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2014 Gear Trials: Best Hybrids

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In nearly every golfer’s bag, there’s a yardage gap between two irons that’s a little closer together than it should be. It’s most common in the long irons, where golfers often hit two different clubs almost the same distance. A golfer might be able to carry his 4 iron 190 yards, but for the life of him he just can’t get his 3 iron to fly more than 192 yards. That, loyal GolfWRX readers, is the reason for hybrids, which are designed to hit the ball higher, farther and are more forgiving than the long irons they replace.

This year’s 2014 Gear Trials: Best Hybrids list highlights hybrids that are extremely long, which we have labeled “Distance-First,” as well as clubs that are extremely accurate, which we labeled “Forgiveness-First.” Our “Balanced-Performance” category rewards hybrids that are both long and accurate, which we think will be the sweet spot of hybrid design for most golfers.

Do yourself a favor and spend some time hitting a few of the models on the list to see if your longest iron is really worth all the trouble it has caused you. Maybe you’re the kind of golfer who prefers a 5 wood over a similarly lofted hybrid, and that’s fine because you’re in good company. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy enjoy hitting their 19-degree fairway woods much more than a 19-degree hybrid.

Our testing, however, indicated that many golfers could benefit from one, two or maybe even three hybrids in their bag, which will give them the consistent distance gaps between their shortest wood and longest iron that can help them get their handicaps trending downward.

Looking for a new driver or fairway wood? Click here to read 2014 Gear Trials: Best Drivers and here to read our 2014 Gear Trials: Best Fairway Woods. 

Who votes?

In our past best clubs list, we relied on both the feedback of our equipment editors and an elite panel of custom fitters located across North America. For this year’s list, we decided we needed another component: mass player testing of every major manufacturer’s hybrids performed by fitters at Miles of Golf in Ypsilanti, Mich. Those fitters spent eight days with 33 different testers of various ability levels evaluating a total of 23 different hybrids. Each hybrid was tested with its stock stiff-flex shaft and had as close to 19 degrees of loft as possible. The data was then normalized by the team at Miles of Golf in order to rank each hybrid’s launch, spin and smash factor.

After the data was collected, we surveyed our five other top custom fitters located across North America — Carl’s GolflandModern GolfMorton Golf and two other custom fitters who chose to remain anonymous on the top performing hybrids in each category.

The scoring process

Unlike in year’s past, this year’s scores were entirely based on the performance of each hybrid, removing the subjective categories of looks, sound and feel from the equation. What was left was the votes of our custom fitters (60 percent of a hybrid’s score), the results of our mass player test (30 percent of a hybrid’s score) and the votes of our staff members (10 percent of a hybrid’s score).

Now that we’ve added up the scores, we present to you our list of the absolute best hybrids in golf. We consider each of these hybrids to be a winner, which is why they’re listed in alphabetical order (Note: You can click the images of each hybrid to enlarge the text).

Distance

hybrids_distance Listed in alphabetic order

If your longest iron isn’t carrying far enough, chances are it’s not staying in the air long enough. That’s where hybrids can really change a golfer’s long game. Compared to an average long iron, a properly fit hybrid will in most cases launch the ball higher and with more ball speed, keeping it in the air longer for more carry distance.

These Distance-First hybrids are the best we’ve found at maximizing ball speed and they tend to spin less than other models on this list. That makes them a good fit for better golfers who have struggled to control the trajectory of higher-lofted fairway woods, as well as those who simply want to play the longest hybrids they can get their hands on.

Adams Pro Hybrid Distance

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: Adams’ Pro lineup includes three hybrids: the Pro, the Pro Mini and the Pro DHy. The Pro is the most well-rounded of the line, with the largest profile that offers the most forgiveness of the three hybrids. And when it’s properly fit, it’s usually the longest of the three clubs as well.

The Pro includes Adams’ patented upside-down head shape, as well as two slots — one on the crown, one on the sole — that improve spring-like effect across the hybrid’s ultra-thin 455 carpenter steel face. It also has a low, neutral center of gravity (CG) that makes the hybrid fairly low spinning and gives golfers a chance to hit both draws and fades.

The Pro is available in lofts of 16, 18, 20, 23 and 26 degrees and comes stock with Aldila’s Tour Red shaft.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.golfwrx.com/197553/review-adams-pro-hybrid/”]Read our review of the Pro[/button][button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IPTE3CO/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00IPTE3CO&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy the Pro[/button][/colored_box]

Adams XTD Ti Gear Trials Hybrids Distance

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: Adams wants golfers to #ownthesecondshot, and the XTD Ti is yet another hybrid in the company’s expansive line that will help some golfers do just that. If you’re looking to add distance to your hybrid game, this is probably going to be your longest option as long as the spin numbers fall in the appropriate range.

The XTD Ti is so hot, Adams claims, that the company had to slow down its titanium face to make it conform to the USGA’s limitation on spring-like effect. Like the Pro, the XTD Ti has two of Adams slots — one on the crown and on the sole — that work with the club’s brazed titanium face to create some of the fastest balls speeds we saw from a hybrid in testing.

