Hybrid Golf Club Buying Guide – Find The Perfect Hybrid Club
Hybrids have been growing in popularity since the turn of the century. Brands like Cleveland and TaylorMade lead the way in terms of developing the technology and the idea of the hybrid, but most major manufacturers have now followed suit, producing hybrids of their own.
With so many variables and so many options available to you, finding the perfect hybrids to replace your longer irons can be a complex task. Lucky for you, our caddies have built a guide to help you better understand your needs when shopping for your next hybrid.
This hybrid buying guide will provide:
- Expert advice to help you better understand the purpose of hybrids on the golf course
- A complete breakdown of the components that make up a hybrid and how they affect your selection
- Hybrid suggestions for you to help make your shopping experience easier
What’s a Hybrid?
The hybrid is the golf club that bridges the loft gap between your irons and your fairway woods. It originated as a forgiving alternative to longer irons which are notoriously harder to hit than their shorter counterparts.
The clubhead shape of the hybrid will usually be at a crossroads between an iron and a wood. In the case of most major brands, their hybrids will be inspired by their major line of drivers, woods, and irons. This means that they’ll often look like a miniature version of the fairway woods from the same line.
As previously established, hybrids tend to be miniature versions of the fairway woods from the same line of clubs. This also means that the main features of hybrids will be very similar to those of fairway woods.
Much like any golf club, you can fit any sort of grip, except maybe putter grips, on your hybrid. From standard to jumbo, whichever grip feels right for you can be fitted on the hybrid of your choice.
Most hybrids nowadays are fitted with graphite shafts, much like their fairway wood and driver counterparts. They were built with steel shafts for a long time, but modern hybrids with stronger lofts benefit from the higher launch angle that graphite shafts can produce.
In terms of loft, you’ll usually find hybrids with a loft angle as low as 15 degrees and the models with the highest loft angle can go up to 40 degrees. Some golfers opt to replace their irons with hybrids because their loft span is the largest of all the golf clubs, safe from irons.
When it comes to adjustability and hybrids, we can draw more comparisons with fairway woods. They’ll usually feature the same adjustable perks, this can include static adjustable weights, moveable adjustable weight, and an adjustable loft sleeve.
While hybrids take after fairway woods, they still have features that are unique to hybrids, driving irons, or utility clubs, which as subgenres of hybrids. The driving iron usually draws more inspiration from irons as utility hybrids will usually propose a more traditional hybrid look.
Most hybrids will sport a larger sole when you compare it to long irons of the same loft. The larger sole provides more forgiveness at impact, on top of promoting a higher launch angle with added weight at the back of the clubhead. The larger sole also prevents the club from digging into the ground.
Shorter Shaft Length
As is the case with any golf club, a shorter shaft will usually provide you with more control over ball flight and a better feel for the ball at impact, but you’ll most likely lose out on distance and ball speed. You’ll have to weigh distance against control when it comes to shaft length.
Some hybrids will be fitted with a higher loft angle setting. This means that they’ll be built just like any regular hybrid with the only difference being the higher loft angle of the clubface. You’ll find the same perk on some fairway woods, often labeled as high-launch or HL.
When should you use your hybrid when playing golf?
As it’s a cross between irons and fairway woods, one can easily imagine that a hybrid can be used in almost any situation on the golf course. Whether it’s off the tee, down in the alley, or buried on the rough, you can always rely on your hybrid. Plus, it’ll perform better than your woods out of the rough.
You can also use your hybrid out of the bunker, but you’ll need to be faced with specific situations. The lip clearance in front of you needs to be low enough for the launch angle of your club and your ball needs to be sitting on top of the sand. In most cases, you’ll be better off with a wedge or an iron in the sand.
How many hybrids should you carry?
We most commonly recommend that golfers carry at least one hybrid in their golf bag. Whether it’s a traditional model or something that resembles a utility or a driving iron, having one in the bag will simply provide you with more options on the golf course.
You can also run with the idea that you should carry two hybrids in your golf bag. Just like with your fairway woods, this would allow for one club dedicated to teeing off and another for playing off the ground.
How to hit a Hybrid club?
There’s nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to hitting a hybrid. It’s mostly recommended to play hybrids just like you would with your irons. This is mostly because hybrids are typically meant to replace your longer irons.
Hitting a Hybrid vs. Fairway wood
When you’re hitting a fairway wood your swing will slightly change based on where you’re hitting it from. When hitting it off the tee, you’re looking to hit up on the ball, much like you would with a driver. When you’re in the alley, you’re looking to sweep the clubhead along the ground before making contact.
Hitting a Hybrid vs. Irons
When you’re hitting an iron, you’re looking to press down on the golf ball at impact in a way to compress the ball, which will ultimately propel the ball high up in the air. The same concept applies to your hybrid, with the slight exception that sweeping the ground will also be rewarded with your hybrid.
What are the types of hybrid loft angles?
