2009 GOLF Buyer’s Guide – Hybrids

1 of 9 Schecter Lee
$169, graphite adamsgolf.com It's for: Better players Michael Vrska, Director of product development: "We created a world-class product that will appeal to a wide range of players, including the game's best. We spared nothing in designing it, and our expertise in hybrid technology is evident the first time you hit it." How it works: The forgiving "Boxer" head (MOI is 2,880 g x cm2, 18 percent higher than Idea Pro Gold) helps misses hug the target. Plenty of back weight gets shots airborne with ease. A lively maraging steel face boosts ball speed. The 7-gram steel screw helps fitters handle shaft-weight differences in Tour models and custom orders. Comes in Matrix Ozik Altus graphite (lower flight) or MRC JavlnFx (higher flight). Idea Tech a4 hybrids (19° and 22°) form a lovely package with Idea Tech a4 irons (5-PW). "The development process for the irons started on Tour. Then we added forgiveness characteristics to make them the right choice for a wide range of players," says Vrska. The forged cavity-backs have a rear "stabilizer bar" to minimize impact vibration. Four mini-cavities enhance forgiveness and lower the club's CG. Buy and Compare This Hybrid
2 of 9 Schecter Lee
$199, graphite bobbyjonesgolf.com It's for: Low and mid-handicappers Jesse Ortiz, COO and chief designer: "I realized after two seasons of Tour events that the hybrids' popularity is based largely on the ability to bend the hosel for each player's required lie and face angle. Tour vans have special jigs for this sort of bending. It's both challenging and fun to design a club that allows any pro shop to offer this level of customization, without compromising my design and weighting theories." How it works: A "stress ring" is cut into the bottom of the adjustable hosel. This subtle upgrade enables fitters to tweak the face angle (open, square or closed) or lie angle (upright, standard or flat). The three-piece, multi-material construction (stainless steel body plus two different maraging steels in the crown and clubface) contributes to a full-bodied feel and well-rounded performance. Lastly, the contoured sole provides ample versatility from different lies.
3 of 9 Schecter Lee
$139, steel; $159, graphite callawaygolf.com It's for: All skill levels Dr. Alan Hocknell, VP of Innovation and Advanced Design: "The 'dual-runner sole,' originally introduced in our FT hybrids, promotes solid contact in a variety of turf conditions. We also lower the club's leading edge to make the sweet spot more accessible for you." How it works: The omnipresent "S2H2" design takes weight from the hosel and distributes it elsewhere (such as to the sole). The low, deep center of gravity allows you to get under the ball and achieve proper lift (creating a higher ball flight than the iron it replaces). The rails are designed to limit turf interference so you get a solid strike regardless of lie. Buy and Compare This Hybrid
4 of 9 Schecter Lee
$149, graphite; steel throught custom order cobragolf.com It's for: All skill levels Peter Soracco, Principal Design Engineer: "Improving on the number-one selling utility metal is a challenge. In the new Baffler TWS, we adjust internal weighting to lower the center-of-gravity location, creating a slightly higher launch angle and increased moment of inertia (MOI) for even more forgiveness and consistency. In addition, we increase face area for more ball speed on off-center hits. Lastly, we have a contoured sole to provide maximum playability from all types of lies." How it works: To start, TWS stands for "triple weighting system." Three weights shift mass rearward to boost MOI and heighten forgiveness. The stainless steel head has a sloping "fast back" crown (hidden from view) that contributes to high-launching shots. A large, thin maraging steel face insert enhances ball speed on offcenter hits so distance won't suffer. As Soracco states, the sole should glide through poor lies. Buy and Compare This Hybrid
5 of 9 Schecter Lee
$149, graphite mizunousa.com It's for: Mid- or high-handicappers David Llewellyn, club R&D manager: "The MX-700 hybrid, like the MX-700 fairway wood, has an extremely hot face. We couple this with the 'drop down' crown to create greater ball speed and a higher launch than conventional hybrids." How it works: This baby is built to help you hit it high. The sloped crown (hidden from view) contributes to the low, rear CG (for smooth liftoff). The crown design also gives fitters the ability to make loft and lie adjustments. The strong, thin, lightweight steel face produces a broad area of maximum ball speed. One result is minimal distance loss on off-center hits. The crown decal [also hidden from view] can assist with proper aim. The club comes in 17°, 20°, 23° and 26° lofts.
