More reasons to ditch your long irons.

Our annual review of the best hydrids in the game…

Adams Red

ADAMS
RED
HOT: The benefit of adjustable weight in a hybrid? You can tame that slice or hook. The 25-gram weight in the sole shifts to the heel or toe to reduce unwanted sidespin and to help you square the face. Don’t have that problem? Keep the weight in the centre for maximum energy transfer.
NOT: Every weight change seems to require multiple steps.
COMMENTS: (L) It’s compact but still easy to hit, especially from the rough. (M) Centre-face hits feel like a hammer.

Adams Tight Lies

ADAMS
TIGHT LIES
HOT: Ease of use is the theme here. That includes hidden but effective slots cut through the crown and sole that limit distance loss on mis-hits. Making it even more forgiving is the shallow face and how the sole lifts at the toe and heel to handle any lie.
NOT: A quality hybrid ought to have a top-shelf grip.
COMMENTS: (L) Even the ones I missed still worked. I could change shape and trajectory at will. (H) A beautiful, thumpy sound.

Calla Big Bertha Alpha 815

CALLAWAY
BIG BERTHA ALPHA 815
HOT: The tour-inspired compact shape might appeal to a better player’s eye, but it has plenty of average-player help inside. That includes a thin, high-strength steel cupface for more distance, and low, forward internal weighting for less spin.
NOT: Callaway’s familiar chevron alignment mark has gone missing.
COMMENTS: (L) A nice crack off the face. You can get some muscle into a tight lie. (M) All the energy was going through the ball.

Callaway XR/XR Pro

CALLAWAY
XR/XR PRO
HOT: Callaway’s wraparound thin face now gives even more at the bottom. The internal weighting on the sole is positioned low and forward like a wave (lower than last year’s X2 Hot). That frees up the bottom of the face so it flexes better, particularly on thin shots.
NOT: The Pro leans towards driving-iron feel.
COMMENTS: (L) The toe is bulky, but in a good way, like it’s easy to hit. The trajectory is boring with good distance. (M) I hit all kinds of shots. This made me feel like a good player.

Cobra Fly-Z / Fly-Z XL

COBRA
FLY-Z/FLY-Z XL
HOT: Cobra’s Fly-Z hybrids address the long-iron problems of distance and accuracy. There’s the standard Fly-Z in three adjustable heads so you can dial in your distances. The offset, closed-face XL is designed to combat a slice. Both share distance technologies of a lighter face and rear weighting.
NOT: Shaft lengths for the highest lofts are too long.
COMMENTS: (L) Nice carry. A ball would stick on any green. (M) I’m really impressed with how high the ball went on mis-hits.

Nike Vapor Speed / Flex

NIKE
VAPOR SPEED/FLEX
HOT: You have to look beyond a hybrid’s small face to find ways to improve distance. Nike puts a channel in the front part of the sole that bends with the face at impact for some extra pop. The sole cavity means there’s weight low and forward to mitigate spin, but the head still stays stable to improve your mis-hits.
NOT: A crown swoosh
on a small head has the look of a billboard.
COMMENTS: (L) It has that crisp, forged-iron feel. Into the wind, my ball flight kept a good trajectory. (M) It’s as forgiving as my mother.

Ping G30

PING
G30
HOT: A hot face is nice, but so is a playable ball flight. The faces on Ping’s hybrids are plenty thin and flexible, but the size and internal weighting is staggered so the lower lofts launch high, and the higher lofts don’t balloon.
NOT: Priced high compared to most one-model, nonadjustable versions.
COMMENTS: (M) It had a beautiful click at impact, almost like the irons. Easy to hit. (H) It has the sound of a home run with a Louisville Slugger.

TaylorMade R15

TAYLORMADE
R15
HOT: Don’t be deceived by the tour-inspired shape and head size from the 1990s. The R15 has the modern touches of a sole slot to make off-centre shots, especially low hits, fly farther. It also lets you adjust the loft to get the distance you want.
NOT: The peanut shape paired with a long shaft adds difficulty.
COMMENTS: (L) It looks like a better player’s iron but performs like a game-improvement club. (M) That professional trajectory is always nice to watch, especially when you’re not a pro.

Titleist 915H / 915Hd

TITLEIST
915H/915Hd
HOT: Titleist continues to break free of its better-players-only image with these hybrids. Consider how the sole channel here is deeper than on its drivers to produce more flex and less spin from a high-strength steel face that’s already the thinnest in company history.
NOT: Seven heads, each with 16-way adjustability, seem unnecessarily vast.
COMMENTS (L) It’s like a finely oiled super car; it has all the horsepower, with a classic Titleist click. (M) The Hd lets me hit a baby draw. But the H is more of a pounder.

Callaway Big Bertha

CALLAWAY
BIG BERTHA
HOT: Hybrids are supposed to be easier to hit, so Callaway made the head the largest in its current line. Plus, it shifted more weight to the back to stabilise those mis-hits and help you launch it higher.
NOT: Even with the extra adjustability, it’s kind of a third wheel in Callaway’s hybrid lineup.
COMMENTS: (L) It has that familiar Callaway crack at impact. The wide sole would seem to be difficult to get out of a tough lie, but it was pretty easy. (M) Ball flight is penetrating and super reliable.

Mizuno JPX-850

MIZUNO
JPX-850
HOT: The compact shape and square setup are based on tour-staff input, but its technology was designed to help the paying customers. Specifically, it’s the accordion-shape sole that helps expand the hottest part of the face towards the bottom where the biggest mis-hits happen.
NOT: The 2-hybrid’s open face serves a small audience.
COMMENTS: (L) I hit a couple fat and still got them in the air. A nice, straight ball flight. (M) If you want a driver-replacement hybrid, this is the club.

Tour Edge Exotics E8

TOUR EDGE
EXOTICS E8
HOT: Tour Edge’s Exotics clubs have long explored extra distance with unique face designs and materials, but it’s the sole that plays the big part here. That redesigned grid on the bottom is intended to flex at impact to boost your carry distance.
NOT: The adjustable sole weight is a clever swingweight-matching feature, but it should be free.
COMMENTS: (L) I love how it sits tight on the ground. (H) I could sense where the face was throughout the swing.

Wilson Staff D200

WILSON STAFF
D200
HOT: The special part about this lightweight hybrid line is how the head shapes change: They’re larger on the lower lofts for better forgiveness, and smaller as the lofts increase to ease the transition to the irons. That thin, high-strength steel face doesn’t hurt, either.
NOT: We’re all advocates of 7-hybrids but not at 4-iron lengths.
COMMENTS: (M) A nice pop off the face. It took off with a little rise and dropped soft. (H) It’s crazy light, but there was a clean transition on the downswing and into impact, as if the ball wasn’t there.

 

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