It wasn't that long ago when using a hybrid on the golf course was shunned by practically every weekend golfer, the purists'.
A lot of golfers of varying handicaps refuse to put out a hybrid because "the putter is for the putting green", "Tiger Woods doesn't use one", or "it's just not right", and the other similar reasons.
Yet, the hybrid clubs have come a long way since the mid-2000s and throughout the 2010s, and nowadays top PGA players like Jimmy Walker, Matt Kuchar, and Jason Duffner, among others, are known to carry at least one hybrid club in their bags. The notion "pros don't use hybrids" is simply no longer the truth these days.
So, if the best Tour players have them, then maybe you should too! After all, the hybrids are indeed, originally designed as the "beginner's irons" for an easier lift.
Confused about which hybrid clubs you should get as a high handicapper?In this guide, we will review the 7 best hybrid golf clubs for beginners:
- Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Max Hybrid
- Callaway Golf 2020 Rogue X Hybrid
- Callaway Epic Flash Hybrid
- TaylorMade 2017 M2 Men's Rescue Club
- TaylorMade AeroBurner Black Driver
- Cobra Golf 2019 F9 Men's Speedback Hybrid
- TaylorMade Men's RBZ Rescue
Before we begin, however, let us first discuss the basics about hybrid clubs, and important things you should know before purchasing one.
Best Hybrid Clubs (Quick View Table)
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Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Max Hybrid
Callaway Golf Rogue X Hybrid
Callaway Epic Flash Hybrid
TaylorMade 2017 M2 Men's Rescue Hybrid
TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue
Cobra Golf 2019 F9 Men's Speedback Hybrid
TaylorMade RBZ Black Rescue
Our Best Picks For Beginners
Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Max Hybrid
Callaway Golf Rogue X Hybrid
TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue
(Many Beginners' Starter)
What Are Hybrid Clubs?
As the name "hybrid" suggested, these clubs combine the qualities and characteristics of two different traditional club types: an iron and a fairway wood, while also differing from both. While designs might vary between different brands, typically a hybrid features the large, forgiving face of the wood while having a shorter shaft like the irons.
The background of why the hybrid is invented is fairly simple. Long irons (1- to 4- irons) are notoriously difficult to hit well, even for experienced players due to their smaller faces. On the other hand, fairway woods feature larger clubheads and bigger sweet spots, making it much easier to use.
However, woods feature a longer shaft which will require more room to swing, making it unsuitable for tighter lies - where irons shine, and the wood's face is designed to "skim" instead of digging into the turf, making it more difficult to make your shots from the rough with the wood.
Hybrid clubs are the answer to this dilemma:
Hybrids can outperform the fairway woods in distance, while at the same time replacing the irons' accuracy and ease of use. So, golfers can get the best of both worlds by replacing the 1- to 4- irons with the hybrids.
Design of Hybrid Clubs
In most cases, a hybrid will feature a clubhead design similar to that of a fairway wood, characterized by a shallow and convex face instead of the iron's flat face. However, the head of a hybrid also differs from a standard fairway wood by being shallower and doesn't extend as far back from the face as in a wood's head, allowing a lie angle more similar to irons.
Modern hybrids also offer a similar "flexing" or "trampoline" face like modern woods, which allows an easier launch and better distance performance.
To summarize, a hybrid's face is more akin to that of a fairway wood, while the lie angle, shaft length, and the overall weight are more comparable to an iron.
Being a relatively new type of golf club, however, hybrid designs aren't as standardized as other, more traditional club types like irons and woods.
So, there are manufacturers that don't follow the above principles in manufacturing their version of hybrids.
For example, there are hybrids with club faces that are more similar to muscle-back or cavity-back irons, just with a slightly convex, bulging head on the back to make it more wood-like.
Benefits of Using a Hybrid Golf Clubs
As we've discussed, a hybrid club combines the best parts of using a fairway wood with the benefit of using an iron, and here are some of those benefits:
- The shorter shaft of a hybrid is easier to control than a fairway wood and is more versatile at tighter lies, while at the same time offering a clubhead with a bigger sweet spot and forgiveness without being too bulky
- Hybrid clubs offer a higher MOI (moment of inertia), allowing less twisting when you hit the ball off-center, which in turn will result in less energy loss during mishits, producing greater distance.
- Hybrids offer a lower center of gravity (CG), with the weight of the club moved to the bottom and further back of the clubhead. This will allow us an easier time to produce a higher launch and softer landing. A lower center of gravity would also mean easier control of trajectory. A hybrid would produce a higher trajectory than the same lofted iron.
