Everybody loves their hybrid, right?
Not me…at least not right away.
Even as a golf professional and scratch player, It took me a really long time to like the hybrid.
Once I learned how to hit a hybrid golf club, I started to realize what all the fuss was about. Hybrid golf clubs are a great tool, but there are some steps you will need to understand exactly how to hit them.
I’ll break down for you how to hit a hybrid from the fairway, off the tee, from the rough, how I teach both high and low handicappers how to hit a hybrid and even a little shot you can use around the green.
The bottom line is that you can get your money’s worth out of your hybrids if you know how to swing them.
How To Hit A Hybrid From The Fairway
Hopefully, your drive from the tee box leaves you in the fairway, and you have a nice clean lie in front of you.
Before I get into the specifics of hitting a hybrid off the fairway, I want you to understand that a hybrid shot is more like an iron shot than a fairway wood shot.
- Once you can wrap your head around this concept, you should have quite a bit more luck with your hybrid shots.
Setup and Posture
Setup to hit the ball the way you would with a middle iron in your hands:
- Feet shoulder width apart
- Neutral grip
- Hands in line with the golf ball
- Slight bend at the hips
- Weight is balanced in the center of your feet and evenly distributed between the left and right foot.
- Left and right shoulder are balanced, right shoulder is not dropped down
The major difference you will find with a hybrid is that you will be standing slightly further away from the golf ball.
A 4 hybrid club has a standard length of about 39 inches, and a 7 iron has a length of about 37 inches.
If you don’t move back those two inches, you will hit behind the ball constantly. So when setting up to hit a hybrid from the fairway, be prepared to be slightly further from the ball.
Ball Position For A Hybrid Off The Fairway
The ball position of your hybrid shots will vary based on which hybrid you have in your hands. I like to play the 5 hybrid directly in the center of my stance and then move everything slightly up from there.
By the time I get to the 2 and 3 hybrid, my ball position is between the left heel and the center of my stance, closer to the left heel.
However, never get the ball as far up in the stance as you do with the driver. Inside left heel is too far up.
Playing the ball back in your stance will cause shots that go right, or you might even hit behind
Takeaway and Backswing
The key swing thought on the hybrid takeaway is “long”. (Remember I told you this is a longer club.)
Therefore the swing arc will be wider, and the extension you create by having a slightly longer takeaway will only help you hit more consistent (and longer) shots.
In other words, don’t pick the club up off the ground; feel as though you push it along the ground as long as you can until your body rotation forces it to go up.
Impact and Follow Through
You must compress the golf ball to hit a great hybrid shot. And, you have to hit down on your hybrid to compress it. No need to “help” your hybrid get the ball in the air.
So, at impact, make sure the club is still traveling down and not lifting up to hit the ball.
Ball first and THEN the turf.
How To Hit A Hybrid Off The Tee
A hybrid off a tee box is a great shot when there is trouble or you are playing a shorter distance hole.
Your dispersion with a hybrid is going to be better than your driver because hybrids are shorter and have higher loft angles.
In fact, golfers that struggle with hitting a driver should consider putting a 3 hybrid in their bag; it’s a great backup.
Setup and Posture
The setup off the tee should be nearly the same as it was in the fairway.
Make sure to keep feet about shoulder-width apart; I know you plan on this being a big shot, but if your feet start looking like you are doing a split, the results aren’t great.
Tee height is crucial, so tee…ee the ball so that it is just sitting above the ground. So, keep he part of the tee that holds the ball up above the ground; the rest of the peg can go in the ground.
Golfers that tee the hybrid up like it’s a driver often hit completely underneath the ball or sky their shot.
Correct tee height = simple fix for a big problem.
Ball Position For A Hybrid Off The Tee
Keep the ball position around the center of your stance.
Faster swing-speed players that carry a 2 hybrid can start to move closer to the left heel but not nearly as far up as the driver.
If you notice you are hooking shots, you could be playing it too far forward.
Takeaway and Backswing
Keep the takeaway long, as I mentioned when hitting a hybrid off the fairway, but on this one, make sure you don’t take the club back past parallel.
Impact and Follow Through
When standing over the hybrid shot from the tee, you should still consider compressing the ball.
Don’t let the tee change your mindset; in fact, that’s why I suggest teeing the ball relatively low.
Make sure the golf club is traveling down and through the ground, and take that divot after the ball.
Follow through on a tee shot with a hybrid should be high, with all your weight transferred to your left leg.
How To Hit A Hybrid From The Rough
The best thing about a hybrid? The fact that it’s easy to hit from the rough.
However, please be smart about the type of lie that you are attempting to hit your hybrid from.
I’ve seen some terrible lies and misinformed golfers thinking that the magic hybrid will get it out.
If a ball is buried, grab your wedge, and get back into play.
Setup and Posture From the Rough
Setup and posture when hitting a hybrid out of the rough are the same as off tee and the fairway.
The biggest mistake I see amateurs make here is they take too wide of a stance to give themselves a better base of support.
Some players do this well. However, most will hang back on their right side, hit a shot that does not stay on the target line, and loses considerable distance.
Work on balance and strength in other ways, don’t take too wide of a stance in the rough.
Ball Position For A Hybrid Out of the Rough
Play the ball in the middle of your stance for these shots. If it gets too far from the center, you will hit a much lower shot, and the chance of it even getting out of the rough is slim.
