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Can a midhandicapper benefit from a driving iron?

 jomatty ·  
jomattyjomatty Members  120WRX Points: 38Posts: 120 Fairways
Joined:  in Instruction & Academy #1

I average about 230 off the tee on good drives. I can get a little more sometimes, but 230 is probably the average. I’m 42 years old and shoot in the mid to low 80’s. I do not get along with fairway woods very well, especially off the tee, and really don’t get enough extra length over my hybrid to consider using it aside from very rare situations on par 5’s (I’ve considered just going from driver to 19 degree hybrid and getting an extra wedge or something).

on tight holes or shorter holes I use my 19 degree hybrid a lot. I hit that around 210 consistently. Iron play is definitely the strongest part of my game, and that seems to translate to doing well with my hybrids (well being relative to the rest of my game). My accuracy with the 19 degree hybrid is fairly good, but I do have a little trouble every now and again. So my question is if someone shooting in the 80’s with my swing speed (I don’t know exactly what it is but hitting a 19 degree hybrid around 210 I think it is safe to say it is fairly average/slightly slower than average). Is it even worth experimenting with a driving iron to try to gain a little more accuracy or at my swing speed am I likely to be much better off with my hybrid (which I’m not unhappy with but could always use more accuracy)?

thank you guys for any responses!

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  • JungleJimboJungleJimbo Members  87WRX Points: 46Posts: 87 Fairways
    Joined:  edited Jun 4, 2020 11:06am #2

    @jomatty : hi, my game is similar to yours albeit I shoot in the 90s. I experimented with a Mizuno fli-hi driving iron (various: 18*, 21*,23*) but eventually decided a hybrid is more forgiving and consequently had more fun. But yMMV ie you can try & decide!

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  • jomattyjomatty Members  120WRX Points: 38Posts: 120 Fairways
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    I think that is where this experiment is going to end for me as well. I guess I’m just wondering if it is even worth spending the money and time to try a driving iron. Were you able to get similar distances with your good shots? I’m worried that I may not have enough club head speed to not give up a lot of distance over the hybrid, even when 8 make a good swing. I can’t afford to give up much distance for sure...

    Posted:
  • Lincoln_ArcadiaLincoln_Arcadia We're supposed to be having fun here...yeah, right. So. Cal.Members  1311WRX Points: 273Handicap: 7.4Posts: 1,311 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited Jun 4, 2020 12:21pm #4

    Long irons are much more difficult to hit. Typically, only high swing speed players benefit from a driving iron.

    I swing about 106 and would not benefit, but my son swings 124 and could benefit. However, he just uses a 3i for tight windy conditions.

    Posted:
  • JungleJimboJungleJimbo Members  87WRX Points: 46Posts: 87 Fairways
    Joined:  edited Jun 4, 2020 12:37pm #5

    @jomatty : Yes the 3-in-10 good shots with driving iron (Mizuno Fli-Hi)=Super-addictive. But I realised I prefer the better probability that the cobra 19* F7 hybrid provides (if your hybrid allows interchangeable shafts... you may want to experiment with a slightly-longer shaft! That might fit your gapping and solve your distance itch?)

    I found the extra wedge=Much more useful for my scoring... ie had same dilemma as your OP.

    Posted:
  • MtlJeffMtlJeff MontrealMembers  29866WRX Points: 2,849Handicap: 0.0Posts: 29,866 Titanium Tees
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    If you can shoot mid 80's you probably hit it well enough to hit a bunch of different clubs. Personally i think hybrids are easier to hit....but some driving irons are quite forgiving.

    I use a G400 crossover that is very easy to hit and looks more iron like. Something like that you might like.

    Be careful with some of them though because they aren't always super forgiving, so you'd have to hit them first

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  • HackerD  HackerD Student of the game Members  3228WRX Points: 188Posts: 3,228 Titanium Tees
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    G410 crossover is my version of a driving iron, feel like I hit it straighter than a hybrid. Just as easy to hit as a hybrid.

    Posted:
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    Adams Tight Lies Ti 3w
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    Ping G410 5-UW
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  • davep043davep043 Members  5155WRX Points: 2,359Handicap: 6.3Posts: 5,155 Titanium Tees
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    If you currently play a 4 iron, even a 3 iron, and can hit those CONSISTENTLY well, it might be worth a try. If you struggle with the long irons, as most players do, it seems folly to try a long iron with even less loft.