The XTD Ti is offered in lofts of 16, 18, 20, 23 and 26 degrees, and comes stock with Matrix’s HQ3 “Red Tie” Hybrid shaft, which weighs about 90 grams. It’s adjustable to +/- 1.5 degrees of its printed loft.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FXLEYTO/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FXLEYTO&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy the XTD Ti[/button][/colored_box]

Callaway X2 Hot Gear Trials Hybrids Distance

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: The votes we received from our club fitters for the Gear Trials: Best Hybrids category were a little more diverse than the tally from our driver and fairway wood lists, but they all had one thing in common: each custom fitter voted Callaway’s X2 Hot hybrids as one of the best lineups in 2014.

The X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro look very different at address, but they reigned supreme in their categories thanks to the their Hyper Speed Cup Faces, which our panel said produced some of the fastest ball speeds they’ve ever seen from all-steel hybrids.

The X2 Hot (available in lofts of 19, 22, 25 and 28 degrees) is larger and more forgiving, and comes stock with a higher-launching Aldila Tour Blue proprietary hybrid shaft that weighs about 60 grams.

The X2 Hot Pro (available in lofts of 16, 18, 20 and 23 degrees) is considerably more compact for more versatility from less-than-ideal lies. It launches lower and spins less than the X2 Hot, making it a good fit for high-speed players. It comes stock with a lower-launching Aldila Tour Green Hybrid shaft that weighs about 75 grams.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.golfwrx.com/165341/review-callaway-x2-hot-hybrids/”]Read our review of X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro[/button]

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G97Q89U/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00G97Q89U&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy the X2 Hot[/button][button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G97Q22I/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00G97Q22I&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy the X2 Hot Pro[/button][/colored_box]

TaylorMade SLDR Gear Trials Hybrids Distance

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: TaylorMade’s SLDR hybrids have been a game changer for many high-speed golfers who have always wanted to play a hybrid instead of a 2 or 3 iron, but struggled to find a model that lowered their spin to an acceptable range.

TaylorMade created the SLDR’s low-spin launch conditions with its low, forward CG strategy, which works with the company’s Speed Pocket to provide faster ball speeds and a higher launch angle, particularly for better players who hit the sweet spot consistently. The hybrids also have a 3-degree adjustable hosel, which will be useful to golfers who want to dial in their launch conditions for specific course conditions.

The adjustability also serves as an insurance policy for golfers who don’t heed TaylorMade’s advice to loft up, giving them a 1.5-degree margin of error should they not buy a model with enough loft. Remember, the SLDR’s extremely low-spin launch conditions allow most golfers to play a hybrid that has 2-or-more degrees of additional loft, allowing them to launch their shots higher with less spin, paydirt for those who are looking to hit their hybrids farther.

The SLDR hybrids are available in lofts of 17, 19, 21 and 24 degrees with Fujikura’s Speeder 82H shaft (R, S and X flexes). A pricer TP model is also available, which comes with Fujikura’s stouter Motore Speeder 9.3H shaft in S and X flexes.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.golfwrx.com/150516/review-taylormade-sldr-fairway-woods-and-hybrids/”]Read our review of the SLDR[/button][button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G2M7QKW/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00G2M7QKW&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=2LRDUJJ3QNZSSXCB”]Buy the SLDR[/button]
[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GB3Q5AE/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00GB3Q5AE&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=CL3SYQO7YJWHSZWG”]Buy the SLDR TP[/button][/colored_box]

TaylorMade SLDR S Hybrid Gear Trials

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: Consider TaylorMade’s SLDR S a friendlier SLDR, with a little wider footprint and shallower face that helps golfers launch the clubs a little higher than the originals. Our testing revealed that the SLDR S hybrids are similar to the company’s JetSpeed models, but their lighter head weights, as well as their lighter and shorter shafts led to improved consistency from our testers.

Like the SLDR hybrids, the SLDR S hybrids are really long and low-spinning thanks to their low, forward CG and hot faces, which are made hotter and more consistent with the company’s Speed Pocket, a handlebar-shaped slot on the front of the sole.

The SLDR S hybrids are not adjustable, making a proper fit all-the-more important. They come in lofts of 19, 22, 25 and 28 degrees with Fujikura’s Speeder 72H shafts in M, R and S flexes.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.golfwrx.com/207735/taylormade-unveils-new-sldr-s-woods-and-irons/”]Read more about the SLDR S line[/button] [button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JR528DQ/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00JR528DQ&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=XL4WC3XFEVFCVODE”]Buy the SLDR S[/button][/colored_box]

Forgiveness

hybrids_forgiveness Listed in alphabetic order

Golfers with average or below average swing speeds tend to have the most problems with their long irons. This Forgiveness-First list was created almost exclusively for them, and is filled with high-launching, forgiving hybrids that can give them a huge boost of confidence once they move outside short-iron range.

Even if you have a swing speed that’s above average, a little extra forgiveness never hurt anyone. After all, it’s not about how far you hit your hybrids, but how consistently you hit them. That’s why you’ll find many of these Forgiveness-First hybrids in the bags of everyone from high handicappers to low handicappers and even some of the best players in the world.

Adams Idea Hybrid 2014 Gear Trials Forgiveness

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: Adams calls its Idea hybrid its “easiest to hit hybrid” and our fitters agree. Like the company’s Pro and XTD Ti models, the Idea has an upside-down head design and uses two slots — one in the crown and one in the sole — to increase launch angle, ball speed and consistency on off-center hits.

