5 Iron vs. 5 Hybrid: How to Pick The Right Club to Use
Written by Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1

Updated on January 12, 2024

I can hit a 5 hybrid further than a 5 iron, and I know I’m not alone. The 5 hybrid and the 5 iron may seem like they’re the same club, but there are some important differences that all golfers should be aware of.

I’ll show you the differences between the two clubs and let you know how to decide which one is the best for you to use.

Some golfers carry both the 5 iron and the 5 hybrid, and others may be trying to decide which one makes sense to keep in the bag. I’ll help answer both questions here!

 

Overview of a 5 Hybrid and 5 Iron

Before we can look at the differences between the 5 hybrid and 5 iron, here is a basic recap of what each golf club is and where they should be used on the golf course.

5 Hybrid

A 5 hybrid is a club designed to be a mix between a 5 iron and a 5 wood. The 5 hybrid is swung like an iron – it has a low and centralized center of gravity and can provide a high launch and soft landing.

The 5 hybrid has a superpower when it comes to hitting shots out of the rough. Expect to have a much easier time getting your 5 hybrid shot to jump out of a tough life than you would with almost any other club in the bag.

Loft on a 5 hybrid is usually anywhere from 25 to 28 degrees.

5 Iron

The 5 iron is considered to be a lower lofted mid iron or, in some golf sets, a long iron. The 5 iron usually has a loft of around 27 to 28 degrees, but it depends on the manufacturer. With a 5 iron, expect a penetrating ball flight and slightly lower spin when the ball hits the green.

The 5 iron is a great club for hitting lower stinger type shots that can cut through wind and roll for quite some time.

 

Differences Between a 5 Hybrid and 5 Iron

The 5 iron and the 5 hybrid look a bit different, but there are differences in performance that are more important to pay attention to.

Ball Flight

The 5 hybrid often has a little extra weight down in the sole of the club that helps the golf ball to fly higher. You may find that the ball flight with the 5 hybrid is high enough to help you stop the ball on the green and control the overall flight.

For golfers that want to hit a draw or fade, typically lower handicap players that work the ball, the 5 iron is the easier club to do this with.

Spin

Based on the golf club you are playing with and your angle of attack, you can get backspin on both the 5 iron and the 5 hybrid. However, the 5 iron tends to allow golfers more backspin than the 5 hybrid.

The 5 hybrid will give you that extra distance where you get a few extra yards when the ball hits the green. The 5 iron is more likely to stop in place.

Spin is impacted by many factors, and even the golf ball you play is going to play into this. However, if you want more accuracy than distance, I’d go with the 5 iron over the 5 hybrid.

Shaft

Almost all (good) 5 hybrids are graphite shafted. The 5 iron can be steel or graphite shaft. If you play graphite shafts in all of your clubs, you may not see too much of a difference in performance for this one.

However, if you’re playing a steel shaft in your iron set and have a graphite in the 5 hybrid, expect the feel, distance, and even weighting of the club to be considerably different.

That extra lightweight feel in the 5 hybrid could be the secret to extra distance.

Forgiveness

I find that most 5 hybrids are more forgiving than 5 iron. However, if you are a golfer that likes the feel of irons and has more of an upright swing, the 5 iron could be a better fit.

The 5 hybrid has a more forgiving face and is significantly more forgiving from the rough. If you struggle with hitting your drives in the rough and don’t place the ball exactly where you want to off the tee, the 5 hybrid could be a club that saves you.

Availability

Most modern iron sets have a 5 iron included. Not everyone opts to get one, but they are typically a club that you have a choice of if you want it.

With the 5 hybrid, this is not always the case.

The 4 and 3 hybrid are very common, but when you move down to the 5 and 6, some club models won’t have availability. You can always look into a 4 hybrid with an adjustable loft and add a few degrees to get it closer to a 5.

However, before you get too set on hybrid vs. iron, make sure to look for availability.

Pricing

The 5 hybrid is typically more expensive than the 5 iron. With a graphite shaft and a bit more technology in the club head, the pricing starts to creep up.

I’d still encourage you to look at the overall performance of these golf clubs using a launch monitor or a golf club fitting professional. You may find that for less than $100 difference in the club, you can get the performance you need.

If you keep the club for the next 6-8 years, that money spent upfront will be well worth it.

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Which Club Typically Hits Further?

The 5 hybrid typically hits further than the 5 iron. The 5 hybrid is a bit more forgiving, has a graphite shaft, and can often have a titanium head to make it more lightweight. If you want to get extra distance and speed, this is a club that can help you get there.

Check the loft of both your 5 iron and 5 hybrid to get a better idea as to which one will travel further. However, when lofts are the same, you still see the 5 hybrid giving a few more yards of carry distance.

 

Which Club is Considered Easier to Hit?

The 5 hybrid is easier to hit for most golfers but not necessarily easier to control. If you are talking about making solid contact in the middle of the face, hitting high lofted shots, regardless of the lie, and getting consistency, the 5 hybrid is a better choice.

However, with the 5 hybrid being a slight bit longer and having a graphite shaft, there can be a larger room for error. A 5 iron with a steel shaft is easier to keep on a straight line and control the ball flight a little more.

All of this also comes down to swing speed. Golfers with higher swing speeds tend to have an easier time with irons, whereas slower swing speeds do better with the hybrids.

 

Do You Need Both Clubs in Your Bag?

Most golfers find that having a 5 hybrid and a 6 iron, or a 5 iron and a 4 hybrid, is a better solution than having a 5 iron and 5 hybrid. However, it all comes down to loft gapping.

When you look at how far you hit each of your clubs, you will want about a 10 yard gap between them.

If you can hit your 5 hybrid about 10 yards further than your 5 iron, it’s worth keeping in the bag.

If the distances are relatively similar, take one out and get another club that will help you fill all the loft gaps in your bag.

 

How to Figure Out Which Club is Right for You

If you’re testing out the 5 iron and the 5 hybrid to see which is best for your game, I would take them to the range and follow this process to determine which one is best for your game:

  1. Pick a target in the general area where you think you are going to be able to hit the 5 iron and 5 hybrid.
  2. Hit 10 shots with the 5 iron and pay attention to total distance as well as control. If 5 are near the target and 5 are not near the target, make a note of this.
  3. Next, take your 5 hybrid and repeat the process to get an idea of total distance and dispersion.
  4. Now you can analyze the results. If the 5 hybrid travels just about 5 yards further than the 5 iron or it travels the same distance, you can replace the 5 iron with the 5 hybrid or simply forget the 5 hybrid.
  5. If you notice that there is a good 10-yard gap between the two, you can keep both in the bag.
  6. Regarding accuracy – never be afraid to give up a few yards if you can ensure more accuracy in your golf game. If I had a 6 iron that I hit 160 and a 5 iron 170, and a hybrid 175, I’d choose the 5 iron as long as the golf ball was straight.

Of course, a golf club fitting is the easiest and most accurate way to determine if the 5 iron vs. 5 hybrid is the best golf club for your bag. However, until you can make an appointment for your golf club fitting, this should do the trick to help you narrow down which club is best.

 

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Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1