There are numerous reasons for senior golfers to incorporate hybrid clubs into their bag but here are three to think about.
Hybrids offer a greater amount of forgiveness than long irons which can be very unforgiving when not struck correctly. Hybrids have a deeper cavity and manufacturers can move more weight to the perimeter of the club head. By moving the perimeter weight, a greater moment of inertia (MOI) is created. Because of the extra MOI, the hybrid club head stays more stable on off centre hits when compared to long irons which will twist more.
As a 'hybrid' between fairway woods and irons, the hybrid can combine the best aspects of fairway wood and long iron design. For example, the wide sole of hybrids help lift the ball from poor lies but the narrower profile stills offers playability. They were formally known only as rescue clubs but their improved design means they are no longer only needed for problem situations.
The hybrid club can not only be used to hit soaring approach shots but be utilized for chip-and-run shots around the green. Hybrid clubs are generally a little longer than normal irons and have less loft so can only be used effectively on long chip and run shots. The hybrid sole is wider and more rounded than irons which stops the hybrid snagging in thick rough or digging into the ground. This extra acceleration through tricky lies can give the senior golfer many more options of what clubs to play throughout a round. Because of the club head design, hybrids can also be used to hit high and low shots as well as be utilized as an effective club off the tee.
If a senior golfer has lost confidence with their long or mid-irons, hybrid clubs could provide the answer. Long irons are notoriously difficult to hit, even some of the top professionals have ditched them in favour of hybrids. The best way for a senior golfer to see if switching to hybrid clubs will inspire more confidence is to test long irons and hybrids out on the course.
Having a hybrid in hand with which the senior golfer is confident can inspire a whole new level of performance.
Reasons to Add Senior Hybrid Clubs to Your Bag
The rules of golf allow you to place 14 clubs in your bag at the start of any given round. Of course, you can change the makeup of your set between rounds, but you are stuck with those 14 clubs once you hit your first shot. You are allowed to replace a club which is broken during the normal course of play, but you can't swap out clubs for any other reason. Since you need to stick with your original 14 clubs for the duration of the round, it is important that you think logically about which 14 you are going to choose. Picking the right assortment of clubs will go a long way toward helping you conquer the course.
Some of these decisions are going to be easy. You need a driver, you need a putter, and you need at least a couple of wedges. That is four clubs right off the bat. From there, you are certainly going to have at least a few more irons, and likely a three wood as well. When it comes down to it, the only difficult choices you have to make with regard to the construction of your set is in the area of fairway woods/hybrids/long irons.
Finding the right mix in this area of your bag can be a challenge, simply because there are so many options available. Are you going to use extra fairway woods, like a five wood and even a seven wood? Or would you be better served to carry more long irons? What about hybrids? As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can go in this part of your set. In this article, we are going to make the argument that senior golfers will be best served to favor hybrid clubs. There is a lot to like about using hybrid clubs for players of all ages, and those benefits are amplified when the golfer in question falls into the senior category.
It should go without saying, but you need to remember that no single golf club is going to transform your game all by itself. You still need to make good swings to achieve positive results. However, the clubs you use do play an important role in your overall game, so take the time necessary to pick out the perfect options for your set. Once you have assembled a great set of clubs, stick with those clubs and rely on your own performance and improvement to take you the rest of the way toward lower scores.
All of the content below is written from the perspective of a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.
The Advantages of Hybrid Clubs
Whether you are a senior golfer or not, there are some distinct advantages of playing hybrid clubs. These advantages have made hybrids incredibly popular in recent years – rising from a niche club which few players used to a popular option found in the bags of even the top players in the world. The design of a hybrid club allows it to act as both a wood and an iron, which is where the 'hybrid' name comes from originally. The following list highlights some of the many advantages to be found when you add a hybrid or two to your bag.
- Easier elevation. One of the many challenges that comes with hitting a long iron is the difficulty that many players have in getting those clubs up off the ground. While most pro golfers can elevate a long iron without much trouble, the average amateur player cannot do the same. If you struggle to get air under shots you hit with your three or four iron, for instance, replacing those clubs with hybrids may be a smart choice. A long iron shot which travels low to the ground on its way to the target has very little use on the golf course, with the possible exception of hitting tee shots on a windy day. Rather than fighting a long iron to get the ball high in the sky, you can simply swap in a hybrid club and elevate the ball with ease. The weighting of a hybrid will place the center of gravity under the ball at impact, resulting in high flying shots which land relatively softly when they reach the target.