With the Idea, however, Adams moved the CG considerably lower and deeper in the head, helping golfers hit these clubs higher. Unlike Distance-First hybrids, the Idea is designed to launch shots with a little more spin. That helps golfers with slower club head speeds achieve a higher peak trajectory that allows shots to land softer on the green and stop closer to their pitch mark.

The Idea hybrids are offered in lofts of 16.5, 19, 22, 25, 28 and 32 degrees with Mitsubishi Rayon’s Bassara Eagle shaft in S, R and A flexes.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FRF7Z9M/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FRF7Z9M&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=W3F65TR73FF7P7JB”]Buy the Idea[/button][/colored_box]

Callaway X2 Hot Gear Trials Hybrids Forgiveness

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: The votes we received from our club fitters for the Gear Trials: Best Hybrids category were a little more diverse than the tally from our driver and fairway wood lists, but they all had one thing in common: each custom fitter voted Callaway’s X2 Hot hybrids as one of the best lineups in 2014.

The X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro look very different at address, but they reigned supreme in their categories thanks to the their Hyper Speed Cup Faces, which our panel said produced some of the fastest ball speeds they’ve ever seen from all-steel hybrids.

The X2 Hot (available in lofts of 19, 22, 25 and 28 degrees) is larger and more forgiving, and comes stock with a higher-launching Aldila Tour Blue proprietary hybrid shaft that weighs about 60 grams.

The X2 Hot Pro (available in lofts of 16, 18, 20 and 23 degrees) is considerably more compact for more versatility from less-than-ideal lies. It launches lower and spins less than the X2 Hot, making it a good fit for high-speed players. It comes stock with a lower-launching Aldila Tour Green Hybrid shaft that weighs about 75 grams.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.golfwrx.com/165341/review-callaway-x2-hot-hybrids/”]Read our review of X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro[/button]

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G97Q89U/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00G97Q89U&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy the X2 Hot[/button][button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G97Q22I/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00G97Q22I&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy the X2 Hot Pro[/button][/colored_box]

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 10.10.39 AM

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: Nike’s Covert 2.0 and 2.0 Tour hybrids have what Nike calls a “linear transition design.” What that means is the lower-lofted hybrids have larger heads for more forgiveness, while the higher-lofted hybrids have smaller heads for more versatility and workability.

That design and their unique cavity back on the rear of their soles makes the Covert 2.0 and 2.0 Tour hybrids two of the most forgiving hybrids in golf, and their NexCore faces with variable face thickness delivers faster ball speeds than their predecessors.

The Covert 2.0 is Nike’s higher-spinning model, and comes stock with Mitsubishi Rayon’s Kuro Kage 2.0 Black 70 shaft (A, R and S Flexes) in lofts of 17, 20, 23 and 26 degrees. The Covert 2.0 Tour is designed for golfers who need a little less spin. It comes stock with Mitsubishi Rayon’s Kuro Kage 2.0 Silver TiNi shaft in two models:

  • a 3 hybrid that’s adjustable from 17-to-21 degrees.
  • a 4 hybrid that adjusts from 21-to-25 degrees.

The FlexLoft hosel on the Covert 2.0 Tour allows golfers to adjust loft as much as 5 degrees in 1-degree increments, and each setting pairs independently with one of three face angles: left (closed), neutral (square) and right (open). If aesthetics are your thing, it’s hard to beat what many of our testers called the prettiest hybrids in golf, and allowing golfers to adjust their face angle independent of loft is also a nice touch.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.golfwrx.com/202445/review-nike-covert-2-0-hybrids/”]Read our review of Covert 2.0 and Covert 2.0 Tour[/button]

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003CRFP12/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B003CRFP12&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=3ARC663MIJURNXHW”]Buy the Covert 2.0[/button][button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HB6PSQ2/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00HB6PSQ2&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=RZE34WSZBAUT7K43″]Buy the Covert 2.0 Tour[/button][/colored_box]

Ping G25 Hybrids Gear Trials Forgiveness

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: If you’ve read our Gear Trials: Drivers and Gear Trials: Fairway Woods lists, you’ve likely noticed a trend. Ping’s G25 line has been a mainstay of our “Forgiveness-First” and “Balanced-Performance” categories, and the G25 hybrids are no exception.

The G25 hybrids are designed with a low, rearward center of gravity that makes them the most-forgiving models on this list. They’re particularly good on mishits on the heel and toe, our fitters noticed, helping those shots fly almost as far and as straight as shots hit on the center of the face.

In the lower lofts (17 and 20 degrees), the G25 hybrids are designed to be extremely high launching, but in the higher lofts, (23, 37 and 31 degrees) Ping engineers moved the CG of the clubs slightly more forward to remove excess spin. If you like the forgiveness of the G25 hybrids but find that they spin too much for you, Ping also offers its i25 hybrids, which retain most of the G25’s forgiveness and have a slightly lower-launching, lower-spinning trajectory.

The G25 hybrids come stock with Ping’s TFC 189F stock shaft in Soft R, R, S, Tour-Stiff and Tour X-Stiff flexes.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.golfwrx.com/110054/ping-g25-fairway-woods-and-hybrids-editor-review/”]Read here to read our review of the G25 hybrids[/button][/colored_box]

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 4.45.18 PM

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: The 913H is a favorite of many PGA Tour players for many reasons, but what the hybrid does best is deliver consistent distance on shots hit across the clubface, and it’s particularly impressive on shots hit below the sweet spot.

