The Replacements

No longer considered a novelty, the hybrid club has developed a new reputation as the go-to shotmaker from the fairway, the rough and, believe it or not, around the green.

The Replacements How To Hit A Hybrid If you're supposed to hit down on the ball with your irons and slightly up on the ball with your woods, what in the world do you do with a hybrid club?

David Glod, president of Tour Edge Golf, says that the key to swinging a hybrid correctly is to look at what club(s) the hybrid has replaced. "Because most hybrids are designed to be iron replacements, we advise golfers to swing them like they would their middle irons."

As such, remember that it's not necessary to try and scoop the ball upward (as many feel they have to do with low-lofted irons). Instead, allow the low and deep CG to work its magic and launch the ball at a high and optimal angle. The trick? Don't be afraid to swing down and through as you would with a mid- or long iron.

If you use a hybrid off the tee or in the middle of a round, take at least four practice swings to adjust to the different weight and feel of the club, particularly when you've been hitting woods for consecutive holes. Tee up the ball higher than you would a normal iron, which makes it easier to achieve square contact. Finally, swing with a moderate tempo and remember to hit down on the ball. As for those long irons? Kiss 'em goodbye!

Biased Base Biased Base. The new Callaway Fusion FT-Hybrids feature a permanent draw, neutral or fade bias to help players improve their accuracy and shot-shape patterns. The center of gravity is either in the middle or toward the heel or toe, helping to offset the effects of off-center strikes. Also cool from Callaway is the bore-through shaft technology, which removes weight from the hosel and accentuates the effect of perimeter weighting along the trail end of the club.

Iron Shape Iron Shape. The popular line of hybrids from Tour Edge resembles irons more than fairway woods, making them an exceptional choice for golfers who prefer hitting irons rather than high-lofted fairway woods. But don't be fooled. Despite the iron-inspired shape, these hybrids feature ample perimeter weighting and a lowered center of gravity for higher shots that produce the needed spin required to get the ball to land softly on the green.

Fairway Wood Shape Fairway Wood Shape. The 3DX hybrids from Nickent trend more toward a fairway wood shape for golfers who appreciate a low-profile, fairway wood appearance. Some claim the wood-like models afford greater shotmaking capabilities, but that's not to say this style of hybrid isn't forgiving as well. The long, flat sole design helps position a majority of weight low and deep in the clubhead, resulting in a high trajectory with ample spin for better control._Ê

Adjustable Weighting Adjustable Weighting. Some models such as the new TaylorMade Rescue Dual feature removable weight cartridges that allow for customized performance. Players can manipulate weight to favor a draw or fade, hook or slice, all with a simple click of a torque wrench. Typically, a draw bias will promote a lower trajectory than a fade bias, allowing golfers to adjust to different playing conditions as well as course demands and swing styles._Ê

Composite Crown Composite Crown. Composite crown technology has already jumped from drivers to fairway woods, and with the help of the new hybrids from Yonex, it looks like the trend is here to stay in hybrid clubs. Having a composite crown enables more weight to be placed lower and deeper in the clubhead, helping golfers get the ball in the air faster with plenty of spin to promote softer landings. Look for this trend to really catch on in the next couple of years._Ê

Hybrid Shafts. Don't neglect the all-important shaft! New hybrid shafts are all the rage, with many of the leading driver shaft manufacturers unveiling their own special hybrid renditions. The Graphite Design YS-Hybrid Type II, Fujikura Fit-On E 300 Series, Aldila NV Hybrid, Grafalloy ProLaunch HY and UST Proforce V2 Hybrid graphite shafts all feature innovative technologies designed to cater to a variety of demands and playing characteristics. Before you buy a new hybrid, make sure you have the right shaft flex, weight and kickpoint for your game. Be assured a premium shaft can make a big difference in how well a hybrid performs.


