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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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Equipment

Members’ Choice: The top-5 drivers that golfers want to test in 2018

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Golf’s “off-season” is upon us and the PGAM Show in Orlando is quickly approaching in January, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming driver releases.

We’ve seen a few companies launch their “2018” lines already — such as Cobra with its new King F8 and F8+ — while speculation swirls around the companies who have yet to announce their newest products. For instance, we’ve spotted a new “TaylorMade M4″ driver, and a new “Rogue” driver from Callaway. If history repeats itself and Titleist remains on a two-year product cycle, then we’ll see a replacement for the 917 line sometime in 2018, as well.

The question we posed to our GolfWRX Members recently was, which new or unreleased driver has you most excited heading into 2018? Below are the results and a selection of comments about each driver.

Click here to join the discussion!

Note: The comments below have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar. 

Titleist (7.39 percent of votes)

BDoubleG: I know it’s well down the road, but the Titleist 919 is what I’m most looking forward to. I played the 910 until this year and loved it, but I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of distance gains with the 915/917, and I was just leaving too many yards on the table. I know it’s a cliche, but I was seeing considerable gains with my G400LS, then my M2 I have now.

I feel like Titleist has been hurting in the driver market share category (and probably elsewhere), as I think a lot of people think that the 913, 915 and 917 have been minor refreshes in a world where almost everyone else has been experimenting with structure (jailbreak, turbulators) or with COG (spaceports, SLDR, G-series extreme back CG). I think if Titleist is going to recapture some of their market share, they will need to start taking an interest in stepping outside of their comfort zone to catch up with everyone else. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but a D2-style head with ample forgiveness and low-spin (maybe a back-front weight), with the same great sound of the 917, and hopefully getting rid of the “battery taped to the sole” look would be a huge hit in my book.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with…and I hope I’m not disappointed.

Mizuno GT-180 or otherwise (8.87 percent of votes)

mrmikeac: After thoroughly testing the Mizuno ST-180 and seeing the distance gains I was getting from my Epic, I can’t wait for the GT to get here. Cobra would be next in line for me, but Mizzy really did something special with that JPX-900 and it seems to look like they’re going the same route with these drivers. Excellent feel, forgiveness and simple but effective tech. 

Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero or otherwise (17.73 percent of votes)

cvhookem63: It seems like we’re not getting a lot of “NEW” this time — just some same lines “improved” on a little. I’m interested to try the Rogue line and M3/M4 line to see if they improved on their previous models. The Cobra F8+ is intriguing to me, as well. I’d like to compare those three to see how they stack up. 

tj7644: Callaway Rogue. It’s gotta make me hit straighter drives right? It sure can’t be my swing…

Equipto: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, and that’s about it. Most of my testing will be with shafts I presume. 

bangabain: Excited to give the Rogue a shot, although with the hope that there’s a little more fade bias despite the lack of sliding weight.

TaylorMade M3, M4 or otherwise (27.09 percent of votes)

DeCuchi: TaylorMade M3 of course, and the F8+. I’m more interested in the fairways this year though. TaylorMade M4 fairways and Rogue fairways are top of my list. 

elwhippy: TaylorMade M3 and M4. Not owned a TM driver for several seasons and want something with a bit more power than the Ping G Series…

cradd10: M3. Still rocking an OG M1. Super solid driver. Curious to see if the updated version can beat it. 

Cobra F8/F8+ (33.66 percent of votes)

WAxORxDCxSC: I sure want to like the F8 based on looks (I understand I’m possibly in the minority on that one at GolfWRX).

TWshoot67: For me, it’s three drivers: the Cobra F8, F8+ and TM M4. 

The General: Cobra F8 is going to dominate everything, just wait, on the F8

Ace2000: Definitely F8/F8+. Love my Bio Cell+ and can’t help but wonder if these perform as good as they look. 

Click here to join the discussion!

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Equipment

True Linkswear goes back to its spikeless roots

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True Linkswear is getting back to its roots, while expanding the singular golf shoe brand’s reach at the same time.

The Tacoma, Washington, company’s Director/Partner, Justin Turner, told us that with the release of the two new models, the company is course-correcting from a move toward the mainstream, spiked golf shoes, and a loss of identity.

In addition to durability issues, Turner said the core True Linkswear customer didn’t appreciate the shift — or the deluge of models that followed.

So, in a sense, the two-model lineup both throws a bone to True devotees and casts a wider net.

Turner and company asked: “If we wanted to restart the brand….what would we value?” A commitment to the brand’s core outsider identity, style as articulated in early models, and an emphasis on quality led Turner on multiple trips to China to survey suppliers in early 2017. Eventually, the company settled on a manufacturing partner with a background in outdoor gear and hiking shoes.

“We’ve spent the last few years scouring the globe for the best material sourcing, reputable factories, advanced construction techniques, and time-tested fundamentals to build our best shoes yet. No cheap synthetics, no corners cut.”

Eventually, True settled on two designs: The Original, which, not surprisingly, has much in common with the zero-drop 2009 industry disrupting model, and the Outsider: a more athletic-style shoe positioned to attract a broader audience.

True Linkswear Original: $149

The company emphasizes the similarity in feel between the Original and early True Linkswear models, suggesting that players will feel and connect to the course “in a whole new way.”

  • Gray, White, Black colorways
  • Waterproof full grain leather
  • Thin sole with classic True zero-drop heel
  • 12.1 oz
  • Sockfit liner for comfort
  • Natural width box toe

True Linkswear Outsider: $169

With the Outsider, True Linkswear asked: “What if a golf shoe could be more? Look natural in more environments?”

  • Grey/navy, black, white colorways
  • EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Full grain waterproof leather
  • 13.1 oz (thicker midsole than the Original)

The company envisions both shoes being worn on course and off.

True Linkswear introduced the more durable and better-performing Cross Life Tread with both models. Turner says the tread is so good, you can wear the shoes hiking.

Both models are available now through the company website only. True Linkswear plans to enter retail shops slowly and selectively.

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Equipment

Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker’s Winning WITBs from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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The team of Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair closed the QBE Shootout with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot win over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. O’Hair made a timely eagle on the par-5 17th hole at Tiburon Golf Club to lock up the first place prize of $820,000 ($410,000 each).

Here’s a look at their bags.

Sean O’Hair

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Prototype 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Limited Edition 70TX

5 Wood: Titleist 915F (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Limited Edition 80TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4-iron), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 prototype (50, 54 and 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron prototype

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Related: Sean O’Hair WITB

Steve Stricker

Driver: Titleist 913D3 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2X

3 Wood: Titleist 915F (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 80TX Prototype

Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (17.0 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X

Irons: Titleist 718 CB (3-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour Prototype

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (46, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 w/ Sensicore

Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related: Steve Stricker WITB 2017

Note: We originally reported Stricker had a Scotty Cameron putter in the bag, per Titleist’s equipment report. Stricker did, however, have a Odyssey White Hot putter in play during the final round of the QBE Shootout.

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