Hybrid golf clubs are often called utility clubs, and PGA Tour pros and amateurs of all skill levels have embraced them for the game-improvement features they offer. The hybrid is one of the most popular innovations in golf equipment in recent years. Hybrids combine the characteristics of woods and irons, and they generally are substituted for the 2-, 3-, 4- or 5-irons in a player's bag. The result is a club that is easier to hit for many—and more forgiving of swing errors.
The sole of the clubface on a hybrid is as wide as that of a fairway wood. Many players are confident with fairway woods and would rather hit them than thin, bladed long irons, even though they may sacrifice accuracy. With long irons, many players think they have to swing harder, which can throw off the timing of their swing and lead to a bad shot. When a player looks down at the wide face of the hybrid as he addresses the ball, it can produce confidence.
Flat, Hard Face
The clubface of a hybrid is flat, resembling an iron, while the clubface of metal woods have a slight curve or bulge. The flat face of a hybrid makes it easier to hit the ball squarely.
The hybrid clubface is hard, like that of a fairway wood. This results in the potential for greater distance on your shots, even with the slower swing speed many amateurs employ.
Low Center of Gravity
The center of gravity in hybrids is toward the back and the bottom of the clubhead. This allows players with slower swing speeds to make a rounded swing, as you would with a fairway wood, and sweep the ball off the turf rather than requiring the more upright and precise swing necessary to hit long irons squarely. The lower center of gravity helps get the ball airborne more easily. Golfers obtain a higher trajectory when hitting a shot with a hybrid than they would with an iron of the same degree of loft. Balls struck with hybrids tend to go higher and land more softly on the green than balls hit with 2- through 5-irons.
Shorter Length and Lighter than Woods
A hybrid is shorter in length than a wood and is usually equal to or a bit longer than the iron it replaces. For example, a typical 5-wood is 42 inches, while the iron it generally replaces, the 2-iron, is normally 39 inches. The shorter shaft again can help increase a player’s confidence, because golfers sometimes have difficulty controlling the longer, heavier shafts of fairway woods.
Hybrid clubs have the same shaft thickness as irons— about 1/16 of an inch wider than woods at the point the shaft enters the hosel. This results in less "twisting" of the club at impact and improves accuracy when compared to shots struck with woods.
Some hybrids come equipped with bottom runners, or rails, to make it easier to sweep the club across the turf and to cut through thick rough. Players who are not strong and have difficulty powering a fairway wood or iron through rough find it is easier to do with a hybrid club.