ClubTest: Hybrids

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ClubTest: Hybrids September 2006 Adams Idea Pro $249, graphite; adamsgolf.com WE TESTED 16°, 18°, 20° and 23° with Aldila VS 80 S graphite shaft THE COMPANY LINE "A perfect combination of center of gravity (CG) location and moment of inertia puts the spin rate at the perfect range for a hybrid club. The weight port helps get the CG in its proper location." OUR TESTERS SAID PROS "Big, wide sweet spot auto-corrects most every miss from tee or fairway." — Charlie Neivert (handicap 2) "Delivers a nice, penetrating mid-trajectory and is workable from right to left and left to right. It is smooth and consistent and doesn't require a lot of effort to deliver great results. A finesse club that doesn't respond quite as well to force." — Robert Friedrich (8) "Can feel the head all the way through impact as well as off the toe or heel, allowing for control." — Matt McKeon (0) "I could hit hard running shots to get extra roll or stay under the wind, and high, soft fades to hold a tighter green." — Rich Sullivan (12) CONS "These Idea Pros are good sticks for better players than me." — Michael Kaye (14 )
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Callaway Fusion FT-Hybrid $250, steel; $275, graphite; callawaygolf.com WE TESTED 3H (20º), 4H (23º) and 5H (26º) with Aldila NVS-85 Hybrid graphite shaft in Draw and Neutral lofts THE COMPANY LINE "A carbon composite crown with stainless steel face, sole and body allows us to optimize the club's perimeter weighting, which enhances stability and forgiveness. Draw model is for slicers; Neutral is for those who lose it left." OUR TESTERS SAID PROS "Misses lose very little, distance-wise." — Rich Sullivan (handicap 12) "Best carry distance of the group from the tee. Distance is 5 to 8 yards longer than my own at comparable lofts with minimal shot dispersion." — Charlie Neivert (2) "Very stable going through deep rough, easy to set up with a confident appearance at address." — Andy Simon (25) "The easiest to aim at the target, with the large arrow on the crown and the scoring line pattern as very visible cues." — Michael Kaye (14 ) "Options galore — definite flight changes based on Neutral and Draw head." — Jon Kotraba (10) CONS "Feels dull from fairw a y. You never totally feel the ball on the face." — Matt McKeon (0)
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MacGregor MacTec NVG2 $ 179, graphite; macgregorgolf.com WE TESTED 2 (17º), 3 (20º), 4 (23º) and 5 (26º) with Fujikura Triple Action graphite shaft THE COMPANY LINE "Four tungsten weights along the sole minimize twist at impact for more accurate shots. The 'cup face' design produces a high rebound effect across the entire face, so every shot feels like you hit it dead center." OUR TESTERS SAID PROS "NVG2 has the agility to carve through rough. Shots fly consistently on target with little sidespin." — Jon Kotraba (handicap 10 ) "Most hits have that 'wow' factor — super stable, very efficient, great smash factor." — Michael Kaye (14 ) "Incredible accuracy. You can't hit this club off line." — Matt McKeon (0) "For the most part, it knows only one direction — and that's straight! " — Rich Bernstein (15 ) "Hits like a sledgehammer. Heavy and stable and packs punch." — Robert Friedrich (8) CONS "The big face, which is a pleasure on long shots, is a hindrance while chipping. Too much real estate for chipping." — Andy Simon (25)
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Nickent 3DX DC Utility $ 169, graphite; nickentgolf.com WE TESTED 3 (15º), 5 (19º) and 7 (21º) with UST SR2 SpeedRated graphite shaft THE COMPANY LINE "A wider body and lower, deeper center of gravity than 3DX DC Ironwood produces higher launch and more spin. Two 20-gram polymer-tungsten weights enhance forgiveness. Longer shafts promote a sweeping, wood-like swing." OUR TESTERS SAID PROS "This batch is more forgiving for distance than previous Nickent hybrids." — Michael Kaye (handicap 14 ) "The 3DX is sneaky long off the tee. Balls just keep going. Trajectory and ball flight pattern are easily modified by slight changes in my setup position ." — Rich Bernstein (15 ) "You can work draws and cuts off the tee precisely." — Matt McKeon (0) "It excels in terms of distance off the tee." — Jon Kotraba (10 ) CONS "Feel can be a dull thud, which doesn't measure up to the good look of the club." — Robert Friedrich (8) "I expected these hybrids to be higher on the directionalforgiveness totem pole." — Rich Sullivan (12 )
