Following the trend of new drivers and fairway woods, hybrid clubs have become much lower spinning than their predecessors in recent years. It’s a change that has widened their target audience from golfers looking to replace their long irons with clubs that fly higher and stop quicker on the greens, to… just about any golfer.
How do you know if you should consider a new hybrid? If you’ve ever wished that your current long irons or hybrids carried farther, that’s a pretty good indication that an updated model could be good for your game.
Our 2015 Gear Trials: Best Hybrids are plenty long, but they’re also very forgiving. So even if you’re not interested in hitting your clubs farther, you could still find more consistency from one of the six models below.
The clubs and subsequent ratings were selected by our Gear Trials Panel, six of the top-rated custom golf clubs fitters in the world. Our 2015 Gear Trials Panel includes:
- Carl’s Golfland (Michigan)
- Cool Clubs (15 locations in 4 countries)
- Haggin Oaks (California)
- Miles of Golf (Michigan, Ohio)
- Modern Golf (Canada)
- True Spec Golf (Bahamas/Miami/NYC)
While reviewing each of the 2015 Best Hybrids below, remember the purpose of the clubs. They bridge the gap between a golfer’s shortest fairway wood and the longest iron they can hit consistently. Some golfers can make that transition without a hybrid, while others may need several hybrids.
The best way to learn if a hybrid is good for you, or how many hybrids you might need, is to go through a professional fitting — but if that’s not an option for you, you can use our rating to your advantage. The hybrids that scored highest in our Distance Ratings tend to work best for golfers looking to shed spin, while the clubs that score high in our Forgiveness Ratings tend to be more consistent on mishits.
Along with our six winners, we’ve also listed three lower-spinning alternatives: Callaway’s XR Pro, TaylorMade’s AeroBurner TP and Titleist’s 915Hd. These clubs will work best for a smaller percentage of golfers than our six best hybrids, but they’re fueled by the same technologies as our winners.
Note: The list below is in alphabetical order.
Callaway Big Bertha
- Headsize: 126cc (3 hybrid)
- Adjustable Hosel: Yes, 3-degree range
- Price: $249.99
You might be surprised to see Callaway’s Big Bertha hybrids, which were released alongside the company’s Big Bertha irons in the Fall of 2014, make our list. If so, you probably haven’t hit them.
“The Big Bertha is hard to miss,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.
The reason to play a Big Bertha hybrid over the higher-rated XR hybrids are:
- Their larger size, which makes them appear more fairway wood-like than any other hybrid on this list.
- They’re adjustable, which allows golfers to dial in the exact loft and lie angle they need to get the most out of the clubs.
Like the XR hybrids, the Big Bertha hybrids use Callaway’s Hyper Speed Face cups to boost their ball speeds and forgiveness. They’re slightly higher-spinning than the XR, however, which will work very well for their target audience of slower swing speed golfers. But higher swing speed players shouldn’t count them out — particularly the 3 hybrid when adjusted to 18 degrees.
The Big Bertha hybrids are offered in lofts of 19, 22, 25, 28 and 32 degrees.
- Headsize: 122cc (3 hybrid)
- Adjustable Hosel: No
- Price: $219.99
Callaway’s XR is likely the longest hybrid on this list, receiving the highest possible rating of 10 in distance, and thanks to Callaway’s slick engineering, it also ties for first in forgiveness (9.5) with Ping’s G30 hybrid.
“This should be the first hybrid you test,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.
Like Callaway’s XR fairway woods, the XR hybrids set themselves apart from the competition with a mid-sized club head that offers a high launch, relatively low spin and more forgiveness than its predecessors. They’re offered in lofts of 19, 22, 25 and 28 degrees.
Our lone request for 2016: Can you make future models adjustable, Callaway?
Want a more iron-like hybrid? Callaway’s XR Pro hybrids ($229.99) measure a slim 98cc at 20 degrees, and offer a lower-spinning trajectory that many better players prefer from their hybrids. They’re offered in lofts of 16, 18, 20 and 23 degrees, but we recommend the 20- and 23-degree models in particular as 3- and 4-iron replacements. We wouldn’t be surprised if you carried them as far, if not farther, than your older, lower-lofted hybrids
- Our review of Callaway’s XR and XR Pro hybrids.
- Learn more about Callaway’s XR Drivers, Fairway Woods and Hybrids.
- Headsize: 105cc (3-4 hybrid)
- Adjustable Hosel: Yes, 4-degree range
- Price: $199.99
Cobra’s Fly-Z hybrid is sized like a better-player hybrid, but packs the forgiveness we’d expect from a larger model. That’s thanks to its rearward center of gravity (CG), which boosts consistency.
