7 wood vs. 3 hybrid

What’s the best way to decide whether to go with a wood or a hybrid of the same loft? Such as a 19 deg. 7 wood vs. a 19 deg. 3 hybrid. Also, how are the structuring and functionally different.

I went to a 23* 7W 15 years ago. My uncle convinced me over the course of a couple of rounds. I found it worked especially great out of 1-2 inch rough. 3 years ago I tossed my 5W and went with an 18* Adams hybrid. I bought the club brand new 2014 for $25 on ebay and never used it. One of my partners let me try his and I said what the hell. I found I could use the hybrid for a variety of different shots that the 5W could not produce. I hit the 7W 195-200 without stress and I can push it to 210. The hybrid I can hit 205-215 no stress and I have stepped on it from a nice lie almost 230. I really like the versatility of the 7W outta rough. I like the hybrid because I can maneuver the flight of the ball low to high. That’s just me.

Hit them, and see which one gives you the distance, control, and window you wish, is the most complete answer. I’d also classify—because I have one—a 19’ wood as a 5 W, not a 7W, but I digress.

I’ll look around for a chart that, I think, Hireko Golf (supplier of shafts and other club building componentry) put out, trying to compare X iron to Y hybrid to Z fairway wood.

General rule of thumb: if you’ve the speed/skill to elevate them, irons fly lower than woods, and I believe with less spin. Though they don’t get appreciable gear effect to correct mishits like the woods do. Also, I had thought 2-iron roughly equals 5-wood, and 3-iron to 7-wood. You’ve got me where hybrids slot in, albeit I had thought the same number iron is supposed to correspond to that hybrid, if the player had enough speed to send the iron out to an appropriate, gap-maintaining distance.

For Pros, who clearly have enough speed and skill to elevate long irons, my guess is their hybrids provide much higher flight and spin, so they can actually hold some of the painted concrete patios they call “greens.” But I don’t know.

I think you have to try them to see. Generally a hybrid is easier to elevate than an iron and a wood is easier to elevate than a hybrid. The heads get larger with lower CoG and the shaft can help as well.

Depending on your swing the hybrid could be easier to hit assuming it’s shorter and heavier, but if you don’t have a high enough swing speed then a low lofted hybrid could be difficult to elevate compared to a fairway wood.

I had dumped my 7w for a 3h, but lately I can’t seem to hit either well. I go from a 4h to 4w as I have more confidence in those clubs. I’d like to slot a club in between, but it’s not really needed at my home course.

Things to consider;
-The length are different. & wood is longer in length than a 3 hybrid.
-The hybrid should swing more like a long iron, 7 wood a more sweeping move.
-Woods tend to have more volume behind the leading edge ( by the size of the head not the weight).
Some will feel better control from a shorter club, and some will argue the larger size of the 7 wood head will be easier to hit off the ground and from the light rough.
If fitted correctly, the hybrids should be easier to play than the 7 wood. Simply from the point of a shorter length. & wood should produce a higher trajectory even with the similar loft than the 3 hybrid. Because the longer shaft will be accompanied with slightly flatter swing plane.
Some will tell the 7 wood produce slightly longer distance, but it is only because of the shaft length.
I don’t have a 7 wood now, but I have replaced my long irons with hybrids. I’ll put the long irons back in the bag during the drier season.
It is still wonderful to experience a well executed long iron shot.
If you do not manipulate your golf swing when using a different length of golf club, then the swing plane should be automatically adjusted accordingly.
One last thing to consider. The longer the shaft, the more strength it’ll require to achieve your normal clubhead speed.
Depending on the golf course and its condition, you can figure out whether the 7 wood or the 3 hybrid will stay in the bag.
BTW, there is no sin to rotate the golf clubs. I do that all the time depending on the golf course to be played and how I feel that morning. Somedays I’ll feel needing a lot of time to warm up, and some days I’ll be ready to tackle 36 holes after breakfast.

Chart may be found here: https://www.hirekogolf.com/hybrid-confusion

I don’t think I can embed the image on that page in a forum post here. But you can compare and contrast characteristics of those clubs there.

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Thanks for all the terrific responses! Very interesting stuff. Looks I will need to experiment.

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I have a 4H and a 3H in my bag. I find that if I end up in the rough on most courses I play the hybrid gets the ball out better than a wood and I hit them just fine when in the fairway. I think experimenting is the way to go. Get some balls and drop them in likely scenarios and see what works best. Good luck.

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Experience is gathered with actual scenario. Not by gathering information alone.
You’re correct to practice and find out which situation works better for each of the club for shot making.
Keep in mind, it is a percentage game. Not something which will produce the same result every time.

