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A revolutionary breakthrough in golf club design, the hybrid has gone from a curious new offering to a mainstay in just about every golfers bag. Meant to be swung more like an iron than a wood, hybrids are so successful because they replace some of the most difficult clubs in the bag to hit – long irons – with easier to control, more forgiving, and distance enhancing options. Most golfers struggle to find consistent contact with their 3, 4 and even 5 irons. The clubheads are too small and compact, the sweet spot on the face too small, and they provide less forgiveness due to a lack of MOI and center of gravity placement.

Hybrids provide game enhancement in all of those areas by expanding the size of the clubhead, making the face and sweet spot of the club larger, and by adding forgiveness with added weight along the perimeter of the club. The larger clubhead also allows for the center of gravity to be placed farther and lower away from the face, aiding in launch and helping get the ball airborne easier, able to land soft on the green and avoid those low, harsh mishits that result commonly from swings with long irons. Hybrids also offer a great deal of versatility during a round of golf and can be used off the tee, from the fairway, from the rough, or even along the greens when dealing with a a tricky lie. NO matter how or when you use them, hybrids are sure to bring improvement to your golfing experience.

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Iron Replacement

The same as fairway woods, as hybrids get smaller, they gain loft. A 3 hybrid will have a larger head size and a lower loft than a 5 hybrid. Hybrids are made available in a variety of head sizes and loft, with 3, 4 and 5 hybrids being the most common. However, many models are also made available in 1, 2, 6 or 7 options, while other designs go all the way up to pitching wedge. How many hybrids you carry in your bag will be up to personal preference and skill level, but the most common number for most golfers is probably two, replacing the hard to hit 3 and 4 irons.

When replacing your irons, it's important to pay attention to the lofts of your current iron set. By taking this into account, you'll be able to chose hybrid options with loft and distance characteristics that will bridge the distance gaps between your highest lofted fairway woods and lowest lofted irons. While most hybrids come with number designations, that doesn't necessarily mean that number represents the iron that the hybrid will replace. It's best to let loft and distance make the decision for you as to how best to integrate hybrids into your current set. Another option would be to purchase a hybrid-iron combo set, a set of irons that comes pre-designed with optimal hybrid integration stock out of the box.

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Adjustable technology is now making its way to hybrid clubs, giving golfers the option to open and close the clubface and also to change the loft of the clubhead. Opening or closing the clubface can help produce a desired right-to-left or left-to-right ballflight. Changing the angle of the clubface can also help to correct for distance and accuracy damaging hooks and slices. Golfers who consistently slice the ball might benefit from closing their hybrids clubface, while golfers who hook the ball might benefit from opening the clubface. This technology will be useful to many golfers with the common complaint that they constantly hook hybrid clubs--opening the clubface will reduce the chances of a hook and help straighten out shots.

The ability to adjust the loft of hybrid clubs opens up many options for golfers, effectively giving them the choice of two different hybrid clubs before a round. Golfers can adapt to pre-round weather by opting either for a lower loft that will cut through wind, or a higher loft that will land softer on fast, dry greens. Golfers who play the same course regularly may also be able to adjust for the movement of tee boxes or prepare loft options in order to tackle specific hazards or carry distances that they encounter often. Never able to carry your regular par three? Adjust the loft down for more distance. Need the perfect lay up for that pesky par 5? Adjust the loft up and dial in the perfect distance.

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How to Pick Hybrid Loft

Picking out hybrid lofts can be a daunting task as each manufacturer will have their own lofts that they use for their hybrids. Much like when choosing wedges, a golfer will need to take stock of the iron set that they are using. The most important question for a player to ask themselves is, “what is the longest iron I can hit easily, and that stops on the green?” This means the longest club that a player is comfortable hitting that will not bounce and run a long way once the ball hits the green. For mostplayers this will be either the 4,5, or 6 iron depending on their club head speed and skill level. Once thatis determined, the loft of that longest iron will need to be determined.

A player will want to pick hybrids that are 4 degrees apart in loft so as to keep some distance separation between clubs. For example, if a player carries a 6 iron with 31 degrees of loft, they will want a 5 hybrid with 27 degrees of loft, and a 4 hybrid with 23, etc. If a player carries fairway woods, they will need to keep an eye out as there is some overlap between the clubs. For example, a 2 hybrid will go the same basic distance as a 5 wood and a 3 hybrid will go the same as a 7 wood.

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