Hybrids, or rescue clubs as they are often referred to, are one of the finest creations of the modern golf era. While the pros can rip a 3 iron 230 yards on a rope, for the rest of us mere mortals there are few things in golf more terrifying than reaching into the bag for a long iron. Thanks to hybrids we no longer need to.
Not quite a wood and not quite an iron, a hybrid strikes that perfect balance in between the two. The pros may still carry long irons but much like the best GPS golf watches, for the average golfer hybrids have been a real game changer. Most golfers will carry at least one hybrid in the bag and as a result of that iron sets now rarely contain 3 or 4 irons, and some will even omit the 5 iron too.
Hybrids have replaced long irons in the bags of most amateurs and for some they are replacing mid irons too. In fact, some golfers are abandoning irons altogether to go with full hybrid sets. The full hybrid set up is more for senior golfers and slower swingers of the club who struggle to get the ball airborne, but most of you will only need one or maybe two hybrids in the bag and their purpose is to replace the 3 and/or 4 iron in the bag.
The range of hybrids available is increasing every year and the leading brands are dedicating more and more time and research into improving the technology that goes into these clubs. Hybrids are increasingly big business.
How to buy the best hybrid for you
Hitting a hybrid requires a different approach than hitting an iron but it is not the same as hitting a fairway wood either. It’s somewhere in between. Ideally your swing won't be as steep as it would be with an iron but it isn’t quite the kind of sweeping shot you’d require with a fairway wood either. It’s somewhere in the middle of the two but it’s an easier skill than both, which is what makes these clubs so appealing.
There are two different designs of hybrid to cater for this. Some resemble a fairway wood in head shape and size, but there are slimmer models that are almost like an extra thick iron. Which one is best for you depends on your swing path. Do you sweep the ball or compress it by hitting down on it? As a general rule of thumb the smaller headed hybrids are aimed at the better players, but the larger headed models are suitable for all.
Hybrids come in various lofts so the best way to determine which one meets your requirements is to get fitted and try different options. These clubs are there to fill a gap in your yardages. So if you hit your 5 iron 160 yards but the next club up in your bag is a 5 wood that goes 190 yards, you’ll ideally want something that goes around 175, which might be a 3 or a 4 hybrid, depending on the degree of loft.
The good news is that all of the leading manufacturers produce hybrids in a wide range of lofts so there will be something out there that’s perfect for you. But which brand or style should you choose? That’s a subjective choice and very much depends on the individual. The best club for one person is not necessarily the best for someone else, but we have compiled this handy guide based on a combination of factors including performance, technology and price.
So without further ado here’s our list of the best hybrid clubs out there right now.
The best golf hybrids you can buy today
The Cobra Radspeed is the best all around hybrid on the market due to its versatility, performance and price. The big appeal of Cobra is that they produce drivers and fairway/rescue clubs that are as good as any of the other leading brands, but at a significantly lower cost.
Cobra drivers have been some of the most popular clubs on the market in recent years because of the outstanding value for money and the Radspeed hybrid is no different, coming in at between £20-40 less than rival products from the likes of Callaway and TaylorMade.
Cobra fairway woods and hybrids stand out from the rest because of their ‘Baffler Rails’. These are basically two bars underneath the sole of the club which help the club glide across the ground to prevent ‘fat’ shots while also making it easier to get solid contact out of the rough. Cobra have tweaked that design for the Radspeed which has hollow split rails which allows them to flex up to 70% more to increase ball speed.
Radial weighting (RAD) helps to produce the best ball speed and forgiveness combination and the slightly longer shaft promotes more club speed than you will get from most other hybrids, which in turn translates to extra distance.
The design of the head with white grooves and the Cobra logo as an alignment aid make it look very inviting at address and that will especially appeal to the less accomplished golfer who needs that bit of reassurance when standing over the ball.
As with most other Cobra clubs, the Radspeed hybrid comes with Arccos Smart grip fitted as standard, which is a cool extra that helps to separate this model from the competition.
Srixon are perhaps the most under-rated of the big brands but there’s a reason a number of tour players have Srixon clubs in their bag. While more known for the quality of their irons, Srixon have really stepped up their driver and fairway woods game of late and the ZX hybrid holds its own against anything else in its price bracket.
