Hybrid clubs: They’re not just for rescue missions anymore.
Some golfers still think of hybrids as specialty tools, since early versions were often labeled “rescue” or “utility” clubs. If you only use your
hybrids to escape trouble, though, you may actually be finding more nasty spots than necessary.
Arguably the most versatile clubs in the bag, hybrids are perfectly suited to hitting off the tee. Think about how often you hit the driver during a normal round, given that most courses feature 10 par 4s and four par 5s. Do you pull the driver all 14 times, without hesitation? Occasionally gear down to the 3-wood for added accuracy or to avoid running through a fairway?
During your next round, chart your tee shots for accuracy and determine how many strokes you lose by driving into a hazard, trees or rough. On those holes, would you have been better off in the fairway, even 30 yards short of where your driver would carry? If so, hit the hybrid next time and compare results with the costly wayward drive.
Here’s a handy fact: Accuracy correlates much more closely to success among amateur golfers than with professionals. Why? Because pros have the strength to hit the ball on the green from thick rough and the skill to escape fairway bunkers and even trees without damage. That’s why hybrids should be a big part of your tee-game strategy, unless most of your golf is played on very wide-open courses.
Hybrids make great weapons on par 3s, too. Any one-shot hole that requires you to hit a 3- to-5-iron is likely better approached with a hybrid. Most par 3s are guarded in front by a hazard, so your shot must be high enough to carry the trouble and stop on the green. Few golfers can produce such length and trajectory with a long iron. Hybrids, on the other hand, tend to fly higher and land more softly.
Hitting a hybrid off a tee is a cinch. Here are a few basic steps:
- Tee up with about half the ball above the club’s top line.
- Play the ball between the center of your stance and the left instep (right instep for left-handed golfers).
- Your weight should be evenly distributed across the feet, or slightly favoring your right side.
- Focus on sweeping the ball off the tee rather than hitting down on it.
Finally, remember this simple formula to help you better manage the course: The more you use your hybrids off the tee, the fewer strokes you’ll take.