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Best hybrids of 2021: By club fitters for you!

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The best hybrid for your game is going to be the one that gives you the greatest opportunity to both score and save shots during your round of golf.

In 2021, we have seen a continued expansion of hybrid options from every manufacturer with models designed to fit golfers of all skill levels and clubhead speeds to the point that some manufacturers offer models all the way down to 8-iron-replacement lofts. These hybrids all utilize new technology and manufacturing methods to launch golf balls higher, faster, and farther, while also offering forgiveness. It’s now easier than ever to find the right one that matches your swing and fits into your set.

You have to think of your set of clubs like a toolbox with a 14-tool capacity. It’s extremely important to make sure each and every tool has a defined role to make navigating around the course as stress-free as possible. Hybrids play an important part in that selection process.

That being said, ultimately the best way to find the best hybrid or hybrids for you is to work with a professional fitter using a launch monitor and gap them accordingly. The difficult part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders—so at GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.

The methodology is simple: We want to give you the tools and information to go out and find what works best for you, and we’re offering recommendations based on exactly what you need from your hybrids.

GolfWRX best hybrid of 2021: Meet the fitters

Nick Sherburne: Founder, Club Champion
Clare Cornelius: Fitter,
Cool Clubs
Eric Johnson: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Shaun Fagan: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Kirk Oguri: PGA Professional/ Club Specialist, Pete’s Golf
Sue O’Connor: Fitter, Cool Clubs 
Scott Felix: Owner, Felix Club Works
Mark Knapp: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Ryan Johnson: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Eric Hensler: Manager & Fitter, 
Miles of Golf
Brad Coffield: Fitter Carls Golfland
Nick Waterworth: Fitter, Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop
Adam White: Co-Founder & Director of Club Fitting, Measured Golf
Scott Anderson: VP of Sales, Fitter, True Spec Golf
Matthew Sim: Director of Operations, Modern Golf
Ian Fraser: CEO & Founder, Tour Experience Golf
Mike Martysiewicz: Director of Club Fitting & Building, Tour Experience Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Ben Giunta: Owner, The Tour Van

Best hybrid of 2021: The categories

We have broken our 2021 best hybrid list into two categories.

  1. Best hybrid for golfers seeking forgiveness 
  2. Best hybrid for golfers seeking versatility

We selected this format for hybrid clubs because every golfer fits into one of these two “want” categories, regardless of age, handicap, or gender. For many golfers, forgiveness is the number one factor when selecting the hybrids that will go into their bag.

Before we started building the survey, we reached out to our trusted fitters to discuss how they sort through the hybrid club options available to golfers. Forgiveness and versatility were the highest-ranked choices.

We can’t thank the fitters enough for their time, and we hope that in your search for your best fairway wood for 2021, we can help you find it!

Most forgiving hybrids 2021

Ping G425

The best way to describe the Ping G425 hybrids is as mini iron-replacing fairway woods. The hybrids share all of the same Facewrap and Spinsistency technologies as the G425 fairways but are intended to launch higher and stop faster to create playable trajectories for golfers who need stopping power—all the way down to a 7-iron-replacing 34 degree.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Ping G425 Max fairway wood launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • The shallower look of the Ping G425 hybrid is a confidence-boosting club for golfers of all skill levels. Even with the shallow face, spin stays in a very manageable range even on the common lower face miss.
  • This should be a go-to hybrid for anyone buying off the shelf because of its extremely stable performance and the ability to adjust the hosel to reduce dispersion.

TaylorMade SIM2 Max Rescue

The new SIM2 Max hybrid offers everything golfers loved from the previous version with a newly refined sole geometry to increase forgiveness and deliver more consistent results. The SIM2 Max Rescue has a C300 maraging steel face and comes with the now-familiar Twist Face, which only became a feature in the Rescue line last year.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 TaylorMade SIM2 Max hybrid launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • The SIM2 Max took everything that was great about the 2020 version and just made it that much better. For players who use their hybrid out of the rough to advance the ball as much as possible, the rounded leading edge and V-Steel sole are a big help.
  • The slightly upright lie angle and internal weighting made the SIM2 Max ever so slightly draw-biased to help reduce the right miss and help get the ball in the air quickly.

