Buyer's Guide: Hybrids - Mike Shumaker

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The game of golf can sometimes be a cruel game especially if you do not have the proper equipment in your bag. If those clubs are not there then don’t expect to improve. The golfer’s short game has long been an area that all players lose strokes, but there is another area that has consistently caused problems as well. Long irons and shots from the rough have caused all kinds of problems for pros and amateurs. The utility or hybrid clubs have gone a long way to correct some of these problems. These clubs were first introduced in the late 1990’s but did not become real popular until recently. Just what are these clubs and how can they help all golfers?

Utility or hybrid clubs are a cross between irons and woods, usually replacing a fairway wood or long iron in a set of clubs. These clubs are a relatively new weapon added to the golfers arsenal and combine the advantages of both woods and long irons. The new utility or hybrid clubs offer the control of an iron plus the forgiveness of a lofted wood. In today’s golf world more and more professionals and amateurs are choosing these clubs to carry in their bag. The main idea behind hybrids and utility clubs is to keep the game as simple as possible for the beginner and intermediate players. Keeping a low center of gravity allows most players to get the ball airborne easier. The heads on hybrids are compact which make them ideal for fairway play or from the rough. Some golfers use hybrids in place of their fairway woods or long irons like the 3 and 4. A 21 degree hybrid club is generally what people use to replace their 3 iron. The shafts on these hybrids tend to be shorter than what you would find on a fairway wood, meaning you might lose a little distance but you would gain more control and height on your shots.

The hybrid club is much easier to hit than the regular club for a couple of reasons. Is it just a sales pitch by the companies or is this really true? It is true-the average golfer does not generate enough club head speed nor do they have the swing skills to hit down and through the ball to attain the height desired for a long iron. A point to remember is the greater face to back dimension of the hybrid long-iron replacement heads allows the center of gravity to be positioned much farther back from the face. This, in turn, results in a much higher trajectory for a shot off a hybrid club compared to a traditional long iron.

Top Rated Hybrid Clubs

Per Golfsmith, the Callaway FT Fusion Hybrid is the best hybrid golf club on the market. The club scored above all the other competition in the Golftest USA survey and it was found it listed as the top selling and most popular hybrid on the market. The players that are using the Fusion say,”feel and forgiveness are what set this club apart from the rest.” Ball flight is also top rated of the Callaway. This club is available as left-handed or right-handed with regular or stiff flex. The player can also pick from the more common graphite shaft or heavier steel shaft. The 20 degree loft is a popular model amongst men players giving them the ultimate club as a replacement for their 3 or 4 iron. Callaway calls this club a 1 hybrid, 2 hybrid and so on.

If the Callaway club seems to be to expensive then Adams Golf-Idea A2OS Hybrid Iron/Wood Graphite gives you a great club. Cheaper price than the Callaway but not much difference in performance. Adams Hybrid Club is the club that more people would recommend to friends than any other (per the Ratings). Watching the Champions Tour on TV, you will see this club advertised. I would test out the Adams club and recommend using it. Feel is the most important.

If you want a top rated hybrid club at a bargain price, then you might want to consider the Nickent Men’s 3DX DC Ironwood with a graphite shaft. The Nickent hybrid was tied for 2nd place on the Golftest USA site with an excellent overall score compared to other top brands like Nike, Callaway and MacGregor. The 3DX Iron Wood comes as a right-handed club with 14,17, 20, and 23 degrees of loft. These clubs are a nice option to have when hitting from tight lies in the fairway or from the thicker rough. Although not the most common name in golf clubs, Nickent has a solid reputation amongst those familiar with hybrid and utility clubs at great discount prices too.

In conclusion let’s just say that hybrid or utility clubs have change the game of golf in many ways that are all positive. With the lower weight center of gravity the golfer can get the ball in the air much faster. When in the rough the club allows you to get through the ball without much effort. There is no doubt that hybrids will lower your score. Unless you have actually hit a hybrid or utility club in a showroom or on the course, my suggestion to you would be to get down to your favorite golf shop for a practice session before you buy anything. It’s always a good idea to hit a few balls with any club before you buy. It’s hard to tell exactly how good you hit something in a showroom, but at least you get the feel for the grip and the impact. If you can go to the range to so. I think you will find these clubs to be of benefit for your game.

Mike Shumaker