This Years Top Tips on Hybrid Golf Clubs

    This Years Top Tips on Hybrid Golf Clubs




    The Hybrid Heard Round the World

    I am not sure if you remember the defining moment regarding hybrids or not. It happened in 2009 at Hazeltine Golf Club during the final round of the PGA Championship. Tiger held the 54 hole lead and had never lost a tournament, let alone a major, when having or sharing the 54 hole lead. Yet here was Korea’s Y.E. Yang hitting a 210 yard shot on the 72nd hole to 10 feet for birdie that would close out Tiger’s 12 year run at holding a 54 hole lead. And…he hit that majestic shot with a hybrid club. That my friends was the rebirth of the hybrid golf club.

    In 2009 hybrids were only marginally used. Today the vast majority of PGA Tour players have at least one hybrid in their bag. Why not hit a hybrid. They launch in the air far easier than a long iron. They are more forgiving on mishits. They are more efficient from poor lies. What more do you need? There will always be purists that will refuse to put one in their bag. And that’s OK. I believe that the game needs more purists, at least in some areas.

    Origin of the Ginty vs. Baffler debate

    Tiger would remember the Baffler and her elegant Australian inventor, Tom Crow. Tiger would also remember the Ginty, the invention of a man named Stan Thompson. The Ginty and the Baffler competed like Arnold and Jack, two utility clubs designed to help golfers advance their ball decent distances from gnarly lies.

    For the Ginty, Thompson attached a heavy metal soleplate shaped like an upside-down Hershey's Kiss, taking his inspiration from the keel of a sailboat. On the bottom of the Baffler were two heavy metal runners, an idea born when Crow watched catamarans skidding across Brisbane Bay on pontoons. As for the Baffler's catchy name, Crow came up with it after watching a snake charmer in India. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing," Crow, now 84, told me the other day. "I was baffled." Thompson, who died in 1995, liked to claim ginty was a Scottish noun referring to a black-sheep son who keeps getting into trouble but always finds a way out.

  • How to hit a hybrid
  • Keep in mind the design of the hybrid. The CG (Center of Gravity) is both lower and farther back in the club head. This does two things. It launches the ball on a higher trajectory. It lowers the spin rate of the ball.

  • Standard Hybrid Shot
  • Your hybrid might look a lot like a fairway wood, but you need to play it the way you would an iron. The hybrid's shaft is only slightly longer than the corresponding iron, so it's easy to set up to the ball the same way. For the standard shot, play the ball in the middle of your stance, and keep your weight centered. Your hands should be in line with the ball, and your shoulders, hips and feet should be square to your target. As you take the club back and swing through, make sure to hit the ball with a descending blow--do not use a sweeping motion, as you would with a fairway wood. I focus on moving my right side through the ball and finishing high with all my weight on my left leg.

  • Low Hybrid Draw
  • My natural shot shape is pretty straight with a bit of a draw, but sometimes I find myself in situations where I need to produce a lower ball flight and even more of a right-to-left curve. To get that effect, I set up with the ball slightly back of center, my weight on my left side and my stance closed. I don't manipulate my hands at address to create a draw, but I do release them more through impact. I also swing more around my body--playing the ball back helps do that--which leads to a finish that is lower than on my standard swing.

  • High Hybrid Fade
  • The hold-off fade is an important shot to have when the wind is blowing from right to left--especially for a player like me, whose normal shot already curves a little left. My setup is similar to the standard swing, with the ball and my body weight centered, but I open my stance (aligned farther left) and widen it a bit. As I come through the ball, I keep my right arm from turning over my left and try to hold the face open. As a result, my chest is still high in the finish but my hands are off my left side and haven't released the club.

    Drills that will help to hit a hybrid shot

  • Divot / Tee Drill:
  • 1. Sink / Push a tee into the ground. Push the tee down until just the top of the tee is sticking out of the ground. Almost level with the ground / grass.

    2. Set up to the tee (as if there was a golf ball on the tee) and swing at the tee (with your hybrid).

    3. You should hit the tee first, then the ground in front of the tee (divot). The tee should break, and if the ground is firm enough, the tee will actually fly out and go backwards.

    4. Do this again and again, until you can hit the tee out of the ground (or at least break the tee) every time.

  • Tee / Ball Drill
  • Now – we are going to add a golf ball.

    1. Do the same set up as above, now put a golf ball on top of the tee.

    2. Set up over the ball and swing. Do not think about hitting the golf ball, but rather BREAKING the tee.

    3. Hit properly, the tee should come out of the ground / break and a divot should be created starting where the ball was and forward.

    4. When finished, it should look the same as above – divot with broken tee.

  • 2 Tee / Ball Drill
  • If you are having a hard time making a divot ahead of the golf ball – add a second tee in your tee drill.

    1. Place a tee in the ground (with a golf ball on top) and a 2nd tee just in front (about an inch) of the golf ball.

    2. Now, hit the ball with the hybrid focusing on hitting both tees. You should hit the back tee first and divot will hit / go through the 2nd tee.

    This will help you to make the divot “through” the golf ball, not before the golf ball. Work on these drills – make sure and get “under and through” the golf ball with your hybrids – these drills will definitely help you to be more successful hitting your hybrids and ultimately lowering your scores.

    Summary

    For some reason there are differing schools of thought regarding how best to hit a hybrid. However, one thing is consistent from all teachers…hit your hybrid more like an iron than a fairway wood. Our instruction encourages ball placement slightly forward of center position. David Leadbetter actually instructs players to play it slightly back of center. I have found that slightly forward is easier to have a repeatable swing with my hybrid. I would hope that my instruction would be the one you choose, but it seems that players from all walks of life are finding many ways to get it done with a hybrid.