Get a hybrid, it is almost like cheating! Once the stigma of putting a hybrid in the bag passed, virtually every golfer I played with would look at my collection of long irons and say this. They would use their hybrid or hybrids everywhere from the tee on a tight par four to a longer par 5. It would be their club of choice from a tricky lie, for a long second shot high into a green or even from punching out under the trees. And yet every time I tried, my results were terrible. So how did I go from struggling to hit hybrid to having, at one point, four of them in my bag?
- A Hybrid offers some real advantages over both irons and woods.
- You shouldn’t hit a hybrid like a fairway wood.
- Look at the specs before you buy
- It might just be your swing!
Why Put A Hybrid in the Bag At All?
The problems I had with hybrids were those that a lot of golfers face when trying them for the first time. Unfortunately, many golfers simply decide that a rescue club isn’t for them and just go back to what they know best, whether it is longer irons of higher-lofted fairway woods. This is a shame because hybrids,as I eventually found out, do offer a few real advantages.
THe design of a hybrid head means that it is easy to pull the weight lower down and off the face and also have a wide sole. This is one of the keys to forgiveness in golf club design. Although forgiveness is certainly a debatable issue as I wrote about here, there is no doubt that it becomes important as we head towards the longer irons. It is no surprise that you will never see an old-fashioned one or two iron in a bag anymore and even the three iron and perhaps the four are becoming scarce.
This makes a hybrid, at least in theory, easier to hit than a long iron. It also often wins out against a five or seven wood too because it will have a shorter shaft length by several inches which makes it far simpler to hit the centre of the club face. This potentially makes it the “cheat stick” that my fellow golfers tried to sell me on a decade or two ago. So where’s the problem?
I Can’t Hit A Hybrid!
The first issue comes at address. If you haven’t hit a hybrid before, the visual aspect can be off-putting. Is this a fairway wood? It looks like a fairway, but with a smaller head. I will sweep the ball like my other woods. But hold on, it is too short. It doesn’t feel right at all! Perhaps it is an iron? what do I do?????
Golf is, as has been said so many times, a game that is played between the ears as much as anything. A golfer who steps up to the ball full of confidence knowing what he or she is trying to do will get a better result than the one who has 15 swing thoughts and is worried about hitting a shank, fat, thin or whatever. The first time I tried to hit hybrid, I didn’t have any clarity on just what I was trying to do. Although similar, an iron swing and a wood swing aren’t the same. Anyone who sees me play will generally recognise that I am an iron player rather than a wood player or driver of the ball.
It Isn’t A Fairway Wood
I can hit good shots with my driver or fairways but not as often as I should, not as far as you might think seeing me hit irons and certainly with less confidence. Having a hybrid in my hand for the first time left me feeling like I was trying to hit a fairway that was smaller than usual for example.
The thing that changed initially and got me to persist with hybrids was a change in mentality. I read an article somewhere that said, simply enough, that hybrids are irons. This was something of a revelation because I immediately stopped trying to sweep the ball. I would guess that just making this mental adjustment to seeing it as a long iron is key for many golfers.
Instead of standing with something that felt like a five wood for children, I now had a long iron with friendly head shape that looked easy to hit. It wasn’t some sort of halfway house between irons and woods. I could let me iron swing ‘take over’ and I was immediately more comfortable. Because it is essentially a long iron I wasn’t hitting down too much anyway so it felt far more natural.
My Hybrid is a Hook Machine!
I would love to say that this marked then end of my problems but it was only really the first step. The other issue that plagued me for a while and actually still comes back now and again is the ball that disappears left on me. The association of hybrids and hooks has been around as long as the clubs themselves. As someone who hits a very high draw that can overturn with all my irons, I am occasionally prone to losing one to the left of the fairway.
Many people who struggle with hybrids experience exactly the same thing. Everything is going fine and then starts hooking and just won’t stop.
This isn’t just in the golfers head either and is sometimes due to the specs of the clubs. This is why it is always worth checking these out before buying and also, if possible, getting a minimum fit when you buy ordering specs which suit. A lot of hybrids tend to be built more upright than other clubs. This is a manufacturers’ ruse for the average golfer who hits a wipey fade or slice. A more upright club will make the face point slightly left at impact and reduce the effect f the ball off to the right. It is a band-aid rather than a cure, but is quite common though most manufacturers’.
For a player who doesn’t suffer from this and that is true of most better players, a club that is intended to send the ball left can be a nightmare! A closed face, a more upright lie and a weaker shaft can see the ball hooking massively. For me, I found that an easy fix was playing hybrids with a heavier steel shaft and a lie that fitted in with the rest of my iron set pretty much fixed the problem completely.
Struggling to Hit Hybrid? It Could Be your Swing!
As I mentioned before, I still get the occasional one that hooks horribly. I would love to say that it is still those pesky hybrids but the reality is the same for me as for most golfers: our swings just aren’t perfect. I don find that sometimes a really horrible ‘hooky’ swing will be worse with a hybrid than a longer iron, but honestly, it is all me. The club is simply doing what I told it to. I find that when this happens and it is thankfully quite rare, it is a cue to look at what I am doing and reset my swing.
A hybrid doesn’t need to go in your bag but for 99% of the golfing population it makes sense and will help your game. Don’t give up too quickly, remember it is an iron and get it in the right specs and it should be an asset rather than a club to avoid.