Looking to buy a new hybrid this year?
First off, you've made a good decision in that you have decided to carry a hybrid instead of a long iron.
With so many choices on the market, picking the right one is very difficult.
The key is to match the right hybrid to the type of player you are.
That means you need to be honest about your skill level. If you are not an aspiring tour player, these are the hybrids currently on the market that fit you best:
Best Hybrids for Mid to High Handicap Golfers
Best Hybrid out of the Rough and Bunkers
Easiest Hybrid to hit for most Players
Best Value Hybrid
Below Average from the Rough
For those of you that are playing at a higher level than the rest of us, you'll want to look at these hybrids:
Best Hybrids for Good Players
Fully Adjustable, excellent out of High Rough
Most Accurate Hybrid, Plays More Like an Iron
Very Workable for a Hybrid, not adjustable
Mizuno CLK Hybrid
Low Spin and very long
But for those of you who are not sold on the idea of a hybrid yet, let's break down why you should reconsider.
Why use Hybrid Golf Clubs?
Hybrids combine the best qualities of both fairway woods and long irons. At address, hybrids feel like an iron but, the larger head provides the distance of a fairway wood.
If you're little more than a scratch golfer, you should have a hybrid or four in the bag and learn how to hit hybrids. They're designed to provide higher launch, more spin, and land the ball softer, all good qualities in a golf club.
According to industry research, the number of golfers using hybrids has nearly doubled over the past fifteen years. Nowadays, more than eighty percent of players carry at least one hybrid, while on average the majority of players carry two.
Even professional golfers occasionally swap out an iron for a hybrid, depending on course and weather conditions.
Hybrid Golf Clubs vs. Irons
The three, four, and five irons (a.k.a. the long irons) have always been considered the hardest clubs to hit for the average golfer. Their lower lofts require good contact to avoid serious punishment.
To solve this problem, club makers design hybrids to yield the same distance as their iron counterpart but, with more loft. The longer front-to-back sole of a hybrid also helps players swing through the ball without catching and digging into the turf.
In addition, many manufacturers nowadays, infuse most, if not all, of their driver and wood technology into their hybrids as well.
Which Hybrid Clubs Replace What Irons?
In theory, you should be able to replace your irons with the same numbered hybrid. A straight-up swap works well if you're staying within the same model line of clubs, say M4 to M4 for example.
If you're a beginner or high handicapper and rarely get the same distance from shot to shot with any given club, then you should also replace your irons with the same numbered hybrid as distance gaps won't come in to play as they would for someone with a grooved swing.
But, because lofts vary from one manufacturer to the next, better players with consistent yardage throughout the bag, may need to do a field test, or try a hybrid with an adjustable loft, before swapping out an iron for a hybrid.
Take a look at the chart below and notice the difference in lofts between the hybrids and irons from each of the four club makers listed.
Notice that TaylorMade and Ping don't even make a three with their game improvement sets. While the Titleist 3H and three iron have the identical loft, the TaylorMade 5H and five iron have a three-and-a-half degree gap, quite a difference for two clubs expected to produce the same distance.
Hybrid and Iron Loft Comparison Table
3 Hybrid / 3 Iron
4 Hybrid / 4 Iron
5 Hybrid / 5 Iron
Titleist 818 H2 / 718 AP3
Hybrid Golf Clubs vs. Woods
You probably think that if I have hybrids, then I don't need woods. That may be partially true but, woods and hybrids are two different clubs.
Woods have wider soles, heavier heads, and longer shafts than hybrids. Because they usually have stronger lofts than their same numbered hybrid cousins, you can expect lower ball flight, less spin, and more distance from the wood.
Most players carry at least a three wood to bridge the distance gap between their driver and their first hybrid. For the most part, players find hybrids easier to hit than woods.
Which Hybrid Clubs Should I Carry?
That comes down to skill level, budget, and what's in your bag now.
If you're a beginner or high handicapper, carry as many as your budget allows. Most manufacturers make hybrids starting at two or three and ending at either five or six.
But, the Cleveland HB Launcher Hybrid Irons come in lofts from four to gap wedge. They're an excellent choice for beginners looking for a new set of clubs and may also be the best hybrid golf clubs for high handicappers as well.
For the average golfer, club makers recommend swapping out the three, four, and five irons, for hybrids. You may even see a 2H in the bag of someone with a great swing.
I Already Have Hybrids That Play Well, Why Should I Upgrade?
Modern hybrids fly higher, go farther, and land softer than those of just a few years ago.
Also, as you read our rundowns on the major brands, you'll see that technologies, once only available in drivers and fairway woods, have made their way into many of today's hybrids.
Is There That Much Difference from One Brand to the Next?
Possibly more than any other types of club, hybrids differ the most from line to line and brand to brand. As you read on, it will quickly become apparent that the best hybrid golf clubs for high handicappers, the best hybrid golf clubs for better players, and the best hybrid golf clubs for the average player, are three distinct types of club.
TaylorMade, Callaway, and Titleist each make two models of hybrid within the same line, one for the average golfer and one for the better players.
Cleveland targets beginners and high handicappers with their HB Launcher hybrids and hybrid irons, as does Cobra with the F8 One Length line.
Ping and Mizuno make hybrids that appeal to everyone from beginner to single-digit handicappers.
To better answer this question, we've put together a quick rundown of the major players in the world of hybrids, the features that make them stand out, and which ones are most likely to help you shave some strokes.