Titleist TSi1

Titleist has never put a large focus of its R&D into hybrids designed for moderate speed players. Instead, most of the work has been used to focus on hybrids designed for higher speed golfers—that is until now. Like the rest of the TSi1 metal woods, the hybrids are about greater MOI and launch, and the new TSi1’s are the highest MOI hybrid Titleist has ever built. They are on average 20 grams lighter than a standard hybrid and feature a larger profile “wood-style” design to generate more green holding spin.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Titleist TSi1 hybrid launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • As a stock package, I don’t believe there is a hybrid that wants to launch higher than the TSi1. If you need some extra speed and height, you need to try this.
  • You can almost think of the TSi1 hybrid like a mini fairway wood—it just wants to go high and straight. If you find yourself hitting shots on the front portions of greens and they are rolling all the way through the green then you need more spin and a steeper descent angle and you will get that with these hybrids.

Callaway Big Bertha B21

These are a combination of everything Callaway has learned from previous game-improvement hybrid designs mixed with its most recent Super Hybrid. The B-21’s pack a major punch, all the way down to an available 8-iron hybrid.

The most important technology brought over from the Super Hybrid is the MIM (metal injection molded) tungsten weights strategically placed at the heel and toe of each club and optimized for loft and head weight. This puts upwards of 70 grams, or more than 30 percent of the club head’s total mass (depending on the loft), around the perimeter to boost MOI and raise launch. Raising launch also means shots that land with a steeper angle of descent, equalling greater stopping power.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Callaway Big Bertha B21 hybrid launch piece

Fitter Notes

  • The Callaway B-21 knows who it is and just gets the job done—it helps golfers that slice the ball hit higher straighter shorts.
  • The higher lofts available in this club can make the game fun again for golfers that have lost speed and need help getting their mid irons up into the air.
  • Max forgiveness style hybrids need to be stable because they are going to be used all over the course and that stability around the face is where the B-21 delivers.

Titleist TSi2

The TSi2 (and TSi3) hybrids feature a forged carpenter 455 steel face, which, much like the previous generation, has allowed the designers to save mass and reposition it around the head to maximize the playing characteristics for each model, which is particularly important considering how much design separation has been created.

The TSi2 is a hybrid designed with the perfect balance between optimizing forgiveness while also offering playability for golfers with a more shallow delivery into the ball. Compared to the TSi3, which is one of the smallest hybrids Titleist has ever produced, and the TSi1 which is the largest, the TSi2 fits comfortably in the middle in terms of size and has low and deeper CG to create higher launch conditions for those who need it.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Titleist TSi2 hybrid launch piece

Fitter Notes

  • The Titleist TSi2 hybrid offers the most “classic” profile, but it’s packed with technology to create forgiveness—most importantly the SureFit adjustable hosel. If you need help with the weaker miss to the right, an upright setting can really help with that.
  • It’s fast, it launches the ball really well, even on mishits, and its overall head design makes it easy to hit out of the rough.
  • The “stock” configurations available for this hybrid club can help add forgiveness to any golfer’s bag. You can get anything from tour-level heavy hybrid shafts to lightweight and whippy ones to shrink dispersion or really launch it.

Join the discussion here.

Most versatile hybrids 2021

Titleist TSi2

The TSi2 (and TSi3) hybrids feature a forged carpenter 455 steel face, which, much like the previous generation, has allowed the designers to save mass and reposition it around the head to maximize the playing characteristics for each model, which is particularly important considering how much design separation has been created.

The TSi2 is a hybrid designed with the perfect balance between optimizing forgiveness while also offering playability for golfers with a more shallow delivery into the ball. Compared to the TSi3, which is one of the smallest hybrids Titleist has ever produced, and the TSi1 which is the largest, the TSi2 fits comfortably in the middle in terms of size and has low and deeper CG to create higher launch conditions for those who need it.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Titleist TSi2 hybrid launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • All of the loft and shaft combinations make this my number one choice for versatility. You can get anything from tour-level heavy hybrid shafts to lightweight and whippy ones to shrink dispersion or really launch it.
  • If someone called me up for a hybrid recommendation and I had no idea about that person’s golf game, I would feel very confident pointing them in the direction of the TSi2. I know it sounds like we say the same thing over and over, but Titleist’s SureFit hosel is what sets them apart from other manufacturers.

Ping G425

The best way to describe the Ping G425 hybrids is as mini iron-replacing fairway woods. The hybrids share all of the same Facewrap and Spinsistency technologies as the G425 fairways but are intended to launch higher and stop faster to create playable trajectories for golfers that need stopping power—all the way down to a 7-iron-replacing 34 degree.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Ping G425 Max fairway wood launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • When I think “versatile,” I think of a hybrid that offers workability for players looking to control trajectory, and you get that with the G425. The new face design has shown a significant improvement in spin variation on mishits that has tightened dispersion a great deal for the golfers I have fit into it.
  • Not all, but a lot of hybrids have a tendency to want to be draw-biased, but you don’t get that with the Ping G425. Its flight is neutral, and you can seriously increase the fade bias with the flat setting on the hosel.

