Because of their unique hybrid design (half fairway wood, half iron), hybrids are some of the most forgiving clubs available for senior golfers to buy.
Hybrids, originally termed rescue clubs, have revolutionised the way amateurs play the game by making once difficult shots more accessible.
The reason hybrids are more forgiving than long irons is the club head design which is a combination of fairway wood and a standard iron. By deepening the cavity on the back of hybrids more weight can be moved to the club’s perimeter. This perimeter weighting helps create a high moment of inertia (MOI) at impact, generally much greater than a long iron. Because of this, the club head of a hybrid will twist less on off centre hits and create more distance for the senior golfer. The club head design will also create more backspin on the ball than a long iron, helping the ball into the air. This will help the ball fly up and away rather than curve in flight. In general senior golfers are less likely to hit slices and hooks using a hybrid club.
Manufacturers are also able to incorporate face bulge into a hybrid design. This is similar to the curvature built into the face of fairway woods and drivers. The face bulge creates the ‘gear effect’ on toe and heel strikes, imparting counter clockwise and clockwise spin respectively (for right handed golfers). This is why, for right handed golfers, toe strikes generally curve left in the air and heel strikes generally curve right.
Hybrid clubs are also slightly longer than the long iron they are designed to replace which allows the senior golfer to develop more club head speed through the ball. This imparts more distance and backspin on the ball, and therefore more height.
Manufacturers also fit most hybrid clubs with graphite shafts with a lower kick point. The lower kick point promotes greater dynamic loft at impact encouraging higher ball flights. The sole of the hybrid is also wider and ‘skids’ more across the turf than a normal long iron which will be more inclined to dig into the turf. This makes the hybrid club more forgiving than long irons out of tricky lies.
Hybrid clubs will not only help senior golfers with off centre hits from normal lies, but add forgiveness from poor lies. Hybrid clubs can be used from light rough, heavy rough, divots, fairway bunkers, off the tee, off the fairway, around the green and several other situations. The reason hybrids are so versatile includes the extra perimeter weighting and sole design. Hybrid clubs are manufactured with a smooth rounded sole which slides through tricky lies.
This flexibility added to forgiveness makes the hybrid club an essential piece of equipment for most senior golfers.
To test the forgiveness offered by hybrid clubs, senior golfers should compare their current long irons with a hybrid of equivalent loft. By using face tape, they can compare both off centre and good strikes and the effect these have on the ball.