“Fly-Z, like [Cobra’s] Bio Cell last year, will still perform for the average player,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.
If you’re a high-spin player, however, the Fly-Z might not be for you. It’s one of the highest-spinning models on this list, which is the reason for its relatively low Distance Rating (8).
Like the Fly-Z fairway woods, the strength of the Fly-Z hybrids is their versatility. They’re offered in three models: a 2-3 hybrid that adjusts from 16-19 degrees, a 3-4 hybrid that adjusts from 19-22 degrees and a 4-5 hybrid that adjusts from 22-25 degrees. Its wide-ranging adjustability is a great tool to have if you need to fill a specific yardage gap in your bag.
- Headsize: 110cc
- Adjustable Hosel: No
- Price: $229.99
“G30 gets the ball up in the air easy, and is on par with the G25 with slightly more ease to height,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.”
The G30 hybrids use a new heat-treated 17-4 stainless steel face that boosts their characteristic time (CT), a measure of spring-like effect, 20 points higher than the G25 hybrids. They’re still not as long as other hybrids on this list, but they offer a noticeable improvement in ball speed over past G-Series hybrids, and with their similar trajectory that means they’ll likely carry a few yards farther for most golfers.
There’s no turbulators on the G30 hybrids, due to their smaller, more aerodynamic size, but the shape of the hybrids was tweaked from the G25 to include a flatter top rail and a higher heel section that gives them a more square appearance at address. We like the look, and see it as a change that will be enjoyed by the majority of golfers.
We wish the G30 hybrids were adjustable, but they are offered in five lofts: 17, 19, 22, 26 and 30 degrees. The higher-lofted models, because of the G30’s higher-spinning nature, are great for golfers looking for more stopping power on the greens, while the 17-degree model will be enjoyed by better players seeking a replacement for a pesky driving iron or a troublesome 4 or 5 wood.
- Headsize: 112cc (19 degrees)
- Adjustable Hosel: No
- Price: $229.99
What the AeroBurner lacks in forgiveness, it makes up for in horsepower. Golfers may or may not be able to hit it as far as Callaway’s XR, but the AeroBurner offers a unique shape that’s intriguing for those who haven’t found much success with traditional hybrid shapes. It’s also one of the highest-launching, if not the highest-launching hybrid on this list.
The calling card of the AeroBurner, however, is speed — from its Aerodynamic crown shape and its lighter weight, which will convert to more swing speed and more distance for some golfers. The AeroBurner hybrids are not adjustable, but they are available in lofts of 19, 22, 25 and 28 degrees.
Need more fade bias? TaylorMade’s AeroBurner TP hybrids ($269.99) offer golfers a more traditionally weighted hybrid. They’re the same size as the standard versions, but come with heavier heads and shafts that tend to give better players more control over trajectory. They also have a 2-degree flatter lie angle and a 1-degree more upright face angle that will please golfers who have struggled with the hybrid hooks in the past. They’re available in lofts of 19 and 22 degrees.
- Headsize: 118cc
- Adjustable Hosel: Yes, 2.25-degree range
- Price: $249.99
Looks aren’t a factor in our Best Hybrids list ratings, but if they were, Titleist’s 915H would likely be the winner.
The 915H’s pear-shaped head is large enough to inspire confidence, but not too large as to limit versatility. While the 915H is not the longest hybrid on this list, or the most forgiving, it’s great in both areas, and offers noticeably more ball speed than previous hybrids from Titleist thanks to the company’s new Active Recoil Channel — a deep slot that extends across the entirety of the club face. For that reason, we recommend trying a higher-lofted version of your current hybrid, if you carry one.
Titleist’s 915H is fully adjustable, and is available in lofts of 18, 21, 24 and 27 degrees. It comes stock with the best selection of stock shafts on this list: four “real deal” models from Aldila and Mitsubishi Rayon that are available in a wide range of weights, bend points and flexes.
Need less spin? Titleist’s 915Hd ($249.99) offers the same technology as the 915H hybrids, and is roughly 100-200 rpm lower spinning. It also has a slightly smaller club head (107cc) that many better players will prefer. The 915Hd hybrids are offered in lofts of 17.5, 20.5 and 23.5 degrees. We recommend the 20.5-degree model as a 3-iron replacement for better players looking for more carry distance and consistency.
- 2015 Gear Trials: Best Drivers
- 2015 Gear Trials: Best Fairway Woods
- 2015 Gear Trials: Best Game-Improvement Irons
- 2015 Gear Trials: Best Players Irons