2014 Buyer's Guide Woods

Hybrid technology is right up there with fairway woods

Labels: Buyers GuideWoodsHybrids
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DON'T BE SHY
By Tom Stickney, PGA

Hit down on it! Hybrids are remarkable clubs. They have made shots that were once reserved for hard-to-hit long irons much easier, and in my opinion, a lot more fun. Same goes for some of today's fairway woods. They're crazy-long!
That said, why do so many amateurs struggle with hybrids and woods? Too often, amateurs feel as though they need to sweep or hit up on the ball. In reality, that's not the case. Hybrids are actually designed to be played more like middle irons! If anything, you want to hit down on the ball and make a divot after you collide with the golf ball.


In the sequence here, notice how I have a hairy lie from the rough. This is actually great practice for me, since it forces me to hit down and through the grass to get the ball up and going. Now, here's the secret. From the fairway, I have the same angle of attack. The wider sole of the hybrid means it's less likely I'll hit it fat anyway, so I hit down on all my hybrids shots—from everywhere.

INSIDE THE ROPES: DUSTIN JOHNSON

Does it look like
Dustin Johnson is trying to lift the ball up into the air with a fairway wood? Nope. Johnson not only retains his spine angle and side bend, but he has the uncanny ability to keep the clubhead low through impact as good as anyone I've seen. And, by the way, it's a fairway wood he's hitting (about 280 yards), and he even has made a small divot, further proof he has hit down on the golf ball, not up on it.

Today's fairway woods are insane. No, really, they are. We're hitting some models as far as we used to hit our drivers as little as three to four years ago. It was only a matter of time until driver designers started parlaying driver tech into its smaller siblings. The result is a bunch of fairway woods that not only are long, they're remarkably forgiving, as well. Hitting high shots off the fairway has never been easier, thanks to low CGs and cupface designs, and if you want driver-like adjustability, you can find that, too, on many of today's most popular models. Hybrid technology is right up there with fairway woods, as well. That category is still on the rise with all player types, especially better players.



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