Everything you need to know about hybridsJune, 2012 Golf Equipment
Adams make the most popular hybrids in the professional game. We spoke to Justin Honea - their product director - and discussed everything from the best technique to the possibility of titanium construction...
What is the main role of a hybrid and how can it benefit the average player?
The main role of a hybrid is to allow players a better alternative to long irons that launches the ball higher, lands softer and in most cases goes farther than its respected iron. Hybrids will improve gapping at the high end of the set.
Why do you think there are still people out there hesitant to try a hybrid?
I feel players who have resisted to try hybrids believe they hit their long irons just fine. A simple hybrid fitting would change their mind.
What would you say to someone reluctant to put a hybrid in their bag?
Have you been properly fit for a hybrid recently?
How many hybrids should the average player carry?
Average is hard to classify. I believe better players or single digit handicaps would benefit from one or two hybrids, 10-20 handicap would benefit from 2-3 hybrids, and 20+ handicap would benefit from 3 or more hybrids in the bag.
Do hybrids go further than irons of the same loft – and if so why?
Short answer is yes. Hybrids are designed with a hollow cavity and this means that they have more spring effect off the face. This is a direct relationship to ball speed and therefore distance. Another important design feature is mass and where it is positioned inside the head. We are able to get the mass lower in the head with promotes a high ball flight with less spin therefore creating more distance.
How does the shaft length of a hybrid compare to irons and woods?
Shaft length of hybrids are typically longer than irons but shorter than woods. We have spent many years perfecting the integration of hybrids into iron sets and we feel their should be some linear relationship between the length of irons and woods. We bridged the gap with hybrids therefore creating a perfectly balanced set.
Should you match hybrid shafts with your irons or fairway woods?
Typically I would go in between. Normal irons shafts range from 100-130 grams and typical wood shafts are in the 60-70 gram range. In order to keep the overall balance of the hybrid in line with the rest of the set the weight must be somewhere in between these two weights.
What are the main differences between a hybrid created for the better player and one for the higher handicapper?
Forgiveness and spin rate. Most better players prefer to work the ball horizontally (left-right) and vertically (high-low) which means most better player hybrids are smaller by design with less spin. Higher handicappers are mostly concerned with hitting the ball high and straight which means they need maximum forgiveness and a touch more spin.
What is the best material for hybrid heads?
The best material is titanium but it is very hard to construct because the density is much lighter than steel. Light density means we need more mass inside the head to make up the lost weight. This is a design challenge and that is why most hybrids on the market today are made from steel.
Although it is difficult to make hybrids solely from titanium you will see more hybrids made from multi-materials to include titanium.
What is the most popular loft you sell and why?
Our most popular loft is the 3 and 4-iron replacement because most players struggle with their long irons.
Should you buy hybrids at the same time as your set or individually?
Either would work but ideally I would recommend getting fit for both irons and hybrids at the same time with the same fitter.
Where do hybrids work best?
Everywhere. You will see the biggest difference in the rough because the sole is designed to slide through the rough with minimal twisting.
Technique-wise, is it best to compress or sweep a hybrid?
Typically this is determined by the player type but I would recommend hitting the hybrid like an iron.
Which of your current range is most popular on tour?
Our most popular hybrids on tour right now is the Pro a12 hybrid and Super Hybrid XTD.
What is the typical set-up of a tour hybrid?
All tour players are unique to their hybrid setup. They go through a fitting process just like the normal consumer with the only difference being unlimited resources when it comes to shaft and grip options.
How does your range cater for different ability levels?
We feel that we have multiple options for all player types and skill levels ranging from the tour pro to the beginner to the ladies golfer to the senior golfer.
How have hybrids evolved over the years and how do you see them changing in the future?
The biggest evolution has been hybrid integration into the iron set. We came up with an ‘IDEA’ on how to enhance the game for every golfer and by integrating hybrids into iron sets and making the game more enjoyable by all skill levels. Custom fitting for hybrids will be the next wave in the future. You will see better fitting tools that allow the consumer a unique experience to customise each and every hybrid in his bag to his course setup and swing type. Hybrids will continue to get better as new materials are developed and this will allow us to take the hybrid fitting and customisation to a whole new level.
Are titanium hybrids in the pipeline?
Yes. Although it is difficult to make hybrids solely from titanium you will see more hybrids made from multi-materials to include titanium.
Even though they can handle the reduced forgiveness, is there any need for a low handicapper to use a players’ hybrid?
Yes and no. I have seen a few players complain that hybrids go too straight and they struggle to work them. We typically start all fittings with a player questionnaire where we try to better understand who the player is and what he is expecting. If the player tells you he wants to work the ball then this becomes more of a influence in the outcome of the fitting.