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Nike Slingshot Tour $ 179, steel; $199, graphite; nikegolf.com WE TESTED 1 (15º), 2 (18º), 3 (21º) and 4 (24º) with hDiamana Tour graphite shaft by Mitsubishi THE COMPANY LINE "The clean lines, compact shape and minimal offset provide the workability required at the game's highest level. It has a low, deep center of gravity due to thin, light Carpenter custom 455 faceplate." OUR TESTERS SAID PROS "Great consistency with mid-high trajectory and strong distances from fairway and tee situations. It wants to go straight but responds well to directional input." — Robert Friedrich (handicap 8) "Superior control with moderate forgiveness yields few bad shots from fairway lies." — Jon Kotraba (10) "A high trajectory and adaptable flight pattern from tee or fairway make it very playable." — Rich Bernstein (15 ) "Hit it solid and it will fly like a missile. Miss it, though, and expect to give up something. It seems more of a player's club." — Andy Simon (25) CONS "Silver wrap in back looks unwieldy. But it helps with alignment. And I love the results." — Charlie Neivert (2) "Misses are felt and the shot shows it — ball flies short and crooked." — Matt McKeon (0)
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Tour Edge Exotics $199, graphite; touredge.com WE TESTED 2 (18º), 3 (21º) and 4 (24º) with Aldila NV- 90 graphite shaft THE COMPANY LINE "A forged, lightweight beta titanium cupped face is combo-brazed to a heavier steel body. Exotics have a low-profile head with low center of gravity, variable weighting and high-COR for added distance." OUR TESTERS SAID PROS "A great-looking club that you can cut or draw as needed. But why would you if it goes straight?" — Matt McKeon (handicap 0) "No question that moving the back weights improves performance." — Robert Friedrich (8) "Plenty accurate to get by with on tight courses." — Rich Bernstein (15) "Iron-like head gives lots of versatility around the green — could chip-and-run or just push the ball. Could even play the loft and get it farther back onto the green." — Charlie Neivert (2) CONS "Difficult to control direction from the heavy rough." — Michael Kaye (14) "Not the most forgiving club for a high handicapper." — Andy Simon (25)
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Wilson Staff Pro $99, graphite; wilsonstaff.com WE TESTED 3 (19º) and 4 (22º) in Aldila NVS-DL 85 graphite shaft THE COMPANY LINE "Internal weighting along the rear of the sole helps to get shots airborne fast. The ETF (Energy Transfer Frame) directs energy back into the clubface to increase the size of the hot zone." OUR TESTERS SAID PROS "Never too far off course for those tight holes you feared in the past." — Michael Kaye (handicap 14 ) "Off the tee you can work this club any which way." — Matt McKeon (0) "A good chipping club if your course has lots of closely mowed chipping areas." — Rich Sullivan (12 ) "I like the higher trajectory these give me." — Rich Bernstein (15 ) CONS "Delivers on good swings, but falls off quickly on mis-hits, in terms of both distance and direction." — Robert Friedrich (8) "Face is not hot enough to compete with the big boys." — Jon Kotraba (10 )
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The Winner Bobby Jones Players Series $180, graphite; bobbyjonesshop.com WE TESTED 19º, 21º, 25º and 30º with Graphite Design JS-6 (and JS-7) graphite shaft THE COMPANY LINE "An ultra-thin (0.35-millimeter) lightweight maraging steel crown allows the transfer of 30-plus grams to the rear sole-plate area. This lowers and deepens the center of gravity while maintaining feel in a retro-cleek style design." OUR TESTERS SAID PROS "A very forgiving club. A bad swing still keeps you in the fairway." — Andy Simon (handicap 25) "Could actually work the ball in both directions. By far the best feeling of the group for chipping." — Charlie Neivert (2) "The rounded sole enables me to consistently hit the ball cleanly from the fairway." — Rich Bernstein (15 ) "They're masterful from the rough. So easy to get airborne." — Jon Kotraba (10) "Great for players looking for higher flight and lighter weight." — Matt McKeon (0) "I know where the head is, whether I'm swinging nice and smooth or trying to get a few extra yards." — Rich Sullivan (12) CONS "The only knock is a slight lack of punch off the tee. Even so, shots with these are totally predictable." — Michael Kaye (14 )