If a senior golfer hasn't taken the plunge and snapped up some hybrid clubs, they could be missing out on a host of benefits.
Hybrids, originally termed rescue clubs, have revolutionized the way amateurs play the game. Professionals have also begun to use hybrids in ever increasing numbers, especially on the seniors and ladies tours.
The refinement of hybrid clubs has also changed the way manufacturers create and sell club sets. Major brands now only tend to release 4 iron to pitching wedge sets, as most golfers select a hybrid club in place of the 3 iron.
It's not possible for manufacturers to deepen the cavity on long irons as much as they can with hybrids. With hybrids, because there is more room within the club head, manufacturers can move more weight to the perimeter. By shifting the weight to the perimeter, a greater moment of inertia (MOI) is created at impact. With a greater MOI, the effects of off centre hits are mitigated and the ball generally flies higher and further through the air.
The wide sole of hybrids also help lift the ball from poor lies such as deep rough and even sand. Being able to combine forgiveness and versatility was the ultimate goal when crossing a fairway wood with the playability of an iron. This is how the 'hybrid' got its name.
How to hit the hybrid
When using hybrids, there's no need to make massive adjustments at set up. The senior golfer can play the hybrid club like a long iron. If the hybrid has a middle iron loft (5 iron or 6 iron), they can set up for a middle iron shot. Most hybrids are designed to take the place of long irons (2,3,4 iron) as these are generally the most difficult clubs to hit.
1. Set up to the ball with a hybrid as you would with a long iron of equivalent loft.
2. The alignment and body positions are also the same with feet, hips and shoulders all square to the ball-to-target line.
3. The senior golfer wants to recreate an iron action, hitting down and through the ball. With a fairway wood, the senior would want to 'sweep' the ball away.
4. The senior golfer doesn't want to produce a large divot but rather 'bruise' the ground after the ball. If a big divot is created, the senior golfer has come too steep into the ball.
The amount of hybrids a senior golfer wants to incorporate into their bag depends on individual needs but most prefer between two and four. Hybrids can even take the place of traditional fairway woods, with hybrid lofts going as low as 15 degrees. Many seniors are more concerned with generating more height with the longer clubs and hybrids are a great way to do this.
However, senior golfers who like to shape shots will tend to find their ball flight harder to manipulate into a draw or fade when using hybrid clubs.
All About Senior Hybrid Golf Clubs
Senior golfers and hybrid golf clubs are a match made in heaven. To be fair, hybrid golf clubs work beautifully for players of all ages, but they are especially effective when in the hands of a senior player. If you are a golfer who falls into the 'senior' category and you have not yet tried out a hybrid for yourself, don't wait any longer. Your game stands to benefit greatly from simply swapping out one or two of your long irons for versatile hybrid clubs.
When was the last time you hit a long, high, straight shot with one of your long irons? If you are anything like most senior amateur golfers, it has probably been a while. Long irons are notoriously difficult to hit, as they require a combination of swing speed and club head control not usually found in the amateur game. Unless you play golf at a high level, carrying long irons in your bag is nearly pointless. By changing those long irons for hybrids, you will find a whole new world of possibilities will open up to you on the course.
In this article, we are going to discuss the many benefits of hybrid golf clubs for senior players. Since you don't need to do much in terms of adjusting your swing to accommodate these types of clubs, adding hybrids to your set is a decision which can pay off right away. There are a few minor tweaks you will want to make to your technique when playing a hybrid – and we will cover those later in the article – but you can stick with your 'normal' swing for the most part. Also, since hybrids come in just about every loft imaginable, you can use them to replace as many clubs as you would like in your set. Some golfers choose to just carry one or two hybrids, while others add several to their bag.
As is the case with any golf club, you are going to want to be sure to pick out hybrids which are a good match for your swing. The clubs you purchase need to have the right shaft flex for your needs, and they need to be an appropriate loft to slot into your set nicely. You never want to duplicate yardages within your set of clubs, so make sure each new club you purchase fills a distance gap. When your set is complete, you should have a nice spread of yardages which you can cover from the wedges all the way on up to the driver. Having the right tool on hand for each shot you face on the course is important, meaning your set construction is one of the keys to low scores.
All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.
The Major Benefits
To get started, let's first talk about the major benefits of using a hybrid club rather than a long iron. After all, if you are going to justify buying a new club and making a change in your set, there should be some notable benefits available to your game. That is certainly the case with hybrids, as you stand to benefit in a number of important ways when you remove your long irons from the bag once and for all.
If you are looking for reasons to purchase hybrid golf clubs, the list below may be all the motivation you need.
