GOLD


2019 Hot List: Hybrids

Callaway

Apex (2019)    

Performance ★★★★½
Innovation ★★★★½
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★½
Demand ★★★½

VERDICT
Don’t let the compact shape fool you. This hybrid has plenty of ball-speed technology, such as the high-strength steel face that wraps around the perimeter to increase flexibility over a larger area. Plus, the company’s “Jailbreak” technology has two internal bars that join the crown and sole to support even more face flexing. Still, this hybrid allows better players to shape shots with a flatter trajectory and a mid-level spin to hold greens.

2019 Hot List: Hybrids

COMMENTS

(L) Muted whack at impact. Hard to hook, which is good for better players.

(M) Hitting it pure makes you feel like a player.

(H) An old-school feel with modern technology.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


2019 Hot List: Hybrids

Callaway

Big Bertha (2019)    

Performance ★★★★
Innovation ★★★★★
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★
Demand ★★★★

VERDICT
Callaway’s most ambitious hybrid design starts with a high-strength steel alloy in a wraparound face for better ball speed over a larger area. The internal “Jailbreak” bars join the crown and sole to stiffen the body and channel more flexing to the face. Finally, the eight-way adjustable hosel increases fitting options and drops 13 grams from past versions. With that weight saved, the club’s centre of gravity is just as low as that of a fixed-hosel design.

2019 Hot List: Hybrids

COMMENTS

(L) Bigger, but still easy to align.

(M) The wide sole was effective, even out of difficult lies. Ball hung in the air for a long time.

(H) It’s more of a thwack at impact, not tinny or hollow.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


2019 Hot List: Hybrids

Callaway

Rogue rogue x    

Performance ★★★★★
Innovation ★★★★★
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★½
Demand ★★★★★

VERDICT
When you see driver and fairway-wood technology in a hybrid, you can be assured it’s about distance. That’s the case here. A wraparound design creates a larger area that’s flexible, and Callaway’s “Jailbreak” technology – two internal bars behind the face that join the crown and sole – stiffens the body, directing more energy into the face. This two-model family (including the larger X version) has 11 options in lofts from 17 to 32 degrees.

2019 Hot List: Hybrids

COMMENTS

(L) Forgiving with no vibration. Love the click at impact.

(M) Effortless to get the ball in the air. High toe makes it easy to frame the ball.

(H) It’s hot like a fairway wood.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


2019 Hot List: Hybrids

Cobra

f-max superlite  

Performance ★★★★½
Innovation ★★★★
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★★
Demand ★★½

 VERDICT
Hybrids are game-improvement clubs, but this entry pushes the improvement quotient further with less weight, offset and a built-in draw bias. The new design removes 19 grams from the grip, shaft and head so it’s easier for average golfers to increase clubhead speed. The grip’s larger diameter offers more control, too. The head’s internal weighting is pushed deep and to the perimeter for more stability, resulting in mis-hits losing less distance.

2019 Hot List: Hybrids

COMMENTS

(L) Ridiculously light, but I could still shape shots.

(M) The low-profile look sits clean and is easy to launch.

(H) Good approach hybrid. Nothing was going right of the target.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


2019 Hot List: Hybrids

Cobra

King f9 speedback one length    

Performance ★★★★½
Innovation ★★★★½
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★★
Demand ★★★

VERDICT
Hybrids have low internal weighting to launch the ball higher than a similarly lofted iron. Cobra takes this idea to the extreme with a tungsten-steel weight outside the head between the company’s trademark sole rails. Those rails help the club glide through the turf more smoothly, maintaining clubhead speed for improved distance. Standard-length versions come in four lofts. A single-length option the length of a 7-iron comes in three lofts.

2019 Hot List: Hybrids

COMMENTS

(L) Glides through the turf from almost any lie.

(M) Smaller head allows for good shot-making. Authoritative pop.

(H) The turf interaction is so smooth you want to hit balls all day.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


2019 Hot List: Hybrids

Ping

g410    

Performance ★★★★★
Innovation ★★★★★
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★★
Demand ★★★★★

VERDICT
This upgrade from the G400 has more mass in a tungsten rear weight for optimal forgiveness and launch – ideal when you’re replacing a hard-to-hit iron. An eight-way adjustable hosel provides more fitting for loft and lie. The centre of gravity varies through the lofts so that low-lofted models (for better players) are more neutral, and higher-lofted hybrids for average players are gently draw-biased to make them easier to square at impact.

2019 Hot List: Hybrids

COMMENTS

(L) Consistent in sound and flight.

(M) I like how the face frames the ball. It’s fiery with a low spin rate.

(H) Impact feels as satisfying as strumming an epic guitar chord.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


2019 Hot List: Hybrids

PXG

0317 X GEN2    

Performance ★★★★★
Innovation ★★★★★
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★★
Demand ★★★

VERDICT
These hybrids take the weight saved from a carbon-fibre crown and place it low and forward for less spin. The crown serves two other purposes: there’s extra stiffness in the front to create more flexing in the face, and the saved weight makes room for eight adjustable screws in the sole. These weights provide 20 grams for dialling in a higher flight or extra draw or fade. A honeycombed strip of polymer lines the sole to control vibration.