As previously mentioned, hybrids come in a wide range of loft angles as the needs of golfers who like to use hybrids are constantly growing. From low lofts that stand amongst fairway wood loft angles, to higher ones that almost reach wedge territory, hybrids have a huge range.
Type of loft angle
- Moderate lofted
- High loft
- Adjustable loft
A hybrid with a lower loft angle (often referred to as a stronger loft) will tend to replace a 2-iron or a 3-iron. These clubs usually have a very low loft angle that will sit between 15 and 21 degrees. Hybrids with these types of loft angles are usually reserved for driving irons or clubs designed to be hit off the tee.
Moderately lofted hybrids will usually serve to fill in as a replacement for mid-length irons like your 4, 5, and 6 iron. These hybrids will usually loft angles between 21 and about 30 degrees. These tend to be perfect for golfers who can’t generate enough speed to hit their longer irons consistently.
Higher lofted hybrids are not as common as the rest of them, but they can certainly be added to the set of golfers and make a good difference. Any hybrid with a loft angle above 30 degrees is most likely designed to be played off the fairway or down in the rough. The higher loft is meant to help you be more accurate with high-arching strikes.
As the name suggests, these hybrids are usually fitted with an adjustable loft sleeve which allows you to fiddle with the loft angle of your clubface whenever you feel a change is needed. These adjustable loft sleeves will usually propose an adjustment of up to 2 degrees stronger or weaker than the original loft.
What are the different types of hybrids?
As we previously touched upon, there is more than one type of hybrid out on the market. Originally, traditional, rescue-style, hybrids were all the rage and the most common type of hybrid found on the market.
Nowadays, you’ll find three main types of hybrids on the market. You’ll still find rescue-style hybrids, which look like miniature fairway woods, but you’ll also find driving and utility irons.
The driving iron will usually be an oversized version of a long iron. The larger clubhead is designed to help provide more forgiveness at impact. Utility irons are usually the same and will sometimes present a profile that is close to the one of a rescue or a fairway wood.
The difference between hybrids and fairway woods
Despite the similarities between many models when it comes to fairway woods and hybrids. There are major differences between the two when it comes to performance on the course.
Hybrids will have a much higher launch angle than fairway woods. This is in part due to the higher loft angle of hybrids, but it’s also due to the higher spin rates that they generate at impact. This higher spin rate also helps to limit the roll of your ball once it hits the ground, allowing for more accuracy.
The difference between hybrids and irons
The performance of the hybrids is closely related to what you can expect out of your irons. The main differences will be in terms of spin rates and forgiveness. Irons will usually provide a higher spin rate than hybrids, thus making it easier to spin the ball near the hole on the green.
On the other hand, hybrids will provide more forgiveness than almost any iron on the market. The larger clubhead complete with the larger sole provides more forgiveness, even on off-centered strikes.
How to determine the perfect hybrid shaft?
Finding the exact shaft needed for your hybrid is certainly no small feat. It requires a lot of testing and perhaps even the involvement of an expert fitter. However, what is easier to determine is figuring out what flex you should use and what type of shaft weight you should be looking for.
When it comes to picking the flex for your hybrid, we strongly recommend you base yourself off the shaft in your fairway wood. The model is not so much as important as the actual flex type. Identify which flex it is between Ladies, Senior, Regular, Stiff, or Extra-Stiff. Since hybrids also have a graphite shaft, the link between the two is natural.
Height and Weight
For height and weight, you can once again base yourself off a fairway wood.
In terms of height, if your shaft is a half or full inch shorter than standard, you should follow the same trend with your hybrid.
In terms of weight, hybrids will tend to have a slightly heavier clubhead, which means that your hybrid shaft will most likely need to be slightly heavier as well than your fairway woods. The same goes for the other way around if you have a hybrid with a lighter clubhead.
Top 10 recommended golf hybrids
Before we let you go, our caddies wanted to provide you with the 10 best hybrid recommendations to help you take your game to the next level. These 10 recommendations will be split into two categories of five. The first will cover more traditional rescue models and the second will be dedicated to driving and utility irons.
Top 5 Traditional Rescue-Style Hybrids
These five recommendations have been selected with the average golfers in mind. We picked them based on their ability to be picked up by any golfer for a last-minute round. These clubs are easy to hit and highly forgiving.
Top 5 Driving/Utility Irons
The five driving/utility irons listed below were selected based on their ability to deliver a high level of performance on the golf course. Golfers looking to replace their longer irons but still want to retain a good level of control over their ball flights will be best served with one of these options.
Hopefully, this guide allows you to make an informed decision next time you’re looking to add a hybrid to your set or if you’re simply looking to trade your old one for a nice Titleist hybrid. Whatever the reason may be, this guide should have helped you cover all you need to know about hybrids.
If you’re still undecided or if you need any additional information to help you make your final decision, remember that you can always get in touch with us! Our team of caddies is always ready to help you at your preferred time. All you need to do is book a free call with one of them!
Until next time,
The Golf Avenue team
There's lots of options when it comes to choosing a fairway wood. This beginner's guide will explain how to choose a fairway wood and what differences are there.