Hybrid Club Fitting – More Headcovers in the Bag Indicates a Smarter Golfer

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Not long ago I was asked my opinion of what have been the most significant advances in golf club technology.  Such a list has to include improvements such as steel shafts replacing hickory, perimeter weighted irons and metal woods replacing blades and wooden heads, titanium driver heads with their higher COR, and graphite shafts to lighten the total weight of golf clubs, just to name a few.

I believe an additional entry on such a list should include hybrid clubs, but only if the hybrids are correctly fit to golfers for the purpose of beneficially taking their place as a part of each golfer’s iron set.  Far too many hybrids end up simply being an alternative to a fairway wood or a club which still leaves distances on the course for which the golfer doesn’t have a club or a club that is easier to hit.

What do I mean? The golf industry’s practice of ever decreasing the loft of irons over the past several decades has gotten to the point that the vast majority of golfers do not possess the ability to hit the 3-, 4- and even the 5-iron consistently enough to even merit having the clubs in their bag.

 

Iron Pre-1980 Current
    Average Loft
2-iron 20° N/A
3-iron 24 18°
4-iron 28 21
5-iron 32 25
6-iron 36 29
7-iron 40 33
8-iron 44 37
9-iron 48 41
PW 52 45
GW/AW N/A 50
SW 56 56
LW N/A 60
Note: Current lofts represent an average of iron sets currently on the market

 

This condition of “shrinking loft disease” in the irons most certainly is what has opened the door to allow hybrid clubs to step in to offer a truly positive solution for golfers who find the modern #3, 4 and 5 irons more difficult to hit consistently well.

Unfortunately, because hybrid clubs sold off the shelf run the gauntlet in terms of lengths and lofts, simply buying hybrid clubs off the shelf will not bring about the best possible results for all golfers in search of clubs that are easier to hit and hit the ball the same distance as the irons that are being replaced.  Some hybrids are built the same length as fairway woods.  Most are made to lengths in between the lengths of low number irons and fairway woods, while very few are offered in the same lengths as the low loft conventional irons that need to be replaced.  Sadly it seems the mainstream of the golf industry prefers to focus chiefly on selling clubs to enable golfers to hit the ball longer rather than to offer clubs which play a beneficial role in the golfers’ set makeup. 

The most effective way to custom fit every golfer for hybrid clubs is to start by finding the irons the golfer struggles to hit high and solid and then to fit the golfer for hybrids with the same length and the same loft as the irons the golfer finds difficult to hit consistently well.  Most golfers will find it very helpful to replace the 5-iron with a hybrid as well because current game improvement 5-irons with lofts from 21.5 to 26 degrees (avg. 25 degrees) are just too low in loft to allow most average players to generate enough height and spin to make the ball carry as far as it should for the golfer’s clubhead speed.

When custom fitting the hybrids to the same length and loft as the irons being replaced, not only will the golfer have a club for each shot distance they may encounter, they will also have clubs that truly can eliminate the problems caused by “shrinking loft disease” in the irons.

Tom