GOLF Magazine ClubTest rates and reviews hybrid and rescue golf clubs.

1 of 10 Schecter Lee
ClubTest 2008: Hybrid Club GOLF Magazine asked players just like you to try the newest hybrid clubs on the market. Learn which one was voted their favorite. Adams Idea a3 Boxer $149, graphite We tested: 3 (19°), 4 (22°) and 5 (25°) in Grafalloy ProLaunch Red graphite shaft. Shaft length (3-hybrid): 40", graphite Company line: "A category-leading MOI of 3,350 g/cm2 results in easy-to-hit shots that are more forgiving, straighter and longer. It has a 30 to 70 percent higher MOI than leading hybrids. Milled face grooves offer more consistency and performance." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Ball holds desired line on both center shots and misses; consistent direction from assorted lies; muscular design encourages an aggressive swing; shots from rough come out clean and pose little problem; ball penetrates and doesn't float; square head shape is a non-issue. CONS: These go straight, which is a very good thing until you need to purposely curve the ball; often difficult to tell, based on feel, where the ball is going; too many directional misses— for example, shots that start right of target, then fly straight. "Distances and direction are monotonously consistent." — Doug Lair (8) Rate and Review this club
2 of 10 Schecter Lee
Bobby Jones Players Series $199, graphite We tested: H2 (19°), H3 (21°), H4 (25°) and H5 (30°) in Graphite Design JS-6/JS-7 graphite shaft. Shaft length (3-hybrid): 40.25", graphite Company line: "These have a low and deep center of gravity, wide-bodied triangle-of-stability (TOS) and a versatile contoured sole. Our hybrids are shorter in shaft length to increase accuracy and to truly be long-iron replacements, not fairway-metal alternatives." Voted Best for Accuracy Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Most accurate sticks in the test— like throwing darts; terrific forgiveness; love its versatility; gets the ball up in the air quickly; explosive impact feel; easy to hit and powerful from wet rough; high trajectory lets balls land steeply and softly on the green; equally adept from fairway or rough; smallish head plays big. CONS: Oblong shape is a bit odd; it's minor but the lack of a sight line is noticeable in rough. "These cut through weeds. Sweet feel and perfect trajectory." — Jack Record (12)
3 of 10 Schecter Lee
Callaway FT $199, graphite We tested: 2H Neutral (18°), 3H Neutral (21°), 3H Draw (21°) and 4H Draw (24°) in Fujikura Fit-On M Hybrid graphite shaft. Shaft length (3-hybrid): 40.25", graphite Company line: "A stainless steel face and body, with tungsten-loaded soleplate, strategically locates the CG for optimal ball flight trajectories and shot-shaping control. Our proprietary 'Opti-Fit' system lets you customize the club to fit your individual shot shape." Voted Best for Distance Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Voted most versatile hybrid in the test; produces longest carry distance; compact head burns through light rough; ball emits a soft click at impact and jumps off the clubface; mis-hits are not terribly punished, either for distance or direction; laser-like accuracy from the tee but maintains its ability to be intentionally curved down a fairway. CONS: Its smallish clubhead can lead to a lack of confidence in thick rough; slightly less forgiving off a tee than some others tested. "Iron-like ball flight, but the benefit is longer distance without the effort." — Jeremy Ross (4) Rate and Review this club
4 of 10 Schecter Lee
Cleveland HiBore XLS $149, graphite We tested: 2i (19°), 3i (22°) and 4i (25°) in Fujikura Fit-On M Red and Fujikura Fit-On M Gold graphite shaft. Shaft length (3-hybrid): 40", graphite Company line: "The clubface and head profile are inspired by feedback from PGA Tour players. HiBore XLS has a Carpenter 455 steel face, crown plaque alignment aid and additional offset for a square face at impact." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Mis-hits cost you little distance; parachute landings on long approaches; plenty of carry takes the fear out of long shots over hazards; in general, it does well controlling sidespin; noticeably more forgiving than comparable long irons, and a much higher flight using Fit-On M Gold graphite shaft. CONS: Not crazy for its impact feel; club can be one-dimensional, not a great choice for those wanting to work the ball; scooped-out crown isn't terribly appealing to the eye; doesn't excel from less-than-ideal lies. "These are high-launch, straight shooters." — Eric English (13) Rate and Review this club
5 of 10 Schecter Lee
Cobra Baffler DWS $129, steel; $149, graphite We tested: 2/R (18°), 3/R (20°), 4/R (23°) and 5/R (26°) in Aldila VS Proto-HL 65 graphite shaft. Shaft length (3-hybrid): 40.5", graphite Company line: "We enhanced the 'dual weighting system,' which increases MOI for more forgiveness, and incorporated our 'fastback' crown design, which shifts the center of gravity lower and deeper, for higher launch and greater carry distance." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: High and straight is its shot du jour; a wide, forgiving sweet spot; glides through rough; silly-easy to get up in the air and head down the fairway; acceptable distance off the tee with super-high launch; goes down and gets it from nasty lies; nice head stability through impact. CONS: Dependable, but it grades out middle-of-the-road versus others tested; impact feels too soft and muted on positive shots; difficult to keep the ball low. "Escape artists that spring the ball out of the long grass." — Jon Kotraba (11)
