How can three golf clubs with the same loft be so different?

The question over 18 degrees

One of the most confusing things when assembling a set of golf clubs can surround the choice between an 18 degrees fairway wood, hybrid and/or utility iron. They may all share the same loft, but this does this mean they do the same job?

Same loft doesn’t equate to same distance:

Firstly, all 3 clubs have different shaft lengths, with fairway woods being the longest and utility irons the shortest. To put it simply, the longer shaft lengths mean golfers can create more club head speed and therefore equates to more distance.

The difference in clubheads also impact distance. Fairway woods tend to have big forgiving heads which allow the centre of gravity to be further back making it easier to hit the golf ball higher, whereas the smaller iron shaped flat face of a utility iron encourages workability and accuracy over distance.

How can three clubs with the same loft be so different?

Considerations to make when choosing between fairways, hybrids and utilities

Firstly, we should note, there is no saying you cannot have 1, 2 or 3 of these clubs with the same loft, it totally depends on what job they are there for.

When do you use it?

There is no point in having a club in the bag that doesn’t get used, it’s a waste of 1 of your 14 precious clubs, so it is important to have clubs that serve a purpose.

So, the first question should be, what do you need it for? If you are looking for a club to tee up and help find tight fairways off the tee with slightly more accuracy than a driver – then the fairway wood may be your answer. If you need a club that you can hit from both the tee box and on the course, the curved sole of a hybrid will help golfers dig the ball out of poor lies.

What are your course conditions?

Depending on what course you play and in what conditions is another consideration to make. You will see top level tour professionals switching between the 3 depending on the courses they play, for example the Open Championship is notorious for its firm fast windy links conditions, where the low flight and accuracy of a utility iron will be many professionals choice, allowing them to chase the ball up the fairway under the wind. However, for those playing in calmer winds and softer conditions, a fairway or hybrid may be the preferred option as these can be launched high and fly further.

So there we have it, three clubs here between driver and your longest iron, all with the same loft but doing very different jobs in terms of distance, how and when you might use them.

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