Driving iron compared to a hybrid golf club

Driving Irons vs. Hybrids for Beginners: Reviewed

Today we’re here to talk about Driving Irons vs. Hybrids and which should a beginning golfer buy. Or comparatively, a utility iron vs. hybrid. None the less, considering utility and driving irons are far from different, let’s dive in.

Driving irons are very popular on the PGA tour. So the question is, should you also look at them to improve your golf game? The answer is simple: unless you hit the ball 340 yards and shoot under 70 regularly, it is no!

Driving irons are designed for accuracy for players with high club head speeds that want to have the distance of a fairway wood with the accuracy of an iron. They are low-spinning irons that provide a lower peak trajectory than a fairway wood and generate a lot of roll.

The challenge for a beginning golfer, or any golfer that does not have a high club head speed, is that the lower launching lower spinning clubs require a lot of club head speed to get the ball in the air. If you don’t have this club head speed your shot will not rise and you will not maximize distance instead having shots that hit the ground too soon.

A great alternative to the driving irons are hybrids. Hybrids have a lower center of gravity that is back behind the face of the club head. This provides more mass to help the ball flight and increase the peak height of the shot. For players with slower club head speeds hybrids provide the distance of an iron, or driving iron, without the velocity needed to swing them.

Robot testing showed that hybrids have a higher ball flight, aiding beginning players who struggle to get the ball in the air, and have more forgiveness on off center hits then a driving iron, another bonus for beginning players who don’t always hit the ball in the center of the club face.

What are hybrids?

A hybrid golf club looks like a wood but hits like a long iron. It offers more forgiveness on off-center strikes and should provide more forgiveness than a wood or driving iron.

Top Pick

TaylorMade Stealth Rescue

The TaylorMade Stealth Rescue Golf Hybrid is by far our favorite golf hybrid over last few years. It provides a simple face that also has a great sweet spot and face angle to support beginner golfers as well as low to mid handicappers. This hybrid is by far the most forgiving hybrid and our best hybrid for mid handicappers.


  • Optimal launch angle based on face design
  • Balanced weight across the face
  • Face angle provides added forgiveness
  • Great for all golfers, including beginners


  • Smaller face reduces sweet spot size
  • Forgiveness may reduce distance with low-face strikes

The Stealth hybrid is the best of both worlds: long and accurate. It is a high-launching hybrid that is forgiving and allows for a straight ball flight. It utilizes the same carbon material found in the Stealth driver which allows for greater weight placement which results in more forgiveness on off center hits.

A lower center of gravity allows the beginning player to maximize their shot shape when making contact. Overall it is the complete hybrid.

This by far is one of our favorite clubs for tee shots. You can really feel like there is complete control in tough, especially, windy conditions.

Hybrid Pros and Cons

Runner Up

Callaway Rogue ST Max OS Lite Golf Hybrid

The Callaway Rogue ST Max OS Lite Golf Hybrid is a great golf club for all types of golfers coming in a black and gray design and a relatively large club face


  • Launch angle provides added ball flight potential
  • Spin rate is great for long shots that need to stop quick
  • Large sweet spot which makes it great for beginners


  • High ball launch can result in less distance
  • Larger face compared to most top hybrids

Frustrated that you can’t get the ball in the air from the fairway? Tired of hitting shots that roll along the ground? Callaway has designed a club specifically for you. The Rogue ST Max OS Lite is the highest launching of the hybrids tested by the robot. It also has tungsten in the toe and the heel to provide more forgiveness on off center hits.

Their jail break technology was designed using A.I. to determine the best combination of weight placement and face thickness to maximize ball speed, launch, and spin. This club gets the ball in the air and helps you hit it straight.

The average golfer would really like this club, in our opinion. Off the ground, you can easily hit the ball off the ground when you’re playing par 5s.

What are driving irons?

A driving iron is a long iron (more than your 3 or 4 iron) that is specifically designed for players who have a higher swing speed and are consistent with their shots (i.e., low handicap players). The club can also be used off the fairway and often result in longer distances compared to hybrids when struck well.

For High Handicappers

Cleveland Launcher XL Halo Golf Hyrbid

The Cleveland Launcher XL Halo Golf Hyrbid is a black and blue colored hybrid that provides an oval like head face shape that provides for great flexibility for beginner golfers


  • Bigger head equals greater forgiveness
  • Great out of thick rough
  • Used often for tricky bump and runs around the green based on clubface design


  • Weighting across the face while holding the club isn’t balanced
  • Performed better during testing when off a tee versus the ground
  • Not as forgiving as the [TaylorMade Stealth Rescue](https://amzn.to/3yUYirc)

If you are looking for something less expensive with good performance the Launcher XL Halo is a great choice. Cleveland has been refining this model and this is their best performing one yet. It has a considerable sweet spot, which makes it far easier to hit.

The Launcher XL Halo was also one of the most forgiving hybrids on off center hits tested by the robot. In addition it has Gliderail technology which helps the club cut through the rough better to get the ball in the air. This is a very attractive quality in a golf club for beginners.

Easy to hit, forgiving and helpful out of the rough, are qualities that the Launcher XL Halo will provide the beginning player.

What is launch angle in golf?

Scientifically, the definition can be confusing but will tell you something along the lines of: The vertical angle relative to the horizon of the golf ball’s center of gravity movement immediately after leaving the club face.

Think about it as the ball leaving the club face and barely getting off the ground. The ball would be at a different height depending on the club you hit (due to the club’s loft). That is considered the launch angle.

What is more accurate - driving irons or hybrids?

If you had a chance to read our note earlier in this article, you know a long iron can be pretty tough to hit for the average golfer. While you may see that utility and driving irons carry distance that can sometimes be unmatched for a hybrid, there is more risk on the table.

Therefore, hybrids are typically far more accurate than driving irons because of their simple design and a sweet spot that is bigger and more adept than what you find in an iron.

Our Favorite Driving Iron

Top Pick

TaylorMade SIM UDI Hyrbid

The TaylorMade SIM UDI Golf Hyrbid utility iron is by far our favorite pick based overall performance following the testing completed by our robot. We think this club packs the right launch angle and weight to help those who are still getting used to their newest iron in their bag


  • Wide yet balanced weighting face
  • Consistent feel when hitting the sweet spot
  • Our robot showed this club produced the most distance consistently


  • Easier off a tee than fairway
  • Club face is heavier than others (by N grams)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I Carry A 5 wood Or 3 hybrid?

This really depends on your game and your environment. In almost all cases, we’d recommend the 3 hybrid because of the bigger sweet spot. Also, it should be much easier to hit. You might get a high launch angle, which would result in more spin and less roll, so consider where you’ll want to use the club.

What is the most forgiving driving iron?

Our most forgiving driving iron and most forgiving utility iron is the Wilton Staff Model Uiltuy Iron.

Will a hybrid give me more distance than a driving iron?

In most cases, no. The iron will have a lower launch angle and spin rate, so you should expect to see the ball have a narrower ball flight. The hybrid will, however, give you more control in all types of conditions, whether you’re hitting it out of the rough or even using a hybrid to hit a small bump and run.

What is a Utility Iron?

Usually, utility irons have a hollow body with a rather widened sole (beyond the standard iron). They also will come with a perimeter weighting because the clubface is more extended. The face provides a high-toe iron shape, so those with a faster swing speed may like to have this in your bag. But don’t be fooled. Many offerings we’ve suggested come with graphite shafts and varying lofts, so players of all calibers now have options to put a utility iron (a.k.a. Driving iron) in their bag.


Most golfers will want to consider a hybrid, no matter the environment.

Updated At: 2023-07-23T20:11:02+00:00

Golf nut.