Utility irons are becoming more and more popular. They are sexy. They are cool. They are used to impress your friends with how good you must be at golf. Oh my gossssh, he must be so good. Look at how well he hits his utility iron off the tee. He’s too good for a hybrid.
Although I’m known for making up statistics, I found that 95% of golfers shouldn’t even LOOK at a utility iron, let along put one in the bag.
Seriously though, if you are debating whether you should replace your hybrid with a utility iron, you probably shouldn’t. Stick with a good value hybrid golf club.
Here’s three reasons why you should stick with your hybrids, and ignore the utility irons.
1) Utility Irons Are More Difficult Than Hybrids To Get Enough Height On Your Shots
Most golfers have a hard time getting the ball in the air as it is. Why would you want to make it even harder by gaming a utility iron over a hybrid? The answer: you shouldn’t.
Utility irons & driving irons are meant to stay lower with a more penetrating ball flight. Hybrids, on the other hand, have super low centers of gravity that force the ball higher into the air with ease. Golfers need all the help they can get. Sure, hybrids aren’t as sexy. They are PRACTICAL, though.
Now, you might be thinking: well, I hit a lot of high shots now, so maybe I should be using a utility iron? No, you should get some lessons. Don’t buy a club to fix your ball flight problems. Ever. Did you get that? I’ll say it again. Don’t buy a golf club thinking that it will fix your poor ball flight. Ever.
In my opinion, most golfers that use utility irons simply can’t get the ball to stay in the air long enough to have any benefit. When hitting into a green, I see most golfers with utility irons hitting the green and then the ball rolls 20 feet over. Sure, using a utility iron or driving iron off the tee is all well and dandy, but hybrids can be hit off the tee too, ya dummy.
2) Utility Irons Are Less Forgiving Than Hybrids
Do you want MORE forgiveness or LESS? Well, that’s an easy question for most golfers. MORE! Golf is fun when you score well. Golf is fun when even your mishits end up ok. Golf is NOT fun when you are badly penalized on off center hits.
Hybrids are more forgiving than utility irons. They have bigger sweets spots. They have far more perimeter weighting. Off center hits on hybrids will end up ok-ish. Off center strikes with a utility iron? Not so much.
Unless you are playing every day, it’s pretty likely that you aren’t hitting the dead center of the club face on every strike. Make your life easier. Give yourself more margin of error by using a hybrid.
3) Only Low Handicap Golfers, With Fast Swing Speeds, That Play in Windy Conditions Should Consider Utility Irons
In my opinion, there are three criteria that ALL MUST BE TRUE for someone to put a utility iron in their bag.
- Firstly, they must be a low handicap golfer (5 or lower). This shows that the golfer has at least SOME skill in controlling ball flights on command.
- Secondly, they must have a fast swing speed (100+ mph with a driver). Fast swing speeds are necessary when using low lofted irons to truly generate enough speed to get the ball in the air long enough. No one wants to land the ball on the green only for the ball to roll another 40 feet into the greenside bunker.
- Thirdly, the golfer must play in windy conditions on a regular basis. Otherwise, I simply don’t think that there is a need for a utility/driving iron. In windy conditions, good golfers can find that their hybrid shots stay in the air too long, and can be blown off course. So if you are a golfer that typically plays in windy conditions, I can see the need for a utility/driving iron.
So, yes, there is a time/place for utility irons and driving irons. However, it’s very rare. Most golfers should stick with their forgiving, easier-to-hit hybrids.