The Easy Way to Play Hybrids
They're the most versatile, playable clubs in your bag. Here's how to get the most out of them and hit the high, powerful shots and a few par-saving rescues your game is missing
By Padraig Harrington
British Open & PGA Champ
Copy these moves, and you'll pull off the clutch shots you need to win, just as I have.
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Step 1: Square-Up at the Start
Before you address the ball, grip your hybrid with your right hand only and place the clubhead behind the ball. Point the clubface at your target and set your right foot parallel with the clubface. Now, step in with your left foot and place your left hand on the grip. This will set you perfectly square at address without having to twist your body to the left or the right.
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Step 2: Be an Athlete
Stay as relaxed as possible as you address the ball, with a feeling that your muscles are "alive" and ready to move you in any direction. Position the ball inside your left heel. (You'll have trouble if you use the more forward ball position of a fairway wood.) Hybrids play like irons, and that's how you should swing them. Make sure that your head is behind the ball and that your knees are directly above your shoelaces.
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Step 3: Make a Strong Turn
As you swing the club back, focus on turning your back to the target at the top of your backswing. A little lift of your left heel will help you rotate as far as you can. When I practice, I like to feel like I'm playing in a straitjacket. It helps me turn everything away in one piece. If you can turn like this while keeping your head behind the ball (not moving forward as in a reverse pivot), you're in great shape.
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Step 4: Start Down with Your Hips
To start your downswing, feel as if you're pressing your left foot into the ground as you turn your hips to the left of the target. Your lower body moves first, followed by your shoulders. This gives you the leverage and power you need for the distance you're facing. Notice how my right elbow is still tucked into my right side deep into my downswing. I won't think about straightening it until a foot after impact.
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Step 5: Push at Impact
Don't think about straightening your right arm until you've cleared the impact zone. Feel like you're pushing off your right foot and keeping your left leg slightly bowed. If you straighten your left leg, you'll bottom out too early and ruin your contact. When I'm practicing, I work on keeping my left wrist flat, with each of my knuckles facing the target. That means the face is square and I'm hitting the ball with the right amount of clubface loft.
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Step 6: Continue to Turn
After impact, it's just a matter of continuing your body turn. Notice that my hips are already facing the target with my right knee pushing my body toward the hole, and that my right arm has been pulled straight. Moving your hips first and then your shoulders during your downswing gives you a whip-like feeling through the ball. The whip continues all the way into your finish, when your shoulders finally catch up to and whip past your hips. You've done it right if your lower body faces the target and your upper body faces slightly left of the target.
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