TaylorMade SIM2 Rescue

The profile of the SIM2 Rescue hybrid is compact with a higher squared-off toe to have a more “iron-like” appearance from address to help golfers find the perfect transition club from long irons to fairway woods. The leading edge is cambered and blunted compared to the Max version for golfers who hit down on the ball and offers more familiar technology including the Speed Pocket, Twist Face, FCT adjustable hosel, and TPS weighting for swing weight adjustability through custom.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 TaylorMade SIM2 hybrid launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • For the faster player that wants driving iron trajectory control but in a more forgiving package, that’s what you get with the Sim2.
  • This hybrid is freaky long in the right hands but requires a slightly faster or high spin player to get the most out of it off the turf since it wants to naturally flight the balls lower. It’s this level of control that makes it one of my tops picks for versatility.

Callaway Apex 21

The Apex hybrids from Callaway feature Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades that are engineered to increase vertical stiffness near the club’s sole and create more speed low on the face where players often mishit their hybrids. The A.I. Blades aim to allow the face cup to flex on the crown to promote better spin rate consistency and create added forgiveness across the clubface.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Callaway Apex hybrid launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • When you need an upright hybrid to either match up with your irons based on spec or to help reduce the miss out to the right, the Apex hybrid can do all of that.
  • The adjustability is what makes the 2021 Apex hybrid so versatile. If you are buying one of these off the rack, do yourself a favor and either work with someone with a launch monitor or take it out to the course with a few extra balls and the wrench and get this thing spec’d into your desired flight and distance—you can thank me later.

TaylorMade SIM2 Max Rescue

The new SIM2 Max hybrid offers everything golfers loved from the previous version with a newly refined sole geometry to increase forgiveness and deliver more consistent results. The SIM2 Max Rescue has a C300 maraging steel face and comes with the now-familiar Twist Face, which only became a feature in the Rescue line last year.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 TaylorMade SIM2 Max hybrid launch piece

Fitter Notes

  • Although this is more of a game-improvement style hybrid, I think Rory and Dustin Johnson proved last year with the 2020 model that you dial this into any player that needs longer approach shots to land softer.
  • It’s not just from great lies in the fairway where this club puts in work, the rounded leading edge and V-Steel sole are a big asset for players out of the rough, and when you need to hit it low you can.

Join the discussion here.

Conclusion

The fitters consulted for this piece have accumulated data from thousands of fittings with golfers just like you. From beginners to tour players, their feedback and information can’t be undervalued.

Now it’s your turn: Everybody swings the club differently and everybody has their own experience. We want to hear from you. What driver are you using? What did you switch from? What performance gains did you find in your own game? Share your experience to help others.

 

 

 

 

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Equipment

Tommy Fleetwood’s TF Proto “2.5-iron” at the 2022 U.S. Open

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For the last several years, Tommy Fleetwood has been part of a new wave of PGA Tour players who mostly opt to use a 7-wood in place of a 3-iron. High-lofted fairway options in the modern game help offer increased forgiveness, enhanced workability, greater versatility and higher launch for more stopping power on slick greens from long distances.

However, when the winds are high, or on particular courses, Fleetwood carries a 3-iron for a more penetrating ball flight. His latest 7-wood replacement provides even lower launch; it’s a long iron that his caddie refers to as a “2.5-iron.”

On Wednesday at the 2022 U.S. Open, Fleetwood had two 3-iron options in the bag; one is a TaylorMade P-7TW 3-iron (20 degrees), and the other is a TaylorMade “TF Proto” 3-iron (18 degrees). He won’t keep both in the bag during competition, so he’ll make the decision between them come competition time on Thursday.

Fleetwood’s caddie Ian Finnis calls the 18-degree TF Proto iron a “2.5 iron” due to its lower loft. Finnis also says that Fleetwood hits the 18-degree option “about 20 yards further” than his weaker-lofted P-7TW.

If the TF Proto iron does end up going into play at the U.S. Open on Thursday, it wouldn’t be the first time he’d be using the club in competition.

At the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club, Fleetwood switched into the TF Proto 2.5-iron to hit low-flighted missiles that better navigated the blustery Texas winds.

But his experience with the TF Proto iron actually goes back even farther than that.

