While playing in my Friday foursome the other day, one member of the group pulled out his hybrid and said, I still don’t know what to use this club for. If you’re one of those players that has a hybrid but never uses it, you may want to rethink think that strategy. The hybrid is the most versatile club that can help chop strokes off your golf handicap, once you learn how and when to hit it.
In addition to being versatile, the hybrid expands your bag. It lets you additional clubs to your bag you didn’t have room for before. When you can only have a limited number of clubs, you need all the flexibility you can get. More importantly, adding extra clubs can dramatically change course strategy and cut strokes from your scores. This change in strategy is often the difference between conquering a course or it conquering you.
The hybrid has a loft from 16 degrees to 25 degrees, a low center-of-gravity, a slightly smaller head, and a lower profile. You don’t need to take golf lessons or read a lot of golf tips to learn to hit it, either. It’s fairly straightforward. You should be able to learn to hit it with a couple of trips to the practice range.
Use a normal posture and stance. Since the hybrid’s shaft is somewhat shorter, position the ball closer to the center of your stance. Use a smooth tempo and a full follow-through on most shots. In addition:
* Tee it up low off the tee. Ideally, you want the clubface covering most of the ball. Maybe a quarter of the ball rides above the clubface, but that’s it. Swing as if you’re hitting a fairway wood. Use a sweeping approach to the ball.
* Hit ball first and then take a small divot from the fairway. Also, stand closer to the ball. Hybrids have the look of a fairway wood, but the shaft of an iron (about 39 inches). You need to get closer to the ball than with a wood.
* Let your wrist do the work with a bump and run. The swing motion is a cross between a chip and a putt. Hinge your wrists a little. The farther the shot, the more wrist hinge you need. The ball jumps off the face of the club, so be careful.
Getting Out Of Trouble
The hybrid is also great for getting out of trouble. If you’re hitting from the rough, use a three-quarter backswing, hit down on the ball, and accelerate through it. Don’t try to kill the ball. Take an extra practice swing to gauge how the club cuts through the rough. You’ll be surprised how easy it does, much easier than other clubs.
If you need to punch out from somewhere, the hybrid is your club. The leading edge doesn’t get caught in the underbrush like an iron will. Grip down on the club an inch or two for more stability and play the ball off your back foot. Then make a three-quarter swing with your arms and shoulders, keeping your lower body quiet throughout.
The key to hitting from a fairway bunker is the angle of attack. You want to shallow out your swing. Assuming a good lie-the ball is sitting up on the sand-position the ball in the center of your stance. Dig your feet into the sand. Use a shorter swing and complete the follow-through. Again, don’t try to do too much. You just want to get back on the fairway and in position to make your next shot.
Adding the hybrid to your bag can dramatically change course strategy. One student added a hybrid to her bag to replace her long irons (2,3,4,) and then added a gap wedge (GW) and a loft wedge (LW). A gap wedge, with about 52 degrees of loft, sits in between a pitching wedge (PW) and a sand wedge (SW). A loft wedge has about 60 degrees of loft, while a flop wedge (FW), about 64 degrees.
Using the three-wedge system-PW, GW, SW- and varying swing lengths enabled this student to cover most, if not all of the shots, she faced from 100 yards in with more precision than the two-wedge system. It also was simpler and easier to learn than a four-or five-wedge system.
Thanks to this strategic change, the student chopped four strokes off her average score. She also cut her golf handicap from 16 to 14, without taking extra golf lessons. Other strategic changes are possible with the hybrid. You just have to be creative.
The hybrid is as close to a universal club as there is. You can almost use it to play an entire round, except perhaps for putting and getting out of sand traps. The hybrid also expands your bag. If you don’t have one, think about getting one. If you have one and don’t use it, you may want to start using it more. It could do wonders for your golf handicap.