Do pros use hybrids? Plenty of amateur golfers carry them, yet you don’t hear much banter about them during a Sunday afternoon PGA TOUR broadcast.
Why is that? Is it because not a single professional golfer uses one?
Far from it.
Hybrid clubs offer many of us amateurs the chance to not only hit yardages that fall between long irons and fairway woods, but also have a clubface that can plow through tougher lies and send that ball high in the air and down the fairway.
Their round head provides more pop than a traditional iron but the smaller dimensions provide an aerodynamic design that outperforms what a fairway wood could do from thick rough. So why don’t we hear about pros using them?
Players That Use Hybrids
To get right into it, the notion that pros don’t use hybrids is completely false. In fact, plenty of PGA TOUR professionals use them and MOST LPGA and Champions Tour players use them as well.
On the TOUR, top players like Jason Duffner, Matt Kuchar and Jimmy Walker have all been known to carry a hybrid club in their bags. Webb Simpson won the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year with not one but two hybrids.
The current #9 in the Official World Golf Rankings has a Titleist 913Hd 20 degree and a 915Hd 23.5 degree in his bag.
The reason fewer players on the PGA TOUR use them as compared to the LPGA and Champions Tour is likely because of swing speeds. A faster swing speed with a long iron allows you to still cut through tougher terrain and achieve a high ball flight.
Slower swing speeds can benefit more from the help of a hybrid doing some of the work for you. Hybrids, by nature, launch the ball higher with more trajectory than a fairway wood.
On the LPGA and Champions Tour, swing speeds are, on average, a bit slower. These players benefit from the aerodynamic design of the hybrid as well as putting a graphite shaft on the club to drop the weight.
It is difficult to be consistent with longer irons, especially from the rough. Hybrids make long approach shots seem a little bit less daunting, something that even the top touring pros are willing to take advantage of.
Even with the higher swing speeds of PGA TOUR professionals, a lot of guys still opt for a Hybrid over a long iron in certain situations. Maybe it doesn’t get discussed enough on broadcasts, but if you follow along close enough, you’ll see players pulling them from the bag in most telecasts.
As for the benefits they experience from using a hybrid, let’s dive into that a little bit more.
Benefits of Using a Hybrid
Hybrids combine the top benefits of using a fairway wood with the best parts of using an iron.
The shorter shaft of a hybrid makes it feel less like you’re standing over a scary 3-wood approach shot, and more like you’re hitting a smooth, controlled 6-iron. Yet, the clubhead mimics the strength and power of a fairway wood without being overly bulky.
With the weight of the club moved back and to the bottom of the club, you will benefit from a high launch and soft landing. Imagine being faced with a shot at a green a long-iron’s distance away with minimal room for runout on the green.
Pulling a hybrid from the bag and using that lower center of gravity will allow that ball to get up higher than your 4-iron and stop when you want it to without ending up in the backside bunker.
Another way you’ll benefit from choosing to play a hybrid is in those deep rough lies or bunker situations where you really need to get the ball down the fairway but don’t trust a long iron to give you solid contact. Imagine the clubhead of the hybrid as more of a hammer; powering through the thick and nasty stuff without much resistance. You can keep your swing smooth and easy and just watch that ball pop up and out.
The beauty of the hybrid really does lie in its versatility. It can be used off the tee to meet a yardage need on longer par 3s or layup opportunities on par 4s and 5s.
It’s effortless to hit off the deck as it’s more dense body doesn’t bounce off the turf quite as dramatically as a fairway metal.
It can save you from trouble in the deep rough or sand, hence the alternate name “rescue club”.
And finally, it’s lighter and easier to hit than any other club that would be used to meet that long distance approach.
If you don’t yet have one in your set of clubs, I highly recommend considering a hybrid. There are plenty of brands, lofts, and styles to choose from. Be sure to take the time to try some out and see what fits your preferences. Once you have one you like, I guarantee you’ll thoroughly enjoy the results you see on the course.
There are may different types of golf irons out there to choose from and you don’t even have to have all the same type in your entire set. Most manufacturers offer combo sets that are some mix of irons and hybrids.
This is a great place for many golfers to start as it gives you the control you want in the short irons and the forgiveness you need in the longer irons.