2008 Wood/Hybrid Buyer's Guide

What is the freshest category in golf? We think fairway woods and hybrids have benefitted from a ton of new technology, making them more playable and more useful than ever before.

Hybrid Heyday

Golf industry experts say that for the first time ever, golfers are buying more hybrids than fairway woods this year. That phenomenon is happening for several reasons, the first being that manufacturers are mostly only making 3- and 5-woods, and some 7-woods, these days. When golfers play higher lofts, they typically seem to be opting for hybrids. “With fairway woods, the 15-degree is the most popular loft we sell,” says Mark Christensen, Cleveland Golf’s business unit leader of woods and hybrids. “The 19-degree wood still gets bought a lot, but we stopped the 22- and 25-degree models, due to lack of demand. Hybrids are eating up all of the higher loft sales.” Another reason for the shift: Now that people know all about hybrids, they want more performance from them, including high launch and trajectory, the ability to hit them off the tee, distance and more green-holding control. That’s why manufacturers have begun incorporating into woods and hybrids all of the same geometry and use of multiple materials that they’ve been building into drivers the past year, in an effort to lower the CG and increase the MOI. Because hybrids have shorter shafts than fairway woods, they’re easier to control. So this year, even more hybrids are bearing hybrid-specific shafts that are generally weighted accordingly and sport a tip section that balances flex and torque, producing the optimal trajectory and ball speed. Ultimately, choosing woods or hybrids comes down to having clubs that cover all distances at the long end of your set.

Adams Idea a3 Boxer
Although not square-shaped, the Boxer comes pretty close. Designed to help push the CG low and deep in the head and effectively boost the MOI, the Boxer is an easy-to-hit option from just about any lie. We especially like the cambered sole, and the stock Grafalloy ProLaunch Red shaft is a nice touch. So is the offset version for players who need to keep their slice at bay. All models are sneaky long, too.
Lofts: 16, 19, 22, 25
adamsgolf.com | $149
Bridgestone J36 Hybrid
Designed for players who want both forgiveness and the ability to shape shots, the J36 Hybrids utilize a neat internal weighting structure to increase the MOI for resistance to twisting and loss of distance. Also innovative, the progressive leading edge design means the leading edge of the clubface gets sharper as loft goes up, making it a cinch to hit it solid. Better players will love the versatility of these clubs.
Lofts: 16, 19, 22, 25
bridgestonegolf.com | $179
Callaway FT Hybrid
The next gen hybrid from Callaway features Fusion technology that doesn’t use carbon—instead, it’s a fusion of a stainless steel face and body with a tungsten-infused sole. This means the weight in the sole can be strategically manipulated, and depending on the model of choice, golfers can choose between a draw, fade or neutral design. By the way, the CG is low and the MOI is high for super forgiveness.
Lofts: 18, 21, 24, 27
callawaygolf.com | $199


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