Hybrids Aren’t Always the Answer
This article was originally published on June 29, 2009. I thought it would be a good time to update it with some new links and republish it for people to re-discover in case you had not seen it before. Enjoy!
For many, hybrids have changed the way we play golf. I have been experimenting with hybrids for several years and they have made a definite impact on my game. I am able to hit par fives in two with greater frequency now, and hitting a long shot out of tall rough is much easier. I have carried two Adams Idea Pro hybrids for a few years now – A three (20 degrees) and four (24 degrees), but I find myself swapping them out with long irons on many occasions. For one, I tend to hit them too far. While this may sound like a great problem to have, I end up with a 20 to 25 yard gap between a five iron and my four hybrid. I tend to play courses the measure 7000+ yards, so I decided to take out the overrated and hard to hit 64 degree wedge and put the four iron back in the bag. For all intents and purposes, the four hybrid is really a three iron, and the three hybrid is really more like a two iron for me. As my game evolves I find myself looking for a two hybrid to bridge the gap between my three wood and three iron, and I have taken the four iron back out of the bag to make room for it. Adams has since introduced the new Idea Pro Black hybrids which will be more playable for better players, so I’ll have to give those a try.
The other issue I have with hybrids is the inability to hit the so-called “stinger”. Tiger Woods may have made this shot famous since turning pro, but I was hitting it back when Tiger was playing with Mizuno irons and wearing a goofy straw hat. The Stinger is typically a long iron shot that flies very low and rolls a long way. On a dry fairway, I am able to hit my two iron over 250 yards while never getting more than head high. It is a great shot to have in the wind, in dry conditions, or even when the pressure is on and you need to hit a fairway. Hybrids, with their much lower center of gravity and greater perimeter weighing, hit the ball much too high for an effective Stinger. This is the main reason why Tiger says he has not yet adopted hybrids. He claims they hit the ball way too high for him.
Hybrids are indeed very easy to hit, and compared to my long irons they hit the ball higher and straighter, but they aren’t always the answer. If you know when and where to use them you will get the biggest benefit from their technology, but don’t throw away your long irons just yet!
In case you want to learn it, check out my article on how to hit the stinger. Once you master the shot, it will become your go-to shot in the wind and pressure situations!
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3 thoughts on “Hybrids Aren’t Always the Answer”
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John, great article. I can see where the better player would have a difficult decision when it comes to gaming long irons or hybrids. However, I’m a mid-handicapper and I play a combo set of Pings with I5’s in the short irons and the ultra forgiving Raptures in the long irons. It’s close but hybrid’s are still the better choice for me due to their utility in different situations. Plus, I don’t have complete command over trajectory like you do and therefore I wouldn’t realize the full benefits of sticking with the long irons.
And what if I was still a high handicap player? Well, I don’t buy into the premise that every player of that caliber should steer clear of long irons but the exceptions are few and far between.
Agreed. For the majority of golfers a hybrid will be much easier to hit than a long iron. The fact that most players do not generate the club head speed to get long irons in the air is the main reason hybrids are so popular. When I first started hitting them I thought it was like cheating, but the distance gap and wind performance became a problem for me, as it does for many low handicappers and professionals. Either way, I love them and there is always a place for them in my game. I got a bit carried away with 3 hybrids for a while, but now I’ve figured out the best combo for me.