The 913H has a low, neutral center of gravity that helps better golfers work the ball either left-to-right or right-to-left. Golfers looking for a lower-spinning trajectory might try the 913H.d, which is about 15cc smaller and has slightly more offset than the 913H.

Both clubs have Titleist’s adjustable Sure-Fit hosel, which allows golfers to adjust the loft and lie angle of the hybrid as much as 1.5 degrees in 0.75-degree increments. The 913H is available in lofts of 17, 19, 21, 24 and 27 degrees. The 913H.d comes in lofts of 18, 20 and 23 degrees.

The 913H and 913H.d are available with a myriad of shaft options from Aldila and Mitsubishi Rayon, and many custom shafts are also available for an extra charge.[/colored_box]

Balanced Performance

Hybrids_balanced Listed in alphabetic order

You’ll notice some carryover from the Distance-First and Forgiveness-First categories in this list, which is by design. That’s because these six hybrids: Adams’ Pro, Callaway’s X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro, Ping’s Anser, G25 and TaylorMade’s SLDR S bring an enviable amount of both distance and forgiveness to the table.

Unless you already know you need something special, like the spin-killing performance of our Distance-First hybrids or the added forgiveness of our Forgiveness-First hybrids, this is the list you should use to start your testing.

Adams Pro Hybrid Balanced

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: Adams’ Pro lineup includes three hybrids: the Pro, the Pro Mini and the Pro DHy. The Pro is the most well-rounded of the line, with the largest profile that offers the most forgiveness of the three hybrids. And when it’s properly fit, it’s usually the longest of the three clubs as well.

The Pro includes Adams’ patented upside-down head shape, as well as two slots — one on the crown, one on the sole — that improve spring-like effect across the hybrid’s ultra-thin 455 carpenter steel face. It also has a low, neutral center of gravity (CG) that makes the hybrid fairly low spinning and gives golfers a chance to hit both draws and fades.

The Pro is available in lofts of 16, 18, 20, 23 and 26 degrees and comes stock with Aldila’s Tour Red shaft.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.golfwrx.com/197553/review-adams-pro-hybrid/”]Read our review of the Pro[/button][button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IPTE3CO/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00IPTE3CO&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy the Pro[/button][/colored_box]

Callaway X2 Hot Hybrids Gear Trials Balanced

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: The votes we received from our club fitters for the Gear Trials: Best Hybrids category were a little more diverse than the tally from our driver and fairway wood lists, but they all had one thing in common: each custom fitter voted Callaway’s X2 Hot hybrids as one of the best lineups in 2014.

The X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro look very different at address, but they reigned supreme in their categories thanks to the their Hyper Speed Cup Faces, which our panel said produced some of the fastest ball speeds they’ve ever seen from all-steel hybrids.

The X2 Hot (available in lofts of 19, 22, 25 and 28 degrees) is larger and more forgiving, and comes stock with a higher-launching Aldila Tour Blue proprietary hybrid shaft that weighs about 60 grams.

The X2 Hot Pro (available in lofts of 16, 18, 20 and 23 degrees) is considerably more compact for more versatility from less-than-ideal lies. It launches lower and spins less than the X2 Hot, making it a good fit for high-speed players. It comes stock with a lower-launching Aldila Tour Green Hybrid shaft that weighs about 75 grams.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.golfwrx.com/165341/review-callaway-x2-hot-hybrids/”]Read our review of X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro[/button]

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G97Q89U/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00G97Q89U&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy the X2 Hot[/button][button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G97Q22I/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00G97Q22I&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20″]Buy the X2 Hot Pro[/button][/colored_box]

Ping Anser Hybrid Gear Trials Balanced

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: Ping’s Anser hybrid was released in July 2012, making it old enough to fall under the “classic hybrids” tab on Ping’s website. Yet two years later, the club is still one of the best performing hybrids in golf.

Like Ping’s G25 hybrids, the Anser uses progressive CG positions (the CG is farther back in the lower lofts and farther forward in the higher lofts) to give golfers a mid-launching, mid-spinning trajectory. It’s not the longest hybrid in golf by any means, as our custom fitters noted, but it has all the forgiveness you’d expect from a Ping hybrid, especially on shots hit high and low on the clubface. The Anser is also easy for better players to work left-to-right or right-to-left, and its turf interaction is impressive from a variety of lies.

If you’re into Ping hybrids, choosing one from this list can be as simple as this:

  • Tend to miss shots on the heel and toe? You’re probably a good fit for the G25.
  • Tend to miss shots high and low on the face? You’re probably a good fit for the Anser.

The Anser hybrids come stock with Ping’s TFC 800H shaft in soft regular, regular, stiff and x-stiff flexes, and the shafts weigh between 74 and 88 grams depending on flex.[/colored_box]

Ping G25 Hybrids Gear Trials Balanced

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: If you’ve read our Gear Trials: Drivers and Gear Trials: Fairway Woods lists, you’ve likely noticed a trend. Ping’s G25 line has been a mainstay of our “Forgiveness-First” and “Balanced-Performance” categories, and the G25 hybrids are no exception.

The G25 hybrids are designed with a low, rearward center of gravity that makes them the most-forgiving models on this list. They’re particularly good on mishits on the heel and toe, our fitters noticed, helping those shots fly almost as far and as straight as shots hit on the center of the face.

