While club technology and design has improved massively over the last 100 years, there have been very few “new” clubs invented.
And not since Gene Sarazen gave us the modern sand wedge in the 1930s has something come along like the hybrid, arguably the greatest “new” club to benefit amateur and pro golfers alike.
Forget the macho purists who believe everyone should struggle round golf courses playing one and two irons – if Phil Mickleson and Patrick Reed use hybrids to win tournaments, so should we.
Hybrids, broadly defined as mix between irons and woods, are sometimes known as “rescue clubs” – and that is exactly what they do. They can save a scorecard being damaged by offline tee shots and help you reach the greens in regulation despite ugly lies.
How do they help? You can play these clubs exactly like irons, but they’re far more forgiving and consistent, especially in light rough. You can hit a 4-hybrid on the toe in the first cut and still carry the ball over 150 yards… not to be sniffed at.
Four golfers across the handicap spectrum tested the latest hybrids, aided by custom-fitting experts and rangefinder equipment.
Here are our best picks based on distance, forgiveness and aesthetics.
1. Cobra Golf King F7 Hybrid: £159, American Golf
There are some clubs that just feel good as soon as you get them to address – this was our universal experience of the F7. It cuts through rough like no other due to a low centre of gravity, with dual rails helping it slide right through. Its generous handling of both toe and heel mishits will increase players’ confidence over key shots, allowing them to stay competitive on the hole in question.
Oh, and did we forget, its loft is totally adjustable – a nice bonus. The fact that this is not the most expensive hybrid on the market highlights once again that higher prices do not guarantee better performance.
2. Ping G Hybrid: £149, The Golf Shop Online
It is not boring being this trustworthy – the “evolution, not revolution” mantra of the Ping G series has proved a winner with all golfers, offering forgiveness and distance without question. With its streamlining “dragonfly” turbulators , this hybrid has a muscular attraction at address, showing enough of the face to gives confidence and results in the deeper rough.
3. Callaway Golf GBB Epic Hybrid: £249, The Golf Shop Online
This is the choice for players looking for more and more yards. Like its uber-popular cousin, the GBB Epic driver, it is the on-trend choice with its macho carbon fibre finish helping reduce club weight.
It’s an adjustable club too, allowing golfers to go up or down a degree, helping them make sure the club gets the required height and distance. It also has a draw option, which effectively helps to control ball flight.
4. TaylorMade M2 Hybrid: £159.99, American Golf
With the same, clean, sci-fi black and white design of TaylorMade’s immensely popular M series, this is without question the most attractive hybrid on the market. It’s a long hitter designed for the better golfer, as it lacks the forgiveness required by higher handicappers.
Do not think it is only workable in a perfect lie – its two-tiered sole helps players whether the ball is above or below your feet. A solid, sexy choice for the medium to better golfer.
5. Callaway Steelhead XR Hybrid: £179.99, American Golf
People keep on the buying the ever-popular XR range, and it’s clear to see why. It’s far more forgiving than its Epic peer, but it doesn’t offer the adjustability or the distance stats. Distance isn’t everything, as many pros will say a hybrid should hit a certain yardage consistently as opposed to reaching as far as possible.
A boxy big head increases confidence banishing the thought of mishits. Its matte black finish denies any distracting sun glare – an issue with many holiday golfers.
6. Wilson D300 Hybrid: £129, Sweatband
Forget any snobbishness – Wilson’s D300 range may be cheaper, but this budget option produces quality results. It has the rounded look of a small wood and the largest head in the market. For those used to fairway woods, this is a good introduction to hybrids due to its look at address, which also makes it feel a more natural club to hit off the tee than other hybrids.
Oh and forgiveness comes as standard – not bad, right?
7. Mizuno Golf JPX900: £199, American Golf
Mizuno only does great irons, right? Wrong. This electric blue beast is a delightful shock to the eye, sitting flat on the deck. Adjustable by two degrees up and down, it is forgiving and works well as an off-green chipping alternative. It is a definite statement and proves Mizuno is not just a brand for your blades.
The Verdict: Hybrid golf clubs
Always, always test clubs before you buy – but all these hybrids worked well for four amateurs with vastly different swing types and requirements. The Cobra Golf King F7 has the X factor as well as ticking the distance, forgiveness and look boxes, inspiring confidence from the get go. The budget option of the Wilson D300 must be considered if price is paramount – it holds its own on results alone.
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