Four years ago I finally put a hybrid club (you know – those half-wood type clubs that replace irons) in my bag. It was a no-brainer after hitting that first successful shot from a downhill lie, across a lake, to a firm green that I could have NEVER hit with the same precision with a 3 iron.
Since that day I have not looked back. The Hybrid has become a go-to club for me and I can easily call it one of the clubs that has changed the game of golf in the last decade.
Surprisingly, this style of club has modern roots (you can also find historical clubs with similar shapes) dating back to the 1980’s when Spalding was pushing their XE set. Unfortunately, as much as the clubs were easy to use, the look at the time went against the grain of acceptance and further attempts by other companies to market similar clubs failed.
And then the age finally dawned where people actually began to put clubs in their bags that were easy to use, rather than just the ones that they thought would make them look like a pro.
There was some resistance in recent years to the hybrid trend – mostly by the players who still felt they could “work” a 2 iron just as well, staunch traditionalists that pointed to the pro tours and figured if it was good enough for the pros it was good enough for them.
So what will they do now that the pros are flocking to the hybrids in droves? The recent use on the Nationwide and PGA Tour testifies to the fact that even the best players in the world realize how versatile and efficient these club designs are.
One company buoyed by the “hybrid revolution” is Adams Golf, a Plano, Texas based manufacturer (distributed by Fletcher Golf in Canada) that has been leading the charge towards hybrid use for ALL golfers and points to the trend on tour as the example to follow.
“The substantial amount of Idea Pro Hybrids (Adams latest hybrid introduction) that were put in play this year by Nationwide Tour pros is not only a testament to the outstanding quality and performance of our product, but it’s also a resounding message to all golfers that these elite players, who are competing for a future on the PGA Tour, have made the transition by replacing their long irons with hybrids,” says Chip Brewer, Adams Golf CEO and President. “When 47 of 60 players at the Tour Championship have at least one hybrid in their bag, it’s a clear indication that the traditonal iron set is a thing of the past. Hybrids and hybrid iron sets are the present and the future….”
While clearly a somewhat self serving message considering the number of hybrid clubs and sets that Adams Golf offers, few people in the golf industry will refute Brewer’s vision of where the traditional golf set is going for all players. A quick look at current lines from most manufacturers sees many hybrid offerings with more scheduled for introduction in 2007.
I am sure a few amateur golfers will continue to hang on to their long irons (and maybe it works for them) but one Canadian Tour golf professional I recently played with (who now has 2 hybrids in his bag) summed it up nicely. “If I can save a stroke of two a round just imagine how many strokes a 20 handicapper who has trouble getting the ball in the air could save!!”
Surely food for thought coming from someone who counts on their clubs for a living.
If the pros find hitting long irons a challenge and have turned to hybrids as a solution – what does that say for amateur golfers?
While the strokes we save might not be paying for our mortgage, for most amateurs they probably feel even MORE important than that.
Maybe it’s time to make an addition to your Christmas wish list.