What Hybrid Replaces a 4 Iron?

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What Hybrid Replaces a 4 Iron

 I took my 4 iron out of the bag a few years ago, and I’ve never looked back. Even though I have relatively fast swing speeds, the consistency with the 4 iron was just not high enough for me to justify keeping it in the bag. If you think it’s time for your 4 iron to go, I’ll show you exactly which hybrid you should be replacing it with. (Spoiler alert: it’s not always the 4 hybrid!)

What Hybrid Replaces a 4 Iron? 

To determine what hybrid replaces a 4 iron, you must first know the loft of your current 4 iron. 

The loft of your current 4 iron is likely around 18 to 22 degrees. You will then want to find a hybrid with this same loft. 

The hybrid you choose could be a 3, 4, or 5 hybrid, depending on the manufacturer and the brand. 

The key is to match the lofts of the two clubs. Even though a hybrid and an iron will perform differently (I’ll explain in a minute), you want to keep lofts as consistent as possible. 

Here are a few 4 iron lofts for some common sets on the market right now, just so you can see how the 4 iron loft does vary: 

  • Callaway Paradym: 20 degrees 
  • TaylorMade Stealth: 18.5 degrees 
  • Titleist T200: 22 degrees
  • Cleveland Launcher XL: 20 degrees 

How To Decide On A Hybrid To Replace a 4 Iron? 

As you can see, the loft in a standard 4 iron varies considerably. Most of the time, a more players-style iron, like the Titleist T200, will have a bit more loft. The extra loft is there to help players with control and workability. 

In the game improvement irons, we see lower lofts and lower centers of gravity. The lower loft helps to increase total distance and make it easier for players to get hybrid-like distance out of their 4 iron. 

If you choose a hybrid to replace your 4 iron with a similar loft to your current 4 iron, you can expect fewer distance gaps in your golf bag. For most players, the replacement is a 4 hybrid for a 4 iron. 

However, you may come across instances where a 3 hybrid is better, or even a 5 hybrid, if you tend to get a lot of extra distance with a hybrid than you do with an iron.

Many of the 4 hybrids we see on the market are in the 22 degree range, and for golfers with a hybrid in the 20-23 degree 4 iron, the 4 hybrid is a perfect replacement. If you have something strong in your current 4 iron, like the TaylorMade Stealth at 18.5 degrees, you may want to replace it with a 3 hybrid to guarantee similar distances. 

What Are The Differences Between the 4 Hybrid and the 4 Iron? 

Unsure whether or not it’s time for the 4 iron to come out of the bag? The key is to be able to understand the differences between these two clubs and how they can benefit your game. From a usability, forgiveness, and distance standpoint, the 4 hybrid is easier to work with. 

Total Distance 

Most golfers have an easier time getting distance from a hybrid than they do an iron. The hybrid usually comes with some sort of a titanium face that helps the ball really jump. In addition, most hybrids are graphite shafted, whereas many 4 irons are steel shafted. 

These slight differences can lead to major gains in total distance for the average player. 

This is why even if you have a 20 degree 4 iron in your bag, you may still hit the 22 degree hybrid just as far. As long as you are in that 1-3 degree range in the loft, you should be able to find the perfect replacement for the 4 iron. 

Forgiveness From Difficult Lies 

Every once in a while, a drive from the tee ends up in the rough. Does that happen to you? If it does, the hybrid is a friend. 

The 4 iron shot out of thick rough is not a percentage shot. In fact, most people would probably bet against you hitting the green unless you have really high swing speeds. 

Simple shots out of the rough that fly toward the hole are easily found with a hybrid club. 

Swing Speed Considerations 

The faster your swing speed, the easier it is to hit long irons solid. Long irons are longer than short irons, require more effort to swing, and have a relatively low launch angle. If you are a slow swing speed player, the hybrid is almost always the better choice.

Related: How To Increase Swing Speed

Ball Flight and Workability 

So far, it may seem like the hybrid club is the better choice in many categories, and it can be. However, when it comes to controlling your ball flight, hitting a baby fade or draw, and simply feeling like you are in control of trajectory, the 4 iron is the better choice. 

Control is the main reason why we see so many players’ sets that still have 3 and 4 irons, whereas many game improvement sets stop at the 5 iron. 

If you are a lower handicap player or simply want to learn ultimate precision in your game, the 4 iron is likely the better fit. 


I find the 4 hybrid to be a bit more versatile than the 4 iron. From the tee, rough, fairway, and even the fringe, you can use the 4 hybrid to hit a variety of golf shots. With the 4 iron, you are a bit more limited to the tee and the fairway. 


With hybrids having more advanced multi-material technology in the clubhead, expect the pricing to be a little higher. In general, hybrids are more expensive than hybrids. For one club and not a full set, the price difference shouldn’t be enough to influence your purchase. 

A standard new hybrid on the market ranges from around $200-$300, whereas a new iron could be anywhere from $130-$299. 

Spin Rates

Most hybrids are built to help golfers get more distance. Long distance clubs often have lower spin rates to encourage more roll when the ball lands. If you are playing a game improvement style hybrid, expect it to roll and not have quite as much spin as your current 4 iron. 

Again, this is not typically a problem for the distance-seeking golfer. However, for those that are looking for accuracy and precision, a slightly higher spin rate can improve ball flight and increase the ability to stop the ball on the greens. 

Testing the 4 Iron vs. 4 Hybrid 

To find out if the 4 hybrid is indeed the hybrid that replaces your 4 iron, it’s best to go for a golf club fitting. If you cannot go for a golf club fitting, you will want to at least test a 4 hybrid vs. 4 iron on a launch monitor. 

With the launch monitor data, be sure to specifically look for the carry distance and total distance of each club. The hybrid and the 4 iron may have similar carry distances, but the total distance is almost always longer with the lower-spinning hybrid golf club. 

In addition, check your dispersion rates

Some golfers are just more comfortable and accurate with an iron in their hands. If you are getting 5 yards more with your hybrid, but you are offline on every swing, it’s not the club for you. Remember, a few yards less distance, but an accurate shot is well worth the loss of distance. 

Making a Transition From 4 Iron to a Hybrid Replacement 

Sometimes the transition from playing with a full set of irons to throwing a hybrid in as a replacement can be a bit difficult for players. Here are a few of my best tips to make this process easier on yourself and ensure you still feel confident in your new club. 

  • Think of the impact position with a hybrid the same way you do with your irons; feeling more like the club is an iron than a fairway wood is usually helpful for players. 
  • Play the ball a little forward in your stance, but not nearly as far up as your driver. 
  • A little more rotation in the backswing can be helpful for maximizing the total distance on the hybrid club. 
  • Put the ball on a short tee a few times, and hit some shots out of the rough to get used to the different feel and the launch of the golf ball. 

Final Thoughts 

The 4 hybrid is the most common replacement for the 4 iron. However, with the way lofts have changed in the world of golf, you can’t just assume that the 4 hybrid is going to create a perfect loft gap in your bag. 

Make sure you know the loft of your club and how far you typically hit your 4 iron so you can fill in with the perfect replacement. 

Picture of Britt Olizarowicz

Britt Olizarowicz

Britt Olizarowicz is a scratch golfer and former PGA Professional. Having picked up the club for the first time at age 7, thirty years later, Britt has yet to put it down.

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