In the lower lofts (17 and 20 degrees), the G25 hybrids are designed to be extremely high launching, but in the higher lofts, (23, 37 and 31 degrees) Ping engineers moved the CG of the clubs slightly more forward to remove excess spin. If you like the forgiveness of the G25 hybrids but find that they spin too much for you, Ping also offers its i25 hybrids, which retain most of the G25’s forgiveness and have a slightly lower-launching, lower-spinning trajectory.

The G25 hybrids come stock with Ping’s TFC 189F stock shaft in Soft R, R, S, Tour-Stiff and Tour X-Stiff flexes.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.golfwrx.com/110054/ping-g25-fairway-woods-and-hybrids-editor-review/”]Read here to read our review of the G25 hybrids[/button][/colored_box]

TaylorMade SLDR S Gear Trials Hybrids Balanced

[colored_box color=”white”]Tech Talk: Consider TaylorMade’s SLDR S a friendlier SLDR, with a little wider footprint and shallower face that helps golfers launch the clubs a little higher than the originals. Our testing revealed that the SLDR S hybrids are similar to the company’s JetSpeed models, but their lighter head weights, as well as their lighter and shorter shafts led to improved consistency from our testers.

Like the SLDR hybrids, the SLDR S hybrids are really long and low-spinning thanks to their low, forward CG and hot faces, which are made hotter and more consistent with the company’s Speed Pocket, a handlebar-shaped slot on the front of the sole.

The SLDR S hybrids are not adjustable, making a proper fit all-the-more important. They come in lofts of 19, 22, 25 and 28 degrees with Fujikura’s Speeder 72H shafts in M, R and S flexes.

[button color=”red” link=”http://www.golfwrx.com/207735/taylormade-unveils-new-sldr-s-woods-and-irons/”]Read more about the SLDR S line[/button] [button color=”red” link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JR528DQ/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00JR528DQ&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=XL4WC3XFEVFCVODE”]Buy the SLDR S[/button][/colored_box]

Looking for a new driver or fairway wood? Click here to read 2014 Gear Trials: Best Drivers and here to read our 2014 Gear Trials: Best Fairway Woods.

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Pingback: Hybrids Golfwrx - MassVideo

  2. Larry

    Nov 15, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    In Aisa somewhere, Golf is about the best score possible and the guys making the bucks are not using anything but what works for them, and the people paying them to use their namend clubs (as some of the pro gear is so customized a Callaway can work like a Ping Etc. if needs be). Answer to everyone the best club or clubs are the ones that work for you or you make work for you…If you swear by Ping or another club company odds are that companies clubs are going to work for you.

  3. Charles

    Jun 29, 2014 at 12:27 am

    My ping rapture DI will kill all of these picks

  4. PGG

    Jun 25, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    There’s no Ping i25, Cobra Bio Cell, or Mizuno Jpx Ez

  5. Martin

    Jun 23, 2014 at 6:04 am

    I tried most of them, bought the X2Hot Hybrids and they are everything the review says.

    Long and forgiving, point and shoot.

  6. Jim

    Jun 21, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Thanks for the great research and the time all the testers took to put these tests together. Of course everyone is going to have a different opinion, but you assembled a great list of 23 hybrids for the test.

    I moved from Mizuno JPX (17,19,22 and 25), which I hit extremely well, to Ping G25 (20-Degree) to match up better with my G25 Driver and 5-Fairway. I am extremely happy with the G25s for my game as they are both forgiving and consistent while still providing plenty of distance.

    The competition in this test was pretty fierce but from the many different hybrids I have hit this year, I couldn’t disagree with any of the test results.

  7. Dan

    Jun 20, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    I play the Cobra Baffler T-Rail+ 17* with the GD G70 R flex and it is the best hybrid I’ve played. It is straight, forgiving and just plain long. I did hit the Cleveland 588 the other day and if I change that will be the one I buy. Remember this all objective since everyone has their own opinions and favorites.

  8. LL

    Jun 20, 2014 at 10:54 am

    What about the Epon AF 902? Longest AND most forgiving.

  9. adam

    Jun 20, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Different strokes for different folks people. I’ve tested them all and Callaway X2 hots/pro’s were by far the best, FOR ME. I couldn’t get the Cobra Bio off the ground, G25 didn’t fly anywhere and the SLDR was inconsistent in toe/heel hits. All dependent on your swing speed, take away, etc…..

    • Bob

      Jun 20, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      As stated not everyone likes the same. I tried Titleist, Callaway, Adams, Nike and Cobra. I purchased the Cobra Bio Cell and loved it.
      Bob Handicap 9.5.

    • Fred

      Jun 20, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Just traded my G25 for a Titleist hybrid. Good choice. In the end, preference is an individual choice; a player needs to fit his or her abilities with the club they’re most comfortable with.

  10. Jared

    Jun 20, 2014 at 1:27 am

    913h with the Aldila Tour Green shaft is the best hybrid hands down. Best looks of all the hybrids, simple yet impressively smooth and quick with the red and grey lines along with the titleist logo towards the toe of the club. Shaft is just right and the feel is pretty impressive, not to pinggy off the face but not dull or dead feeling either, just a soid pop. Club is very workable, yet easy to hit straight when needed. I would reccommend to all, I think you will be satisfied with the quality and titleist doesn’t release clubs every other month so it will still be current for many years. It’s may cost a little more initially but it’s cheaper in the long run because titleist clubs maintain value because there’s not always a “newer model (ex. Taylormade) of the club. ” Titleist also provides better stock shaft selections than any other company. Not only are you getting a good club, but you also are getting a premium shaft.

