What is all this talk about hybrid golf clubs?

You'll probably be hearing a lot about hybrid clubs these days - the latest and greatest thing. There have been similar clubs in the past but today's hybrids owe their existence to Gary McCord of TV fame. He approached his sponsor, TaylorMade, to see if they could come up with a club that would help golfers who were fighting a never-ending, unsuccessful battle with their long irons. What TaylorMade came up with was something of a cross between a long iron and a fairway wood. The shaft was similar in length to an iron and the head was "wood-like" with it's wider sole, low profile, and heavier weight.

Why not just use a 5 or 7 wood?

The key to the hybrid's success is the length of shaft. It's about half way between the length of a 2-iron and a 5 wood shaft. With the shaft being longer than a iron, it tends to produce more clubhead speed and hence distance. Increased speed also helps to get the ball up. However, with this increased speed comes the likelihood of less control. The hybrid shaft is closer to that of an iron, which is actually slightly thicker than the shaft on a wood, and it therefore provides more control than a wood - albeit with slightly less distance.

In simple terms, when compared to a wood with similar loft a hybrid golf club will

  • be more accurate
  • give slightly less distance
  • be easier to hit due to it's shorter shaft

And compared to a long iron, the hybrid will:

  • be easier to hit due to the heavier head with a lower center of gravity
  • give a higher ball flight with more air time and a softer landing
  • perform better out of tight lies, the rough, and even bunkers

Which ones should you buy?

Today's hybrid clubs are actually quite varied. In addition to a choice of lofts, you can also get different sole widths and face heights. You can get lengths that are longer than standard irons and shorter or just as long as woods. In short, some hybrids offered are more like fairway woods and some are more like irons. Just remember the basic rules of club design...the lower and farther back the center of gravity, the higher the ball will tend to fly. The longer the shaft the farther the ball will go but that extra length may make it harder to control.

There's actually quite a variety of hybrids. As well as different lofts, you'll find hybrids with a range of sole widths, clubface profiles. shaft lengths (some as long as woods and some as short as irons). When you make your choice remember these two basic rules in golf club design:

  1. The golf ball will go higher when the center of gravity is lower or further back in the clubhead
  2. The longer the shaft, the more clubhead speed, meaning more distance but less control

Feel free to listen to the advertising and hype from the manufacturers but be sure to base your selection of hybrid clubs on your own game. Top brand names will cost you somewhere in the $150 - $250 range. You will be able to pick up good quality custom fitted versions of these clubs for around the $50. Check out our selection of custom fitted hybrid golf clubs here.