How to Buy a Hybrid Golf Club

Golf expert Michael Pryor explains why a hybrid club is a player-friendly choice, how it can help your game, and what options there are to consider.

Photo by Anthony Yin
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What are hybrid golf clubs?

Hybrid golf clubs borrow design characteristics from both irons and woods. Hybrids provide the forgiveness and launch characteristics of a fairway wood, while offering the accuracy of an iron. Hybrid clubs are ideal for golfers who have a hard time hitting long irons or fairway woods. Their design provides golfers with a more playable option.

Long irons vs. hybrids: which should you be carrying?

Ultimately, it will come down to the individual golfer. In general, hybrid clubs are easier to hit than long irons. You may ask: if they both have the same loft, how is it that hybrids are easier to hit? The hybrid clubs are deeper (front to back) than a long iron, which allows the club manufacturer to shift the center of gravity further back. This helps to launch the ball higher. A higher launch can improve the chances of being able to hold the green from 180 yards out or more. It is important to note that hybrids are numbered the same way as the long irons they are meant to replace.

When hitting hybrid clubs, most golfers experience the forgiveness of a wood with the accuracy of an iron. The wider sole on hybrid clubs, as compared to that of a long iron, also contributes to ease of use when trying to reach longer par-3s and par-4s or hit par-5s in two.

Hybrids vs. fairway woods

Hybrids can be a great replacement for long irons for many golfers, and they can also replace some fairway woods. For example, a 3-hybrid may produce a similar shot pattern or distance as a 5-wood. Since the 3-hybrid has a shorter shaft and encourages the golfer to swing the hybrid club more like an iron, most players may find the hybrid club easier to hit.

Hybrids combine characteristics of both woods and irons, with a smaller clubhead than a wood, a shorter shaft, and more loft. Keep in mind that a 3-hybrid has similar playing characteristics to a 3-iron (and a 5-wood).

  • A 3-hybrid may be the equivalent of a 5-wood*.
  • A 4-hybrid may be the equivalent of a 7-wood*.

*Some woods and hybrids have different lofts.

For beginners, high handicappers, average golfers, and better players

The shorter shaft and larger, heavier head make hybrid clubs easier to hit for players of all abilities. Beginners, high handicappers, and average golfers will find that hybrid golf clubs are easier to hit and launch the ball up in the air. They also provide a level of forgiveness not realized in longer irons.

Better players enjoy the performance of hybrid clubs because they can launch them high in the air and land them on the greens with some control. A long iron, which may have a lower trajectory, can make it more difficult—even for better players—to hold greens from 200 yards out or more.

Rescue Clubs

Similar to Xerox® when referring to copiers or making copies, or Kleenex® when it comes to paper tissues, hybrid golf clubs have become known as “rescue clubs.” The Rescue Club was introduced by TaylorMade back in 2002 as an alternative to the longer irons in the golf bag. This hybrid creation was intended to provide golfers with a club that was easier to hit. As a result of the design and how easy the clubs could hit from various types of lies, these hybrid clubs often allowed players to “rescue” their scores and recover from what could’ve been a tough situation on the golf course.

While the Rescue line of clubs may be specific to TaylorMade, nearly every golf equipment manufacturer is now making a hybrid or utility golf club. These clubs are available in various lofts, offering players flexibility when they decide to replace clubs that they may have been having trouble playing.

Hybrid golf clubs: individual clubs and combination sets

In addition to having hybrid clubs as a stand-alone—single club—purchase, most golf equipment manufacturers also offer combination sets. This is how players can create their own personalized set makeup. Iron set makeups can be as follows:

  • 3-iron through Pitching Wedge (8 irons)
  • 4-iron through Pitching Wedge (7 irons)
  • 5-iron through Pitching Wedge (6 irons)
  • 3-hybrid, 4 iron through Pitching Wedge (1 hybrid, 7 irons)
  • 3-hybrid, 4-hybrid, 5-iron through Pitching Wedge (2 hybrids, 6 irons)

These set makeups are among the most popular combinations offered. When purchasing a new set, the makeup of the set is totally up to the player, and golf equipment manufacturers make every effort to accommodate these new “combo set” requests. Other hybrid options include: 2-hybrid, 5-hybrid, 6-hybrid, and 7-hybrid, which could replace their equivalent irons.

The added benefit of the flexibility in these set makeup options is that you could have irons from one manufacturer and include hybrids from another. This allows golfers to really optimize their golf clubs.

Top hybrid golf clubs to consider

TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Rescue

A product image of the TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Rescue.

The TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Rescue is truly a club for all golfers, including some of the best players in the world. The SIM 2 Max Rescue features a redesigned V Steel sole for even greater forgiveness and launch properties. This improvement allows TaylorMade to redistribute weight for increased MOI (Moment of Inertia or, in other words, resistance to twisting) and improved turf interaction. These new clubs sit very squarely at address, and not only do they perform well from the fairway and rough, but they are also great clubs to use from the tee.

While this version may lack the adjustability some may be wanting, the Twist Face and Speed Pocket technologies allow golfers to generate explosive ball speeds even on off-center hits.

TaylorMade SIM2 Max Rescue loft options:

  • 3 Rescue (3-hybrid) – 19 degrees of loft
  • 4 Rescue (4-hybrid) – 22 degrees of loft
  • 5 Rescue (5-hybrid) – 25 degrees of loft
  • 6 Rescue (6-hybrid) – 28 degrees of loft
  • 7 Rescue (7-hybrid) – 31 degrees of loft

Callaway Apex Hybrid

Product image of the Callaway Apex Hybrid.

Callaway’s recent research into club technology has led to the development of the new Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades. These are angled and more spread out, resulting in more speed and forgiveness across the face—especially lower on the face where players often mishit their hybrids.

Tungsten weight has been specifically placed lower into each loft, lowering the CG (Center of Gravity) and creating a club that promotes high launch and forgiveness. Adjustability is available in the Apex Hybrids, which allows players to optimize their loft, trajectory, and control.

Callaway Apex Hybrid loft options:

  • 3-Hybrid (3h) – 19 degrees of loft
  • 4-Hybrid (4h) – 21 degrees of loft
  • 5-Hybrid (5h) – 24 degrees of loft
  • 6-Hybrid (6h) – 27 degrees of loft

Titleist TSi2 Hybrid

Product image of the Titleist TSi2 Hybrid.

The Carpenter 445 forged steel face on the TSi2 Hybrid offers one of the fastest club faces that Titleist has ever made in a hybrid. Combine the exceptional ball speed with the forgiveness, and Titleist has produced one of the best and most playable hybrid clubs on the market. The lower center of gravity not only enhances ball speed but also helps players to launch the ball in the air from a distance.

Titleist’s patented SureFit hosel enables players to fine-tune their hybrid clubs, producing optimal launch conditions.

Titleist TSi2 Hybrid loft options:

  • 3-Hybrid (3h) – 18 degrees of loft
  • 4-Hybrid (4h) – 21 degrees of loft
  • 5-Hybrid (5h) – 24 degrees of loft

Cleveland Launcher Halo Hybrid

The product image of the Cleveland Launcher Halo Hybrid.

The redesigned HiBore Crown on the Cleveland Launcher Halo Hybrid enables a lower center of gravity for a high launch. The new high-strength steel variable face thickness provides a higher COR (Coefficient of Restitution—maximizing COR means less energy loss at impact) over a larger impact area, resulting in more ball speed and more distance. The Gliderails enhance clubhead speed with improved turf interaction, enabling golfers to produce longer and higher-launched golf shots.

Cleveland Launcher Halo Hybrid loft options:

  • 3-Hybrid (3h) – 19 degrees of loft
  • 4-Hybrid (4h) – 22 degrees of loft

Wilson D9 Hybrid

A product image of the Wilson D9 Hybrid.

The Wilson D9 Hybrid’s fast, forgiving face is milled from Custom Carpenter 455 steel with variable face thickness to produce a fast face that optimizes feel and distance performance.

This Wilson hybrid club sits very square at address. Its progressive head shape allows players to maximize swing speeds using optimum weighting.

Wilson D9 Hybrid loft options:

  • 2-Hybrid (2h) – 17 degrees of loft
  • 3-Hybrid (3h) – 19 degrees of loft
  • 4-Hybrid (4h) – 22 degrees of loft
  • 5-Hybrid (5h) – 25 degrees of loft
  • 6-Hybrid (6h) – 28 degrees of loft
  • 7-Hybrid (7h) – 31 degrees of loft

Distance Gaps

Just as it is important to have wedges that address any distance gaps in your lower clubs, it is also important to ensure that you have the right equipment to play the shot needed when you are farther away from the hole.

With the technological advances available through hybrid clubs today, golfers can replace equipment that was once difficult to hit—like long irons—with hybrid clubs that produce more distance, are more forgiving, launch the ball higher, and have improved turf interaction. With the many loft variations available from various manufacturers, even beginner or high-handicap golfers can start to hit shots like the pros with these new golf club options.

If you’d like to find a hybrid or a set of hybrid golf clubs to compliment your current set of irons and woods, a Curated expert is available to help you find the right equipment that will have you playing like a pro in no time.

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PGA Member - 23 years Certified PGA Professional - Golf Operations Certified PGA Professional - Teaching & Coaching ​ ​ ​

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