    Posted:

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  • smashdnsmashdn Let's cut them trees down. Members  2471WRX Points: 968Posts: 2,471 Platinum Tees
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    I carry a 22* hybrid at times but sometimes I pull it out for my set's 3I. My gripe about the hybrid is how high I hit it.

    I think a driving iron may be a worthy experiment if you find yourself having difficulty with driver or three wood, want the added accuracy of an iron or want to keep it low and don't really get along with hybrids. I guess what you are giving up is you might lose some functionality out of the fairway where you may occasionally still hit a hybrid?

    Me personally I try to get more regular irons up in the top of my bag but have also found that a slight mishit and you are hitting your 3-4-5 about the same distances.

    Ben Hogan has a driving iron and they also have a trial program. Not 100% sure if the driving iron is a part of it but might be a lower cost way to get one in your hands to trial than buying one outright and not liking it.

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  • hanginnwanginhanginnwangin Members  40WRX Points: 26Handicap: 9.4Posts: 40 Bunkers
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    I shoot in the low 80s normally and in the 70s on my really good days. I have probably around the same or similar swing speed as you. I have been hitting my 4 iron off the tee on tight holes and it's been working pretty well so far. I hit it about 190-220. I have a 4 hybrid but just can't hit it as consistently as the 4 iron and it doesn't even go much farther. I have a 5 wood which i only use for 220+ yard par 3s or wide open fairways.

    Basically, it's all personal preference and what you do best with. Everyone is going to be different. Try new stuff out and see what works. But if irons are the strongest part of your game (they are for me as well), I would give the 4 iron a shot. You can get a lot of roll out on the tee shots with it,

    Posted:
  • cadoipicadoipi Members  109WRX Points: 91Posts: 109 Fairways
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    Things to try:

    1) Buy a lower degree hybrid. Can find used 17 degree hybrids, that can be lowered to 16 degree.

    2) Put a 3/4 wood head on a hybrid length shaft.

    3) Shorten your driver shaft from 45+" in half inch increments until you hit it almost as well as your hybrid. Remove the grip, cut off a bit from the end of the shaft, put new grip on.

    In options 2) and 3) you will need to add weight to the club head to maintain a standard swing weight.

    I have had great success with 1) and 3), and will try 2) if I want to try to add distance to my 17 degree hybrid.

    Posted:
  • jomattyjomatty Members  120WRX Points: 38Posts: 120 Fairways
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    great tips. My driver is 43.5 and it was a game changer for me. I still struggle sometimes but much better.

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  • RoejyeRoejye Members  90WRX Points: 55Handicap: 18Posts: 90 Fairways
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    My game is very similar to yours with slightly less distance. I can drive it anywhere from 130 ish on terrible strikes to 250 on good strikes but usually around the 220-230 range. I personally use a lower lofted hybrid, an Adams Idea Tech XTD super hybrid 17.5°. I consider it my fairway finder, I hit it consistently 180-190 but have gotten it up to 200+ at times. Personally I would go to try a driving iron, or as another thread has suggested getting a 3-4 of a SGI and have it bent strong(er) for savings. Worst case scenario is it doesn't work out and you got to hit some clubs for free.

    Posted:
  • LukeDonaldsTigerLukeDonaldsTiger Members  458WRX Points: 217Handicap: 19Posts: 458 Greens
    Joined:  edited Jun 4, 2020 9:13pm #14

    I shoot in the low 90’s normally. 260 with driver, 153 7i. Driver SS sround 101-105.

    Have a 19* Srixon H45 hybrid with 70g stiff shaft, 16.5* Mizuno Fli-Hi 2i with S300 steel shaft and a 21* Mizzy MP-H5 3i with stiff graphite shaft. Lengths in the irons are +0.5” due to my height/arm length. Hybrid is standard length.

