Some clubs make your jaw drop when you see what they cost. Others get that result when you see what they do. It was the later that happened to me. I was playing with my friend Tom. He was about 190 yards from the green. He pulled out his new hybrid and made a smooth, effortless swing. The ball launched beautifully, sailed true and landed softly in the middle of the green. And Tom stinks!
He looked at me and my wobbly jaw, then at his club, and said, "These things shouldn’t be legal; you can’t miss."
Next week there was a hybrid in my bag. But contrary to Tom, you can miss. The clubber will always determine what the club does. But if ever there was a club to give you more of that feeling of, "Yes, I can play this game," then the hybrid is it.
The golf magazines and equipment gurus definitely recommend them. All the golf club makers produce them, and for good reason: they work.
Hybrid utility clubs are a cross between a fairway wood and a long iron, with similarities to both. They are designed to launch the ball up in the air from long distances and tough lies.
Hybrids move the center of gravity back and to the bottom of the club, which is nearly impossible with a standard iron. What this does is help to launch the ball into the air. Hybrids also have a flatter face than a wood and a higher launch angle. This gives the ball a higher spin rate, which allows it to stop faster with more accuracy.
Shaft length on a hybrid is closer to an iron than a wood. The bottoms often have runners or rails, which helps improve turf interaction, whether it is long rough, short fairway or sand. Hybrids also get the leading edge of the face closer to the ground so players can get the ball up fast, even from heavy lies.
Their lofts vary from 16 to the mid 20 degrees like the longer irons. The 3 iron is often the first club replaced with a hybrid. The faithfully converted then often replace their 4 and 5 irons with higher lofted hybrids.
To get the best result from the rough, it helps to understand how woods and hybrids are different. From short rough, the flat bottom on the 3- or 5-wood skids easily through the grass--even easier than a middle iron. But in thicker rough, the heavier club head mass and smaller, more compact head of the hybrid helps keep the club head stable as it plows through the deeper grass. Most hybrids also have more loft than fairway woods. This helps get the ball up and away from the deeper grass.
Hybrids are suited for everyone, from touring pros and scratch golfers to the out-and-out duffer. Look in the bag of most pros on tour, and you’ll see a hybrid. But these clubs can actually help the higher handicapped golfer the most, especially players who have lost swing speed due to age, injury or other conditions that have prevented them from making a full shoulder turn on the backswing.
Hybrids allow for a shorter back swing while launching the ball the same distance typically experienced with a wood. The long narrow face and wide sole of hybrid clubs use a low center of gravity, which helps players with slower swing speeds launch the ball with less effort. This makes a hybrid club similar to playing a wood in that it lends itself to the sweeping style of swing. With a long iron, a player often has to try and pick the ball off the turf, usually with much greater effort.
Hybrids are extremely versatile. They can be used from the fairway, rough or tee. They are really easy to hit, even off tight lies. They are designed for distance control and accuracy, but you can work them any way you like. Not only will you see longer distances from the hybrid, you should see more accuracy because the hybrid allows for a greater margin for error. They are definitely more forgiving on miss-hits. The days of buying the typical set of clubs, 3 woods and 8 irons, are over. Today, golf bags everywhere are filled with hybrids.
So, if you want distance, high trajectory plus ease of use, go for the hybrids. They come in all prices, and it's money well spent. They are a great stroke saver. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to watch you playing partner’s jaw drop when you hit a good one.