“The longer the shaft the more strength it will require to achiever your normal clubhead speed.” Not sure what you mean by this. My experience is that the longer the shaft, the greater clubhead speed I get. You imply that when you say the 7 wood gets more distance because of the longer shaft. Can you clarify? Thanks.

If you keep the club head speed the same. It will require your hands at the center of the swing to move much faster in order for the club head which on the very outside of the circle at the same speed.
Simple physics.
I had golfers swing a lighter longer driver and some of them could not get more distance because of their age and physical condition, they could not get the club head to go near the original club head speed to produce a longer drive.
It is not the length which will produce more club head speed for longer distance. It is still the club head speed no matter of the length.
However, like I said. It will require more energy at the center of the longer swing arc to move the club head the same speed from a shorter length shaft.
We’re not even going to bring the rhythm, timing into discussion.
It took me one full season to get used to a 47" driver way back when we believed the longer shaft = longer drive. It should work perfectly, on paper but not in reality. It’ll work for some and not for many others.
It’s easier to control a shorter shaft, period. It’s the same reason why we could dial in a wedge and not the long irons.

There are several points in the above post, and perhaps we’re conflating a few of them?

As far as length of club and clubhead speed, on a robot, AIUI, at the shaft length range discussed for the full golf swing (34" to 46"+) the rule of thumb is each additional inch of shaft yields roughly 4 MPH of clubhead speed. We sort of see this when looking at professionals (E.g., that decade-old Trackman chart that always gets bandied about). Indeed, as each club gets longer, and each iron is about a 1/2" different in length from its neighbor, the clubhead speed goes up by 2 MPH. That’s for robots, LOL.

For us, it depends. One does have to have sufficient strength and skill to accelerate a long club to its full potential speed, and as Dew noted, many of us simply can’t. Or do it in a haphazard fashion. I certainly don’t swing my 42" 5 wood, 12 mph faster than my 39" 3-iron. (Be a lot cooler if I could though, LOL.) Maybe 3-6 MPH faster is what I get out of it. 1-2 MPH per inch of additional length.

Where it gets a tad rage-inducing, is when one’s 3-wood is swung around the same speed as the Driver, despite being anywhere from 2 to 3" shorter, depending on your setup. Not 8-12 MPH faster still. I simply don’t, as of yet, have efficient enough mechanics to swing that longer club, the 6-7 MPH faster that it ‘should’ be going (43.2" 3-wood, 45.5" driver. 2.3" X ~3MPH per additional inch, is how I got that number.) It’s anywhere from 4-5 MPH faster. At the most, for me.

So, it depends. And we haven’t even discussed ball speed yet, which is dependent on the quality of strike by that clubhead. Quality of strike is going to depend strongly on clubhead control, which goes back to what Dew was saying. If you lack the strength and skill to accelerate the clubhead as it should, you also may lack the skill to assure consistent sweet spot (or slightly above it) strikes.

That said, I don’t know if, or where on the shaft length vs clubhead velocity curve it does, there’s a length where each additional inch of shaft gives you less clubhead velocity than before. There probably is. But without going to such extremes, I’m pretty confident in saying golfers will get more clubhead speed out of a 39" shaft than a 38" one. No idea on how much work or power is required for either case----the human golf swing is a pretty challenging thing to accurately mathematically model, sans empirical data.

What length of driver do you play?
I don’t see a lot of golfers using the over length driver. Maybe all of them should have according to you?
I read up a lot. Way before the internet age, still do. Not saying this is cast in iron, but if all the longer is longer ( IF- longer shaft=longer distance). Why aren’t we all go the maximum of 48" in driver?
I will state this again, the longer shaft will require more effort to swing the golf club the same way as a shorter one.
Even at a smoother pace, the longer shaft still require more effort to swing. Not every golfer is over 6’ and perfectly balanced at 195 lb. Not every golfer could even swing the 46" driver which peaked at that length several years ago. Most the OEM had retracted back to 45"-45.5" in driver length now.
You see the tour players using 44"-45" driver instead of the OEM 45.5"-45.75" standard length. Why?
I’m not going into debate with someone who love to read and like to believe everything is equal under the sun.
If it works for you using a longer driver, please do. All the best for a better golf game, right?
One word of caution if one decided to use a longer length driver and could actually put it to use efficiently. Using the longer length driver efficiently, will result in longer distance, by about 10%-15%.
Beware of injury, even if one swings the longer length driver at a smoother pace.
When your back start to feel sore and hurt. Time to see a sports injury therapist. For the right handed golfer, the right side loin between your spine and the shoulder is usually the first place of injury.
Stay healthy.

Lengthy quote; sorry for the TL; DR crowd. I don’t think this forum software allows for me to hide it in a spoiler tag?