    My observations:

    • hybrid is more versatile (rough/fairway lies)
    • hybrid is more hook prone
    • hybrid flies much higher- can be beneficial on long Par 3’s
    • hybrid is 10 yards longer than 3i (2* stronger and longer shaft though)
    • 2i is not as long as the loft numbers made me hope
    • Even slight mishits (toe/thin) are very punishing with the 2i/3i
    • flushed shots with 2i are piercing bullets, but 5-10 yards shorter than my 15* 3W
    • flushed shots with the irons are enough reason to live
    • 3i feels very smooth when hit well, due to the Diamana graphite shaft, but flies a little higher than I’d like
    • 2/3i off the fairway gives me sweaty hands

    I’m currently experimenting with this, and given these observations, Driver, 3W, 19* hybrid, 3i is the safe/sensible combo.

    Dr, 2i, 19*, 3i is great when windy, but can leave me with no choices/too short a tee shot on holes where Driver is too much or 2nd shots on reachable Par 5’s.

    It really depends on the course, but the feeling of a flushed long iron is just the best thing ever.

    I’d say I’m marginally too slow for the 2i. When I have a great day, it works, but you can feel when I can’t get the optimum efficiency, and that’s the days my swing is a little slower.

    Get a driving iron to learn finding the sweet spot more often, but think twice if it makes sense in your bag at this point.

    Posted:

    WITB 2020:

    Driver: Mizuno JPX 900 @10.5° (Tensei White 70g stiff) - 240m/260y

    3W: Mizuno JPX 900 @15° (Motore Speeder VC 6.3 stiff) - 215m/235y

    alt.: 2i: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi @16.5° (DG S300 Sensicore) - 210m/230y

    3H: Srixon H45 Hybrid @19° (Kuro Kage 70g stiff) - 195m/215y

    3i: Mizuno MP-H5 @21° (Diamana S+ 80HY stiff) - 185m/200y

    4i-6i: Mizuno MP-15 (DG S300 Sensicore) - 4i: 170m/185y

    7i-PW: Mizuno MP-33 @1° strong (DG S300 Sensicore) - 7i: 140m/155y

    Wedges: Mizuno T20 wedges, @56-14/60-10 (DG S400 TI)

    Putter: Mizuno MP-T105

    Ball: Snell MTB Black (Yellow)

  • LeoLeo99LeoLeo99 Members  5040WRX Points: 855Posts: 5,040 Titanium Tees
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    I'm in search of that 200 yard fairway finder club. Have about the same distance and ss as you. Can hit my 5w, 4h, or 4i all about the same distance. 185 to 215. 35 yards between my 4i and 5w sounds like a lot on paper but it's not that much on the course. I really spray the 5w and 3h and the 4i is inconsistent. Most of the time I'd rather punch a driver off the tee than risk hitting a 5w or hybrid. Can usually keep it in play with my Ping Crossover even thought I lack the ss to make it really come alive and the crossover is basically useless off the fairway or rough.

    Posted:
  • LukeDonaldsTigerLukeDonaldsTiger Members  458WRX Points: 217Handicap: 19Posts: 458 Greens
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    Just wanted to add, I have a 17* 5W I absolutely love, but I can more easily take off distance with the 19* when needed. The 5W just goes the same distance every time.

    Same for the irons for me: I either flush or slightly mishit them, I’m not good enough yet to hit an “easy” 2/3i.

    That’s another huge plus in a hybrid, IMHO.

    Posted:

    WITB 2020:

    Driver: Mizuno JPX 900 @10.5° (Tensei White 70g stiff) - 240m/260y

    3W: Mizuno JPX 900 @15° (Motore Speeder VC 6.3 stiff) - 215m/235y

    alt.: 2i: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi @16.5° (DG S300 Sensicore) - 210m/230y

    3H: Srixon H45 Hybrid @19° (Kuro Kage 70g stiff) - 195m/215y

    3i: Mizuno MP-H5 @21° (Diamana S+ 80HY stiff) - 185m/200y

    4i-6i: Mizuno MP-15 (DG S300 Sensicore) - 4i: 170m/185y

    7i-PW: Mizuno MP-33 @1° strong (DG S300 Sensicore) - 7i: 140m/155y

    Wedges: Mizuno T20 wedges, @56-14/60-10 (DG S400 TI)

    Putter: Mizuno MP-T105

    Ball: Snell MTB Black (Yellow)

  • Finaus_UmbrellaFinaus_Umbrella Members  28WRX Points: 31Posts: 28 Bunkers
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    I agree with your points and the key noted here is the utility you get out of a hybrid. I have a 17* driving iron and a 19* hybrid that replaced it. The fact of the matter was I couldn't use that iron out of the rough when needed (and with my skills I find the rough more than the fairway). I certainly get the addiction to a flushed DI shot though. If it's windy I'll bring it, but otherwise I leave it at home.