2019 Hot List: Hybrids

COMMENTS

(L) The crown frames the ball nicely. Sounds muscular.

(M) I like how the head doesn’t overwhelm the ball at address. Easy to hit.

(H) Energetic feedback, like a taut tennis racquet.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


2019 Hot List: Hybrids

TaylorMade

gapr    

Performance ★★★★½
Innovation ★★★★★
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★½
Demand ★★★½

VERDICT
TaylorMade thinks that gap in your bag between your fairway woods and irons should be filled by a hybrid that best suits your game. Hence, the three head styles here: Lo (a hollow driving iron), Mid and Hi (a full-bodied true hybrid). Each head benefits from a slot in the sole, plus a foam filling that improves feel and supports the flexing of a thin face. There are 10 clubs in the family, and each has an adjustable loft sleeve to improve fitting.

2019 Hot List: Hybrids

COMMENTS

(L) The sound is like smash! Intimidating look, but if you’ve got the speed, it’s Long.com.

(M) Launches like a missile.

(H) The notch helped with alignment. Feels like the barrel of the bat.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


2019 Hot List: Hybrids

TaylorMade

m6    

Performance ★★★★★
Innovation ★★★★★
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★★
Demand ★★★★★

VERDICT
We all want the kind of off-centre-hit forgiveness that results in more distance and a straighter ball flight. The M6 provides this thanks to a thin, high-strength steel face and a wide, cut-through opening in the sole that increases ball speed, especially on thin shots. These also have TaylorMade’s “Twist Face” that curves open on the high toe and closed on the low heel to help mis-hits move back towards the target.

2019 Hot List: Hybrids

COMMENTS

(L) The different look is cool, and my shots came off like a rocket.

(M) The ball elevates immediately off the face.

(H) A driver hiding in a hybrid’s body. Wants to correct my slice.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


2019 Hot List: Hybrids

Titleist

818 h1 818 h2    

Performance ★★★★½
Innovation ★★★★★
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★★
Demand ★★★★

VERDICT
Titleist engineers slimmed these down from their predecessors but expanded their forgiveness. How? Saved weight from a thin, high-strength steel-alloy face insert yields a deeper centre of gravity for more stability. That’s true for the larger H1 with its higher lofts, or the compact H2, the version preferred by Titleist tour players. Increasing their versatility is a 16-way adjustable hosel and a cylindrical sole weight to tune in a draw or fade.

2019 Hot List: Hybrids

COMMENTS
(L) Nice, compressed sound at impact.

(M) The colour contrast is perfect, and so are the shapes. Cleanly frames the ball.

(H) Off-centre hits got in the air easily.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


SILVER


2019 Hot List: Hybrids

Mizuno

clk    

Performance ★★★★
Innovation ★★★★½
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★
Demand ★★½

VERDICT
The thinner, high-strength steel alloy in the face allows for more flexing and higher ball speeds, but the boost in power comes from the sole. The wave pattern, deeper than in previous versions, compresses at impact to provide energy to the ball. The centre of gravity is also low and forward for high launch with low spin. An eight-way adjustable hosel makes for easier matching with the loft gaps and lie angles in your bag.

2019 Hot List: Hybrids

COMMENTS
(L) Nice vector trajectory.

(M) The tight look frames the ball nicely. Easy out of catchy lies.

(H) You could feel all of that compact clubhead being delivered through impact.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


2019 Hot List: Hybrids

Tour Edge

exotics cbx 119    

Performance ★★★★
Innovation ★★★★
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★½
Demand ★★½

VERDICT
It should tell you something that the changes from last year’s CBX came from tour-player input. That includes a smaller size (shorter heel to toe) for workability and a slightly taller face to help create more flex at impact. But plenty of speed and low spin were built in already with the titanium cupface construction supported by a heavy steel body. The better-player theme continues with six individual heads 16 to 22 degrees.

2019 Hot List: Hybrids

COMMENTS

(L) Easy to shape the ball.

(M) This is black coffee: strong as you can take it.

(H) The rail helps, telling you it’s not afraid to get dirty. Impact is like a good punch.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


2019 Hot List: Hybrids

Tour Edge

exotics exs

Performance ★★★★
Innovation ★★★★
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★
Demand ★★

VERDICT
Aimed at non-elite swing-speed players, this hybrid mixes the forgiving shape and flexible face that regular golfers want with the benefits of low spin to improve distance. The cupface, which wraps around the crown, side and sole, flexes better because of a dense, thin, high-strength steel alloy. Internal weighting concentrated towards the front of the face moves the centre of gravity forward, but still low for better energy transfer.

2019 Hot List: Hybrids

COMMENTS
(L) The ball gets up fast.

(M) Even toe hits carried.

(H) I like the shallow face and the rounded edges, and you even got playable results when you dug it in the ground.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High