Anyway, assuming you were replying to me @Dewsweeper, I’ll try to answer your questions briefly. My driver—right now—is 45.5". I think. Anyway, pretty sure it’s about 1/2" too long, but I want to be awfully damn sure before I start rip-sawing a $350 shaft (new pricing, not what I paid for it.). But it plays a lot better in testing when I choke down a half inch. Not sure if adding some grip-end weight and keeping the original length would be better or not (and it’s already counterbalanced. The 425Max head is neither small nor especially light.)

For clubhead speed, and clubhead speed only, longer is better: if you can accelerate it. Which I believe I pointed out in my earlier post. Long-drive guys are all using longer than std shafts, Mickelson was noted as using a near 46 or more, plus getting publicly pissy when the USGA threatened a maximum length for clubs. Robots can make use of the additional length for more clubhead speed. We may not be able to.

Coupling increased clubhead speed consistently to ball speed—which is the point here, right?—is another difficulty when non-robots (you and me and every other mortal golfer) try using oversized shafts. I think it was Wishon who said something to the effect that lengths over 44.5 were ridiculous for most golfers. They can’t get consistent strike with them. Yet, when the stars align, a hit with a 45.5/46" driver will go faster and further than the 43-44" version. Which helps them sell in the launch bays at the golf stores of the world.

Go look at new irons specs these days. It’s not just loft creep, it’s length creep too—things like the modern 5-iron is now 38.25-38.625" instead of 38", helping manufacturers claim X set is 10 yards further than last year’s model. Even if your average golfer finds the damn thing as frustrating to hit as their 3 and 4 iron used to be. And why not? It’s nearly the same specs, LOL.

I’ve no idea why some/most pros are backing off length. Increased distance relative to peers has been shown to correlate with increased money won. It’s not like they lack data, coaching, or fitting resources—the WITBs for amateurs at Pebble this week have been hilarious. Multiple brands of drivers with the latest shafts, likely lent to the Am for free. Must be nice…

But anyway, given that distance = cash, and that greater length = greater speed, they must feel they lack sufficient control for their purposes with a 46 vs 44.5 or whatever they’re using. A really big drop in control, considering their strikes are at 1.5 or slightly greater smash—remember, they’re basically robots—and dropping from 46 to 44.75 would mean dropping (1.25" * 4 MPH/inch) 4-5 MPH club head speed, and 6 to 7.5 MPH in ball speed with max smash. Which for these guys is about 10-12 yards more carry. (Per Flightscope’s trajectory analyzer) Or the difference between taking an 8 iron, or a 9 into the green. Seems small, but I guarantee you they notice it.

So, there must be a reason for not adopting it. Expanding their face to path range from something like +/- 1 degree to 5 degrees, and causing hilarity like 2 way misses, FiR fom 60 to 20%, etc…all because of the added length might do it.

What were we talking about again?

The answer should have been plan and simple like looking in the mirror, but, for discussing sake.
In your case of gripping down the driver. If you can do that consistently in order to save the value of the expensive driver shaft by not shortening it. It’s done all the time. Put a wrap of colored electrical tape on the 1/2"-3/4" mark to be more consistent of where to grip it. Pay attention to the size of the grip. The result could be linked to the tapered down size of the grip without gripping the end cap section. Don’t believe me? Use a caliper to measure for yourself if you’re counting on a more scientific explanation. So, I would also experiment by using a grip without taper and one size down from what you have now.
With the adjustable hosel, you could also get another shaft which is shorter. the piece is about $10 and you could start by using a shaft which is laying around your shop or get one which is less in cost. It can be slightly heavier to compensate for the feel of swing weight with the same driver head. I have 5 shafts for one of my driver.
You are using the examples from those golfers who will not resemble the majority of the golfers. Mickelson is what? 6’3" and 260 lb.? He has been swinging a golf club since he was 3; the golf clubs has become an extension of his own body. The long drive competitors, well, not a good example there either, if you pay attention to their size and athletics ability. Some shorter competitors ( under 6’) were quoted as built like a fire hydrant. Long drive requires the bust of power and everything one works all his life for, will be tested in those 3-5 shots. Not a good example unless we’re all built like them and have their daily work out routine. I’ve known a couple of the local and regional competitor, their work out routine is tougher than a professional football player.
Still not convinced?
Okay, go to a launch monitor and swing a 44" driver and the same makes and swing weight swing a 46" driver. Come back and show us your club head speed in comparison.
Don’t get hurt by trying.

A tip for you, try the 44" and the 46" drivers in the same total static weight if you could. This way it’ll be totally unbias and a more “scientific” test.
If you don’t have access to all the equipment. Just swing a longer broom comparing to a shorter one. What is a longer bull whip is harder to crack and control than a shorter one?
I don’t need to gather all my physics books out to explain it on the paper.
Finally to add, 1/2" difference in driver shaft length will not make a whole lot of difference in distance but perhaps in the disperse pattern. The major difference could be from between the ears.