The ZX is packed with technology including a lightweight carbon crown step and a ‘rebound frame’ which is essentially multiple layers of both stiff and flexible material which acts as a spring when the club face meets the ball.
Srixon say the ZX is a “true player’s hybrid” aimed at the more skilled golfer, but there’s enough forgiveness there that mid-handicappers will also see consistent results from it. The relatively small head and lack of an alignment aid make it unsuitable for beginners and high handicappers but for everyone else the ZX would be a solid choice.
TaylorMade were the pioneers of the hybrid club when they launched their first model back in 2002 and in recent years they have begun to dominate the market once more. In terms of tech the SIM2 range is very much as you’d expect with TaylorMade - jam packed. V Steel design, Twist Face, Thru-Slot Speed Pocket, you name it this has it.
Currently TaylorMade hybrids are right at the top of the tree and you’ll find them in the bags of many of the world’s top golfers.
The 2020 original SIM design proved to be a huge hit so the SIM2 had a lot to live up to, yet TaylorMade have raised the bar even higher. As with driver and fairway woods, golfers have a choice between the SIM2 and the SIM2 Max and both are terrific clubs. They are very different though so you need to ensure you pick the one that suits your game. That is most likely to be the Sim2 Max Rescue, which has a larger footprint and more closely resembles a fairway wood.
This makes it more suitable for the casual golfer as it’s easier to hit than the standard SIM2, which has a much smaller head and is designed for golfers who strike down the ball rather than sweep the turf. Generally, that means the SIM2 is aimed at the more accomplished player but that is not a hard and fast rule as both Rory Mcilroy and Dustin Johnson use the Max version.
So generally speaking the SIM2 Max will appeal to golfers of all abilities while the SIM2 is only really going to produce its best results in the hands of low handicap players who strike the ball very consistently and like to shape their shots as they would with an iron.
It is also worth nothing that the SIM2 has an adjustable loft sleeve whereas the MAX version does not.
Not the longest but certainly one of the more forgiving hybrids out there. The G425 has great versatility thanks to its adjustable hosel and eight different shaft options. This enables the golfer to customise their trajectory for maximum distance and optimal ball flight.
Featuring Tungsten Weighting, Facewrap technology and Spinsistency, which in layman’s terms means the loft is different at the bottom of the club face than it is at the top.
The reason for this is that shots that come off the bottom of the face spin more and lose distance in relation to shots that come off the centre, whereas shots that come off the face too high have much less spin and can drop out of the air quickly and lose distance. PING have tried to even it up to produce more consistency on off centre strikes.
As with the D9 iron series this hybrid is a fine option for mid-high handicap golfers. The ‘D’ in D9 stands for distance but that’s somewhat misleading as - for most golfers - from a distance standpoint it does not compare favourably with most of its competitors due to its high spin rate.
However, you will get maximum forgiveness and a higher ball flight, which in turn will provide distance for average golfers who aren’t always the purest strikers of the ball.
The head design is longer from front to back and more like a fairway wood in its shape than some other hybrids on this list. That head shape is ideal for those who attack the ball in more of a shallow, sweeping motion and the weight distribution through the club head will help you get the ball nice and high at launch. This, combined with the extra forgiveness and the low price make the D9 a popular choice with many club golfers.
Intriguingly, it is available in six different lofts - from a 17° 2-hybrid down to a 31° 7-hybrid - so if you struggle with mid-long irons this might solve your problem.
PXG are an expensive brand that usually price themselves out of the budget of most golfers. You won’t find too many sets of PXG down at your local course but that might be about to change as 2021 saw PXG introduce a new pricing policy that not only brought them into line with their competitors, but in some cases they’ve actually undercut them.
They still make premium priced clubs but the 0211 family now places PXG right in the mix with TaylorMade, Callaway, Ping and the rest. The 0211 hybrid is one of the cheapest clubs on this list but that isn’t reflected by its performance. It’s packed with tech including an adjustable hosel and a single weight located toward the front of the club that can be adjusted to influence the head weight.
Additionally, a larger profile and deeper face adds confidence at address while providing extra forgiveness. The 0211 has a railed sole similar to that made famous by Cobra. The rails are strategically weighted to help increase MOI (moment of inertia) and create a low centre of gravity. This also helps with sound and feel. The 0211 is a lovely club to hit.