Hybrids were first introduced in the early 2000s and went by a few names including utility wood and rescue club. Both are very appropriate as they were primarily introduced to assist golfers who struggled to hit long irons consistently. The small hollow head resembles a 7-wood or 5-wood and is easier on the eye than a 1 or 2-iron. The lofts vary and can fill gaps in the set when long irons are discarded.
Why Were Hybrids Introduced?
Primarily to replace long irons like the 1 or 2 iron, which require many hours of practice to hit and control consistently. With 14 and 17-degrees of loft respectively, they are undoubtedly the hardest clubs in the bag to control. They are sometimes referred to as the “knife” and the “knife’s cousin”. ( At address the sheer face resembles a knife!)
What Pros Carry Hybrids In The Bag?
Many of the top Pros will put a hybrid into the bag, but may not stay there during a tournament. Matt Kuchar, a 7-time winner on the PGA Tour carries a 17-degree Ping Anser in his bag and is very effective with the club. Jason Duffner, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, and Webb Simpson often turn to hybrids during tournament play. Most pros would have put them into play during favorable conditions.
Why Do Pros Carry Hybrids In The Set?
Course and weather conditions would be deciding factors to put a hybrid or maybe even 2 into the bag. If the weather is calm, but the fairways are very wet with no roll, airtime will make up for the loss of rollout distance on the fairway. Hard, fast, and unreceptive greens may call for high, soft-landing approach shots to get the ball close to the pin.
Why Do Pros Not Use Hybrid Clubs?
Hybrids are not always in the bag, especially in windy conditions where a long, low shot into the wind is required. Hybrids tend to hit the ball higher. Weather conditions would probably be the major deciding factor.
Who Would Get The Best Results Out Of Playing Hybrids?
In the Senior and LPGA ranks, the hybrid is a utility club used to good effect. Hybrids cater for slower swing speeds and these suit both categories well. On tight tree-lined courses where thick semi-rough and rough abound, the accuracy and ball flight trajectory becomes all-important. A hybrid is easier to hit out of a tight lie or divot, without a high swing speed.
What Hybrids Do Pros Use?
Sponsors may stipulate what clubs their ambassadors can put in the bag for tournament play. Titleist and Callaway have a large percentage of pros using their hybrids, but the likes of Ping, TaylorMade, and others are not far behind. It all depends on personal preference, and lofts will vary to bridge any gaps left with the removal of the long irons.
Why Do Pros Not Carry Hybrids for Every Tournament?
Playing The Open or any other links-style golf course requires accuracy and control from tee to green. Long irons can be worked left to right, or high to low, depending on the circumstances on each hole. Playing in a crosswind requires low shots to keep them out of the wind. Flight and ball control will win tournaments in tough conditions and long irons are the “tools”.
Do Pros Still Hit Long Irons and Why?
Launching a long iron consistently requires a high swing speed, which most modern-day pros accomplish. They are great on narrow courses with plenty of trees and doglegs. Used extensively off the tee where accuracy is paramount.
Replace the 1,2, or 3 iron with a hybrid club with similar or slightly higher lofts. The hollow head and wide sole glide through the turf with ease, whereas the long iron’s narrow sole, often tends to dig into the turf. Many amateurs are more confident standing over a wide head hybrid than a steep-faced long iron. They are great clubs to use out of the semi-rough or tight, hard fairways. Hit down on the ball like an iron and watch the ball launch high and far.
The Hybrid has been one of the biggest development changes in the golf industry. It has enabled amateur golfers to improve their golf and the enjoyment associated with this wonderful game. If the Tour Pros are using them, I believe we amateurs should too!
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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.