By Doug Hammer, Golf Contributor - Archive - Email
The Hybrid - Most used club in the bag??
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Hopefully, many of you have made the switch to hybrid clubs as opposed to long irons. I was one of the last holdouts, keeping my 2 iron close by until just two years ago. But a hybrid club simply offers too many shot options. Very quickly, my hybrid has risen to be one of the most used clubs in my golf bag, ranking up there with my wedges and driver.

I want to discuss some advantages of the hybrid club and where you will see it used in PGA Tour events. The hybrid club, first and foremost, offers a lower center of gravity than most long irons, which creates a higher launch angle for your golf shots. Most hybrids will fly higher and land softer than their long iron equivalent as a result of the center of gravity. Additionally, hybrids have a longer toe to heel length than irons and a more concave sole plate which both allow for better turf interaction, especially coming out of the rough.

I know most of you have had the wonderful experience trying to hit a ball out of thick, wet rough and had your iron come to a virtual stop as the rough grabs the leading edge and hosel of the iron. The design of the hybrid allows for the club to glide more through the rough rather than dig into the tangled mess that some places call "rough." Just remember what Y.E. Yang did to Tiger Woods on the final hole of the 2009 PGA Championship. Y.E. hits a hybrid from the rough to a few feet while Tiger hits an iron from the fairway to 12 feet and misses the putt!! The bottom line- hybrids can give you a distinct advantage regardless of the lie of the ball.

Additionally, hybrids can be used in many different capacities. You may have seen a few of these circumstances arrive at the recent Ryder Cup matches. The European team often plays on links style courses. Now I know, Medinah is definitely NOT links style, but the rough was up and if a player had a long chip shot with nothing to fly over, European team member were inclined to hit a low chip with a hybrid as opposed to risking the rough grabbing the sharp leading edge of a wedge or short iron.

Additionally, hybrids were used to hit advancement shots from those huge thick trees that lined the fairways of Medinah. The face material of a hybrid is typically hardened steel or Titanium, which creates higher ball speeds off the face. Consequently, a long punch shot from the trees may be best suited for a hybrid. This shot would be played almost identically to the chip shot or bump and run shot around the green.

The following are some points to help you hit the long punch shot or the bump and run shot around the green the next time you are faced with a little adversity on the golf course:
  • Keep your stance narrow by moving your trailing foot closer to lead foot. This will create a ball position that is back in your stance. DO NOT keep a wide stance and move the ball back as this will make it difficult to shift your weight during the swing.
  • Lean the handle of the golf club forward toward the target to take away some loft from the hybrid
  • Lean your upper body toward the target similar to the handle position. You should feel a majority of your weight over the lead leg. Check this by picking up your trailing foot to check if you are balanced.
  • Let your shoulders create the swinging motion. You should attempt to make a balanced swing on both sides of the ball; in other words, follow through as much as you took the club away.
  • Be sure to maintain the loft of the club by keeping the handle and your hands ahead of the club head to create low shots.
  • The bump and run or chip shot should feel like a putting motion
  • The Long punch shot can be up to a full swing, but maintain a narrow stance and keep your body leaning toward the target with the handle ahead of the club head.

Use these tips to help you add a few more shots to your arsenal and get out of "jail" a little better. If you don't already have one, get out there and try out a hybrid. They can be very useful and can save you a shot or two per round. I am confident the hybrid will quickly become one of the most used clubs in your bag as well!

Doug Hammer * Director of Instruction * Troon North Golf Club
p 480-585-5300 ext. 251 * f 480-585-5161
10320 E Dynamite Blvd. * Scottsdale, AZ 85262 Managed by Troon Golf
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