"Only God and Jack Nicklaus can hit a 1-iron," Lee Trevino once observed. He was exaggerating, of course - but not by much. There is no more intimidating shot for a golfer than hitting a long iron off a tightly mown fairway. Looking down at the address, the average golfer sees a thin clubhead barely larger than the ball itself. It's daunting, and the shot can seem doomed even before it is attempted.
Once upon a time, in the 20th Century, The only way to conquer this fear was to spend hours and hours on the practice range building competency and confidence.
But it is a brave new world in the 21st Century, so ditch the long irons altogether and pick up a hybrid club. And while you are at it, leave those fairway woods in the closet as well.
The 21st Century Hybrid
Club Length. Fairway woods are notorious and difficult to master because of their length. For instance, a 5-wood is 42 inches long, which is only about two inches shorter than the average driver. It's hard to control something that long. On the other hand, a hybrid will be 39 inches or less, similar to a long iron. It will also be lighter than a fairway wood, adding to the overall usability.
Wide Sole. With a hybrid, the thin blade of a long iron is replaced with a sole as wide as a fairway wood. It's a simple adjustment, but it relieves the all-too-familiar dread that comes with producing a perfect long iron strike.
Flat Club Face. Fairway woods have a slight bulge in the club face that rewards a well-delivered blow, but also commonly induces errant shots. Oppositely, the hybrid uses the hard, flat face of an iron club for an easier, square hit. However, a hybrid differs from a standard iron because it is packed with a much more generous sweet spot to make it far more forgiving of mishits. As a nice final touch, the hybrid's clubface is offset - like that of an iron - to provide a familiar, confident look when standing over a long approach shot.
Those are the hybrid's nuts and bolts; now let's pick one out.
Choosing the Right Club
Picking a hybrid club is no different than traditional clubs. Just like your other clubs, there are some essential steps and considerations to keep in mind before purchasing your new piece.
- Test different models in order to find one that feels comfortable and delivers solid strikes.
- Take note of the clubface material since they can range from hard to soft.
- Select the style that works best for your game and go play with more confidence.
How Do I Get the Most Out of It?
First, you can't see it but the hybrid's center of gravity has been forced to the bottom and back of the club. This enables the weekend player with slower swing speeds to hit the same distance and with the same loft as normal long irons.
Taking the Shot. For a true fusion, your swing should be executed like that of a fairway wood. That is, a sweep of the ball off the turf, not a descending iron-like blow.
The Rough Advantages. Hybrids are especially effective for weaker players hitting out of thick rough. Some models even come with a pair of bottom runners to make extricating the ball from tall grass even easier.
Chipping and the Short Game. These new-age clubs are also handy in the chipping game where the extra loft can lift a ball onto the green and get it rolling quicker and with more control than a longer pitch shot.
Consider the Loft. When choosing hybrid clubs, loft is the main consideration. Usually 18, 22 or 24 degrees of loft is ideal, and these will successfully stand in for the traditional 2-, 3- and 4-irons. In fact, many golfers find the new clubs so easy to use that they jettison their 5- and 6-irons as well. In short, the hybrid gets the ball airborne quicker and takes it higher than those troublesome long irons.
These tips should help you understand, choose and navigate the greens with your new equipment in no time at all. Check out our online selection of hybrid golf clubs, complete golf sets and clearance golf clubs to start swinging today!
When purchasing a new club, price is usually an important factor as well. The price range is $200 and less for the majority of hybrids.