    There are hybrids that don't have a tendency to go left. Personally I use a Cobra F9 and I miss right with it, which I'm perfectly fine with. My vote would be the multi role hybrid.

    Posted:

    Driving range superstar, golf course wannabe.

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  • HellstormHellstorm Members  678WRX Points: 111Handicap: 12Posts: 678 Golden Tee
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    Don't laugh, but I bought a 17* hybrid with a senior flex shaft at a garage sale for $5 and I can hit it nice and easy and keep it in play without losing any distance. My driver SS is between 105 and 110 usually and swinging this thing feels like swinging a spaghetti noodle, but it works. I don't have it in the bag all the time, but I do use it for certain courses. I take my 6 iron out and throw that in, so if I struggle with getting the ball off the tee, I just go to that.

    Posted:
  • anythingfiniteanythingfinite Members  336WRX Points: 179Posts: 336 Greens
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    I'm currently a 6 HDCP (creeping up from a 4 after joining my new club which has seriously tight margins for good/bad shots) and have found that my 4 and 5 irons are weak spots in my game. I play a 17* and 20* hybrid and am thinking of putting utility or SGI irons in my 4/5i slots.

    My wrists are essentially fused after years of breaking them skateboarding, so my grip is permanently neutral/weak and my iron distance really suffers. I avg almost 270 off the tee but my 7 iron only goes about 145 on a pure strike. I have a huge gap from 155 (6i) to 195 (3h) that I don't have good clubs for. My 5 iron CAN go 175 but probably avgs 160 and my 4i CAN got 185 but prob avgs 170. Basically, if I have a 165-185 yard shot, its a total guess what to hit, which of course leads to a bad swing.

    Posted:
  • jyett21jyett21 Members  41WRX Points: 22Handicap: 6Posts: 41 Bunkers
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    I wrestled with this a couple of times... tried a fli hi driving iron... got over my ego and went to a hybrid... saw a good deal on a U85... back to driving iron... annnnnd now I’m back to a hybrid. Just easier to hit in my opinion. 🤷‍♂️

    Posted:
  • LeftDaddyLeftDaddy Members  967WRX Points: 307Handicap: 9Posts: 967 Golden Tee
    Joined:  edited Jun 5, 2020 3:22am #21

    I’ve tried everything off the tee over the years. Here’s my synopsis:

    Driving irons can be great off the tee...nothing like flushing a low one down the pipe. But they can be hard to hit if you are struggling with other clubs too (the whole reason you’ve considered a driving iron). And they can be extremely hard to hit off the deck.

    Hybrids are easier off the deck and can sometimes feel so easy to hit. But, teeing them up exacerbates the hooking problems with them. I guess I could just play them off the deck on the tee box, but for some reason I don’t really consider that.

    I’m currently using a hybrid because the iron is basically useless off the deck for me right now (struggling a little with long irons these days).

    One of the best players I play with just hits bunt drivers instead of an iron or wood or hybrid. I don’t have that shot, but I’m thinking it may be worth considering.

    For some reason I’ve stopped using 5 woods. Maybe I should try that again. Let me know if anyone has “the answer”.

    Posted:
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  • LukeDonaldsTigerLukeDonaldsTiger Members  458WRX Points: 217Handicap: 19Posts: 458 Greens
    Joined:  #22

    That’s why I tee my hybrid very low. It tends not only to hook when tee’d higher, but balloon like crazy.

    This was an easier fix than learning to hit my DI’s from the deck or out of rough, so a hybrid is absolutely the most versatile and sensible option at my skill level.

    Just very hard to get over my ego AND the 3 in 10 perfect strikes that are so darn addicting.

