ClubTest: Hybrids

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WHERE WE DID IT Anglebrook Golf Club in Lincolndale, N.Y. HOW WE DID IT Our ClubTesters evaluated the four models on the driving range and course.They played shots from the fairway, thick rough and off a short tee, and hit chips to the green. Our research partner, Hot Stix Golf, captured club data using a launch monitor. For a more detailed description of the methodology, click here RATING SYSTEM HOW IT WORKS Testers vote on look, feel, playability, forgiveness and distance. The winning model (the one receiving the most points) is awarded Golf Magazine/ClubTest 5-star status.
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CLUB Adams Idea a3 Hybrid CLUB SPECS $149, graphite; WE TESTED 2 (16°), 3 (19°), 4 (22°), 5 (25°) and 6 (29°) in Grafalloy ProLaunch Red Series HY graphite shaft • Tell us what you think and see what other readers said about this club. COMPANY LINE "Our new boxer technology delivers category-leading MOI of 3,350. This results in easy-to-hit shots that are more forgiving, straighter and longer. Its cambered sole cuts through turf. Milled face grooves offer more consistency and performance." OUR TEST PANEL SAYS... Pros: Wide face and sweet spot mask misses; feels and looks like a driving iron; it's tough to miss with one this forgiving, with surprising carry on thin shots; nearly impossible to hit it left; boxy head sets up easily behind ball. Cons: Head can get caught up in thick rough; squarish look can be a turnoff; muted, cushioned feel on good shots is too bland; difficult to work left or right; adequate distance, but not a cannon. "The head correctness makes it hard not to hit the ball straight." — Chris Klamkin (2)
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CLUB Nickent 4DX Ironwood CLUB SPECS $179, steel; $199, graphite; WE TESTED 2+ (15.5°), 2 (17°), 3+ (18.5°), 3 (20°), 4+ (21.5°), 4 (23°) and 5+ (24.5°) in SR3 graphite shaft • Tell us what you think and see what other readers said about this club. COMPANY LINE "Uses a patented brazing technology that fuses titanium crown with steel body. Tungstenpolymer XW inserts reduce vibration. Taller face height (by 2mm) than 3DX means lower spin and a more penetrating ball flight." OUR TEST PANEL SAYS... Pros: Easiest of the four to shape shots from fairway; shallow head knifes through any lie; nice heft stabilizes the swing; longer than average on good strikes; crisp response, a solid pop on contact, and stable at impact; best for forgiveness, mis-hits often land only five to 10 yards short of good shots; produces a tight, controlled shot pattern. Cons: Forgiving, yet results require solid ball-striking for high handicappers "Excellent from tough spots, the club drives the ball from high grass." — Jon Kotraba (10)
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CLUB Ping G10 CLUB SPECS $129, steel; $149, graphite; WE TESTED 15°, 18°, 21°, 24°, 28°, 32° in Ping TFC 129H graphite shaft • Tell us what you think and see what other readers said about this club. COMPANY LINE "Variable face thickness design is plasma-welded for higher ball velocity and consistent response across the hitting area. A weight pad running parallel to the ground positions the center of gravity low and back to increase launch angle and reduce spin." OUR TEST PANEL SAYS... Pros: The longest of the four models; mid-trajectory cuts through wind, with no balloon balls; great replacement for a long iron off the tee; hot face compensates for mis-hits; best for shaping tee shots; most preferred by low handicappers; quite forgiving; tops for chipping from the side of the green. Cons: Face is too hard to some testers; lack of visual aid could be a deterrent. "These are plenty hot — the boring trajectory just eats up those yards." — Steve Sesko (9)
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CLUB TaylorMade Burner Rescue CLUB SPECS $159, steel; $179, graphite; • Tell us what you think and see what other readers said about this club. WE TESTED 3 (19°), 4 (22°), 5 (25°) and 6 (28°) in Fujikura ReAx SuperFast graphite shaft COMPANY LINE "Extremely light shaft (66 to 68 grams) and grip promote faster swing speed for added power. Steel head is 7% larger than Rescue Dual in volume and has a 13% larger footprint that promotes high MOI for greater forgiveness." OUR TEST PANEL SAYS... Pros: Most preferred feel — balanced, light, yet sturdy; produces highest ball flight; user-friendly from rough; perfect for high-launch shots that land soft and sit; fine combo of instant feedback and corrective action; great for downhill lies; superior control to its predecessor; stable on center and off-center hits. Cons: Difficult to keep the ball low when you need to; techy, web-like graphics on crown are distracting. "Does what it says — it rescues you from trouble." — JP Saulnier (17)
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Winner: Nickent 4DX Ironwood $179, steel; $199, graphite; This highly competitive test produced very tight results. Nickent's 4DX Ironwood prevailed due to its outstanding combination of forgiveness and playability in all conditions. "Able to work the ball for all types of shots." — Scott Eckelman (2) "These reduce sidespin, no dramatic hooks or slices." — Jim Malisse (10) "Definitely longer than mine on center strikes." — J.P. Saulnier (17) "Terrific output — controlled and consistent — from nasty lies." — Rich Bernstein (13)