- Easier to get the ball up in the air. This is the big selling point of hybrid golf clubs. The major complaint that most amateur golfers have regarding their long irons is the fact that they cannot get the ball high enough into the air to create a useful shot. Even if they hit the ball squarely at impact, the shot flies low to the ground and takes a big bounce when it lands. Hitting the ball high adds a tremendous amount of control to your game, and hybrid clubs make that task much easier. For most senior golfers, it just isn't going to be possible to hit long irons high in the air. That is not true of hybrids, however, as they are designed to help the player get the ball airborne. With more weight in the perimeter of the club as compared to a long iron, the difficulty of getting the ball high into the air will be reduced.
- Accuracy gains. In addition to hitting the ball higher, you should also hit the ball more accurately when using a hybrid. Again, this comes down to the perimeter weighting of the club. With a hollow club head that mimics a fairway wood in many ways, your off center hits will not be punished as severely as they are with a long iron. You still might not end up with a great shot when you miss the sweet spot, but you should be left with a shot that is at least playable. No golfer hits all of their shots perfectly, so having clubs that will allow you to walk away with better results on your poor swings is one of the best ways to improve your scores.
- A tee shot weapon. One of the great things about having hybrid clubs in your bag is the having the option to use these clubs off the tee. When you arrive on the tee of a short par four, for example, you can choose to use a hybrid to play for position. Rather than trying to steer your driver into a narrow fairway, use your hybrid and feel confident about hitting the short grass. You may not use your hybrids from the tee more than once or twice per round, but hitting the fairway on those holes could wind up saving you shots at the end of the day.
- Deal with a variety of lies. Yet another one of the drawbacks of long irons is the fact that they are difficult to use from anything but a fairway lie. When you find your ball in the short rough, or in a fairway sand trap, you can pretty much rule out of the use of your long irons. When you have hybrids available, however, you will have an effective option at your disposal. Hybrid clubs are adept at dealing with a number of lies, so you will be able to use these clubs more frequently. Hybrids are a viable option when you draw a good lie in a fairway bunker, and they make quick work of light rough lies as well.
- Bump and run around the greens. Even when you get close to the putting surface, you can still put your hybrids to use. These clubs are great at bumping the ball onto the green, especially when you are only on the fringe or just into the rough. For players who may be struggling with their wedge play, being able to turn to a hybrid for a simple bump and run is a nice option. Some senior players struggle with their chipping as they age, so don't overlook the importance of getting up and down with the help of your hybrids.
The list above is only a starting point for all of the potential benefits of using hybrid clubs. Once you put some of these clubs in your bag, it is likely you will find more and more ways to put them to use. It is a common progression for senior golfers to start with only one hybrid clubs before moving on to several more as the months and years go by.
Building Your Set
If your hybrid clubs are going to be as useful as possible in your set, it is important that they make sense within the context of the rest of your clubs. What does that mean? Basically, you want to bring together a combination of fairway woods, hybrids, and irons in a way that allows you to hit all the shots you need.
One of the best ways to build out your set is to sit down with a piece of paper or your computer to list out all the clubs you are going to carry. As you may know, the rules of golf allow for a player to carry 14 clubs during a round. Of course, you are going to have a driver, a putter, and probably three wedges. So, right off the bat, you have used up five of the spots in your bag. Assuming you are going to carry a three wood, which you should, another one of your spots will be gone. At this point, six spots are used up and a total of eight spots remain.
Even if you don't play well with your long irons, you probably want to keep your short irons in the bag because of the control they offer. So, the six, seven, eight, and nine iron are likely to find spots in your bag as well. That means you are going to need to decide what to do with the final four slots in your bag. The list below offers some options for how you can divide up the last four club spaces.
- Five wood, two hybrids, five iron. If you are able to produce good shots with your five iron, this might be the best way to go. Carrying a five wood is a good pick because of the way it can help you attack short par fives in two shots. You will still have room for two different hybrids, and then the five iron to finish off the set. Of course, you will need to pick two hybrids that are going to fill in the distances between your five wood and your five iron. Look to establish distance gaps of 10-15 yards between the clubs in this section of your set.
- Three hybrids, five iron. If you don't tend to play particularly well with your fairway woods, why add another one to the bag? With this option, you go with three hybrid clubs and the five iron from the previous point. Obviously, your longest hybrid is going to take the place of the five wood, so make sure you can hit that hybrid far enough to do the job. For most golfers, the hybrid which replaces the five wood will need to be around 18-degrees of loft. If you aren't sure which loft will work best, look for an opportunity to test multiple options before settling on a winner.
