Friday, March 10, 2006

Let's face it, they're queer and they're here. Is the Hybrid an Idea Whose Time has Come?

More and more players are using the hybrid and the poor 2 & 3 irons are taking the brunt of it.

Everybody has a hybrid.

Or at least it seems that way.

Todd Hamilton made his famous British Open-clinching shot using a hybrid. Nick Price, Jim Furyk, Brad Faxon and Johnny Bench have all had at least one in the bag recently -- and those are just a few of the players swinging sticks from up-and-coming clubmaker Sonartec, not to mention the power-wattage that companies such as TaylorMade, Callaway and Nike employ.

And when Champions Tour stars flash those funny-looking but deadly accurate tools with impunity, even the most die-hard golfing Luddite — you know, the guy you see out there on Saturday morning wielding the musclebacks of yore, often with ugly results — starts to believe that these newfangled sticks are the real deal.But what exactly is a hybrid?

Ask five different technicians and five different instructors and you might get 10 different answers. Sure, they’ll throw around jargon like “bulge and roll” and “center of gravity,” but it seems that every swingin’ stick wants to be a hybrid these days.Game-improvement irons. Utility clubs. Wood-irons. Iron-woods. Whatever you want to call them — we prefer hybrids, ’cause that’s really what they are — these half-bred beauties are finally in the mainstream after years in the shadowy tributaries of technology. Virtually every major manufacturer includes them in their arsenal, and for several emerging companies (think Nickent, Sonartec, La Jolla and Bobby Jones for starters), hybrids are the bedrock of their business.

And while the industry buzzword casts a wide net, the result is easy to pinpoint: hybrids are helping golfers, from major champions to rising stars to club champions to once-a-weekers to seniors whose distance tops out around 175 yards.

“Hybrids are more versatile; you can hit them out of the rough, you can hit different trajectories with them. I play with TaylorMade Rescues myself, but they’re all good — Sonartec, Titleist, Callaway, Hogan — and everybody has one,” says Mike Mazzaferri, director of golf at Hidden Valley Country Club in Reno, Nev., and 2004 Golf Professional of the Year for the Northern California PGA...

You can read the rest of the article at Fairways & Greens.

I like my long irons but I think it's a matter of time before I succomb to the lore of the Hybrid.

Golf Times

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