GM Top 25 coach Peter Dawson looks at the whys and wherefores of your various hybrid club strategy options out on the course…
1) Master of design
Hybrids have virtually replaced the longest irons now, and for good reason. They’re the same length, but thanks to wide soles, shallow faces and more clubhead weight further back from the clubface, they make it so much easier to get the ball up in the air from long range.
There’s a confidence issue too. Set a 3-iron down behind the ball and it’s easy to think, “Oh, I need to help the ball up here.” Hybrid design does away with all such thoughts.
2) Play it like an iron
Although they may look like mini woods, you actually need to set up and swing as you would with an iron. Leave the ball in the same position at address as you would with a long iron, and make an iron swing, looking to take a little divot after the ball as you would with an iron.
3) Better from the rough
Another great thing about hybrids is their capability from the rough. It’s notoriously difficult to hit a long iron when the ball’s sitting down two or three centimetres, whereas the hybrid is better designed to just glide through the rough.
If you’re still carrying a mix of long irons and hybrids, forget about your long irons from the rough and rely on your hybrids to help you progress your ball a good distance still when you’ve strayed offline. But be realistic – if your ball’s sitting down in heavier rough even the hybrid should stay in the bag as you focus on just getting it back in play with a wedge or 9-iron.
4) Around the green
The hybrid can also be very useful for those little greenside chip-and-runs. Too many club golfers rely on their lofted wedges, but as they often have their hands forward on this shot, there’s a far greater risk of them digging the leading edge into the ground at impact – the dreaded duff!
The hybrid’s wide sole allows it to just glide over the turf, bringing you better results even when your strike is a little bit off. You should play it more like a putt really. It does take a bit of practice, but it’s a much more forgiving option in the strike.
5) The versatility club
The hybrid is almost certainly the most versatile club in your bag. It’s several clubs rolled into one really. When you factor in its ease of use compared to long irons, its performance from the rough and its potential around the green, I’m not sure any golfer can really afford to be without at least one in the bag.