What is the 24/38 rule & do you need a hybrid?

A set of clubs isn't just about the number printed on the heads. Understanding the 24/38 rule can help you build a set of golf clubs that will score better. Learn more

 

Have you heard of the 24/38 rule?

 

It’s a rule of thumb that came up in the 70s amongst club fitters and builders.

 

That a club longer than 38” or with less than 24 degrees of loft becomes a lot harder to hit.  That was the spec of an average 3 iron back then.

 

Back when driver shafts were 42.5” long…

 

With clubs getting easier to hit, one way manufacturers get their clubs to hit longer, is to strengthen the loft of the club, ie, to make the loft lower, or to increase the length of the club.

 

A quick look at the spec sheet of Taylor Made’s SIM MAX OS Irons, shows that the 6 iron is 23.5 degrees in loft, and 37.88”, just about the same spec as a 3 iron in the 70s!

 

All the physics remaining the same, a golfer with the same swing speed should hit a modern 6 iron about as far as a 1970s 3 iron.

 

Also, the modern 6 iron should be as hard to hit as the 1970s 3 iron.

 

Except, technology has come in to lower the centre of gravity, increase the moment of inertia, stabilize the shaft, etc…

 

And let’s face it, if you test hit a 7 iron and it goes longer than your current one, you’re going to buy it, so, strengthening lofts is an easy way to sell more clubs.

 

The big “if” here, is “if” you can still hit it – and most of the time, we can, until we get to the lower numbers.

 

Enter the hybrid club.

 

It’s not just the irons that have gotten longer and stronger, fairway woods have too.  That’s why hybrid clubs now fill the gap between irons and fairway woods.

 

Hybrid clubs are built like either ultra game improvement irons, or ultra game improvement woods.  So even within hybrids, there’s a choice, depending on your preference.

 

Which should you get?  It depends on the golfer. 

 

One thing I would make note of - if you’re carrying 2 hybrids, I would recommend that the shorter one be more “iron like” and the longer one more “wood like”.  That way, at least your 3 hybrid will be longer than your 4 hybrid.

 

With club numbers all over the place, the only way to make sure your set has equal distance gap between clubs is to go out and hit lots of balls, and observe the distance.  Then make a note of it so that when you play your round.

 

(Or you can make an appointment with us, and we’ll check your set composition for you.)

 

The big caveat here is that you should use balls similar to what you play, since range balls tend to not be the same quality as balls you would usually play with.

 

Ultimately, the game of golf isn’t about hitting it longer.  It’s about getting the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible.

 

To do that, you do need the equal gap between clubs.  So get your distances measured before your next round, and make sure you’ve got a club for each distance you need to hit.

 

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