Champions Hybrid Heroes. Most Used Hybrids by Champions Tour Pros (2024)

Champions Tour pro Jim Furyk swinging a hybrid golf club

When Golfing Focus decided to analyse what the most popular clubs on the Champions Tour are we felt that didn’t take things far enough.

We also wanted to find out the details of the best senior pros’ preferences within each club type and so in this post we turn our Golfing Focus to the hybrids the Champions Tour pros use.

74% out of 50 of the best Champions Tour pros carry at least one hybrid. 8% of this group use 2 hybrids including Bernhard Langer while 2 players – John Daly and the ‘Hybrid King’ Y.E. Yang – carry 3. Ping and Callaway hybrids are the most used with PING’s G430 being the most popular model. 19º is the most common hybrid loft.

Our similarly detailed analysis of the hybrids PGA Tour pros are using showed that close to 1/3 of that elite group choose to use a club type that has proved to be the savour for all standards of golfer looking for an alternative to long irons.

But what our research of the hybrids used on the Champions Tour pros further shows is that the best senior players are even more willing to take advantage of the help hybrids offer over traditional long irons with over 2/3 of the group we researched putting at least one hybrid in their bag.

And not only that some Champions Tour pros are happy to use multiple hybrids including ones with which regular golfers will be very familiar. A 26º 5 hybrid equivalent to a standard 5-iron loft!

Front view of PING's G430 hybrid golf club
PING’s G430 hybrid is the most used hybrid among the Champions Tour prosCheck it out at the PGA Tour Superstore

Do Champions Tour Pros Use Hybrids? It’s More Unusual If They Don’t!

Golfers of all standards struggle to hit their long irons consistently well but when it comes to alternatives many golfers for some reason associate hybrids as a choice for less capable players.

They certainly do not expect exceptional players to need to use them but when it comes to alternative options to long irons it is clear that the best senior golfers in the world consider hybrids to be a key part of their long-game strategy.

Golfing Focus’ detailed study of fifty of the top 100 Champions Tour pros we found reliable club data on highlighted that 37 out of that elite group carry at least one hybrid in their bag.

Admittedly our research also showed that 14 out of that 37 had more than fourteen clubs listed in their bag – and therefore also had higher numbered fairway woods and/or driving irons as options to switch to instead of hybrids.

But when we looked at those Champions Tour pros with only 14 clubs in their bag we found 64% of them carrying at least one hybrid and 14% using more than one!

Indeed both John Daly and Y.E. Yang – who arguably played the most famous hybrid shot in history when he struck his 21º hybrid to six feet on the 72nd hole of the 2009 USPGA Championship to beat Tiger Woods – use three hybrids.

This means that both players start their ‘standard’ iron set with their 6-iron which is a setup lots of regular amateurs would often associate with high handicappers rather than some of the best Champions Tour pros in the world.

Unless you’re a really staunch iron player, effectively the three-iron is gone. The four-iron is next to go because the hybrid club will hit the ball much easier off the deck, it’ll hit it out of the rough much easier and it will hit it off the tee much easier. The advantage of the hybrids is their greater versatility.

Former World Club-Maker of the Year Derek Murray of Fore Golf

It was also interesting to note from our analysis however that 2023 Champions Tour money list winner Steve Stricker has gone from two hybrids to one in recent times.

Having previously carried two hybrids he has now swapped out his Titleist TS3 21º hybrid to start his Callaway Apex Pro ’19 Raw irons with a 3-iron rather than a 4-iron.

When we also took an in-depth look at the fairway woods being used by the Champions Tour pros we noted that 20 out of the 50 senior players we analysed choose to carry a 5-wood or 7-wood.

However this certainly did not automatically mean these senior pros picked higher numbered fairway wood in ‘preference’ to a hybrid.

Over half of the players with a 5-wood or 7-wood in their bag were also found to include a hybrid which again highlighted to us how hybrids are without question a definite mainstay among Champions Tour pros.

And to a much greater extent than they are to their colleagues on the main PGA Tour.

So the fact that at least 2/3 of the best senior pros in the world are using hybrids would seem to be a compelling argument that they are a good option for any golfer out there.

And while PING’s G430 hybrid is the most common among the Champions Tour pros our research also showed 25 different individual hybrid models being played by the 37 senior pros choosing to carry at least one.