- Hybrids offer higher loft angles than the similarly-lofted long irons, which will allow softer landing on greens.
However, that's not saying the hybrid is always better when compared to the iron and/or fairway wood counterparts, as there are some weaknesses that might be worth considering:
- If you are proficient with a long iron, the iron will always provide more control than a hybrid
- Due to the shorter shaft, a hybrid will produce less distance than a comparable wood
- Long irons provide more versatility in tighter lies and thick rough than hybrid clubs
Things To Consider When Choosing a Hybrid Club for Beginners
By considering the key benefits of a hybrid you should pursue, here are some important considerations when choosing between different hybrid club models available in the market:
1. Loft Angle
In most cases, your hybrids are going to replace your long irons (1- to 4- irons), and so hybrids' lofts tend to mirror these irons'.
With that being said, most hybrids will sit between 16 to 27 degrees, with 16 to 18 degrees of loft being the most common for the 1-hybrid. However, it's very important to understand that an 18-degree hybrid will not produce the same performance, distance-wise as an 18-degree iron or an 18-degree wood. The hybrid would travel in between the two, closer to the distance of the iron.
In general, if you are planning to purchase a hybrid from the same brand as your irons, you can do a straight swap, for example between a 2-iron with a 2-hybrid. However, if you are getting a hybrid from different manufacturers, make sure to check the loft angle of the irons you are replacing, and get a hybrid with a similar loft.
If you are planning to get a set of hybrids, pay extra attention to loft spacing so they won't be a waste of space in your bag. Make sure there are at least 2-3 degrees of loft difference between two hybrids, which would translate to around 15-20 yards difference in distance.
Another important consideration in your hybrid is the shaft material and length. Most modern hybrids offer shafts made of graphite or other low-weight material. The lighter the shaft, the more it would flex, which would translate into longer distance.
However, the more flex you have, the harder it would be to control your shots, and the more tendency to produce a "hook" (your ball curving too far left for a right-handed golfer). On the other hand, too little flex, and your ball might goo too far right or too low for a right-handed golfer.
A general rule of thumb is to use the same flex in your similarly lofted iron with the replacement hybrid. If you are using a regular shaft in your 3-iron, then you should also use a regular shaft in your 3-hybrid.
As we have also mentioned, hybrid clubs offer shorter shaft length than the comparable fairway wood, typically 2 to 3 inches shorter than similarly-lofted woods. The length might vary depending on the manufacturer, but typically 38" is the shortest length for the highest-lofted hybrid and the longest being around 40" to 41" for the lowest-lofted club.
The shorter the shaft is, the easier you can control the shots, but the longer the shaft, the longer the distance. Keep this in mind and figure out whether you'd like more control or distance with each hybrid.
3. Center of Gravity (CG)
In a golf club, the center of gravity, or CG refers to the point where the weight of the object is evenly displaced, so all sides are in balance. CG essentially determines how easy it's going to be to lift or launch the ball with the club.
A low and back CG-meaning the CG is closer to the sole and back of the head- would allow the golfer to hit the ball higher with more backspin. More backspin will equal more control.
Part of why a hybrid is easier to use than the long-iron is that the design of the head (which more resembles that of a fairway wood) allows CG to be placed lower and further back from the face.
However, keep in mind that low and back CG would sacrifice distance. If you'd want more distance from your hybrid, opt to get a club with a more forward center of gravity (while keeping it low for an easier lift).
Just like in modern drivers and woods, some hybrid models also offer adjustability, especially in loft angle. Some models, for example, offer the ability to adjust your loft angle between 3 to 5 degrees, providing even more versatility to the club (and can potentially eliminate the need of buying another hybrid in this loft range).
Some newer models also offer adjustability to the face angle where you can either adjust it to a neutral, open, or closed look at the address. Although rare, there are also hybrids that offer adjustable weight to manipulate the center of gravity and MOI.
Remember that typically the more adjustability features you have, the more expensive the hybrid would be. So, consider whether the additional versatility provided is worth the extra money.
Top 7 Best Hybrid Clubs for Beginners 2020
There are many manufacturers offering game-improvement hybrids for high-handicappers and beginners, each with various different models. So, admittedly choosing the right hybrid club for you can be difficult.
With that being said, we have tested various hybrid club models available in the market, and after weighing their pros and cons, here are our top 7 picks for beginner's hybrid clubs in 2020.
1. Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Max Hybrid
Callaway is obviously one of the biggest brands in Golf nowadays, and shouldn't need any introduction. Mavrik is Callaway's new product line in 2020 for its driver, fairway wood, and hybrid, building upon the hugely successful Callaway Epic Flash product line that has been a huge hit in the past couple of years.