  11. Chris

    Jun 19, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    4 TMG products? (2 Adams and 2 Taylor Made). Not exactly a diverse selection. Cobra Bio Cell should have been included in the testing.

    • Charles

      Jun 19, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      I’m willing to bet it was. I asked for a list for the fairway woods Gear Trials and they promptly provided one.. The list was pretty large honestly.. Can we please get a list of the hybrids tested? Thanks!

      • Zak Kozuchowski

        Jun 20, 2014 at 9:58 am

        Charles,

        Here’s the list of hybrids tested:

        Adams Idea (2014)
        Adams Pro
        Adams Pro Mini
        Adams XTD Ti
        Callaway X2 Hot
        Callaway X2 Hot Pro
        Cobra Baffler XL
        Cleveland 588
        Cobra Bio Cell
        Mizuno JPX-EZ
        Nike Covert 2.0
        Nike Covert 2.0 Tour
        Ping Anser
        Ping G25
        Ping i25
        TaylorMade JetSpeed
        TaylorMade SLDR
        TaylorMade SLDR S
        Titleist 913H
        Titleist 913 H.d
        Tour Edge Exotics XCG7
        Tour Edge Exotics XCG7 Beta
        Wilson Staff M3

        • Owen

          Jun 20, 2014 at 8:31 pm

          Where are theRoyal Collection hybrids? Renowned in Asia as the best.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Jun 20, 2014 at 10:37 am

      I posted a list of the hybrids tested, and that list included the Cobra Bio Cell.

      With Gear Trials, we’re not out to provide a diverse selection. It’s our leaderboard of the top-performing golf clubs currently available in each category. Most of the hybrids we tested performed admirably, but some were just a little better. We think those are the clubs golfers want to know about and want to demo.

  12. Tom

    Jun 19, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Can I get a list of all the hybrids tested? Any driving irons?

  13. sk33tr

    Jun 19, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Totally shocked Mizuno’s JPX-EZ did not make the list. I tested every club on here. Flabbergasted. Only the G25 was close.

    • Fred

      Jun 20, 2014 at 8:51 pm

      I agree. The entire line of JPX irons and woods have continually gotten excellent marks in tests.

  14. Mason

    Jun 19, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Given how well reviewed the bio cell has been, I am surprised to see it totally off the list.

    • Mason

      Jun 19, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      Drivers and fairways.

      • Matt

        Jun 19, 2014 at 6:44 pm

        I agree on the Cobra line this year; I have the Bio cell 4-5 hybrid and tested out against many of those listed and it beat them out hands down on distance and especially forgiveness. I guess when you have a fat bank you can buy your results. Others including My Golf Spy did real people testing and the Bio cell was listed very high there to as well I think Golf Digest rated them high.
        It is a shame that in today’s golf world where they want to get more people to play you get biased results based on who pays you more. Just my opinion on all this but many different tests have always listed Cobra gear high they suddenly do not even score at all here? Adams- 2 clubs owned by TMAG lol honest results? thoughts?

    • Toots

      Jun 19, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      Must have not spent enough money with Golf Digest this year. You guys really need to learn something with MGS.

  15. Chris

    Jun 19, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    All of these hybrids have their pros and cons. Personally i’ll stick with my Mizuno JPX-EZ hybrids. easy to hit off the deck and get elevated but with a deeper face then most hybrids, they are just bombers off a tee. more versatile for me at least

    • Fred

      Jun 20, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      Chris: I’ve heard the same, as well. Again, it’s personal preference. Go to a golf store and forget about the tests. Just swing some clubs. Eventually, one with win over the others.

  16. Josh

    Jun 19, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    My Adams Super 9031 w/ Diamana D+ will have to be stolen or explode before I change. Bought a backup off eBay for 79 dollars brand new in plastic so I’m good for a while. Without question the most versatile club I own.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Jun 19, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      That’s been a great club for many golfers, Josh. Readers should note that Adams’ new Pro Mini was designed on the Super 9031 platform, so you’d probably like that one, too.

      • Josh

        Jun 19, 2014 at 3:02 pm

        Couldn’t agree more Zak. That Pro Mini with the tour green looks like a phenomenal combo.

  17. Nick

    Jun 19, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Would be interesting to see numbers of new clubs vs a few years ago as hybrids are a trusty stick that stays in the bag for a while….

  18. derrick

    Jun 19, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Maybe I should have waited on updating my Mashies to the Cleveland 588 hybrids. I didn’t try several of these on the list.

    • E

      Jun 19, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      Derrick, put the 588 hybrid head-to-head against any competitor out there and see how it stacks up. It’s Cleveland’s longest hybrid ever and just as playable as the Mashie!

      • Dig

        Jun 21, 2014 at 10:50 pm

        I agree E. I hit the Launcher 19* hybrid for 5 years and just replaced it with the 588. Picked up 4 yds carry with the exact shaft from the launcher and same loft. It really just depends what you are used to. I like the shape, offset and have bagged Cleveland hybrids since the Halo days(I actually still use the LDI 21* as my 3 Iron!) The only other hybrid that appeals to me currently is the Ping Anser.