- Longer distance. For most players, a hybrid club is going to hit the ball farther than a long iron, even with the same swing. Again, this comes down to the design of the club. A hybrid is going to have a larger overall head than a long iron, allowing for a greater transfer of energy from the club to the ball. Your driver is able to launch the ball a long distance down the fairway due to its size, and the same idea is present with a hybrid club (on a smaller scale, of course). Longer shots will allow you to reach more greens in regulation, and it will also give you the option of using this club from the tee on narrow par fours (and long par threes). Rather than struggling to squeeze a few extra yards out of a long iron with an aggressive swing, opt for a hybrid and let the club do more of the work.
- Added forgiveness. The forgiveness that is offered by hybrid clubs might be the single biggest reason for their popularity. When you miss-hit a long iron, the result of your shot is almost certain to be disappointing. Long iron swings which miss the sweet spot usually result in shots that come up well short of the target. On the other hand, you can get away with some mistakes when swinging a hybrid. The hybrid club is not going to completely forgive a poor swing, of course, but it will go a long way toward keeping your ball somewhere near the intended target. This extra forgiveness can be the difference, for example, between carrying a water hazard and watching your ball fall down right in the middle of the pond.
- Versatility. To add to the many advantages which hybrid clubs offer over their long iron counterparts, there is also the point of versatility. Simply put, you can hit a wider variety of shots with a hybrid than you can with a long iron. Hybrids are great off the tee on long par threes, as they hit the ball high enough to hold the green. Around the green, you can actually use your hybrids to hit handy little bump and run shots. As you can experience with your hybrids, you will likely find more and more places where you can put them to use.
As should be clear by now, there are many opportunities around the course for you to effectively use a hybrid club. No matter your age, hybrids should be seen as an attractive alternative to notoriously difficult-to-hit long irons. If you start with just one hybrid in your bag, it is very likely you will add one or two more as time goes by. These clubs have become popular for a reason – they offer a long list of benefits with almost no drawbacks to speak of.
Why Seniors and Hybrids are a Perfect Match
The list of advantages above can be applied to golfers of all ages. From junior golfers to those in their 60's, 70's, and beyond, hybrids are clubs which deserve to be considered for anyone's bag. Specific to seniors, there are a number of reasons why hybrids make a great pick. The list below includes a few points which seniors should keep in mind as they shop.
- Less swing speed required. As we age, all of us lose swing speed. Sure, you can slow that loss by keeping yourself in good physical condition and by practicing your technique, but you are still going to give up power as you age. There is nothing to be ashamed of on that point – it is simply a fact of life. With that in mind, you want to build a set of clubs which is going to require only a modest amount of swing speed in order to perform properly. Hybrids fit the bill perfectly on this point. Where long irons require tremendous club head speed in order to elevate the ball, hybrids can get the ball up in the air with only a modest amount of effort. If you have noticed that you are having more and more trouble getting your long irons off the ground, try using a hybrid instead. The difference is likely to be dramatic, and you should see your game improve almost immediately.
- Perfect for approach shots. Part of losing distance in your game is hitting shorter and shorter drives as the years go by. When you hit shorter drives, of course, you wind up with longer approach shots into the greens. This can be a problem, as the approach shots you hit will come in flat, and they may not hold the green – even if they land on the putting surface to begin with. Naturally, many seniors become rather frustrated with this issue. The game can seem a little cruel when you hit two good shots and still find yourself chipping from over the back of the green. With a few hybrid clubs in your bag, however, you can conquer this problem rather effectively. Your drives may still be shorter than they once were, but you will now be able to hit higher approach shots thanks to your hybrids. Those higher approaches will have a better chance to hold the green, and you may find yourself putting for birdie more frequently as a result.
- The chipping advantage. One of the lesser-known challenges of playing golf in your senior years is maintaining the quality of your short game. Many seniors have trouble holding the club steady on short shots like chips and putts, making it difficult to get up and down from around the green. Specifically, you might find that it is getting harder and harder to make clean contact with your wedge on chip shots. If that is the case, using a hybrid to play some bump and run shots is a logical choice. You won't be able to use this method when your ball is down in the long grass, but it is a viable option when your ball is sitting on the short cut. Simply making a putting stroke action with your hybrid club and the ball will pop up off the grass before rolling out the rest of the way to the target. There is a little bit of practice required to master the distance control on this shot, but it is extremely helpful once you have some experience under your belt.
In reality, the list above could go on and on. There are numerous reasons why hybrids make all the sense in the world for senior golfers. Remember, it doesn't matter what your set looks like – it only matters that you find a way to get the ball in the hole as quickly as possible. If that means using a couple of hybrid clubs – or even several hybrid clubs – then so be it. With so much to gain by utilizing hybrid club design, it is hard to imagine why any senior golfer would ignore the capability of these clubs.