Such a large number of different hybrids therefore pointed to no one model being dominant among Champions Tour players although it should be noted that PING and Callaway models made up over half of the hybrids being used.

BRAND OF HYBRIDCHAMPIONS TOUR PROS USING BRANDMOST USED HYBRID MODEL
PINGArjun Atwal, Chris DiMarco, Doug Barron, Jeff Maggert, John Daly, Ken Tanigawa, Kevin Sutherland, Kirk Triplett, Steve Flesch, Vijay Singh, Y.E. YangG430

Check PGA Superstore
CallawayBilly Andrade, David Duval, Jerry Kelly, Jim Furyk, Justin Leonard, K.J. Choi, Lee Janzen, Olin Browne, Rocco MediateApex UW

Check eBay
Tour EdgeAlex Cejka, Mike Weir, Scott McCarron, Steven Alker, Tim Petrovic, Tom LehmanExotics C722
TitleistDicky Pride, Rob Labritz, Steve Stricker, Tim O’NealNone – 4 different models used
AdamsBernhard Langer, Esteban ToledoIdea Pro
TaylorMadeDarren Clarke, Fred CouplesNone – 2 different models used
SrixonDavid TomsZX
CobraBrian GayKING TEC
PXGKen Duke0317 X
[Note – Available data of 50 of the top 100 PGA Champions Tour pros on the money list at the end of the 2023 season.]

[Note – Just so you know, and we are upfront as an affiliate program participant, Golfing Focus, at no cost to you, earns from qualifying purchases made through links on this page.]

Hybrid Lofts Vary Among Champions Tour Players

When it comes to the hybrids used by the top Champions Tour players one thing that our deep dive showed clearly is that there is no set loft attached to an individual hybrid number.

Nobody should therefore assume that when a senior pro decides to opt for a hybrid in place of a three, four or even five-iron they are automatically going to choose an H3, H4 or H5 in its place.

In our article outlining why hybrids are easier to hit we provide a guide to hybrid lofts and their equivalent iron and fairway wood.

However it must be noted that there is no exact set of hybrid lofts that always compare directly to iron lofts without exception.

HYBRID CLUBHYBRID LOFTEQUIVALENT IRON / WOOD
1 Hybrid14-16 degrees1 iron / 3 wood
2 Hybrid17-19 degrees2 iron / 4 wood
3 Hybrid19-21 degrees3 iron / 5 wood
4 Hybrid22-24 degrees4 iron / 7 wood
5 Hybrid25-27 degrees5 iron / 9 wood
6 Hybrid29-31 degrees6 iron / 11 wood
7 Hybrid32-34 degrees7 iron / 13 wood

And this is borne out by our look at the hybrids the Champions Tour players are using.

Our analysis uncovered ten different lofts of hybrids being used by the best senior pros with different players using hybrids of 17º – most closely aligned to a 2-iron or 4-wood loft – up to 26º which you would typically associate with a 5-iron or 9-wood loft.

19º was the most common loft of hybrid we came across with close to 1/4 of all the hybrids being used by Champions Tour pros matching that.

And indeed over 40% of those we analysed fall within the ‘3 hybrid’ bracket loft of between 19 and 21 degrees.

As we have already noted however many other different lofted hybrids are being used on the senior Tour with even traditionally very long players such as John Daly happy to use a 26º model instead of a traditional 5-iron.

The most important thing for the Champions Tour pros of course, as it is for any player when it comes to choosing hybrids, is distance rather than loft.

And each of these top senior players will spend a lot of time choosing a hybrid loft, rather than a hybrid number, to let them hit the ball the yardage they want and with the correct gap to the club immediately above and below it in the bag.

So if you are playing hybrids yourself – and check out our other post covering how many hybrids all amateurs should be carrying – it is worth paying attention to the yardage gaps you hit between them rather than simply swapping out your 3 and 4-iron for example for a H3 and H4.

What Driving Irons Do Champions Tour Pros Use as Alternatives to Hybrids?

Hybrids are of course not the only option when it comes to looking for solutions to the age-old problem all standards of golfer have of trying to hit long shots consistently well.

Driving irons – or utility irons as they are also known – also find favour among top pros on all the various Tours looking for clubs that will fly the ball lower, and roll further, than hybrids or fairway woods of a comparable loft.

