If more and more tour players are appreciating the extra forgiveness and versatility of hybrids and plumping for one or two in their bags over their difficult-to-hit long irons, there’s no reason why us club golfers shouldn’t do the same. Not only do they tend to launch the ball higher, but they’re easier to hit due to the wider sole design and they come in a vast range of shapes and lofts so you can perfectly fit them into your bag between your longest iron and a wood.
There’s never been a wider choice of hybrids, and the tech on offer can be a bit dazzling. So to help you decide which is best for you, we enlisted the help of a pro and two TG readers to test 30 of the latest models...
Where we tested
We tested the hybrids over two intense days at The Belfry’s PGA National academy. This fully- equipped facility accommodates all of your golfing needs; from expert tuition with the first class team of hand-picked PGA Qualified Professionals; to custom fitting in one of the four brand new fitting suites, which feature the very latest state-of-the-art technology and host top brands such as Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade and Ping. The iconic resort at The Belfry has undergone a major £26 million refurbishment across the whole resort, which has elevated every aspect of guest experiences.
Visit www.thebelfry.co.uk or call 01675 470256 for more information.
How we tested
Manufacturers supplied us with up to two models each in the closest loft to 20° available in both stiff and regular stock shaft options. PGA Pro James Ridyard ensured Equipment Editor Joel Tadman and the other two testers used the best flex and model to suit their swings and preferences. Testers were given the opportunity to hit both standard and Tour versions where applicable, settling on the one that worked best for them. For James and Joel, this was usually the Tour versions and for Peter and Ross, this was the standard versions. All testers were given sufficient time and balls to warm up with. Assessed shots to collect the data were hit from the range mat for consistency.
Given the array of lofts on test, we weren’t able to rank hybrids for distance alone, but we have included the distance and dispersion averages, as well as the lofts on test, for each model in the conclusion as we appreciate distance is still an important aspect of a hybrid’s performance. Instead, we ranked clubs for the consistency of their distance using a sliding scale – so the shorter the distance between a club’s longest and shortest assessed shots, the higher it will score. We also awarded a mark out of 10 for dispersion, along with the subjective categories of Looks, Feel, Forgiveness and Versatility.
Versatility is an important area for a hybrid as they can be used in a variety of situations. To assess this, testers hit shots from a tee and also two inches of rough to formulate an idea as to how well the club works from different lies and situations. All these scores were combined to create an overall star rating out of 10.
This test is a guide as to which hybrids may suit your game. We would always recommend you get custom-fitted before making your final buying decision.
Our launch monitor
TrackMan is the choice of the PGA Tour, USGA and R&A for swing and ball flight analysis. A staple on professional tours, TrackMan is the industry standard for accuracy, reliability and ease of use. It measures and displays the full trajectory of any shot, from six-foot pitches to 400-yard drives, pinpointing the landing position with an accuracy of a foot at 100 yards. Delivering state-of-the-art data without using any modeling, TrackMan displays the shot’s actual 3D trajectory in real time.
Today’s Golfer doesn’t shy away from rating and ranking products. We have awarded winners in the following way:
Gold Award: Total ranking of 9.5.
Silver Award: Total ranking of 9.
Bronze Award: Total ranking of 8.5
Meet the testers
Clubhead speed: 99mph
Current hybrid: Titleist 913H, 19°
Looking for: Slimline design, traditional look with a shallow face. Penetrating flight off the tee.
Clubhead speed: 97mph
Current hybrid: Ping Rapture V2, 20°
Looking for: Larger head with a deep face and wide sole to glide along the turf but also works from the rough.