Top 3 Ways to Get More from Your Hybrid Golf Clubs 1

By now, the vast majority of dedicated golfers have said goodbye to their long irons and replaced them with hybrid clubs. Not only are hybrids much easier to hit solidly, they're a lot more versatile, too.

If you've got hybrids in your bag but only use them for full shots, you're not getting maximum utility from these useful weapons. Here are three situations where a hybrid could be your best club choice:

1. Long chip shots

The wide, rounded sole of a hybrid helps it glide easily over tight turf or through thicker grass without snagging, so it's great for chip shots where you've got plenty of green to work with. Likewise, the hybrid is quite handy on bump-and-run shots from near the green; for instance, when you want to hit the ball into a slope and have it roll up onto the green.

Top 3 Ways to Get More from Your Hybrid Golf Clubs 2

The best method is to use your putting stroke. It's quite simple, really – just watch this video to learn the correct technique for chipping with a hybrid club.

2. Punching out from trouble

Most golfers use a go-to-club (i.e. a 5-iron) when they're faced with a shot through trees back to safety. Because it's easy to hit from a variety of lies, the hybrid is often the correct choice.

Whether your ball lies on bare ground, pine straw or in thick grass, a hybrid promises clean contact. If you've got to keep the ball low to avoid branches, pick a club with no more than 24° loft (a 4-hybrid) to get the job done. Then follow these steps to get your ball back onto the fairway:

1. Find a gap between trees which leaves you plenty of margin for error if you push or pull the shot a little.

2. Take a narrow stance, with your feet about 12” apart, and about 60% of your weight on the left (lead) foot.Top 3 Ways to Get More from Your Hybrid Golf Clubs 4

3. The ball should be in the center of your stance or slightly back of center, with your hands ahead of the ball and the shaft leaning forward.

4. Make an abbreviated backswing and keep the hands ahead of the ball at impact.

5. A short follow-through will assure that the ball stays low.

3. Fairway bunker shots

One of the hybrid's main benefits is the confidence is inspires at address. The club's wide, rounded crown makes it far less intimidating than staring down at a 3-iron. And from a fairway bunker, the average golfer needs all the comfort he can get.

Another advantage to hitting a hybrid instead of an iron from the sand:

Hybrids tend to get the ball up more quickly, helping you clear the lip. Naturally, hybrid shots fly higher and land more softly, too.

Learn the proper steps to playing this shot via this video.

Top Ways to Get More from Your Hybrids

Top Ways to Get More from Your Hybrids

One of the most important things you can do as a golfer is to maximize the production you get from each of the 14 clubs in your bag. Since you are limited to just 14 during any given round, it is crucial that you know how to use all of your clubs in a variety of ways. If you are only able to create one specific kind of shot with a given club, that club isn't going to be of enough use to warrant a slot in your set (other than the putter, of course). By adding versatility to each individual club, you will make your game better overall.

In this article, we are going to highlight a variety of ways in which you can get more production from your hybrids. Fortunately, this will not be a particularly difficult task, as hybrids are some of the most versatile clubs you can add to your set. Yes, they are designed to help you get the ball up off the ground with ease, but they can do more than hit high and long shots. Once you learn how to alter your setup and technique slightly to produce different results, you will be amazed to find what is possible with a hybrid. You can even use these valuable clubs in the short game, believe it or not.

None of this variety is going to be possible without first spending some quality time with your hybrids on the practice range. Experimenting as you go around the course is a bad idea, as you need a focused practice environment to learn new shots. Dedicate some of your upcoming practice time to the task of learning how to hit various hybrid shots and your efforts will be rewarded in the near future.

As you work on adding new shots to your repertoire with hybrid clubs, you are going to find that it might be a bit difficult to step outside of your comfort zone. This is common in golf. While many players complain about the quality of their game, few are willing to do things differently in order to get better results. If you do the same thing over and over again, there is no other possible outcome than the one you are already experiencing. To get better, you have to change – and change can be uncomfortable. Only those willing to go outside of what is comfortable during practice will be able to achieve a higher level of play on the course.

All of the content below has been 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.

Developing a Punch Shot

Developing a Punch Shot

As mentioned above, hybrid clubs are largely designed to make it easier for the player to get the ball up in the air. This is important, as the long irons they usually replace are notoriously difficult to get off the ground. The need for hybrid clubs in the market came about because so many amateur golfers could not hit their three and four irons successfully. As a result, hybrid clubs replaced those irons, and they feature plenty of weight in the sole to allow the ball to climb with ease.

This is a good thing, unless you are trying to hit a low shot under the wind. In that case, you might wish you had your old long irons back in the bag. The good news is this – you can hit low shots with your hybrid clubs, as long as you have the right technique on your side. Use the tips below to develop a hybrid club punch shot which can serve you well in many situations.