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pga tour

Ian Poulter WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Honda Classic (2/20/2018).

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Orange CK 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik TP7HDe 7X

Hybrid: Titleist 816 H2 (21 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green ATX85H TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shaft: Project X LZ 130 7.0

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52-12F, 56-14F, 60-04L)
Shaft: Project X LZ 7.0 (52), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (56, 60)

Putter: EvnRoll Tour ER
Grip: Odyssey Pistol

Putter: Rife Antigua Island Series
Grip: Odyssey Pistol

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Poulter’s clubs. 

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Equipment

10 interesting photos from Wednesday at the Honda Classic

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From our featured image of Rory McIlroy putting in a different kind of work on the range in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday morning, to shots of Tiger Woods’ similarly early pre-pro-am range work, to some intriguing shots Patrick Reed’s prototype Bettinardi putter, GolfWRX has plenty of fantastic photo content from PGA National.

Here are some of the best shots from Wednesday.

Tiger Woods at work prior to his crack-of-dawn pro-am tee time. Gentleman in the foreground: You do know that as the sun has not yet risen, you do not need a hat to aggressively combat its rays, right?

“My feet do not look like that at impact.”

All eyes on the Big Cat…except those focused on the live video on their cell phone screens…

Let’s take a closer look at Patrick Reed’s yardage book cover. Yep. As expected.

Do you think these two ever talk?

It looks like Captain Furyk already has some pre-Ryder Cup swag in the form of a putter cover.

If you’ve ever wondered why Rickie Fowler selected these interesting locations for his tattoos, this may be the answer: Visible when he holds his finish.

We’ve got a Pistol Pete sighting!

Patrick Reed’s droolworthy Bettinardi Dass prototype.

Fun fact: Wedges double as magnetic putter cover holders, as Jon Curran illustrates here. Healthy application of lead tape, as well, from the tour’s resident graffiti artist.

Wednesday’s Photos

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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Accessory Reviews

Review: FlightScope Mevo

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In 100 Words

The Mevo is a useful practice tool for amateur golfers and represents a step forward from previous offerings on the market. It allows golfers to practice indoors or outdoors and provides club speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, spin rate, carry distance and flight time.

It also has a video capture mode that will overlay swing videos with the swing data of a specific swing. It is limited in its capabilities and its accuracy, though, which golfers should expect at this price point. All in all, it’s well worth the $499 price tag if you understand what you’re getting.

The Full Review

The FlightScope Mevo is a launch monitor powered by 3D Doppler radar. With a retail price of $499, it is obviously aimed to reach the end consumer as opposed to PGA professionals and club fitters.

The Mevo device itself is tiny. Like, really tiny. It measures 3.5-inches wide, 2.8-inches tall and 1.2-inches deep. In terms of everyday products, it’s roughly the size of an Altoids tin. It’s very easy to find room for it in your golf bag, and the vast majority of people at the range you may be practicing at won’t even notice it’s there. Apart from the Mevo itself, in the box you get a quick start guide, a charging cable, a carrying pouch, and some metallic stickers… more on those later. It has a rechargeable internal battery that reaches a full charge in about two hours and lasts for about four hours when fully charged.

As far as software goes, the Mevo pairs with the Mevo Golf app on your iOS or Android device. The app is free to download and does not require any subscription fees (unless you want to store and view videos of your swing online as opposed to using the memory on your device). The app is very easy to use even for those who aren’t tech savvy. Make sure you’re using the most current version of the firmware for the best results, though (I did experience some glitches at first until I did so). The settings menu does have an option to manually force firmware writing, but updates should happen automatically when you start using the device.

Moving through the menus, beginning sessions, editing shots (good for adding notes on things like strike location or wind) are all very easy. Video mode did give me fits the first time I used it, though, as it was impossible to maintain my connection between my phone and the Mevo while having the phone in the right location to capture video properly. The only way I could achieve this was by setting the Mevo as far back from strike location as the device would allow. Just something to keep in mind if you find you’re having troubles with video mode.

Screenshot of video capture mode with the FlightScope Mevo

Using the Mevo

When setting up the Mevo, it needs to be placed between 4-7 feet behind the golf ball, level with the playing surface and pointed down the target line. The distance you place the Mevo behind the ball does need to be entered into the settings menu before starting your session. While we’re on that subject, before hitting balls, you do need to select between indoor, outdoor, and pitching (ball flight less than 20 yards) modes, input your altitude and select video or data mode depending on if you want to pair your data with videos of each swing or just see the data by itself. You can also edit the available clubs to be monitored, as you will have to tell the Mevo which club you’re using at any point in time to get the best results. Once you get that far, you’re pretty much off to the races.

Testing the Mevo

I tested the FlightScope Mevo with Brad Bachand at Man O’ War Golf Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Brad is a member of the PGA and has received numerous awards for golf instruction and club fitting. I wanted to put the Mevo against the best device FlightScope has to offer and, luckily, Brad does use his $15,000 FlightScope X3 daily. We had both the FlightScope Mevo and Brad’s FlightScope X3 set up simultaneously, so the numbers gathered from the two devices were generated from the exact same strikes. Brad also set up the two devices and did all of the ball striking just to maximize our chances for success.