6 of 10 Schecter Lee
Nickent 4DX Ironwood $179, graphite We tested: 1 (14°), 2 (17°), 3 (20°), 4 (23°), 5 (26°) and 6 (29°) in UST SR3 graphite shaft. Shaft length (3-hybrid): 40", graphite Company line: "A patented brazing technology fuses a titanium crown with steel body. The face height is 2 mm taller than 3DX, giving 4DX less spin and a more penetrating flight. Tungsten-polymer inserts reduce vibration and are used for swing weight adjustment." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Workable from most any lie; precision players appreciate its tight accuracy and firm feel; adequate distance on center strikes; a dense, crisp contact feel; easier to fade shots than almost anything else tested; shot correction and sidespin reduction are on par with others; piercing flight off the tee; very fine long-iron replacements. CONS: Understated head could use a visual aiming device; impact can feel harsh on mis-hits; loose swings are punished distance-wise. "Kind of a hammer-meets-nail sensation at impact." — Robert Record (15) Rate and Review this club
7 of 10 Schecter Lee
Nike Sasquatch Sumo $129, steel; $149, graphite We tested: 1 (15°), 2 (18°) and 3 (21°) in hDiamana by Mitsubishi graphite shaft. Shaft length (3-hybrid): 40.75", graphite Company line: "The variable Cryo steel face is a lightweight material that maximizes distance and forgiveness across the face. 'Powerbow' weighting manages head mass to further optimize precision and performance." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Provides consistently long distance from all but the deepest lies; testers like the boring trajectory; fairway wood-like length with iron-like accuracy; consistent carry distances; dampens bad vibes from mis-hits; two thumbs up in terms of its 'classic' head shape; can 'work' Sumo when needed; can easily sense clubhead location during swing. CONS: Mid-handicappers are less comfortable— and complimentary— of Sumo than better players; clubhead can get caught up in the thick stuff if you sweep it; inconsistent results from the rough. "These could very well send my long irons to the attic." — Hoai Hoang (9) Rate and Review this club
8 of 10 Schecter Lee
TaylorMade Burner Rescue $159, steel; $179, graphite We tested: 3 (19°), 4 (22°), 5 (25°) and 6 (28°) in REAX SuperFast graphite shaft. Shaft length (3-hybrid): 40", graphiteTaylorMade Burner Rescue $159, steel; $179, graphite We tested: 3 (19°), 4 (22°), 5 (25°) and 6 (28°) in REAX SuperFast graphite shaft. Shaft length (3-hybrid): 40", graphite Company line: "This steel clubhead is 7 percent larger than Rescue Dual in volume and has a 13 percent larger footprint that promotes high MOI for greater forgiveness. The steel 'pull-face' construction provides high COR for faster ball speed and more distance." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Top dog in terms of hitting the fairway off a short tee; alignment "T" frames the ball at address; stable club delivers extremely straight ball flight and great forgiveness; can work gentle fades and draws; gets up and out of tricky lies; competitive length; high flight leads to soft landings; a one-piece feel between head and shaft; a gamer in the rough. CONS: More difficult to bend on command than some other hybrids; can be challenging to keep shots low; misses sacrifice more-than-expected distance. "Par 3s are no longer hit and hope; it's hit and watch." — Kirk Fischer (9)
9 of 10 Schecter Lee
TaylorMade r7 CGB Max Rescue $199, graphite We tested: 3h (19°) in REAX SuperFast 55 By Fujikura graphite shaft. Shaft length (3-hybrid): 40", graphiteTaylorMade r7 CGB Max Rescue $199, graphite We tested: 3h (19°) in REAX SuperFast 55 By Fujikura graphite shaft. Shaft length (3-hybrid): 40", graphite Company line: "This lightweight club has a built-in 'left' tendency plus a deep-back center of gravity location, so it's easy to launch shots high and long. Its shallow face increases spin for longer carry distance. The club is geared to moderate swing speeds." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Natural ball flight is a high, gentle draw; has an easy-to-swing feel; clubhead has good forgiveness qualities; comfortable feel to the hands and arms through impact; triangular shape glides through thick stuff; solid 'click' at impact; shots stay in control with minimal distance loss from rough. CONS: Some testers find it too light to swing; ball flight can be too high; playability and shot shaping are not what this is about; lacks real distance zip; bright red head can be distracting. "Forgiving, and light enough, to swing with total confidence." — Lynn Altadonna (13)
10 of 10 Schecter Lee
Winner: Hybrid Callaway FT $199, graphite Testers praise its do-everything mentality and predictable efficiency. Its responsiveness lets you feel the accomplishment of a good shot or your mistake. Shots fly high, go 'longer than a stretch limo' and land softly. Dial in your preferred ball flight by choosing the 'Draw' or 'Neutral' version. Our better players say the 'Neutral' head just begs you to carve shots on bending fairways. "FT gives 9-iron consistency with the distance of a fairway wood." — Don Ytterberg (11) • ClubTest Home Page • ClubTest Index Page • Drivers: Max Game-Improvement • Drivers: Game-Improvement • Drivers: Tour • Fairway Woods