TaylorMade M3 / M4 Hybrids
If you like TaylorMade drivers and woods, you're going to love their M3 and M4 hybrids. Just as with the driver line, the average player should opt for the M4, while the lucky shot-shapers out there will prefer the more compact head of the M3.
TaylorMade's M4 has about everything the average golfer could ask for in a hybrid. It's forgiving, long, and launches the ball as well as any iron.
Shot-makers will appreciate the incredible adjustability and more compact head on the M3. Plus, TaylorMade calls their hybrids "rescue clubs" for a good reason.
Both excel out of fairway bunkers and thick rough. Read our full review of the TaylorMade M3 Hybrid and M4 Hybrids.
Callaway Rogue / Rogue X Hybrids
With available lofts from 2h to 5h in both left and right hand and a 6h in right, Callaway covered all the bases with the Rogue hybrids.
They didn't forget the ladies either with lofts available for righties from 3h through 8h, and 5h and 6h for lefties.
Callaway follows the current trend in driver/woods/hybrid making by offering one model in each line for the general population, and one targeting pros and low handicappers.
For most of you out there, the Rogue X will elevate your game quite nicely, while those in complete control of their game should opt for the standard Rogue version.
If you are a Callaway guy, read our an in-depth review of the Rogue Hybrid and Rogue X Hybrid next.
Ping G400 Hybrid Review
Ping breaks ranks with the G400s and offers only one version of their hybrids for all range of players.
With the additions of their proprietary "maraging steel" face and progressive center of gravity weighting, the G400s promise better launch, more distance, and softer-steeper landings.
The G400s are an excellent all-around hybrid option. The semi-wide head provides easy launch off the turf works great out of the rough and low-lipped fairway bunkers.
It may not be the absolute best choice for beginners, or scratch golfers but, it is an excellent club for everyone else in between.
Cobra King F8 Hybrid Review
For 2018, Cobra now makes their newest hybrid offering - the King F8s – available in a one-length version. And, good news for you tech lovers out there, the F8 hybrids, just like the rest of the F8 line, come fitted with Cobra Connect Arccos sensors in the grips.
Well, if you're wondering if the F8s will suit your game, Cobra has the answer right on their website at www.cobragolf.com. "Who's it for - 5 to 25 handicap golfers with moderate to higher swing speeds seeking easy launch and higher peak trajectories for more stopping power into greens."
Titleist 818 H1 / 818 H2 Hybrid
Along with the title of most played irons on tour, Titleist also comes in first as the most played hybrid on tour. They do this by designing their hybrids as scoring clubs, not rescue clubs.
For this latest release, they've incorporated a mix of old and new technologies that should push one or both of these clubs to the top of every player's wish list.
Is it a hybrid or a fairway wood? The 818H1s have a larger front-to-back profile than most hybrids and almost look like a small fairway wood at setup.
Either way, their flexibility, forgiveness, and distance make the 818H1 a great club for beginners and mid to high handicappers.
For the highly skilled among you who swing a hybrid like an iron and take a steeper angle of approach to the ball, Titleist makes the 818H2s.
The H2s have a compact, square-toed shape that cuts through the turf for iron-like control, precise distance, and plenty of ball height.
For more details, check out our detailed guide to the Titleist 818 H1 and 818 H2 Hybrids.
Mizuno CLK Hybrid Review
If you prefer hybrids that sound and feel more like irons than woods, take a good look at the Mizuno CLKs. The CLKs also offer as much tech as anyone these days with a "maraging steel" face, an eight-way adjustable hosel, and Mizuno's proprietary "Wave Sole Technology."
The tall face of the CLK's makes them a great rescue club while the low spin they produce makes them an excellent choice off the fairways as well. Mizuno markets the CLK Hybrids towards players with mid and low swing speeds claiming that they're perfect for filling the gaps between your highest wood and lowest iron.
The CLK's are another club that may not be for an exact level of golfer but, a pretty good choice for the majority of players.
Cleveland Launcher HB Hybrid Review / Launcher HB Hybrid Irons Review
Cleveland kept it simple with the HB Launcher line of hybrids and irons but, in a good way. As with their driver of the same name, Cleveland skipped the adjustability and configured the HB Launchers for the all-around best performance.
As their name suggests, both the Launcher hybrids, and the hybrid irons, get the ball up quickly, forgive most mild to moderate mishits, and are easy to hit.
The HB Launcher Irons may be the ultimate in super-game-improvement clubs. They look like an iron at address but offer the height and distance of a hybrid.
Plus you can get them from four to gap wedge lofts, whereas conventional hybrids only go from 2H to 6H. The Cleveland HB Launchers and their cousins the HB Launcher Irons are probably the best hybrid golf clubs for beginners. They're clean and simple, launch the ball as promised, and their generous head size makes them easy to hit off the fairway and out of the rough as well.
And the Best Hybrid Golf Clubs are....
As you can see, the answer to the question "who makes the best hybrid golf clubs for 2018" depends largely on who's asking.
Newcomers to the sport can't go wrong with the Cleveland HB Launcher Irons. They provide beginners with the help they need throughout the set.
High handicappers will appreciate the simplicity, playability, and modest pricing of the Cobra F8s and the Cleveland HB Launcher Hybrids.
Low, mid, and high handicappers will find the Callaway Rogues (standard model), the TaylorMade M4s, The Ping G400s, the Titleist 818H1s, and the Mizuno CLKs the best option for their level of play.
For those of you lucky enough to consistently land the ball where you aim it, Titleist makes the 818 H2s, Callaway makes the Rogue X, and TaylorMade makes the M3s.