Technological advances in golf club design have been a boon to players, from beginners and high handicappers to the pros. Put away those hard-to-hit irons and replace them with hybrid clubs that allow you to achieve both distance and accuracy. Many players find that they can keep a couple of woods and the more lofted irons and add some hybrids to replace the 3- and 4-irons, which are harder to hit. And change can make the game more fun.
Why Hybrids are Different
Hybrid clubs combine the features of irons and fairway woods. The center of gravity is moved back and to the bottom of the club, and the shafts are shorter like an iron's. The club face is stiffer without the roundness of a fairway wood. Hybrids have a higher launch angle, and the bottom of the club may have runners or rails. Hybrids generally come in lofts of 16 to 26 degrees, and your lowest-number hybrid should provide a distance of 10 to 15 yards shorter than your highest-number fairway wood so there's no gap in distance coverage.
How Hybrids Work
Use a hybrid when you want a high launch and soft landing. The hybrid's center of gravity allows you to launch the ball into the air more easily. The flat face and higher launch angle gives the ball a higher spin rate, allowing the ball to stop faster, providing greater accuracy. The slightly wider shaft keeps the head from twisting and adds to the precision of the shot. A larger sweet spot is more forgiving of the mis-hits typical of high handicappers.
When to Use a Hybrid
Golfers typically use hybrids to replace the 3 and 4-iron for distance and accuracy on the fairway. Hybrids will usually go approximately 5 to 8 yards farther than the irons they replace while flying higher. Hybrids are also effective hitting out of deeper grass in the rough, and you can play one when you need distance out of a bunker. Because the hybrid shot does not roll as far because it flies higher, you can use a hybrid when you need more accuracy and consistency.