How Many Hybrids Should You Use?
By now, we hope to have convinced you of the importance of hybrid clubs for senior golfers. The advantages to be found with these kinds of clubs should be obvious by this point in the article. The decision to replace your longest iron with a hybrid club is an easy one, as you are almost certain to see improved performance with the hybrid in your hands. But how many hybrids should you decide to add to your set? Just one, or maybe more? After adding one hybrid and seeing the results it offers, you will likely be tempted to add even more to your set – and there is nothing at all wrong with that idea.
As a general rule of thumb, you should add as many hybrids to your bag as necessary in order to eliminate the clubs you struggle to hit. There is no sense in keeping clubs in your bag which you can't hit effectively, so hybrids should replace any and all irons which give you trouble. The process is pretty simple. First, replace your longest iron with a hybrid club. For most golfers, that longest iron will be a three iron. Play a few rounds with your new hybrid and get used to the performance it offers.
Once you see how many good shots that hybrid club is capable of producing, think about replacing your next-longest iron. Would the shots you hit with your hybrid club be preferable to the shots you can produce with a four iron? Most likely, the answer to this question is 'yes'. If so, pick out a hybrid to put into your set as a substitute for the four iron.
Continue on with this process for as long as necessary. For most senior golfers, the process of swapping hybrids in for irons will stop somewhere around the six or seven iron. At that point, you will probably feel like the control that you have with the traditional iron is preferred to the forgiveness of the hybrid. However, you shouldn't feel compelled to conform to any rule of thumb about how many hybrids you should have in your bag. You should have however many you need in order to play your best golf. It's just that simple.
Fortunately, you can find hybrid clubs today in nearly any loft that you desire. As you go up through your set, there should be at least a 3-degree gap from one hybrid to the next. If you keep your lofts too close together, there won't be enough difference in distance to make each of the club useful out on the course. If possible, test out new hybrids before you purchase in order to assemble a set which makes sense from a distance gapping perspective.
A bag full of hybrid clubs might not look traditional to golf purists, but it will likely get the job done beautifully for a senior golfer. Remember, it is going to take a bit of time to get used to playing with so many hybrid clubs in your set, so be patient with your progress at first. After a few rounds, this type of set construction will become your new normal, and you should see your scores gradually begin to move in the right direction.
Tips for Playing Hybrid Clubs
Another one of the many things that golfers love about hybrid clubs is the fact that they require little adjustment from the other clubs in your bag. You don't have to make a dramatically different swing or anything like that to hit good shots with your hybrids. Simply put a good swing on the ball, make solid contact, and let the club do the rest.
With that said, there are a few tips which can help you get the best possible performance from your new hybrids. Review the list below for these tips.
- Tee the ball low. When using your hybrid clubs for tee shots – whether on a par three of par four (or even a par five) – keep the ball teed low to the ground for optimal results. You might think that teeing the ball up high would help you to make better contact, but you would actually be causing impact to take place high on the face. When that happens, you lose distance even if you make a good swing otherwise. Tee the ball up barely above the top of the grass and make your usual swing for best results.
- Position the ball forward of center. You don't want to hit down on the ball at impact with a hybrid club as you do with an iron. With that in mind, it is best to play the ball forward of center in your stance with all of your hybrid clubs. To find the optimal ball position for these clubs, it will be necessary to do a bit of experimenting on the range. Test out a few different options as you practice and settle on the one which provides you with the best results.
- Make a full turn. This is good advice with any of the clubs in your bag, but it is particularly important when swinging some of the shorter hybrids you may decide to carry. It is easy to fall into the trap of cutting your swing short when playing a high-lofted hybrid, but that is a mistake. Maintain a good tempo and complete your turn in order to hit shots that fly on target and high into the air.
The best thing you can do to get comfortable with the performance of your hybrid clubs is to practice with them as often as possible. With each shot you hit on the range, you will get more and more confident in your ability to play quality shots with all of your hybrids. The learning curve for these clubs is usually rather short, so you should see your practice efforts pay dividends quickly.
Hybrid clubs and senior golfers are a perfect match. The challenges that are faced by senior golfers – specifically, a loss of power and the inability to get the ball high into the air – are counteracted by the benefits of hybrid clubs. If you are a senior player and you have never before tried out a hybrid club, now is the time. Once you see what these clubs can enable you to do with the ball, it is likely that you will wish to add more of them to your equipment collection. With the right selection of hybrids to go along with your other clubs, lower scores should be just around the corner.