3 Hybrid vs 4 Hybrid Explained: Which Should I Carry?

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Deciding whether to use a 3 hybrid vs 4 hybrid on the golf course? In this article, we cover key tips including distance, spin, loft, and other need to know information to make an informed decision.

The popularity of hybrid golf clubs has boomed in the last twenty years as amateurs prefer their high launch, forgiveness, and soft landings over long irons. In this post, I review the characteristics of a 3 hybrid vs 4 hybrid to help you decide which works for your game.

I will explain the loft, shaft length, spin, and length differences between each club. Plus, I detail the average hybrid 3 distance and answer how far a 4 hybrid goes.

Introduction to the 3 Hybrid vs 4 Hybrid

What is a 3 Hybrid Golf Club?

A 3 hybrid is the second strongest lofted golf club in its category and bears a loft of 18 to 19.5 degrees, akin to a 5-wood or a strengthened 4-iron. Golfers use a 3 hybrid for tee shots, long approach shots, or even as a utility club around the green.

What is a 4 Hybrid Golf Club?

The 4 hybrid follows the 3 with a weaker loft profile, ranging from 20 to 22 degrees, which is on par with a 5-iron. Like the 3 hybrid, golfers use the 4 for approach shots, tee shots, and the odd bump and run.

⛳️ Read Next: 10 Best Hybrids for Seniors + Buyers Guide [Expert Tips]

Key Differences Between a 3 or 4 Hybrid

The differences between a 3 hybrid and 4 hybrid may vary depending on the loft, shaft length, and lie angle. However, I have compiled a list of general differences between the two to give you a clearer idea.

Hybrid Loft

The most evident difference between a 3 and 4 hybrid is the loft. The 3 hybrid features a lower loft, the equivalent of a modern 4-iron or 5-wood. Naturally, the 3 hybrid is likely to travel further than the weaker lofted 4 hybrid.

Club3 Hybrid4 Hybrid
Loft18° – 19°21° – 22°

Shaft Length

The next difference I notice between these clubs is their shaft lengths. On average, a 3 hybrid shaft extends to 40.5 inches, while a 4 hybrid reaches 40 inches. The longer shaft on the 3-hybrid is bound to generate increased velocity on the downswing compared to the weaker lofted 4-hybrid.

In addition, I find the shorter shaft length of the 4-hybrid is easier to control and produce clean strikes.

Club3 Hybrid4 Hybrid
Shaft Length40.5”40”


In previous tests, I have found that the 3-hybrid produces marginally less spin than the 4-hybrid, which led to a lower apex and maximum yardage. Overall the 3 hybrid generated 100 fewer revolutions per minute (rpm), compared to the 4 hybrid.

Club3 Hybrid4 Hybrid
Spin Rate6852 RPM6978 RPM

Launch Angle

Given the stronger lofts in a 3 hybrid, it is unsurprising that it launches lower than its 4 hybrid counterpart. Therefore, the former is bound to generate marginally more roll upon landing than the 4-hybrid.

Club3 Hybrid4 Hybrid
Launch Angle13.2°13.5°

Ball Speed

Given the lower loft and accelerated clubhead speed, I find a 3 hybrid produces faster ball speed, which goes a long way to boost your length. Overall, the 18-degree 3 hybrid clubs generated 5 mph more ball speed than the 20-degree 4 hybrid.

Club3 Hybrid4 Hybrid
Ball Speed (mph)132.1129.4

3 Hybrid vs 4 Hybrid Distance

The final difference I noticed between these two is the total distance figures that they generate. Of course, this varies depending on the loft of the 3 and 4 hybrids you play. However, in my experience, an 18-degree 3 hybrid traveled 13 yards further than a 4 hybrid.

This 2nd Swing Golf video gives you a clear depiction of the 3 hybrid vs 4 hybrid distance differences. You may want to weigh the options, especially if you’re losing distance in your swing.

Club3 Hybrid4 Hybrid

3 or 4 Hybrid: Which One Should I Use?

