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Alternative to a Hybrid?

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I took about 16 years off of playing golf due to kids. When I started back, I bought a used set of AP1's 4 - AW, and used Ping driver and fairways. I had trouble hitting the 4 Iron as I always have. A few months later a golf store guy told me that hardly anyone at my level (about a 13 handicap) uses a 4 Iron anymore, and uses a hybrid instead. So, I got a Ping 4 hybrid that matched my driver and fairway woods, but I never really liked it. Fast forward about a year and I got fit for a TS2 driver and fairways. Since I never liked the Ping hybrid, I bought a TS2 hybrid. I don't really like that one either. The face angles on both hybrids are closed a bit (draw-biased?), and from what I hear that's sort of standard for hybrids. I used to slice, but not anymore and that angled face messes me up.

Any recommendations for a type of club that can replace my 4 Iron and 4 hybrid? Thanks.

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Thanks for the responses. Really basic follow-up question: So is the broad category of club I'm looking for called a "utility iron," a "driving iron" or something else? I don't remember ever hearing about those types of clubs back when I was 16 years ago. Also, for that club, is it best to match it up with my irons (brand, model, shaft, etc.), or does that not really matter? Thanks.

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You have quite a few options in addition to already mentioned, assuming you are an ok ball striker being a 13 or so cap:

higher lofted wood like a 5 or 7, you can experiment with shaft lengths and lie angle with some adjustable hosels so not too upright.

3 or 4 iron of something like a Srixon 585 model - like a driving iron but not quite so bulky and easy enough to launch but with nice turf interaction and a little broader sole (and in this model's case, the Srixon V sole).

Cobra F8+ 9° XCaliber 6+ S 45” or XCaliber Tour SL TS 45.5” //  Cobra Fly-Z 14.5° XCaliber FW S 43.25” //  Srixon F45 18° XCaliber FW S 42” //  Srixon Z565 3-PW Nippon N.S. Pro 980GH DST S

Cleveland CBX 50.11 //  Cleveland RTX3 56.14 bent 55.13 //  Nike VR X3X Toe Sweep 58.10  //  Wilson Infinite Windy City //  Titleist Pro V1 

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If you have the 4i but are reluctant to play it, consider getting the shaft softstepped, or refit it with a higher launching shaft. (My irons have a parallel 0.370" hosel, so I put a hybrid shaft into my 4i).@Brenkj said: "The face angles on both hybrids are closed a bit (draw-biased?), and from what I hear that's sort of standard for hybrids. I used to slice, but not anymore and that angled face messes me up."
As for hybrids, many of the base (non-Tour or non-Pro) have offset/closed face. You need to find a hybrid with a square face to minimize leftward error. The Cobra FlyZ hybrid had a square face, and I have had the 4H and later 3H. In long clubs, Cobra shafts tend to be a bit robust, so if you are undecided between Stiff and Regular, you might consider Regular.
Tell your fitter your problem and that want to hit some square-face hybrids.
You may find that some courses would favor a high-launch 4i, whereas others might favor a 4H.

What's In The Bag (Summary as of October 2020)


Driver:  Tour Edge EXS 10.5°, weights neutral   ||  FWs:  Calla Rogue 4W + 7W

Hybrid:  Calla Big Bertha OS 4H at 22°  ||  Irons:  Tour Edge CB Pro Tungsten 4i-9i

Wedges:  Calla MD3: 48°, 54°... MD4: 58° ||  Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne (face-balanced)

Ball: Calla SuperHot (Orange preferred)  ||  Bag: Sun Mountain Three 5 stand bag

For details see:  Pending (need protocol to embed file list).

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if OP is struggling to hit an AP1 4i why are some of ya'll recommending he try using a DI?
agree with @ChipNRun on this, keep the AP1 just explore different shaft options, do a bit of online research on shafts from True Temper, KBS & Nippon (maybe even consider graphite) and think about what you are wanting your 4i to do on the course i.e. launch spin ball flight etc.
this would be a bit less expensive than purchasing 100 hybrids just to find 'the one' IMO.

Ping G ◘ Ping G 2H ◘ Ping G410 4H ◘ X-Forged UT ◘ Apex Pro '19 ◘ PM Grind 2.0 ◘ Newport 3

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  • 4 weeks later...

Plenty of decent options... I would say find the club that hits the gaps you want to hit and go with that.... Also, your next step is to figure out what role this club is playing. What does your bag setup look like? More importantly WHAT shot are you trying to hit with this club... I picked up a 4 utility simply because it wasn't going to be used as a full swing club off the ground a ton... it is more of a tee club to hit low shots with for particular placement on my home course. I can and will hit it off the deck, but that wasn't a huge consideration for me... It also slots in between my 5 iron and my 18 degree hybrid fairly well, though at the top of my bag I'm more worried about shot shape than I am exact yardages. Mostly because I'm not good enough to consistently hit a ball 230 yards.

My 4 utility fills a couple gaps for me... it's built to be forgiving, but is small enough for recovery shots... it's my punch club out of trouble, my "putter" for when I'm in the rough and my club for low balls into the wind when I need it.

