Long iron shots have always been among golf’s toughest challenges. Trying to get a modern, low-spinning golf ball in the air with a minimally lofted club such as a 3-iron or 4-iron can be particularly frustrating for the weekend player. But the task is easier when you employ a hybrid club, with its low and deep center of gravity. The hybrid gives casual golfers a better chance to loft the ball in the air. Even tour professionals are replacing long irons with hybrids, including 2009 PGA Championship winner Y.E. Yang, who told “Golf Digest” in 2010 that he carries three hybrids in his bag and doesn’t use a standard iron longer than a 6-iron.
Tee the ball up lower than usual when you’re using a hybrid. Test your placement by grounding the hybrid club next to the ball after you put it on the tee. Only about one-quarter of the ball should be above the top of the clubhead. By contrast, about half the ball should be above clubhead level when you’re playing a driver. Use a lower placement because the hybrid's higher clubface loft makes it easier to hit the ball in the air.
Use a flat, sweeping downswing when teeing off with a hybrid. Swing a hybrid on the tee as if it were a fairway wood. Level your swing out before contact, at which point the bottom of the hybrid should be parallel to the ground. Again, this differs from the standard driver technique, in which you’d hit the ball with a slight upswing.
Swing your hybrid as you would an iron when hitting from the fairway. Because a hybrid’s clubhead looks more like a wood than an iron, some players may attempt to use the level, sweeping swing necessary to hit a fairway wood. Instead, hit your fairway shot on a downward arc and take a divot just past the ball after making contact. The hybrid’s construction and loft will naturally lift the ball into the air. Play the ball in the middle of your stance.
Use a hybrid from deep fairway rough. If your ball lies in high grass that’s too thick for a fairway wood, the hybrid is likely your best bet. The hybrid’s compact clubhead is well-suited to slice through the rough while maintaining sufficient balance to let you play an accurate shot.
Employ a putting stroke to chip the ball with a hybrid. Your hybrid can be a handy alternative to a wedge or short iron if you need to chip from just off the green. Hit the ball as you would a long putt. The hybrid’s loft will pop the ball up over the green’s edge, then the ball will land and roll toward the hole as a putt would.