- Four hybrids. Why not? If you hit them well, and if they perform better than the other options, there is no reason to ignore the possibility of just using four hybrid clubs for these slots. Many golfers will have better results with hybrids than they will with either long irons or fairway woods. Don't get caught up in any kind of stigma you might associate with using this many hybrid clubs. Sure, this kind of set might not be traditional, but that doesn't matter in the end – your only job is to post the lowest possible score by any means necessary.
Time spent on building your set properly will be a wise investment in the long run. You don't want to get out onto the course only to find that you don't have the right clubs available for the shots at hand. Build a set you can trust and you will always have the perfect club for the job.
How to Use Hybrid Clubs
As was mentioned earlier, you don't need to do much different when swinging a hybrid as compared to the swings you make with the rest of your clubs. However, there are some minor points you should pay attention to while hitting a shot with one of your hybrids. Check out the list of tips below and keep these in mind while working on your hybrid play during an upcoming trip to the range.
- Play the ball forward in your stance. From a ball position standpoint, you are going to use your hybrid clubs more like your fairway woods than anything else. The ball should be placed up near the front of your stance, just an inch or two to the right of your left heel. This is important because you want the club to be sweeping across the top of the turf at impact. If you were to play the ball farther back in your stance, you would wind up hitting down too steeply, and your ball flight would suffer. Get used to playing the ball from the front of your stance with your hybrid clubs and you should be happy with the results.
- Take your time. You don't want to rush your swing when using a hybrid club. Keep in mind, these are still relatively long clubs, so you are going to need to give the swing some time to develop fully if you are going to strike powerful shots. Make a full shoulder turn, move your left shoulder all the way under your chin in the backswing – if possible – and only start down when you are sure the backswing rotation has completed. Many golfers get in a rush to start their downswing prematurely, and they lose out on power as a result. Most senior golfers want to find as much available power as possible, and one way to do just that is to take your time while letting the swing develop.
- Swing the club around your body. In terms of the shape of your swing with a hybrid club, you should be swinging around your body – similar to how you would swing a driver or fairway wood. This comes back to the first point on the type of contact you would like to make at impact. You don't want to be hitting down into the ball, so you don't want to use a vertical swing like you might with a short iron. Swing the club around your back as opposed to up in the air and sweep your hybrid through the ball cleanly. If you let your backswing become too steep, it will quickly become a challenge to make solid contact.
The best thing you can do in an effort to learn how to use hybrid clubs is simply to spend some time practicing with them on the range. As you gain experience with each of your hybrids, you will become more and more comfortable with the shots they produce. Do you tend to hit a draw with your hybrids, or does the ball cut on most of your swings? How high do you hit these clubs? Only experience will allow you to answer these questions. Rack up as many swings as possible with your hybrids soon after purchasing them to make sure they are ready to perform out on the course.
Playing the Hybrid Bump and Run
It was mentioned earlier in the article that you can use a hybrid club to hit a handy little bump and run shot from off the edge of the green. In this section, we are going to take a closer look at this shot. Many senior golfers struggle with their short games, so having another option to chip the ball up close for an easy save can shave strokes off your scores almost immediately.
First, to play this shot, you are going to need to find the right scenario. The hybrid bump and run won't work effectively out of the deep rough, and it won't work when you are more than a couple of feet away from the green. In those circumstances, you will have no choice but to use one of your wedges to play the shot. If you draw a decent lie and are just off the edge, however, feel free to reach for your hybrid. Thanks to the design of a hybrid club and the type of swing you are going to make, this is a very forgiving shot which offers plenty of margin for error.
Speaking of the swing for this shot, you are going to mimic your putting stroke in order to bump the ball onto the green. Take a stance that is similar to your putting stance, and use your putting grip. Rock your shoulders back and through in order to knock the ball toward the hole – the loft of the club should naturally provide you with the elevation needed to get the ball onto the green with ease. Since there are few moving parts within this shot, you should be able to execute it properly even when the pressure is on.
The hardest part of hitting this shot is going to be controlling your distance. The ball tends to come off the face quite hot, meaning you aren't going to have to make much of a swing in order to send the ball across the green. As you could probably guess, it is going to come down to practice if you are going to improve your skills with this shot. Spend a few minutes during each practice session hitting some bump and runs with your hybrid and you will get the hang of it relatively quickly. Once you have put in your time in practice, don't be afraid to call on this shot on the course when the time is right.
For a senior golfer, adding a hybrid – or a few hybrids – to the bag is a great decision. Hybrid clubs are useful for golfers of all ages, but their benefits are even more valuable in the hands of a senior player. If you only struggle with your longest iron, adding just one hybrid to replace that club may be the right choice. Or, if all of your long irons give you trouble, it may be smart to set them all aside in favor of hybrids. Regardless of your choice, invest some time in learning how to hit these clubs and they will be one of your greatest allies on the course. Good luck!