Long irons have always been the clubs of last resort for many recreational golfers. On the one hand, when you hit it, the ball flight is just a joy to watch. On the other hand, you might get only one shot like that out of who knows how many tries.
I could hit my 4-iron like that two out of three times, my 3-iron about one out of three times, and my 2-iron was for the tee only. I had three clubs in my bag that weren’t doing me any favors.
One day about five years ago I went to the range and there was a Ben Hogan demo day. Ben Hogan line was still a prominent player in the equipment market. I talked to the rep about the hybrid irons I had been hearing about and he gave me a 21-degree club, equivalent to a 3-iron, to try out.
I walked over to an open mat and dropped a few balls. The club felt a bit heavy, the head as a lot heavier than my 3-iron, so I decided I would take an easy swing at the ball the first time. Whack! The ball flew out straight and long, as good as any 3-iron I had ever hit.
“That’s nice,” I thought, “let me try that again.” Whack! Same thing. Straight, high, and far. A third easy swing, same result. I don’t hit my 9-iron that well three times in a row.
So I walked back to see the rep and said, “What is it with this? I just hit the best long iron shots of my life three times in a row.”
He launched into the spiel about how easy they were to hit and how everybody should replace their long irons with hybrid irons. I needed no convincing.
About a month later I ordered a 19-, 21-, and 24-degree hybrid and tossed out my long irons. I would recommend you do the same, and you might take a close look at replacing your 5-iron with a hybrid iron, too, if your 5 is getting hard to hit.
Two things about using hybrid irons. They’re meant to replace irons, so you still have to hit down on the ball like you do with your other irons. Trying to sweep the ball as if it were a fairway wood doesn’t work too well. Second, and I tell myself this every time I get set to swing one, stay out of its way. Just make an easy swing and let the club do the work for you. The more you try to force the shot with a hybrid the worse it will be for you.
There’s no substitute for practice, but if you want to buy some good shots, get some of these.