I'd rather lay off my hybrid hitting into a green due to launch and spin conditions... but that is just me.

Back to you! In this space you have some options. SGI 4 iron. It works for Rickie Fowler! Basically, this is just a one club combo set... I think the concept makes sense if you can match a 4 SGI with your irons... not always possible and you probably don't have access to a tour van... 4 utility: I've told you why I have mine... I matched my hybrid shaft, but I also just love the Proforce V2 shaft... It does require a high swing speed to perform optimally... It's harder to hit than a hybrid because it launches lower... Hybrid. Get fit of one and learn how to hit it... I think hybrids are a great addition to the game of golf and should be a solid addition to your set... that said, they require learning how to hit and getting confident with... I also think there is a ton more variety in the hybrid space and it's not really clearly defined... I've gone through multiple hybrids and I don't change gear all that often... I also think shaft plays an important role in finding the right hybrid, but isn't talked about much. Have I mentioned the Proforce V2? It's cheap and I love it. But seriously, I've found the hybrid one of the harder clubs to "adjust to" vs other options... probably because I didn't play one growing up. I think getting fit for one and then putting in time to learn to hit it is a worthwhile use of range time.Wood: The classics are a classic for a reason... if you like your 3 wood, just grab a 5 wood with the same shaft and move on with your day... I've never really been a fan of 5 woods, but if it works, go for it. It will launch the highest of all these options, which might be a bad thing... but other than that, it's not a bad option.

As of 6/5/20

9.5 Cobra LTD Pro with Aldila Silver 110

13 Degree Adams Speedline with Aldila Alpha 

18 Degree Adams A12 with Proforce V2

4 Utility Sub70 699u 22 degree Proforce V2

5 iron Sub70 639 CB with S400

6-PW Adams CMB with Project X 6.0

50, 54, 60 Vokeys

Tank Counter Balance #7 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Ping has a great solution to your exact conundrum: Ping G410 crossover. It’s sort of a hybrid but looks more like a long iron. Very easy to hit and I’m a similar handicap to you, maybe a point or two worse. Comes in 17, 20, and 23 degrees of loft. Highly recommend, my 4 crossover is my go to club for anything over 210 that needs a sure shot.

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Apex gen 1 4h

Ping G400 Max Graphite Design AD XC 6x

Ping G400 5w Diamana Blue B 80s G400 7w GD PM902s

Callaway Apex 4h 23* Matrix 92x Apex 5h 26* PX hb6 97x

Mizuno 919T 6 - PW UST Mamiya Recoil Prototype 95 f4
Vokey SM2 50*, SM2 TVD 56*M & 59*M, 64* Recoil Proto 95 f4

Piretti Matera Elite


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The best alternative for most folks is a 7 wood...they are smaller than their 5w and 4h alternative which make them better for hacking out of some lush cabbage.

Further, you can always get a longer shaft if you feel you need to squeeze a little more distance out of them.

Fun fact: they were known as a 'bulldog' back in the early/mid 1900s

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i've struggled with consistency with a hybrid. have tried many over the years, most recently ping g410 and srixon h85. when i hit it well it's the best club in the bag, when i'm struggling it is the worst club in the bag.

on i went to a driving iron, i tried a srixon u65 with a couple of different shafts and just couldn't make good contact with it out of the fairway. i had a z545 3i that i hit pretty much the same. i picked up a z745 3i to match the rest of my set and while i don't hit it much further than my 4i, the misses aren't bad and i can play it from the fairway.

just recently picked up a 7 wood to give a try. i like the look of it at address but haven't had it on the course yet.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I wound up finding a good deal on a barely used Titleist U510 4-Iron at a local golf shop. It has immediately become my second favorite club (no club will ever beat my beloved 56-degree wedge). I can't seem to hit a bad shot with it. Everything is at least pretty straight, with decent distance and a nice launch angle. Now I'm contemplating whether I should replace my 5 wood - which I like a lot - with another, lower-lofted U510.

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Was playing a hybrid for the last year, but it just goes to high for me. I don’t use it for hitting into many greens, as it is mostly a tee club. Wanted something more reliable off the tee so traded it for a 2 iron. Seems much better. A lot less curve and height. Good for getting it in play off the tee

Taylormade Sim 9* (7*) Accra tour Z RPG 472 m5+
Titleist TS3 15* Synergy green proto 80tx

Taylormade P790 3 iron. Aldila RIP 105x 
Taylormade p750 4-PW PX6.5 
Callaway md4 52/56/ 60 TI S400 black onyx 
Oddessey 7CS Tour 
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Quick follow-up question. I've always played regular flex in all my clubs (irons, driver, fairways, etc.), and I've been told by several salesmen and fitters that regular flex is best for me based on swing speed, etc. But I had such a hard time finding a regular flex U510 that when I saw the really good local deal on a stiff flex one, I jumped on it. So far I'm hitting it just as well or better than most of my regular flex clubs. It is a graphite shaft, versus the steel shafts in all my other irons. Could that make a difference? In other words, are "stiff" graphite shafts sometimes not as stiff as "stiff" steel shafts?

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