In 2019, as an equipment free agent, Fleetwood was using TaylorMade’s P-7TW prototype irons, which were designed for Tiger Woods. Then, in September 2020, just months before officially signing with TaylorMade that December, Fleetwood switched into his own set of TaylorMade “TF Proto” irons. The TF Proto name and aesthetics of the iron were reminiscent of the company’s other custom builds for players, such as Rory McIlroy’s “Rors Proto” irons, Justin Rose’s “Rose Proto” irons, and Dustin Johnson’s “DJ Proto” irons.

The TF Protos didn’t last in Fleetwood’s bag, as he switched back into P-7TW irons in 2021, and he still plays them currently. Well, that is, aside from when he dug back into his stash of TF Proto irons to bring back the low-lofted “2.5 iron” at Colonial late last month.

The TF Proto iron might just make another appearance at the 2022 U.S. Open this week, too. We’ll be on the lookout and update this story with more info when we confirm his game-time setup.

See more photos of the TF Proto 2.5 iron here.

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Equipment

Dustin Johnson explains why he’s using a 9-wood at the 2022 U.S. Open

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Back in May, at the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club, it was revealed on the telecast that Dustin Johnson was using a 9-wood for his tee shot on the par-3 8th hole. More specifically, as GolfWRX learned shortly after, the club was a TaylorMade Stealth 9-wood with a whopping 24 degrees of loft (roughly the same amount as a standard 4-iron these days).

In the past several years, 7-woods and 9-woods have become widespread on Tour, and they’ve even started sneaking into the bags of some of the game’s longest hitters and best ball strikers.

Prior to the 2022 PGA Championship, Johnson had already made the leap into the realm of high-lofted fairways, having used a TaylorMade SIM 7-wood and a TaylorMade Stealth 7-wood over the past few years.

But the 9-wood was new for him at the time.

Flash forward to Wednesday at the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., and Johnson still has the 9-wood in his bag. He still keeps a TaylorMade P730 “DJ Proto” blade 3-iron around for certain conditions and courses, but the 9-wood is a first-string starter in his gamer setup, and he has it in play this week at the U.S. Open.

Interestingly, TaylorMade has also confirmed that Johnson doesn’t have a 3 wood in the bag this week, instead opting for a driver-5 wood-7 wood-9 wood setup.

Curious about his thoughts on the 9-wood, and what benefits he sees from such a high-lofted wood, I asked Johnson himself on Wednesday at the 2022 U.S. Open.

Here’s everything he had to say:

“I like my 7-wood so much that I asked Keith (Sbarbaro, the VP of Tour Operations at TaylorMade), ‘Do we have a 9-wood?’

“He’s like, ‘Yeah, we got one.’

“So he got me one and he built it up.

“I started hitting it and it’s…I hit it a lot better than I can hit a 3-iron. More so if I have to hit it into a green; it’s a little bit easier to stop it. I still bring my 3-iron with me for golf courses where I need it off the tee. Probably at like the Open Championship I’ll use a 3 iron instead of [the 9 wood]. It just takes the place of my 3 iron, which honestly…there’s not much difference between a 3 and a 4 iron as far as carry wise. I think a 4 iron is a little easier to get up in the air. So, for me, it just fit really nicely in the bag.

I hit a nice high cut with it, but I can turn it over if I need to. It’s a little bit easier for me to turn it over if I need, especially getting it up in the air and turning it over if I have to. I mean, I can hit a low draw with a 3 iron. It’s gonna roll forever. But to hit one and stop it on the green is a little bit difficult.”

With that being said, I pose a related question to amateur golfers (regardless of handicap): If Dustin Johnson says a 9-wood is easier to hit than a 3-iron, and that his 3-iron carries about the same distance as his 4-iron, then why would any of us still willingly use a 3-iron? I’ll leave that up to the comment section.

DJ’s full WITB setup at the 2022 U.S. Open

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Whats in the Bag

Kalle Samooja WITB June (2022)

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Driver: Callaway Epic Max LS (10.5 degrees @9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X

3-wood: Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond (15 degrees @16 degrees), Titleist TSi2 (15 degrees @16 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Red 7 X

 

Hybrid: Titleist 818 H1 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI Hybrid 95 X

Irons: Callaway X Forged UT (25 degrees), Callaway Apex Pro Forged (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 125 6.5

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Forged (50-10, 60-10), Callaways Jaws MD5 (54-12X, 60-12X)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 125 6.5 (50), Project X LZ 125 6.5 (54, 60-12X), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300 (60-10)

Putter: Callaway Toulon Design Daytona Beach
Shaft: Odyssey Stroke Lab
Grip: Super Stroke CounterCore Flatso

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

 

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