Adams IDEA a2/a2 OS $170 ($200 graphite)

Adams IDEA a2/a2 OS The Adams IDEA a2 (pictured) features a smaller, Tour-like size and shape, low CG, high MOI and produces slightly less spin than many competitive hybrids. Due to these design features, the a2 is geared toward those with higher swing speeds and more accomplished golfers in general. In contrast, the a2 OS features a true game-improvement design with a generous amount of offset and a low and deep CG placement. Lofts: IDEA a2–16_¡, 18_¡, 20_¡, 23_¡; IDEA a2 OS–17_¡, 19_¡, 23_¡ (available LH)

Bridgestone J33 $249

Bridgestone J33 Made from responsive stainless steel, the J33 utility woods feature an elastomer compound insert within each clubhead to both deaden unwanted vibration and create a more efficient transfer of energy at impact. In addition, a tungsten weight in the sole of each club effectively lowers the CG to make getting the ball airborne easier. Lofts: 15_¡, 18_¡, 21_¡ (no LH)

Callaway Fusion FT-Hybrid $250 ($275 graphite)

Callaway Fusion FT-Hybrid Introducing the FT-Hybrid, which features a stainless-steel face and body and a lightweight carbon-composite crown that repositions weight to lower and deeper areas of the clubhead. Like the FT-3 Driver, the FT-Hybrid utilizes Callaway's OptiFit system, which allows golfers to choose between CG locations that fit their swings–draw for those who fight a slice and neutral for those who fight a hook. Lofts: 14_¡, 17_¡, 20_¡, 23_¡, 26_¡ (available LH) Dunlop LoCo Dart $129

Dunlop Loco DartCarbon crowns are rare in hybrids, but worthwhile when considering the strong performance of the new LoCo Dart hybrid. Better yet, this hybrid has adjustable weights in two sole ports for customized trajectory and a Harrison 3.5 D Dart Graphite shaft for exceptional distance. Lofts: 18_¡, 22_¡ (available LH)

Hippo XXL $69

Hippo XXL The new XXL utility clubs from Hippo Golf feature twin weight plugs in the rear section of the clubhead for customizable trajectories. The low-profile design helps to lower the CG, resulting in a utility club that promotes high-flying and high-spinning golf shots from both the turf and from the tee. Tack on a proprietary graphite shaft and the XXL is an outstanding value club that doesn't skimp on technology._Ê Lofts: 18_¡, 21_¡, 24_¡, 27_¡ (no LH)

Innovex RLS $89

Innovex RLS In case you haven't heard of Innovex, be on the lookout as the company's newest line of hybrids is quickly becoming popular. Made of durable 15-5 stainless steel, the RLS hybrids feature the kind of attributes any golfer could want. It starts with a lowered CG, a high MOI, a widened sole and a smooth design that makes adjusting from an iron to a hybrid shape a piece of cake. No need for a long iron in the bag with these sure-fire replacements. Lofts: 18_¡, 22_¡, 27_¡ (no LH)

Izzo Zwood $179

Izzo Zwood No, Izzo isn't just a bag strap company. The new line of Zwoods is an inventive and unique approach to hybrids, helping golfers not only replace fairway woods and irons, but drivers as well. Golfers need only expect longer and higher tee and fairway shots, thanks to a carbon crown and Intelligent Engineering technology._Ê Lofts: 12.5_¡, 16_¡, 20_¡, 24_¡, 28_¡ (available LH)

Macgregor NVG2 $160 ($180 graphite)

Macgregor NVG2 MacGregor's proprietary plasma-welding technique allows for a Cup Face 360_¡ design that removes any welds from the clubface and increases strength as well as the size of the effective hitting area. A proprietary Fujikura Triple Action shaft helps increase clubhead speed for a wide range of golfers, even those with slower swing speeds. This is clearly MacGregor's most advanced hybrid to date. Lofts: 17_¡, 20_¡, 23_¡, 26_¡ (available LH)

Nickent 3DX DC $199

Nickent 3DX DC Through the application of two tungsten-polymer fused inserts, approximately 40 grams of weight was moved down and back in the head to optimize CG for greater forgiveness and a higher spin rate. The finished product is a powerful hybrid with excellent control. Lofts: 14_¡, 15.5_¡, 17_¡, 18.5_¡, 20_¡, 21.5_¡, 23_¡, 24.5_¡, 26_¡ (available LH)

Nike Golf Slingshot Hybrid $179 ($199 graphite)

Nike Slingshot Slingshot Hybrids feature a low CG location due to a carbon crown and Nike Golf's innovative Slingback design, similar to that used in the Slingshot irons. According to Nike Golf, these two elements reposition approximately 70% of the clubhead mass below the equator of the ball, making it that much easier for golfers to get the ball airborne on a consistent basis._Ê Lofts: 17_¡, 20_¡, 23_¡ (available LH)