Takeaway and Backswing
Here’s my rule of thumb:
- The more the ball is buried, the less swing you should take. Feel free to take a full swing when the golf ball is sitting up in the grass.
When my golf ball gets buried in the rough, I shorten my backswing to try to get a ball rolling down the center. I don’t want backspin; I want forward roll.
Practice ¾ type golf swings on the driving range with your hybrid. Keep the stance narrow, stop the club in the back at the ¾ position, and accelerate to a full finish.
You will likely find this shot useful when getting the ball out of the rough.
Impact and Follow Through
Take a few practice swings in the rough before you hit your golf ball.
You should notice that grass is flying up because you are swinging down and through your shot.
Thick rough shuts the clubface down, regardless of the club you have in your hand. The head of a hybrid works quite well to keep the clubface more square than something like a 5 iron, but it still can turn left.
Make sure to aim just slightly right of your target and follow through toward that point.
One of my favorite swing thoughts here is to keep my head in the impact zone just a second longer than usual, it helps me to stabilize the clubhead of the hybrid.
Hybrid Shot Around The Greens
Using the hybrid around the green could be an entire article in and of itself. However, if you want the basics of how to hit a hybrid shot around the green, here is what you need to know.
- Take a narrow stance.
- Play the ball in the middle of your feet.
- Swing the club like it’s a putter or a pitching wedge where you are just trying to do a bump and run
- Keep the hybrid close to the ground for the entire swing.
- Carefully check the lie and make sure there are no sprinkler heads or large debris as this shot won’t really get up off the ground.
- Always make sure the hybrid clubhead is aimed properly; some golfers close it too much, causing this shot to go left almost immediately.
Which Hybrid Should I Hit?
Depending on how many irons you have replaced in your set, there are several hybrids you can choose to hit, depending on your lie and your location.
In the same way you look at whether to hit a sand wedge or a pitching wedge, you will have to do the same with these hybrid clubs.
Make sure you have a decent amount of club head speed if you use a 3 hybrid. The lower loft makes the club less forgiving and slightly longer than other hybrids. I like this one for the following situations:
- Tee shots on a short par 4 holes or long par 3’s
- Approach shot to a par 5 when there is not too much trouble on the hole
- Shots out of the rough, only when most of the ball is visible
- Stinger-type shots on windy days
The 4 hybrid is kind of a staple; if you are an amateur golfer with average club head speed, chances are you never even think about hitting a 4 iron as opposed to a 4 hybrid. That’s smart. Here’s where to use the 4 hybrids (one of the most versatile hybrids there is):
- From the tee, fairway, and the rough
- The ball can be slightly buried in the rough, and the 4 hybrid can get you out of it
A 5 hybrid tends to be a club that slower swing speed golfers love to replace the 5 iron. Use this club in the following situations:
- From the tee on a par 3
- Approach shots to greens, especially those that are going over hazards
- Layup shots on a par 5 hole when you need to place the ball
- Out of the rough, even if the lie is not great
6 and higher
Some golfers have decided to put an entire set of hybrids in their bag. These clubs are reserved for shorter shots requiring extra ball flight and distance. The 6 hybrid won’t roll as far as other hybrids, as it will have a higher ball flight. Start to use this for approach shots that need accuracy more than distance.
Troubleshooting Hybrid Golf Shots
Hybrids are easier to hit than long irons, yet still, some golfers can’t stand using them. If you struggle with how to hit a hybrid golf club, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Shots don’t get up in the air: try putting a loose tee lying on the ground in front of the ball before you swing; your goal is to hit both the golf ball and the tee; this should promote more of a descending blow and get the ball up in the air.
- Too much dispersion: check that your stance is not too wide; if you are spraying the ball, it often has to do with the inconsistent setup.
- Not enough height on the shots: move the ball slightly back in your stance; it could be too far forward.
- Slicing or hooking the hybrid but no other clubs: have you checked the shaft in your hybrid? Some golfers swing their hybrids faster than their irons and need something slightly stiffer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few commonly asked questions about how to hit a hybrid golf club.
How do you hit a hybrid correctly?
Hitting a hybrid correctly requires you to hit down and through the ball like you are hitting an iron shot. Taking a slightly shallow divot after the ball is entirely acceptable; the key is not to hit up on it as you do with a driver.
Why do I struggle to hit a hybrid?
Most golfers struggle to hit a hybrid because it is longer than the irons. Setup and stance adjustments should be made to make it easier to hit the hybrid well.
Do you hit a hybrid like an iron?
Yes, hit your hybrid like the iron, and you will have more consistent results.
Do you hit up or down on a hybrid?
Yes, when setting up to hit a hybrid shot, keep the ball just forward of center and ensure that your shoulders are square (not tilted too much). Move weight to the left side to encourage a divot after the ball when coming through impact.
Final Thoughts on How to Hit your Hybrid
The hybrid has a different look to it. I’ve found that until I accepted the hybrid as its own category (i.e., not an iron and not a fairway), I had a hard time developing a plan for success.
Now, I trust my setup and can see what impact looks like, and I can hit this shot with full confidence.
You will master how to hit a hybrid; the odds are in your favor as the club comes packed with great features; the key is to head to the range and start working on it.