By Jack Moorehouse
The hybrid is THE club of the last decade. It’s become so popular that most golfers have one in their bags. In fact, almost every student I give golf lessons to has one. Some even have two. If they don’t, I advise them to get one. The hybrid is among the most versatile of all clubs. It’s ideal for a wide variety of shots and is shorter and easier to hit than longer irons. In the hands of a good player, the hybrid cuts strokes from a golf handicap.
While chopping strokes off one’s handicap is driving the hybrid’s popularity, the real key to success is finding one that’s right for you. Generally, golfers buy hybrids “off the rack” from a Dick’s or a Golfers Warehouse. But the hybrid is so much in demand these days that manufacturers are now offering iron sets with hybrids integrated into them. So what’s better? Buying one off the rack or buying a set of irons with an integrated hybrid? That depends.
Eliminate Yardage Gaps
Most golfers who have a hybrid bought them separately from either a local sporting goods store or a golfer’s warehouse. To make it work, they added it to their bag and dropped their 3-iron and 4-iron. In buying the club, they probably gave no thought to whether the hybrid fits into their iron set or not. If the club felt good in their hands, they bought it. While this approach is cost-effective, it may not be the best way of buying a hybrid.
The key to a good set of irons is eliminating yardage gaps and tailoring the set to your game. Buying a club separately from a sporting good’s store doesn’t always help with either of those things. As one golf magazine points out, “buying a club because its loft seems to be next in line with your iron set isn’t the best way of eliminating yardage gaps in the set.” The goal is to assemble a set that builds “a consistency of gapping and trajectory by using all the variables at your disposal.”
The problem is that weekend golfers don’t look at things the same way as manufacturers do when it comes to golf clubs. Weekend golfers, as I’ve mentioned in my golf tips, often neglect key factors, like face consideration (the distance between the club’s leading edge and the shaft axis) and shaft weight, that can dramatically impact how they play. In other words, they forget to make sure the club matches the others in their set. That opens them up to potential yardage gaps. What’s more, differences between clubs are sometimes subtle. These differences have to be accounted for as well. For example, one manufacturer’s shaft lengths are an eighth of an inch longer than the traditional half-inch found on most iron sets. This design, the manufacturer feels, provides a better approach to eliminating yardage gaps for golfers with high golf handicaps than traditional irons. Adding a hybrid to this set, even if it’s from the same manufacturer, may not account for these subtleties. With an integrated set, the manufacturer automatically accounts for them in production.
Buying An Integrated Set
To get the most out of an integrated hybrid set, you have to make some hard decisions, like what type of player you are, before buying. Most integrated iron sets are made for weekend golfers with high golf handicaps. That means they’re game improvement clubs. However, more and more sets are being made for players with mid- and even low golf handicaps. These sets lack the design advantages found in sets designed for players with higher handicaps that can radically affect your play. In other words, don’t buy a set of irons designed for a low handicapper, if you have a high golf handicap.
Hybrids Benefit All
Nevertheless, hybrids are great clubs. A recent study done by a manufacturer indicates that a hybrid benefits everyone. The study shows that even scratch golfers hit 3-iron lofted hybrids as much as seven yards father than a conventional 3-iron. The mid-handicappers hit a hybrid farther and cleaner than their 3-irons and 4-irons. And the high handicappers saw benefits in the 3-iron, 4-iron, and 5-iron range.
But you need to find a hybrid that’s right for you to get the full benefit. So what do you do if you want to buy a hybrid? If you have the time and interest in searching for a hybrid that matches up with the rest of your set in terms of feel weight, length, and distance, you can probably get a good deal on one. If you don’t have the time or interest, you may be better buying an irons set with an integrated hybrid. Either way, make sure whatever you buy fits your game.
Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book “How To Break 80 And Shoot Like The Pros.” He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips, golf lessons and golf instruction.