The day of our outdoor session was roughly 22 degrees Fahrenheit. There was some wind on that day (mostly right to left), but it wasn’t a major factor. Our setup is pictured below.

Outdoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our outdoor testing are shown below. The testing was conducted with range balls, and we did use the metallic stickers. The range balls used across all the testing were all consistently the same brand. Man O’ War buys all new range balls once a year and these had been used all throughout 2017.  The 2018 batch had not yet been purchased at the time that testing was conducted.

Raw outdoor data captured with range balls including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

You’ll notice some peculiar data in the sand wedge spin category. To be honest, I don’t fully know what contributed to the X3 measuring such low values. While the Mevo’s sand wedge spin numbers seem more believable, you could visibly see that the X3 was much more accurate on carry distance. Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our outdoor session when separated out for each club. As previously mentioned, though, take sand wedge spin with a grain of salt.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (outdoor testing).

The first thing we noticed was that the Mevo displays its numbers while the golf ball is still in midair, so it was clear that it wasn’t watching the golf ball the entire time like the X3. According to the Mevo website, carry distance, height and flight time are all calculated while club speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate are measured. As for the accuracy of the measured parameters, the Mevo’s strength is ball speed. The accuracy of the other measured ball parameters (launch angle and spin rate) is questionable depending on certain factors (quality of strike, moisture on the clubface and ball, quality of ball, etc). I would say it ranges between “good” or “very good” and “disappointing” with most strikes being categorized as “just okay.”

As for the calculated parameters of carry distance, height and time, those vary a decent amount. Obviously, when the measurements of the three inputs become less accurate, the three outputs will become less accurate as a result. Furthermore, according to FlightScope, the Mevo’s calculations are not accounting for things like temperature, humidity, and wind. The company has also stated, though, that future updates will likely adjust for these parameters by using location services through the app.

Now, let’s talk about those metallic stickers. According to the quick start guide, the Mevo needs a sticker on every golf ball you hit, and before you hit each ball, the ball needs to be placed such that the sticker is facing the target. It goes without saying that it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to spend time putting those stickers on every ball, let alone balls that will never come back to you if you’re at a public driving range. Obviously, people are going to want to avoid using the stickers if they can, so do they really matter? Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls with and without the use of the stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you use the metallic stickers and when you don’t

The FlightScope website says that the metallic stickers “are needed in order for the Mevo to accurately measure ball spin.” We observed pretty much the same as shown in the table above. The website also states they are working on alternative solutions to stickers (possibly a metallic sharpie), which I think is wise.

Another thing we thought would be worth testing is the impact of different golf balls. Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls as compared to Pro V1’s. All of this data was collected using the metallic stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you switch from range balls to Pro V1’s

As shown above, the data gets much closer virtually across the board when you use better quality golf balls. Just something else to keep in mind when using the Mevo.

Indoor testing requires 8 feet of ball flight (impact zone to hitting net), which was no problem for us. Our setup is pictured below. All of the indoor testing was conducted with Titleist Pro V1 golf balls using the metallic stickers.

Indoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our indoor session are shown below.

Raw indoor data captured with Pro V1’s including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our indoor session when separated out for each club.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (indoor testing)

On the whole, the data got much closer together between the two devices in our indoor session. I would think a lot of that can be attributed to the use of quality golf balls and to removing outdoor factors like wind and temperature (tying into my previous comment above).

As far as overall observations between all sessions, the most striking thing was that the Mevo consistently gets more accurate when you hit really good, straight shots. When you hit bad shots, or if you hit a fade or a draw, it gets less and less accurate.

The last parameter to address is club speed, which came in around 5 percent different on average between the Mevo and X3 based on all of the shots recorded. The Mevo was most accurate with the driver at 2.1 percent different from the X3 over all strikes and it was the least accurate with sand wedge by far. Obviously, smash factor accuracy will follow club speed for the most part since ball speed is quite accurate. Over every shot we observed, the percent difference on ball speed was 1.2 percent on average between the Mevo and the X3. Again, the Mevo was least accurate with sand wedges. If I remove all sand wedge shots from the data, the average percent difference changes from 1.2 percent to 0.7 percent, which is very, very respectable.

When it comes to the different clubs used, the Mevo was by far most accurate with mid irons. I confirmed this with on-course testing on a relatively flat 170-yard par-3 as well. Carry distances in that case were within 1-2 yards on most shots (mostly related to quality of strike). With the driver, the Mevo was reasonably close, but I would also describe it as generous. It almost always missed by telling me that launch angle was higher, spin rate was lower and carry distance was farther than the X3. Generally speaking, the Mevo overestimated our driver carries by about 5 percent. Lastly, the Mevo really did not like sand wedges at all. Especially considering those shots were short enough that you could visibly see how far off the Mevo was with its carry distance. Being 10 yards off on a 90 yard shot was disappointing.

Conclusion

The Mevo is a really good product if you understand what you’re getting when you buy it. Although the data isn’t good enough for a PGA professional, it’s still a useful tool that gives amateurs reasonable feedback while practicing. It’s also a fair amount more accurate than similar products in its price range, and I think it could become even better with firmware updates as Flightscope improves upon its product.

This is a much welcomed and very promising step forward in consumer launch monitors, and the Mevo is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for one.

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