From early on in a post on this by Dewsweeper:
“It will require your hands at the center of the swing to move much faster in order for the club head which on the very outside of the circle at the same speed.
Simple physics.”
If your age or physical ability doesn’t allow sufficient hand speed, then shaft length is pretty meaningless and in some cases, longer may be the same as shorter and maybe even slower. When your hand speed slows down, your swing speeds will converge to tighter distribution-that is one of the reasons gapping of clubs gets tighter when you get older. Now I realize that there is quite an age disparity here so what I am saying really applies to us 80-85 mph guys. My gapping through the bag is about 5-6 yards per club. Thinking through this, I could probably take out my 3W as my distance with it is not materially different than my 3H, which I wear out on the course. But that’s a different topic…I still wistfully look back to a time when standard D length was 43.5 (persimmon or laminated heads) and we were hitting wound balls and could reach par 5s in 2.

The real medicine for a slower swing speed is to reduce the total static weight of what one swings.
Shorter persimmon driver usually have steel shafts from 43"-44" in length but that shorter length comes with heavier total weight from the wooden head to the heavy steel shafts ( 130 gm - 120 gm, typically ).
It will take a real beast to power the persimmon driver over 280 yards. The last long driver using the persimmon driver was Greg Norman. His physical appearance was described as intimidating, with his height ( not many golfers back then were close to 6’) and broad shoulders demands attention when he walked into a room. Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead both top the averaging driving distance in their era but no where near the average driving distance on today’s tour.
In theory, it says, longer golf club and lighter weight will produce a longer distance. ONLY, if one could swing it proficiently!
I want to add, beyond the length and weight, the golfer will have to find the optimal combination of length and weight to produce the best result for this particular golfer. No magic except for trial and error method. And be hurry, because our physical condition will not stay the same year after year. Th pace of change will accelerate when we get older.

I played golf with Greg Norman, he was not as “LONG” as what you are saying. He was str8. Davis was longer! Mike Austin (played with HOKE too) had them all beat and he was old then! Hoke crushed a golf ball! Then came Daly! Hogan, Palmer, Nicklaus, Snead… would have had to alter their swings with todays equipment, but at their talent levels, no problem. They all could bust persimmon out there over 300 yard when they wanted to with Balata Balls. Don’t sell any of them as being short. They all would be easily over 325yd today. EASILY! In my heyday I was 270 with a 9.5 Taylor Burner Plus that was 44.5 inches long with an Aldila Gold S shaft in it. That said, swing speed is not a product of your hands. If anyone out there is premising distance on “hands to move faster” you are toast! I will tell you in general the hands gripping the club are for all intents static. The Left shoulder is the fulcrum, and the lever is your left arm and club. Understanding basic physics will help you so you know what you are trying to create. Translate that information to your body: Maximum power is generated in the golf swing when the action of the lower body generates a counterclockwise acceleration of the hips around the axis of the spine .Longer the lever…more speed can be generated! The club head is the hammer, your L arm and shaft of the club are one long line, The ball is the nail. That’s why good players never have any kind of bend in the Left Elbow. Ever notice that. There is no reason on this earth, any older person cannot generate +92MPH Swing Speeds, if your lower body turns matches the unwinding of the fulcrum and the lever! BOOM! I swear, do it right, do it consistently, understand what you are doing too. Just a little bit of effort and practice. And yes, depending on the length, weight, construction, material of the shaft will impact Swing Speed not alot but 5-8MPH with the Big Dawg!. Before I started to worry about that… I’d worry about improving the basics and big muscle moves in your swing. Like anything else…with repetition and comfort and accuracy in execution you WILL INCREASE SPEED!

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After a great deal of club swapping over the years, I have found the more game improvement hybrids are a nice blend of both for me. The players style or thinner profile hybrids just don’t really help much over a driving iron, but the lofted woods seem to go too high. For reference my current handicap is 5ish and I carry my driver about 250. No fitter has every suggested the game improvement hybrid or a lofted fw, but I have taken it upon myself so I can score better.

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Whichever tool works for your application, and not necessarily direct from the OEM.
I used to know a scratch golfer who has 3-4 brands of club heads and a whole mixture of shafts and length all over the planet. He knew exactly which club to pull for certain yardage or situation.
If we look into what kind of golf clubs he was carrying, we’d guess it was put together that morning from a Thrift Store hunt. He said it took him years to put together that bag ( he was also a guy started to mess around with golf clubs way before this fitting craze, while most the guys in our group at best were adhere to the Ping color chart for fitting ).
Golf club is a tool, it’ll look beautiful when it does the job.