  • Play the ball in the middle of your stance. Normal hybrid club shots are going to be played with a ball position that is somewhat forward of center, but that will not be the case here. Instead, you are going to align the ball perfectly in the middle of your stance. In doing so, you will promote a slightly downward hit at impact, which is perfect for producing the low ball flight you need. Be careful, however, to not let the ball get any farther back than the midway point, or your swing may become too steep.
  • Choke down on the grip of the club. This is an important key to creating a lower flight. By choking down on the club, you are going to make the effective length of the club shorter – and you will lose swing speed as a result. That is a good outcome in this case, as a lower swing speed is going to correlate to a lower spin rate. With less spin on the ball, the shot will fly lower to the ground and you will have the trajectory you need. You don't have to choke down significantly to make a difference, either – just an inch or two should do the job.
  • Stay over the ball in the backswing. One of the keys to hitting a quality punch shot is to stay balanced over the ball throughout your backswing and into the downswing. There should be no swaying from side to side in the swing, as doing so is going to make it difficult to achieve a clean strike. Balance should always be one of your top priorities in golf, but it is especially important when trying to punch the ball toward the target.
  • Cut off the follow through. You don't want to swing all the way up into a full finish when hitting a punch shot with a hybrid club. Why? Simple – you need to restrict the release of the club through the hitting area, and a full finish is a sign of a full release. Keep the back of your left wrist steady as you so through the ball, and cut the follow through off before you swing your hands up over your left shoulder. This is the kind of technique you should use when hitting any kind of punch shot, no matter which club you are holding.

Once you are comfortable hitting this hybrid punch shot on command, you can start to look for opportunities to use it as you move around the course. Playing a long shot into the wind is certainly one great example of a time when you can pull this play from the bag. Also, you may wish to use it on a short and narrow par four, playing your tee shot with a hybrid punch to emphasize control. It is even a good pick for a layup shot on a par five, as it will give you excellent control but still the distance you need to set up an easy third shot.

The nice thing about learning how to hit a punch shot with your hybrid clubs is the fact that this same swing can be used throughout the rest of your bag. Anytime you need to flight the ball lower than usual, reach for the punch shot to get the job done. Mastering this simple shot is an essential for any aspiring golfer, as it has tons of uses on just about any course.

Launch the Ball High in the Air

Launch the Ball High in the Air

What is the opposite of a punch shot? A shot which flies way up into the sky, of course. In this section, we are going to discuss how you can use your hybrid club to hit an extremely high, and yet still long, shot. This play is particularly useful when going for the green in two on a par five. In such a situation, you want to be able to cover a lot of distance while still stopping the ball quickly after it lands. A high hybrid shot is the perfect choice for the occasion, provided you have practiced this shot on the range in advance.

To go higher instead of lower with your hybrids, use the tips listed below.

  • Place the ball forward in your stance. This point is no surprise. In order to hit the ball higher on command, you are obviously going to need to move the ball up in your stance at address. As a general rule of thumb, you should place the ball just inside your left heel, but that can vary slightly from player to player. Feel free to adjust this ball positioning until you find the flight you desire.
  • Open your stance. Many players miss out on this point when trying to hit the ball higher into the sky. In addition to moving the ball up in your stance, you also want to open your stance slightly to encourage an outside-in swing path. By swinging from outside-in, you will add backspin to the shot, meaning the ball should fly higher in the end. You don't want to slash across the ball to the point where you create a slice, of course, but you should favor an outside-in path to generate the height you need.
  • Stay back. You aren't going to be able to hit the ball high if you slide toward the target and smother it at the moment of impact. Focus on rotation rather than lateral movement during your downswing to make sure you stay behind the ball nicely. If you struggle with this point, think specifically about your head position. By keeping your head behind the ball, you can be confident that the rest of your body is behind the ball as well.
  • Play from a good lie. This is a point that you don't control, but you can make a smart decision in advance of trying a specific shot. If you are thinking that you want to hit the ball high, make sure you have a good lie before giving it a try. If your lie is a little questionable, you will be better served to play a lower shot. Hitting the ball high requires plenty of backspin, and you are going to produce that high spin rate when the ball is played from a clean lie.

There is one other point which was not included in the list above, but is important nonetheless. When trying to hit the ball high, you do need to swing pretty hard. If you try to gently send the ball down the fairway, you aren't going to have enough speed to produce the spin rate this shot requires. You never want to swing so hard that you lose your balance, but be sure to give this shot a good rip as you take the club through the hitting area.

