What is a hybrid golf club? A buyers' guide

Thomas Tanner
Jan 14, 2008
6 minutes
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Hybrid clubs, Utility clubs, Rescue clubs – whatever you call them - they are a lot easier to hit than long irons!

What are they?

In simple terms, a hybrid is a cross between a fairway wood and an iron. They are relatively new kids on the block – TaylorMade started the recent trend with their Rescue clubs (they still call their hybrid clubs Rescues) about 10 years ago – but now all the manufacturers are making them.

Their purpose?

Traditional long irons – that is the 1, 2 3 or 4 irons – are pretty difficult to get airborne and hit consistently well – most golfers struggle with them – particularly with 1 and 2 irons which nowadays tend only to be used by the very best players. Hybrid clubs replace these longer irons – and make life on the course just a little easier for most of us.

When can they be used?

When you’ve still got a long way to the green. For most male golfers that would perhaps be 170 yards or more. Hybrids are very versatile – they can be used off the fairway, from the rough - or off the tee.

Remarkably, some players – notably Todd Hamilton when he won the British Open in 2004 using his Sonartec MD Transition use hybrids for chipping around the green as well. But perhaps that’s confusing things. Back to the long game which is what hybrids were designed for...

Do I need one?

You’re 200 yards to the green having just hitting a beautiful drive. Now, be honest, are you relishing the thought of pulling our your 3 iron? No? Well join the club! The reason most of us don’t relish the prospect is because we don’t generate enough clubhead speed to get enough height from a traditional long iron.

So we try and hit it as hard as we can to compensate – and invariably end up scuffing it, duffing it, hooking it – unless you’re one of the less than 5% of golfers who have a single-figure handicap, you’ll know what we’re talking about. So this is where hybrids come in. They are ‘deeper’ face-to-back than a normal iron, which gives manufacturers the ability to place the centre of gravity (ie weight) further back from the face – and the further back the CG, the easier to get the ball airborne.

They are also great from the rough - traditional irons with their more angular edges can snag in the grass, twisting the clubhead off-target – hybrids more resemble a wood, with smoother edges which reduce drag through thick grass.

But I’m a decent golfer. Do I still need one?

Well, it’s not compulsory! – but even the best players in the world are now using hybrids – Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia to name just a few. Tiger Woods is one of the few top-flight players who doesn’t use a hybrid. But then he is Tiger Woods...

What would my bag make-up look like with a hybrid?

Well, you might consider replacing the 3 and/or 4 irons with a hybrid - and the rest of the bag might be fairly standard - comprising a driver, a traditional 3 wood, and then a 4 through to sand wedge and perhaps a lob or gap wedge along with your putter.

Some people might carry 2 hybrids to cover both the 2-3 iron range as well as the 4-5 iron range – this set-up is particularly popular with lady and senior golfers. Indeed, it’s not uncommon to see ladies’ sets which are almost exclusively made up of hybrids – covering virtually all the irons in the bag apart from the short irons and wedges.

Which loft hybrid will be best?

This really depends on which irons you want the hybrid to replace. Most of the manufacturers denote the iron number the hybrid is supposed to replace on the club – for example, Callaway have ‘2’ stamped on the base of the 17 degree version of their very popular Heavenwood range – to denote that club replaces the 2 iron.

TaylorMade Stamp 2 on the 16 degree equivalent from their Rescue Mid Range. Titleist is one of the few major manufacturers which denote only by loft. Inevitably there is some overlap between the manufacturers, but we’ve put together this rough guide to help:

Hybrid and Iron Loft Comparison

Hybrid loft Equivalent iron
14-16° 1-iron
17-19° 2-iron
19-21° 3-iron
22-23° 4-iron
24-27° 5-iron
29-32° 6-iron
32° (+) 7-iron (+)

To Conclude

We hope this brief guide has helped understand some of the factors that go into deciding which utility is best for you.

There’s no substitute for trying a few out and seeing what suits you best. All Golfbidder’s clubs comes with a No Risk Trial Period. Try one that seems to fit the bill, if it’s not an improvement on your current utility, simply send it back for a full refund – or try something else.

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Further reading

What are the differences between a 5-wood, 5-hybrid, and 5-iron? When should you use them? Which one do you need? What are their equivalents? All questions answered here.

If you're looking for a new hybrid and your budget is £100, then you've come to the right place. Here we're looking at five of the best value hybrids available on Golfbidder as of May 2021.