And having already looked at what fairway woods the Champions Tour pros are using we were also interested as part of our in-depth look at the hybrids to find out how many were using driving/utility irons as an alternative.

13 out of the 50 Champions Tour pros we researched carry at least one driving iron with two having three in their bag including Ernie Els.

Srixon driving iron models are the most played with the most used individual driving iron being Srixon’s ZX Utility and Tour Edge’s Exotics EX5.

Srixon’s position as the top brand when it comes to driving irons on the Champions Tour matched its ranking when we did a similar in-depth analysis of the driving irons the best pros on the PGA Tour use.

And as a result, it would seem that Srixon is the preferred driving iron brand when it comes to the best male pros.

Srixon's ZX Mk II Utility Iron
Srixon’s ZX Utility is the most used driving iron model on both the Champions Tour and PGA Tour. Check it out on Amazon here

And it was also further interesting to note Srixon’s ZX Utility iron model coming out on top on the Champions Tour just as it did in our PGA Tour analysis.

Two further key points need to be considered however when it comes to the driving irons we found in the bags of Senior Tour players.

Firstly, five of the senior pros we discovered carrying utility irons, including Steven Alker who finished second on the 2023 money list, carried one alongside a hybrid as part of a ‘wider set’ of 15-17 clubs.

As such it seems clear that for these pros driving irons and hybrids are interchanged depending on where they are playing or their confidence levels with each club.

Indeed within Tim Petrovic’s collection of 19 clubs, he has two fairway woods, three driving irons and two hybrids giving him a lot of flexibility in his choices when it comes to replacing traditional long irons.

Secondly when it comes to the Champions Tour pros who are using driving irons within a standard set of 14 clubs our analysis showed they are willing to consider them as an option from 2-iron up to 5-iron.

Ernie Els for example carries three driving irons starting with a 18º Srixon ZU85 2-iron and also including a 23º 4-iron and 26º 5-iron.

Ken Duke is another Champions Tour pro who opts for a higher lofted 25º Tour Edge Exotics C722.

So while driving irons typically find favour on the main PGA Tour in weeks where the wind is a factor it seems Champions Tour pros are happier to embrace the benefits of driving irons as an alternative to more standard iron clubs.

Hybrid & Driving Iron Shafts Used By Champions Tour Pros

In another Golfing Focus article we covered what driver and iron shafts the Champions Tour pros use but this time we wanted to uncover the choices they make when it comes to the shafts they put in the hybrids and driving irons they use.

And among the Champions Tour pros Golfing Focus found hybrid shaft data on Fujikura and True Temper shafts are the most used brands in the hybrids they choose.

Graphite Design’s Tour AD DI Hybrid 115 SX model is though the most common individual shaft we uncovered.

When it comes to driving iron shafts by comparison True Temper and Nippon shafts lead the way with Nippon’s N.S. Pro Modus3 Hybrid S and KBS’ S-Taper 130 X models being the most common individual utility iron shafts.

The detail and precision that top pros go into when it comes to choosing golf shafts for their clubs is again highlighted by the hybrid and driving iron shaft choices made by the best senior pros on the Champions Tour.

Overall our detailed analysis uncovered 29 different hybrid and 13 different driving iron shafts being used by Champions Tour players.

Which clearly points to a huge variety of shafts being chosen and therefore the best senior players in the world taking great care to match shafts to their specific requirements.

Interestingly Golfing Focus’ research also highlighted a clear preference for graphite shafts in both hybrid and driving iron shaft categories on the Champions Tour.

All the hybrid shafts being played by the Champions Tour pros we found data on were graphite shafts while two-thirds of the driving iron shafts being played were either graphite or ‘graphite on steel’ shafts.

When it came to the similar analysis we did on the PGA Tour of the hybrid and driving iron shafts being used the choice between steel and graphite shafts in driving irons was less clear cut.

However it appears that when it comes to the Champions Tour pros they are much more definitive in their preference of graphite over steel shafts in the driving/utility irons they use.

Before You Go …

The debate over whether amateur golfers of almost every standard should have at least one hybrid in their golf bag is over.

But just in case there is still doubt in your mind check out our other article for the list of reasons why you should be using them and the ’24/38′ rule you can use to help you answer the question about how many hybrids you should carry!

What Hybrids Should You Carry? It’s All About Ego

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