacturers provide a 5-iron golf club for men with 37.5-inch steel shafts or a 38 inch a Graphite shaft. Shaft for women is on average 1 inch shorter than the specifications for men.

Clubhead Speed

The club head of a 5-iron is manufactured from steel making it heavier and slows down your swing speed impacting the ball speed.

The average swing speed of a 5-iron is approximately 80% of your driver swing speed. An average professional golfer on the PGA tour will reach a swing speed of 94 miles per hour and a professional golfer on the LPGA will reach a swing speed of 79 miles per hour.

Distance and Trajectory

The carry distance that a ball travels is determined by the number and loft of the club. The lower the number of the club the higher the loft and the shorter the distance that the ball travels.

Carry distance statistics used are from the professional tours and serves as guidance only as the swing speed and distances are extremely different between all golfers.

The PGA tour average statistics determined that the 5-iron golf club can achieve a carry distance of between 195 yards and 205 yards and achieve an apex of 31 yards

The LPGA tour reports average statistics for a 5-iron indicates that a professional can achieve 170 yards on average and achieve an apex of 23 yards.

The above-mentioned distances are carry distances only and do not include any roll.

Accuracy

The clubhead design of a hybrid is very different from that of a normal 5-iron with a lower center of gravity and thus more tolerant of mishits. Beginners and intermediate golfers will benefit tremendously from playing with a hybrid by hotting it further and more accurately than a 5-iron.

Professional golfers are unlikely to play hybrids for distance but rather because they can hit a more accurate shot. You are more likely to reach the maximum distance more consistently with a 5-hybrid than with a 5-iron.

Verdict

A 5-iron is a mid-iron that can be difficult to hit and replacing it with a 5-hybrid will aid you in improving the consistency of your game.

When replacing your 5-iron with a 5-hybrid keep your distance mapping in mind and ensure that you are not creating gaps in the mapping of your bag. Take a stronger loft on the hybrid to create a higher trajectory but retain your distance.

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