There are actually three different subtypes for the Mavrik hybrids: the standard Mavrik, which is designed for mid-high to high-handicappers, the Mavrik Pro, with a smaller head shape designed for lower ball flight and better control, and the Marik Max, with a large head designed for maximum forgiveness.
Since our focus here is to find the best hybrid for beginners, then we will mainly discuss the Mavrik Max Hybrid, and here are some of its best features:
A.I. Designed Face Architecture
Callaway has used A.I. technologies to design the face of its drivers and fairway woods in recent years, but this is the first time the technology is used in a hybrid. Every loft is custom-tailored with the A.I. technology to optimize ball speed and distance. The Mavrik Max used an A.I.-designed Flash Face SS20 with very hard steel, complete with Callaway's famous Face CUp technology to allow very high ball speed.
Low and Back CG For Easier Launch
The A.I.-designed face also accommodates deep and back CG placement for easier launch. The face itself is already designed for high ball speed and long distance carry, but with the CG placement, we can also get softer landings.
Callaway utilizes titanium bars to connect the crown and the sole, allowing more impact on the face, more ball speeds, and longer carry.
Squared-off Toe Profiling
The Mavrik Max features a large crown, but with a squared-off shape in the toe to give it more of an iron-like feel while also promoting higher launch and more forgiveness on mis-hits.
The Callaway Epic Flash is truly the driver of the future. With all of this new technology, including being created by an AI, I am really excited to see what directions we will see clubs make in the coming years.
2. Callaway Golf Rogue X Hybrid
Another one from Callaway, the Rogue is an older product line from Callaway, released in 2018, and as a result of being an older model, it is more affordable than the Mavrik Max. The Rogue X is the more forgiving version of the Rogue standard hybrid, much like the Mavrik Max to the standard Mavrik.
Obviously, it utilizes older technologies than the Callaway Mavrik Max, so the question here is: what are the trade-offs?
The Rogue X hasn't yet featured Callaway's A.I. designed face, but it does feature Callaway's famous Hyper Speed Face Cup technology, combined with the Jailbreak technology, allowing very high and consistent ball speed across the face, combined with stronger loft angles and larger clubhead while keeping it fairly light.
In fact, the Rogue X is Callaway's first hybrid to feature the jailbreak technology, allowing higher ball speed and longer carry.
It's not as forgiving and not as long as the Mavrik Max, but it's still a very good hybrid for beginners with decent forgiveness, easy enough launch, and consistent ball speeds across the face.
3. Callaway Epic Flash Hybrid
Another older Callaway Model, this time from 2019. So, price-wise, it is somewhere between the Rouge X and the Mavrik Max hybrids, and it also offers tech that hasn't been introduced in the Rouge X model.
The whole Epic Flash line was a huge success back in 2019, especially the driver and the fairway wood, and again the highlight here is the Jailbreak technology, where two internal titanium bars are placed between the crown and the sole to stabilize and strengthen the head. As a result, the extra stability would improve the energy transfer at impact.
The Epic Flash hybrid also features an improved version of Rogue X's face, which is dubbed the Flash Face, an ultra-thin face with Callaway's Face Cup technology that promotes forgiveness and consistency of ball speeds even during off-centered hits.
4. TaylorMade M2 Men's Rescue Hybrid
TaylorMade is another big name in golf equipment, on par with Callaway, and the M2 is TaylorMade's one of the most successful product lines. Although this is a 2017 club, which is arguably & old in today's fast-paced world of golf equipment, it is by no means obsolete and can still hold its ground when compared to the newer Callaway clubs discussed above.
With that being said, one of the key highlights of the M2 Rescue Hybrid is the low-profile clubhead, with a large recess in both the toe and heel. This doesn't only improve the look and overall feel of the M2 Rescue but also improves the sound at impact.
TaylorMade has technology similar to Callaway's Face Cup named Speed Pocket, which allows the face to & flex more during impact to promote more forgiveness and distance performance. In the M2 Rescue, the Speed Pocket is very long and thin, allowing more ball speed during off-center strikes.
Also, a pretty decent crown design with the black and white-stepped colors that have been the signature of TaylorMade's M clubs in recent years. It's also not as large and bulky as the Callaway clubs above, so if you are looking for a more compact hybrid without sacrificing too much of forgiveness, the M2 Rescue might be a great choice for you.
5. TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue
SIM Max Rescue is TaylorMade's newest hybrid clubs intended for beginners but surprisingly was used by Rory Mcllroy and Dustin Johnson in the early 2020 Tour season. Obviously, this is a testimony of the SIM Max Rescue's quality and the final nail in the coffin for the argument that hybrids are only for beginners and senior golfers.
A key highlight of the SIM Max Rescue is the new V-Steel sole, which mimics TaylorMade's famous v-shaped sole in the early and mid-2000s. This v-shaped design allows better interaction, especially in tighter lies and when coming out of the rough.
Being a new club, it also features TaylorMade's newest face technology, dubbed the C300 steel face, which is more stable and promotes more flex with its Twist Face technology, producing consistent ball speed to maximize distance during mishits. The Twist Face, TaylorMade claims, can help straighten up the ball's trajectory during off-center hits.
While it's not the most forgiving hybrid out there, it is a solid all-rounder hybrid with great design (not too bulky head), great performance in distance, and great look and sound.
6. Cobra Golf 2019 F9 Men's Speedback Hybrid
Cobra is known as the brand that's not afraid to experiment with rather unorthodox approaches and technologies, and the F9 Speedback Hybrid also offers these unique technologies.
The key highlight here is the namesake Speedback technology, which is claimed to optimize both forgiveness and distance. In most cases, you'd have to sacrifice forgiveness to get more distance, and vice versa, but that's no longer the case with Speedback. As a result, the F9 Speedback is indeed one of the longest hybrids out there with very good forgiveness.
There's also Cobra's famous baffler rail to further improve forgiveness and distance, and a pretty large face for higher MOI and bigger sweet spots - for more forgiveness.
7. TaylorMade RBZ Black Rescue
Although the RBZ Rescue is a fairly old club, it is arguably the most famous hybrid clubs in the past decade. While it certainly doesn't offer the newest technology compared to the newer, more expensive clubs, the RBZ Rescue is still used by many golfers today, and many even swore by it as the best hybrids available.
A key reason why RBZ Rescue is so popular is that it is very versatile with various loft and flex selections available. When you also consider the great price point and TaylorMade's build quality, you get a very reliable hybrid club with decent forgiveness and performance.
How and When To Use a Hybrid?
The key principle in using a hybrid is to remember its function as a replacement for your long iron. This can help adjust your expectation when swinging them: to get the most of your hybrid clubs, hit the ball with a descending blow just like you would with an iron. Let the loft of your hybrid do the work, just like an iron. On the other hand, make the most of the larger face and low-back center of gravity while making contact on the descent of your swing.
A hybrid is also pretty versatile in how you can use it on the course. The most basic use case is as long-iron replacements when the hybrids will mostly be used in the long-range and mid-range game. However, if you'd like, you can also use them off the tee when you need a bit more forgiveness and precision.
Hybrids also have their use around the putting greens, where you can use them for chipping or to get around an obstacle. While forgiveness is the key highlight of the hybrid clubs, their versatility also cannot be underestimated.
Should I Replace My Long Irons With Hybrids?
You might benefit from replacing your long irons with hybrids if:
- You are generally poor in hitting the irons from the rough
- You can't reach par 3's with your lowest-lofted iron
- You are pretty consistent in hitting your fairway wood but aren't consistent with your 3-, 4- or 5- iron
- Need more consistent tee shots that can get onto the fairway on tight holes
- You currently have a 5-wood but don't want to get a 7- or 9-wood
Selecting just the best hybrid club for beginners is indeed a very difficult task with so many different options available in the market. Each product offers its unique take in making the club more forgiving while promoting higher launch and longer carry, and each also has its own disadvantages.
However, we are confident that based on our tests the 7 hybrid clubs we have reviewed above are indeed the best available in the market in 2020.
Now, choosing the very best out of the 7 is an even more unnerving task, but in our opinion, the Callaway Mavrik Max offers the best balance between forgiveness, distance, and price. Yes, it is one of, if not the most expensive of the bunch, but the features and technologies you get from the price made it a worthy investment.
Since a hybrid can be a long-term investment, if you are willing to spend a little bit more for the additional carry distance, better control and accuracy, and maximum forgiveness, the Mavrik Max is the way to go.
Other Drivers and Clubs Review:
- Callaway Epic Flash Driver Review: Longest Shot Ever
- TaylorMade M2 Driver review
- Cleveland Golf Launcher Turbo Driver Review
- Cleveland Launcher HB Iron Set Review
- Callaway Rogue Iron Set Review
- TaylorMade M4 Iron Set Review
- TaylorMade M3 Iron Set Review
- Cobra King F8 One Length Iron Set Review