6 of 9 Schecter Lee
$199, graphite nickentgolf.com It's for: All skill levels John B. Hoeflich, COO: "We have several brainstorming sessions to decide on a direction before we embark on a new design project. Improving on our 4DX Ironwood is no easy task. The guys in our Tour department suggested that we add 'wings'. We thought it was a bird-brained idea at first, but testing proves that the wings work and significantly increase MOI. And Tour players love it!" How it works: The all-stainless steel head has a deeper face than 4DX but a similar launch profile. Rear "wings" with tungsten-polymer inserts move mass to the perimeter. The result is Nickent's highest- MOI hybrid (3,130 g x cm2). The 5DX Ironwood has an "A-frame" face (thicker in the middle, thinner at the edges) that increases ball speed high on the face. This combines with stronger lofts (by 1.5 degrees per club) for noticeable distance gains. The sole screw (2, 4, 6 or 8 grams) can be removed by Nickent for swingweight adjustment. Comes in nine lofts (1.5° increments) from 14° to 26°. Buy and Compare This Hybrid
7 of 9 Schecter Lee
$169, steel; $199, graphite pinggolf.com It's for: All skill levels Marty Jertson, senior design engineer: "The exciting part about designing the Rapture V2 hybrid is working with such a significant amount of tungsten. In the final design, close to 50 percent of the total head weight is tungsten. That gives us the opportunity to drive up the inertia while positioning the center of gravity (CG) location very low to raise the launch angle." How it works: The stainless steel body is "weighted down" (in a good way) by the tungsten sole. A sloping crown and longish face further contribute to the club's forgiving disposition. Clubs come in 17°, 20°, 23° and 27° lofts with Ping TFC939F or Mitsubishi Rayon JavlnFX M7 shafts.
8 of 9 Schecter Lee
$199, graphite taylormadegolf.com It's for: All skill levels Dr. Benoit Vincent, Chief Technical Officer: "Our first Rescue delivered new performances in challenging on-course situations. Since then, we've researched solutions to manage ball flight direction (hybrids often have draw bias compared to the irons they replace). Rescue TP has our compact adjustable mechanism, which allows you to dial in preferred lateral trajectory." How it works: Rescue TP and standard Rescue both have stainless steel heads with extremely thin (0.6 mm), light walls. The light crown allows 8 extra grams to be used in the sole. The effect is a higher launch and less spin. Rescue TP also features "flight control technology" (similar to the R9 driver and fairway woods). Eight face angle settings (2° closed to 2° open) provide up to 30 yards difference in left-to-right flight. The standard Rescue has a fixed setting (high-draw bias). Buy and Compare This Hybrid
9 of 9 Schecter Lee
$179, graphite titleistgolf.com It's for: Primarily 0- to 9-handicappers but playable to 15 Dan Stone, VP of R&D: "Our target audience wants performance with control from their hybrid. The 909H provides precise launch and spin from loft to loft. Lower lofts provide a fairway wood-like launch with better trajectory control, while higher lofts provide a higher launch versus an iron without excess spin." How it works: This line (15°, 17°, 19°, 21° and 24°) progresses nicely in size, shape, amount of offset and CG location. As Stone suggests, the idea is to match performance in terms of ball flight, workability and trajectory control. Each 909H has a longish face (in Carpenter steel, to increase ball speed) and a fairly large head (for added confidence). The 909H comes with Aldila Voodoo or Titleist Diamana Blue 80 shaft. Buy and Compare This Hybrid