    Posted:

    WITB 2020:

    Driver: Mizuno JPX 900 @10.5° (Tensei White 70g stiff) - 240m/260y

    3W: Mizuno JPX 900 @15° (Motore Speeder VC 6.3 stiff) - 215m/235y

    alt.: 2i: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi @16.5° (DG S300 Sensicore) - 210m/230y

    3H: Srixon H45 Hybrid @19° (Kuro Kage 70g stiff) - 195m/215y

    3i: Mizuno MP-H5 @21° (Diamana S+ 80HY stiff) - 185m/200y

    4i-6i: Mizuno MP-15 (DG S300 Sensicore) - 4i: 170m/185y

    7i-PW: Mizuno MP-33 @1° strong (DG S300 Sensicore) - 7i: 140m/155y

    Wedges: Mizuno T20 wedges, @56-14/60-10 (DG S400 TI)

    Putter: Mizuno MP-T105

    Ball: Snell MTB Black (Yellow)

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  • LukeDonaldsTigerLukeDonaldsTiger Members  458WRX Points: 217Handicap: 19Posts: 458 Greens
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    The Srixon H45 19* is actually not THAT hook prone, it’s just in comparison to my driving irons, who want to fade on me all the time.

    I feel I really have to shut the face on the irons to get somewhat of a draw. When I go straight to the hybrid with that move, it hooks. It’s an easy adjustment, though.

    Posted:

    WITB 2020:

    Driver: Mizuno JPX 900 @10.5° (Tensei White 70g stiff) - 240m/260y

    3W: Mizuno JPX 900 @15° (Motore Speeder VC 6.3 stiff) - 215m/235y

    alt.: 2i: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi @16.5° (DG S300 Sensicore) - 210m/230y

    3H: Srixon H45 Hybrid @19° (Kuro Kage 70g stiff) - 195m/215y

    3i: Mizuno MP-H5 @21° (Diamana S+ 80HY stiff) - 185m/200y

    4i-6i: Mizuno MP-15 (DG S300 Sensicore) - 4i: 170m/185y

    7i-PW: Mizuno MP-33 @1° strong (DG S300 Sensicore) - 7i: 140m/155y

    Wedges: Mizuno T20 wedges, @56-14/60-10 (DG S400 TI)

    Putter: Mizuno MP-T105

    Ball: Snell MTB Black (Yellow)

  • jomattyjomatty Members  120WRX Points: 38Posts: 120 Fairways
    Joined:  #24

    we have the opposite game! Some of the same causes though. My body is broken from baseball, skateboarding and work...the deep high turn of my high school years is a thing of the past. I hit my irons longer than you do, but never see anywhere near 270 off the tee. Weird how that works sometimes...

    Posted:
  • jomattyjomatty Members  120WRX Points: 38Posts: 120 Fairways
    Joined:  #25

    One thing I should have clarified is what set I’m playing. I currently have 19 (set to 18.25) and 23 (set to 22.25) hybrids, and then 5-w’s. Driver and 3 wood. Either the 3 wood or one of the hybrids would be replaced. I definitely would be keeping one hybrid. It’s my go to option for approaches on par 5’s and to get out of trouble. I could use one at 21 or 22 rather than both though or drop the 3 wood. I feel like I need the 3 wood even though I hardly ever use it.

    Posted:
  • jomattyjomatty Members  120WRX Points: 38Posts: 120 Fairways
    Joined:  #26

    I’ve got 818 hybrids and I find they usually don’t go left for me. The issue I run into is I can balloon it when I miss. Not as dangerous in my game as going left (I play a fade so if it goes left it’s disasterous).

    Posted:
  • anythingfiniteanythingfinite Members  336WRX Points: 179Posts: 336 Greens
    Joined:  #27

    I can't really create any lag and therefore hit my irons with very little shaft lean. This is less problematic in my driver swing bc I don't need the shaft lean.

    Posted:
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  • LukeDonaldsTigerLukeDonaldsTiger Members  458WRX Points: 217Handicap: 19Posts: 458 Greens
    Joined:  edited Jun 5, 2020 12:12pm #28

    I had a 23* hybrid before, but it’s too short as a safe tee shot option and flies very high. Also, it creates a large gap after my more traditionally lofted 5i (27*). Put the 4i (24*) in again and can use the 19* hybrid as the utility club. It’s just that I need something between Driver and 19*H and hardly use 3W off the deck. Kinda wasted space in my bag.

    Have you identified yet where you get stuck in between clubs the most? I have to leave the 21* 3i in the bag as I often have a shot in that range, where I’m either too short with my 4i or too long with the 19*H, but also need the proper gap between 5i and 4i.