Perfect Club 347 $129

Perfect Club 347 The popular Perfect Clubs seem to grow in number every year, and in 2006 are joined by the 347, which is the most hybrid-like offering in the bunch. An easy-to-hit replacement for your 3- or 4-iron or 7-wood, the 347 is designed with a low CG and a specially engineered shaft by Grafalloy to ensure high launch and longer flight. An offset hosel should help tame your slice. Don't miss the full line of easy-to-hit Perfect Clubs available online at the company's Website. Lofts: 21_¡ (available LH)

Ping G5 $200

Ping G5 The G5 line of hybrids features a 455 steel face that's machined and robotically plasma-welded, a technique that allowed PING engineers to reposition a significant amount of weight toward the sole to optimize spin rates and launch angles. A sloped crown and compact head design help lower and deepen the CG location and improve playability. Lofts: 16_¡, 19_¡, 22_¡, 25_¡ (available LH)

Precept EZU $149

Precept EXU Designed for mid- to high-handicap golfers looking for an easy-to-hit alternative to long irons, the EZU utility woods feature a low-profile clubhead with increased offset and a low and deep CG location. Standard features of the EZU include a proprietary Aldila graphite shaft and Winn V17 grip. The EZU can comfortably replace 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-irons, making it both extremely versatile and appealing for the recreational golfer. Lofts: 18_¡, 21_¡, 25_¡, 30_¡ (no LH)

Purespin Diamond Face $99

Purespin Diamond Face The Diamond Face hybrid from PureSpin is the ideal mid- to long-iron replacement for players seeking both added control and a higher ballflight. The Diamond Face provides excellent control and added spin, while the redesigned head configuration has a lower and deeper CG. Lofts: 19_¡, 22_¡ (no LH)

Srixon AD $175

Srixon AD The new AD is a well-constructed and -engineered hybrid. This highly versatile club features an ultra-thin maraging-steel clubface with a high COR for increased ball speed and distance, as well as tungsten-nickel weighting that lowers the CG to produce high, soft shots. Srixon is one of the few companies also successful in the golf ball market, so if you like the AD hybrid, check out the new AD333 golf ball. Lofts: 18_¡, 21_¡, 24_¡ (no LH) TaylorMade Rescue Dual $235 ($275 graphite)

Taylormade Rescue Dual The new Rescue Dual features two TLC ports positioned low in the back of the clubhead near the heel and toe, and the Rescue Dual's CG position can be customized by adjusting the accompanying TLC weight cartridges. Because most golfers miss to the right, the club also features a fixed weight near the heel to promote more draw-inducing rotation through impact. The V-shaped sole is designed to minimize resistance through impact. Also available in the TP (Tour Preferred) model. Lofts: 16_¡, 19_¡, 22_¡, 25_¡ (available LH)

Tour Edge Exotics $235 ($275 graphite)

Tour Edge ExoticsBuilt with a lightweight beta-titanium cupface that's Combo-Brazed to a heavier Hyper-Steel body, the Exotics Iron-Wood provides the maximum allowable .830 COR for impressive distance. Each Iron-Wood comes with two six-gram weight screws and an optional kit that provides four additional weight screws for enhanced customization. Lofts: 18_¡, 21_¡, 24_¡ (available LH)

Vulcan Sniper $129

Vulcan Sniper The new Sniper from Vulcan Golf is loaded with cool stuff. The carbon crown helps lower the CG for a higher trajectory and the shallow face makes it easier to hit from tight lies off the fairway or in heavy rough. Also, the cambered sole facilitates hitting the ball in the center of the clubface. The new Aldila V-Tech graphite shaft is a great component as well, designed for the utmost in carry distance and clubhead stability through the impact zone. Lofts: 17_¡, 20_¡, 23_¡ (no LH)

Wedgewood Gold IR Series $129

Wedgewood Gold IR Series Combining the accuracy of long irons with the feel and power of fairway woods isn't easy, but Wedgewood found a way. The Gold IR Series has a thick topline for more confidence and a low CG for a higher flight. The Nickel Flex graphite shaft has nickel in it for added power. Lofts: 16_¡, 19_¡, 22_¡, 25_¡ (no LH)

Yonex Cyberstar XC $229

Yonex Cyberstar The new Yonex Cyberstar XC hybrids are very attractive, most notably sporting a carbon crown for a lowered CG. However, it's the cambered leading edge that may do all the work, preventing the club from digging into thick, difficult lies. With such great looks, this hybrid begs to be put into play. Also, don't miss the full line of Cyberstar equipment, including the new Nanospeed driver used by Colin Montgomerie. Lofts: 17_¡, 20_¡, 23_¡ (no LH)

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