Fairway Woods vs Hybrids

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Choosing the right golf club is critical for inspiring confidence and hitting clutch shots. This guide compares fairway woods vs hybrids to uncover the best for your game. I’ve tried both in my bag over the years and have found a few key factors to get the optimal setup.

fairway wood vs hybrid clubs

Should I Pick a Fairway Wood or a Hybrid?

Everyone has a different swing and preferences, but here are some helpful guidelines on which club might be the best fit for you. After reading these suggestions, try going to a club fitter or borrowing a friend’s club to try it out and see how each one feels.

Try a fairway wood if:

  • Your swing type is shallow, and you’re able to sweep the ball off the grass rather than hitting down into it.
  • You prefer a larger club head.
  • You’re a low to mid-handicap player.
  • You want to be able to stop a ball on the green with more spin and height.
  • You plan to hit the club from the tee or primarily from a good lie in the fairway or light rough.
  • You tend to hit the ball straight or with a slight draw vs slicing.

Try a hybrid if:

  • Your swing type is steeper, and you like hitting irons more than woods.
  • You’re a high-handicapper who needs to consider forgiveness and recovery situations (though these work great for any skill level, depending on your needs).
  • You plan to use the club in many situations, including out of the rough.
  • You spin the ball too much or need to hit it lower (to keep it out of the wind, for example).

My Experience

When I was a higher handicap player, my hybrids were my go-to clubs for any longer fairway or rough shot. They were lifesavers for my game.

I switched from hybrids to fairway woods as I improved my golf swing. I began to hook my hybrids if I wasn’t careful. A similar shot on my new fairway woods is a slight draw. I also tend to hit the ball cleanly off the fairway rather than leaving a divot, which makes my swing fit well with a wood.

Currently, I’m playing a Ping 3, 5, and 7-wood. If you have a hard time hitting a long iron like a 3 or a 4, I’d recommend giving the 7-wood a try as a replacement.

golfer on the tee box

What’s the Difference Between a Hybrid and a Fairway Wood?

The main difference between a hybrid and a fairway wood is fairway woods have longer shafts and larger heads. This makes them play more like a driver, while a hybrid plays more like an iron.

Hybrids can be more forgiving and easier to hit, especially out of the rough. Fairway woods get more distance and tend to spin more, making them better for higher approach shots needing to hold the green.

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If you can hit both clubs well, you could even try carrying longer fairway woods for tee shots and fairway shots and a hybrid to use for hitting out of the rough.

Fairway Wood Pros & Cons


  • Large clubhead builds confidence
  • Higher spin and trajectory for holding greens
  • Easier for those with a shallow swing


  • Hard to hit out of the rough
  • Less forgiving
  • Longer shaft means a 3-wood may be hard to hit for some players

Hybrid Pros & Cons


  • More forgiving for shots not in the center of the face
  • Easier to hit out of the rough
  • Easier for those with a steeper swing


  • Less spin for green approach shots
  • Can tend to hook (curve left)

Fairway Woods vs Hybrids Comparison Chart

Here’s a sample chart of carry distances of fairway wood vs hybrids for different swing speeds. The actual numbers will vary based on shot quality, club length, and loft, but this should give you a good idea of where to expect these clubs to stack up.

Driver (total)155181206232258284310335361
Driver (carry)144168192216240264288312336
3 Wood130152174195217239260282304
2 Hybrid128150170190209232252274292
5 Wood123144164185205226246267288
3 Hybrid121142163182201221242262281
7 Wood115134156173192211232250269
4 Hybrid114133154171191208231248268
Distance (yds) by Swing Speed (mph)

Also, check out our full golf club distance chart.

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One of the most important things to consider when choosing clubs is ensuring your gapping is correct. With only 14 clubs in a bag, you’ll want to ensure you don’t have two clubs that do nearly the same thing. An in-store club fitting can verify that you’ve got exactly what you need.

Hybrid Equivelent Clubs

Here are the most common equivalent clubs for each hybrid and fairway wood. These will vary slightly by manufacturer. Also note that you won’t commonly see all of these clubs without a custom order (3-5 being the most common hybrids, and 3, 5, and 7 being the most common fairway woods).

LoftEquivalent WoodEquivalent Iron
1 Hybrid14-16°3 Wood1 Iron
2 Hybrid17-19°4 Wood2 Iron
3 Hybrid19-21°5 Wood3 Iron
4 Hybrid22-24°7 Wood4 Iron
5 Hybrid25-27°9 Wood5 Iron
6 Hybrid29-31°11 Wood6 Iron
7 Hybrid32-24°13 Wood7 Iron

Hybrids and Fairway Woods vs Irons

If you’re a good player, you’ll find that you can probably control an iron better than either of these clubs (shaping left or right and high or low). However, they are less forgiving if you’re not hitting the ball in the center of the face and compressing it.

I recommend using irons until you start losing consistency, and then consider replacing that iron and anything lower with woods or hybrids. I’ve replaced my 4 iron with a 7 wood as my distance is much more consistent with woods beyond that point.

3-Wood vs 3-Hybrid

These clubs may have the same number, but they aren’t equivalent. A 3 wood is actually like a 1 hybrid, while a 3 hybrid could be swapped out with a 5 wood. These are both great distance clubs, though they may be best suited to hitting off the tee as they can be more difficult to hit off the ground unless you have a consistent swing.

5-Wood vs 3-Hybrid

A 5 wood and a 3 hybrid are similar to a 3 iron. They both work great off the tee, though they may be slightly more difficult to hit off the ground. A 3 hybrid will work better out of the rough than a wood, but both can be tough without a good lie.

7-Wood vs 4-Hybrid

A 7 wood and a 4 hybrid are similar to a 4 iron. However, both of these clubs will be easier to hit. Both can be played from the rough, but the advantage will go to the hybrid.


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