    However, yesterday I realized the 2i is not the safest club below the driver, hence I’ll use the 3W again.

    Posted:

    WITB 2020:

    Driver: Mizuno JPX 900 @10.5° (Tensei White 70g stiff) - 240m/260y

    3W: Mizuno JPX 900 @15° (Motore Speeder VC 6.3 stiff) - 215m/235y

    alt.: 2i: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi @16.5° (DG S300 Sensicore) - 210m/230y

    3H: Srixon H45 Hybrid @19° (Kuro Kage 70g stiff) - 195m/215y

    3i: Mizuno MP-H5 @21° (Diamana S+ 80HY stiff) - 185m/200y

    4i-6i: Mizuno MP-15 (DG S300 Sensicore) - 4i: 170m/185y

    7i-PW: Mizuno MP-33 @1° strong (DG S300 Sensicore) - 7i: 140m/155y

    Wedges: Mizuno T20 wedges, @56-14/60-10 (DG S400 TI)

    Putter: Mizuno MP-T105

    Ball: Snell MTB Black (Yellow)

  • chisagchisag Chicago SuburbsMembers  3420WRX Points: 831Handicap: +0.6Posts: 3,420 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #29


    ... Like many things in golf, there are guidelines that apply to the majority but no hard and fast rules. I have around a 100 mph driver swing speed and love DI's. I have more confidence in a DI than a hybrid off the tee, so I swing it more aggressively, without reservation and I hit it longer than any other club. By longer, I mean my other clubs go about what I would expect for someone with my swing speed while the DI is longer per swing speed. Again, I think that is because I have complete confidence hitting one so I swing freely without guiding or holding back. If I absolutely need to hit a fairway, I am hitting my DI. Granted, it is useless from even light rough and produces a mid/low trajectory from the fairway, so approaches are for run up only, usually on a par 5 or long par 4 into a strong wind.

    ... I think IF you hit long irons well off the tee or you have a tendency to hook or hit a hybrid too high, a DI is a must demo. They aren' for everyone but if they fit your swing they are a reliable club to have in your bag.

    Posted:
    Cobra Xtreme 9* Tour Length ... Tensei Pro Orange 60s
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    TaylorMade RBZ Tour Hybrid ... KBS 80Hys
    4-w Titleist T100-S ... Kuro Kage Tini 105's
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    Newport 2.5 ... 33.5"
  • doublehansdoublehans Members  671WRX Points: 76Posts: 671 Golden Tee
    Joined:  #30

    I switch back and forth between a 3i (19deg) and 3 hybrid (21deg), they go about the same distance since the hybrid is hotter. I usually prefer the 3i as the left/right dispersion is better. But for tough lies I prefer the hybrid. Being in the southeast, late winter and dormant Bermuda means lots of tight lies (often in soft ground) and thick Bermuda rough in august means its hard to get the ball out, so the hybrid works better for me for me then, and I tend to be a high ball hitter. The rest of the year, I play the 3i (I also carry a 17 deg hybrid as the first club after my driver all the time).

    Playing a low lofted iron off the deck is just different than a hybrid. I think someone else suggested looking at how well you hit a 4i etc. Thats a good clue. But it ultimately will come down to how you hit it off the deck. You wont find that out at the fitting bay or the range where the lies are perfect. You really need to take it out on the course.

    Posted:
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  • LaxmanLaxman Members  18WRX Points: 68Posts: 18 Bunkers
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    I am in the same handicap range as yourself. I dumped my 3W and hybrids, couldnt hit them to save my life. I have been using Ping G410 crossover 2i( bent to 16) and the 3i (bent to 19) I love the 2i off the tee. Also able to hit both from the deck or light rough. They dont work great from heavier rough but then neither did the woods or hybrids for me.

    Posted:
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Rich Text Editor. To edit a paragraph's style, hit tab to get to the paragraph menu. From there you will be able to pick one style. Nothing defaults to paragraph. An inline formatting menu will show up when you select text. Hit tab to get into that menu. Some elements, such as rich link embeds, images, loading indicators, and error messages may get inserted into the editor. You may navigate to these using the arrow keys inside of the editor and delete them with the delete or backspace key.