Hybrid golf clubs have made a major impact for golfers since their inception in the early 2000s. But what is a hybrid and why do you need it in your bag? Let’s explore this relatively new entrant into the golf equipment category and see just how carrying one could help your game.
Often times, golf presents challenging holes and shots that require superior carry, trajectory and distance no matter the conditions. Hybrids can help golfers in many a sticky situation and even serve as a logical alternative to traditional drivers and woods off the tee.
Hybrid golf clubs were first introduced around the year 2000. By 2004, roughly seven percent of golfers on the PGA Tour were carrying at least one hybrid in their bag. By 2007, 30 percent of all golfers were using a hybrid. Now that number is up to 65 percent.
The conception of the hybrid came when beginner golfers — and even some stronger players — experienced difficulty hitting low irons. The combination of a small hitting area and low loft made it difficult for many players to launch the golf ball out of most conditions.
Then the hybrid was introduced. Suddenly players were able to carry the golf ball with distances of a long iron but with the ability to launch it higher — as if with a high iron.
Design wise, a hybrid looks like a small metalwood. The clubhead is typically smaller than a fairway wood but it still carries that shape, rather than the shape of an iron. Most hybrids come standard stocked with graphite shafts and in varying lofts and launch settings.
Benefits of a hybrid
Any golfer will agree that the game they love is quite difficult. Even for the most skilled players, finding an advantage is crucial. Carrying a hybrid in your golf bag can provide an advantage in many circumstances.
For starters, hybrid golf clubs can serve as great driving clubs. If you’re facing a tight fairway with a small landing area, consider hitting a hybrid. The added accuracy will ensure your approach shot is taken from the ideal location.
Secondly, long approach shots that would otherwise require a long iron now become easier, thanks to the easy-to-hit hybrid. Golfers can carry the water, or bunker en route to the putting surface with the added distance and trajectory that comes from a hybrid.
Perhaps the most important reason to carry a hybrid in your bag is for their ease of use out of the rough. Formerly, in any type of rough, an approach shot that requires more than 160 yards of carry was almost too difficult for many golfers. With a hybrid, getting distance and carry out of the rough is much easier.
Another added benefit of hybrid clubs is their customization capabilities. Golfers have the option to custom fit their hybrids to their exact needs and specifications.
How to implement your hybrid
The best way to implement a hybrid (or more) into your bag is to track distance gaps with your current set of irons. Find the point in your bag where distance, accuracy and consistency is a challenge and begin testing lofts.
Once you dial in on the appropriate loft for your game’s needs, see a local golf club fitter to customize your personalized launch and lie conditions. Like drivers and fairway woods, many hybrid golf clubs come standard with adjustable hoses and weights in the head.
Tweaking the loft, launch and lie specification to your specific swing gives you even more of a chance to make a great swing with the hybrid.
— Ben Larsen