3 Hybrid vs 4 Hybrid - which to use on a fairway shot?

Tee Shots

If your driver or fairway woods are not firing, I suggest roping in a 3 hybrid to save the day. The longer shaft helps you produce accelerated clubhead speed on the downswing as the reduced loft launches lower, faster, and higher.

⛳️ Related: 7 Wood vs 4 Hybrid – Which is Best for Distance?

Fairway Approach Shots

Depending on your range to the flag stick, the higher launching and softer landing 4 hybrid is typically a better option. This is because it helps the ball stop faster and holds smaller greens. However, if you are far out and can use the added roll to get onto the dance floor, then a 3-hybrid will do the trick.

From The Rough 

Hybrids contain expertly crafted soles, which often feature precise rail geometry to help the clubhead glide across the turf. Therefore, a 3 or 4 hybrid club promotes a clean strike from the rough to send your ball high and long.

Like fairway shots, a 4 hybrid is better equipped to promote a soft landing so that your ball holds the green. However, if a 4 hybrid club is insufficient, I suggest swinging the stronger lofted 3-hybrid, which provides added roll.


In my experience, hybrids are handy utility golf clubs that you can use for bump and run or chip shots. The higher lofted 4-hybrid is a better bet from this position as it takes some of the speed off the ball that the 3-hybrid may produce. As a result, you enjoy better control and consistency.

Should I Carry a 3 Hybrid or 4 Hybrid?

You should only carry a 3 hybrid if you do not play a 5-wood or 4-iron. Otherwise, you take up space in your bag that could be used for extra wedges. In addition, a 4-hybrid is necessary if your bag lacks a 7-wood or 5-iron.

In my experience, most amateurs do not require a 3 hybrid because they operate with a 5-wood. Therefore, a 4 hybrid is the most likely club you need.

Should I Carry a 3 Hybrid and 4 Hybrid?

Golfers who struggle with long irons and fairway woods are best off carrying a 3 and 4 hybrid to compensate for the lack of a 5-wood, 4-iron, and 5-iron. Holding a 3 and 4 hybrid club, in this instance, helps you close any distance gaps that may arise between your 3-wood and mid-irons.

Do I Need a 3 Hybrid?

You only need a 3 hybrid if your bag is without a 5-wood or a 4-iron. In this case, a 3-hybrid bridges the distance gaps to keep you long and straight.

Do I Need a 4 Hybrid?

Yes, these days, most amateurs require a 4 hybrid because they prefer the easy launching nature of a hybrid club over a 5-iron. If you play without a 4-hybrid, 7-wood, or 5-iron, you will face distance gaps in your game between your 3-hybrid and 6-iron.

Final Thoughts: 3 Hybrid vs 4 Hybrid

The 3 hybrid vs 4 hybrid review showed that most amateurs have a greater need for the low-lofted, 3 hybrid. It is longer than the 4 hybrid, which allows golfers to use it off the tee as an alternative to the driver or 3 wood.

Distance is the only performance feature that sets these clubs apart. They are both easy to launch from the fairway and the rough, and they bump and run with precision around the green.

So, I recommend the 3 hybrid because of its overall versatility and distance. However, if you carry a 5 wood and 3 hybrid, you are wasting precious space in your bag, which could be reserved for more wedges. In that case, I suggest looking at a 4 hybrid.

Now that you know the difference between the 3 hybrid vs 4 hybrid clubs, make sure to read our expert guide to best hybrids.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions

How far should you hit a 4 hybrid?

Golf Week suggests that the answer to how far a 4 hybrid should go is 160 to 210 yards. Senior golfers will find themselves on the lower end of that number. However, it can be challenging to put a figure on it, as 4 hybrids carry different lofts, shaft lengths, lie angles, and every golfer is unique.

3-Hybrid vs 4-Iron Distance?

In my experience, a 3 hybrid delivers more length than a 4-iron. I send my 18.5-degree 3 hybrid 196 yards, compared to 185 yards with a 19-degree 4-iron.

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Matt Callcott-Stevens has lived and breathed golf since he was four. As a junior, he played competitively, until he discovered his talents were better suited to writing about the game. Matt holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing through the Johan Cruyff Institute in Barcelona and has provided golf game improvement tips to seniors and the average golfer for seven years.


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