Bridging the gap between your mid-irons and your 3-wood can feel overwhelming. The market is full of hybrids, high-lofted fairway woods, hollow-bodied utility irons -- even plain old long irons. So how do you sort it all out? With a clear-eyed appraisal of how you play, and an open mind. Here are three hybrids that are meant to be hit with a more descending, iron-like blow. And a reminder: The best time to get custom fit for hybrids is when you're measured for irons.
See those ripples on the bottom? That's Mizuno's updated (wider) "Shockwave" design, which weakens the sole to allow for more flex along the lower portion of the face -- and more oomph on thin strikes. Plus, the new head shape -- a larger footprint with a wider face and a flatter crown -- pushes mass low and farther back, raising the MOI higher than in its predecessor. The nonadjustable head has a maraging steel face that adds power that aspiring golfers need. Available November 6.
Titleist 816H1 and 816H2
The 816s feature many of the same technologies as the 915H and 915Hd, including a thin 455 Carpenter steel face and an "Active Recoil Channel" (ARC) to amp-up ball speed. Revamped shapes push the CG lower and deeper, which leads to a 1° higher launch, while beveled edges along the ARC sole provide a smoother ride through the turf. The 816s come in 2° loft increments, with a new "SureFit Tour" hosel that adjusts loft and lie in 1° intervals, making it easier to fit with your irons. The H1 delivers similar spin with a 7 percent higher MOI than the 915H, while the H2 generates less spin and a flatter flight than the H1. Available October 23.
The Apex is designed to be the most versatile, workable iron-like hybrid in Callaway's fleet. An "Internal Standing Wave" weighting system makes sure of it, placing the club's CG a little higher and more toward the middle of the head than in previous models. With its neutral CG and slim shape, this better-player hybrid should gel with irons, producing a controllable trajectory with more than enough spin to make shots stick on the greens. As for distance, a 455 Carpenter steel face cup helps the Apex pack a wallop, delivering fast ball speeds on center and off-center hits. Available December 4.