Contrary to what an average person must be thinking, no, we are not talking about different species of trees. These are two very unique kinds of golf clubs that are utilized in different situations.
Fairway woods versus hybrids what is the main difference?
A fairway woods is a club with a short shaft and a bigger clubhead than an iron with a blade head and allows for coverage of large distances. Hybrids, on the other hand, are modern golf clubs that are composed of iron, wood, or resin and are meant to act as an intermediary between woods and iron.
When I started playing golf, I began with a very sparse kit, partly because of my apprehension about investing in a sport I might not play later.
Spoiler alert, I did play a lot, and over time learned the differences between the different materials and kinds of clubs available at a golfer’s disposal and also figured out which clubs suited my play style the best.
I am a mid-handicap player at my best in my club, and reaching even this level as a casual golfer required understanding my playstyle deeply and also going through a few fittings with club experts before setting my skills to the test.
What Are The Purposes Of Woods And Hybrids?
You might have heard that hybrids are the beginners’ club (see the best hybrid iron sets here), and in many ways, that actually is true. A hybrid, in mine and also the collective experience of several golfers, is easier to hit and get good lofts with consistency.
The clubhead of the hybrid is smaller and reduces the chance of hitting the ground before you swing. Lower swing speeds and mishits are more easily forgiven by the hybrid as it ensures your ball will go airborne most of the time.
On the contrary, fairway woods have a bigger clubhead and also require more finesse and expertise.
A shallower swing, which also increases the chance of missing the ball and pin altogether paired with a very high speed, is required to exploit the main benefit of the woods, which is relatively higher lofts and large distances covered. There is a risk, and there is a consequent reward.
In this article, we shall be talking about the general characteristics of fairway woods and hybrids. We shall also touch upon:
- What club, either a woods or a hybrid, might suit your playstyle when on the turf or taking a tee
- Club fittings and the logic behind them
- Advantages and disadvantages of either club as well
How To Choose Your Clubs And Which Clubs To Ditch?
An average kit should have at least a driver wood with higher loft, two wedges (a sand wedge definitely), and at minimum, a single putter. The rest has some room for ambiguity and personal flair. Buying clubs are an expensive affair, and hence one should buy clubs with caution.
I also figured out that buying clubs based only on verbal advice by someone, and this includes this article, is a grave mistake. One should ideally get a feel for all kinds of clubs in the situations they were intended for and then decide based on your personal appraisal.
This is also difficult for a new player, and that is where golf fittings come in.
Know The Differences Between The Two
The problem with fairway woods and hybrids is that, unlike other clubs, which are designed with very specific purposes in mind, a hybrid and a woods do basically the same thing with few major differences.
The major difference between these is that a hybrid cannot compare to the distances some people can attain through woods, but at the same time, a hybrid is much more forgiving than your average woods when it comes to low-skill play.
I do not mean to say high-level scratch handicap players do not touch hybrids, and woods players are some sort of gated puritanical society who decide who uses what on the basis of skill.
There are many pro golfers who have outright rejected woods, and there are many pro golfers that have outright rejected hybrids. I guess it only depends on personal preference.
A woods, except for your primary driver, is supposed to make the shot from the fairway turf towards the hole. A hybrid was designed with more or less the same purpose.
There are two types of hybrids, a heavy iron hybrid, and a heavy wood hybrid, both of which have been designed to replace irons and woods respectively and be still approachable for a newer player.
A hybrid incorporates the weight behind the ball of wood and high swing speeds of woods to produce a lofty yet fastball. This also falls short in terms of the sheer magnitude of distances covered as compared to woods, but the difference is not as much as woods supremacists would like you to believe.
Rule Of Thumb
As a rule of thumb, if you are a mid-handicap player or high handicap player, a hybrid will suit you better, whereas if you are a player who is able to consistently hit the sweet spot and make par, you could honestly go for a woods.
The disclaimer is, it is better to try it out for yourself on the turf as compared to buying clubs on a whim. There are a lot of nuances involved in deciding which club is the best for you, and it’s better for you to test swing any club you are going to buy.
Should You Shell Out Money For A Fitting?
Short answer? Absolutely!
A fitting is the only place where you can try out clubs and see if it suits your hand as opposed to a normal club shop. The trick is to find an expert who also does fittings since they can figure out from your gait, swing style, and several other factors which clubs would suit your particular brand of playing.
On the other side of things, a high-end fitting may be expensive (in some cases, even more, expensive than the club itself), but it should be noted that the insight you gain from such fittings are invaluable as they go a long way in improving your game.
A good fitting is more than just information on clubs, and it is a very hands-on experience as the expert works with you to analyze your strengths and weaknesses and come up with solutions for the same.
These solutions do not always stem from commercial purposes or with the intent to get you to buy a club but rather with attempts at improvement. One must still be wary of shills who just want you to buy their latest club with a hefty premium price point.
Fairway Woods Versus Hybrids: Which Should You Play? (A Video)
A fairway woods and a hybrid are two types of very special clubs that have their own pros and cons and, in practical situations, may replace each other depending on the skill of the player and environmental conditions.
Either can be and is currently used in place of the other by even professional players today. This just goes to show that golf is a very organic sport in which the human factor dominates more. A player with just standard irons could play just as well as the one with a full set of high-end clubs.