What Are Hybrid Golf Clubs?

By Sharon Penn
Hybrid golf clubs help provide distance, accuracy and are easier to hit than long irons for many players.
Hybrid golf clubs help provide distance, accuracy and are easier to hit than long irons for many players.

As a golfer, you may dream of having a club that is easy to use, gets the ball into the air quickly, allows you to achieve greater distance and lends accuracy to your shots. Fortunately, this type of club exists, and it is called a utility club, or a hybrid. The hybrid is becoming increasingly popular among golfers of all skill levels. Why make the game more difficult when you can use a hybrid from nearly anywhere on the course, from the fairway to a bunker to the fringe?

Hybrid Design

The hybrid is what the name implies: a combination of clubs—a fairway wood and an iron. Some hybrids look more like an iron, while others look more like a wood. Hybrids are designed with a larger clubhead than an iron. This allows club manufacturers to move the weight of the club toward the back and bottom of the club. The center of gravity is lowered, and the shaft is shorter than a fairway wood. The clubface does not have the roundness typical of a fairway wood. Hybrids with changeable weights give the player more options for the ball flight. Hybrids generally come in lofts of 16 to 26 degrees.

Replacing Your Clubs

Many golfers use hybrids to replace longer irons, such as 3- and 4-irons. Some hybrids provide enough distance to replace fairway woods. The lower center of gravity of a hybrid gets the ball into the air more easily by increasing the launch angle of the ball without increasing the loft of the club. When you are replacing a particular club, you should be aware that a hybrid with a particular loft may not be comparable to an iron or a wood of that same loft, because the ball will launch higher with a hybrid. To compare a club you wish to replace with a hybrid, consult a chart containing such information. Charts can be found online. When consulting the chart, keep in mind your lowest-number hybrid should allow for a distance of approximately 10 yards less than your highest-number fairway wood. This will give you adequate distance coverage in your club selection.

When to Use a Hybrid

A shot hit with a hybrid typically travels about 5 to 8 yards farther than the iron it replaced and will have a higher trajectory. You can use a hybrid from the fairway, out of the rough and even out of a fairway bunker. The ball will not roll as far when struck with a hybrid because of the increased shot height, so you can potentially achieve more accuracy and consistency by using a club with the hybrid design. You can hit a standard hybrid effectively by placing the ball 3 inches forward of center with a wide stance to promote a high launch and a soft landing.

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