The scenario described earlier in this section – going for the green in two on a par five – is a good example of when you can use a high hybrid shot. You can also turn to this shot when you want to take advantage of a favorable wind, or when you need to make sure your hybrid tee shot doesn't run out too far on hard fairways. Just as with any other shot you have in your arsenal, the most important thing you can do is pick the right time to use this ball flight. By matching up a great swing with the right club selection, you can plan on satisfying results over and over again.

Playing the Bump and Run

Playing the Bump and Run

You can use your hybrid clubs just as effectively from around the greens as you can from back in the fairway or on the tee. Of course, a hybrid isn't going to be able to handle many of the short game shots you encounter, but it can play one specific type of shot beautifully – the bump and run. When you only need to get the ball a couple inches off the ground before it lands and rolls out to the target, a hybrid is a smart pick. The design of these kinds of clubs makes this shot easy to execute, and you won't really need to worry about a miss-hit as may happen with a wedge.

To play a quality bump and run shot with your hybrid club, follow the steps listed below.

  • Pick the right spot. Before you try this shot, you need to make sure that you have the right lie, and a clean path to the hole. Your lie should be clean, with the ball sitting on short grass. If the ball is down in the rough, you will need to opt for a wedge rather than a hybrid. As long as you have a clean lie, and you have nothing between your ball and the hole except short grass, you can proceed with the shot.
  • To get setup for the shot, you are going to choke down on the grip of the club slightly. Also, you are going to use the same grip that you use when holding your putter. So, for instance, if you use the reverse overlap grip while putting, grasp the hybrid club in the same manner for this shot. Set your feet slightly open to the target line, and place the ball near the back of your stance. From this position, you should have a good view of the target and you should be able to swing the club head through the ball cleanly.
  • When you are ready to hit the shot, think about making a motion which is closely related to your putting stroke. Since this club is longer than your putter, you will be standing a bit more upright – but everything else should be the same. Rock your shoulders back and forth, and keep your hands quiet as you hit the ball. It is not going to take much of a swing to provide this shot with plenty of power.
  • The key with this shot is to sweep the club through impact on a flat plane – just as you would do when hitting a putt. You don't want to hit down on the ball, but you don't want to hit up, either. Slide the club head through the ball as it just barely brushes along the top of the grass. As long as you can execute this swing path properly, the ball should hop up quickly into the air before landing and rolling out to the cup.

If you get nervous each time you have to take your wedge out of the bag for a chip shot, looking for opportunities to play the hybrid bump and run is a great idea. It is nearly impossible to hit this kind of shot fat, which is nice peace of mind as you get ready to send the ball toward the hole. Take some stress out of your short game by adding this option to your repertoire in the near future.

A Matter of Timing

A Matter of Timing

One of the things you can do to get maximum performance out your hybrid clubs is simply to use them at the right time. Club selection is an important skill in golf, yet it is one which is overlooked by the majority of players. Many golfers just look for their yardage and automatically pick the club that they think will handle that distance. However, there is usually more than one option for any shot, as long as you are willing to be creative.

To avoid getting into a rut with regard to club selection, keep the following tips in mind when picking times to use your hybrid clubs.

  • Short par four tee shots are a great opportunity. This should be one of your favorite times to use your hybrid clubs. Instead of forcing yourself to use your driver on a short hole which is not really designed for such aggression, club down to a hybrid and keep the ball in play. A solid hybrid shot should be more than enough to set you up with a short approach, and your fairway hit percentage will be much higher than it would be with a driver.
  • Long par threes. Most golf courses include at least one or two long par threes in their design – and those holes are often the most difficult on the course. To take some of the sting out of the long par threes on your favorite course, turn to your hybrid clubs. A hybrid will be able to get the ball up into the air nicely off the tee, meaning you can bring the ball down softly on the green, even from a long distance.
  • Getting out of trouble. Perhaps surprisingly, your hybrids can be useful when trying to punch the ball out of the trees and back onto the short grass. The ball flight produced with a punch swing while using a hybrid club is often excellent for getting out of trouble – as long as you practice this play a few times before putting it into action. It would be nice not to have to play from trouble spots on the course, but the need to do so from time to time is inevitable. When that situation does arise, being able to reach for a hybrid club is a nice luxury.

When trying to pick the right club for a given shot, you should always think about the confidence that you will have in that shot when you stand over the ball. Are you going to be uncomfortable and unsure, or you will be completely committed to the choice you have made? Your 'gut feeling' often says everything that you need to know about a golf shot. As long as you believe in what you are doing, you are probably making the right pick.

You already knew that hybrid clubs were valuable, but you might not have known just how versatile they can be. By spending some time learning how to hit a variety of shots with your hybrids, you will be able to get even more production out of these clubs. Spend some time adding to your hybrid arsenal and your game will be better prepared for your next visit to the course. Good luck!