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Most Forgiving Hybrids YEAR

Golf Monthly logo Golf Monthly 19/05/2022 Joel Tadman
Most Forgiving Hybrids © Provided by Golf Monthly Most Forgiving Hybrids

Most Forgiving Hybrids

Most golfers would agree that hybrids make the game easier. There are those who prefer the workability of long irons, but for anyone who struggles to find the centre of the club face consistently, there's more to gain from the most forgiving hybrids.

So, as well as taking a closer look at the best golf hybrid clubs, we've narrowed it down to those models which perform best in the 'forgiveness' category.

That's because not all hybrids are designed to perform exactly the same way. Some golfers prefer a compact head; some want a hybrid that performs like a long iron, others would rather it felt more like a wood.

Mid handicappers and those who aren't such consistent strikers of the ball often want a hybrid that, above all else, offers forgiveness.

These clubs aren't magic wands; you're still going to play your bad shots and no new technology can save that from happening. However, if your mis-hits travel further and straighter, then you're onto a good thing.

If the sheer number of options on the market is daunting you, fear not, because we've narrowed it down by identifying the most forgiving hybrids on the market.

Elsewhere, we have some in-depth guides on the best hybrid golf clubs for seniors and best hybrid golf clubs for high handicappers if you think you'd be more suited to a hybrid in these categories.

Most Forgiving Hybrids

Designed for maximum forgiveness, the Cleveland Launcher XL Halo hybrid features some impressive technology which can save you from disaster in various on-course predicaments: The specific focus in the design process was to help golfers escape poor lies with power and accuracy.

The Halo features Cleveland's XL head design which is larger than most hybrids. It also features an MOI of 2,961 - the most ever in a Cleveland Golf hybrid, with the Launcher XL Halo providing great stability and resistance at the moment of impact, with three Glide Rails on the sole helping keep the clubface straight for better strikes, regardless of lie quality. It performed so well, that it features in Golf Monthly's Editor's Choice awards for 2022.

There’s a blend of old and new technology in this club, which makes it attractive to anyone who can’t hit long irons high enough or struggle to hit those type of clubs from the rough.

In a nod to Cobra’s baffler clubs of the last decade, the LTDx hybrid is built with split rails on the sole which zip over tight turf and help glide through rough without any loss of speed. This hybrid is also fun to hit, with Cobra stating that it has replaced its E9 face with a variable thickness design called H.O.T Face and tuned it for better speed. It feels thin at impact, with it easier to pick off tighter and sloping lies.

In test, we mainly hit fades and if we did miss left, we pulled it. This comes partly down to the KBS PGR (Player’s Graphite Iron) shaft which has the tolerance of steel but the weight and playability of graphite. The stout tolerance makes the club harder to overpower and makes it feel more like you’re swinging a long iron. 

The only downside to this set-up is that the head feels light and we didn’t get a feeling of load at the top of the swing or any heft at address. If you’re looking for a highly playable hybrid that neutralises your tendency to draw or hook the ball, this would be a great option.

All the tried and tested TaylorMade hybrid technology is here again, from the V Steel sole to Twist Face and the Speed Pocket. What’s different in the Stealth Rescue is a new carbon crown construction. The lighter head lets engineers shift seven grams of weight lower in the head for a better CG (centre of gravity), easy launch and optimal forgiveness.

The sleek top line and carbon head do inspire confidence at address which, for most golfers, leads to a freer swing. We also found the Stealth Rescue easy to hit with a firmer feel off the high strength C300 steel face. This lead to great acoustics at impact and a stable penetrating trajectory. 

So, how did it perform? Well, it certainly dampened down our tendency to miss left and overdraw shots, with the flight of the ball being at a good height with plenty of control into greens. This is why the hybrid is ranked as one of the best golf hybrid clubs on the market.

Indoors on TrackMan, results were good compared to other leading brand hybrids, especially in terms of accuracy and dispersion. The Stealth Rescue wasn’t as long as other leading hybrids, but this didn’t worry us, especially as their is an excellent range of custom shaft options available so you can fine tune the set-up for distance gains.

This hand-crafted hybrid from Japanese brand Honma is a game-improvement club which offers performance across the entire face. This is thanks to a CG that has been positioned in the rear of the head as well as a shallow slot carved out of the sole. The effect is a hybrid that is easy to launch and that maximises ball speed no matter the strike location.

There might be cheaper options on the market, but from a performance perspective, we were very impressed with its forgiveness levels.

The Callaway Apex Hybrid builds on the success of previous models like the Mavrik Max and is certainly one of the most forgiving hybrids on the market.

Featuring the manufacturer’s updated Jailbreak Velocity Blades as well as its Face Cup technology, forgiveness is at an all-time high while ball speed across the face is also maximised.

With a low CG and plenty of adjustability in the hosel, finding the perfect launch conditions for your game has never been easier.

Ping’s G425 is the latest in a long line of easy-to-hit hybrids the club manufacturer has released over the years. Introducing a Facewrap design, the G425 comprises of a thin but strong maraging steel face that overlaps into the crown and sole. The result is increased flexibility across the face for faster ball speeds, more distance and easy launch.

Another new addition is the complex face curvature that normalises spin and maximises distance on strikes low on the face. Along with the face curvature is the three-dot alignment system on the crown, which provides a great visual cue that makes it easy to line up out the middle, while it also sits nice and square, making it a hybrid that inspires confidence.

It’s available in 2H through to 7H, meaning you can pick up this hybrid in lofts of 17°, 19°, 22°, 26°, 30° and 34°, with each adjustable by up to 1.5°.

We found it a little more tricky to flight low compared to some other models but it’s so forgiving and easy to hit that it’s comfortably one of the best hybrids on the market.

One of three hybrids in the range this year, the TSi2 is the most versatile, maximising distance and launch for golfers of all levels.

In terms of the clubhead, it’s bigger than the TSi3 and smaller than the TSi1, so it’s right in that sweet spot. It is also equipped with the fastest hybrid face that Titleist has ever made, with the low CG meaning players can launch it high and long.

With 16 independent loft and lie settings, the TSi2 can easily be tailored to your game, with superb adaptability giving you plenty of forgiveness.

'Fuss free' is how we'd describe this hybrid from Cleveland, one that has the potential to become your go-to club.

Gliderails help provide more speed with improved turf interaction, while a redesigned HiBore Crown pushes the CG low and deep for a low spin, high-launch ball flight.

Perhaps better known for their irons, Wilson’s D9 hybrid is packed with performance that makes it one of the easiest hybrids to hit on the market. It’s also an extremely nice-looking club that sits squarely behind the ball, inspiring confidence to perform your best.

Milled using the same premium Carpenter Custom 455 steel used by Titleist in its hybrids, the face is hot and thin, delivering optimal feel and distance. This is enhanced by the Variable Face Technology for high ball speeds and launch angles.

It comes in a variety of lofts from 17° through to 31°, although there is no adjustability on the hosel. Each different loft option is also the correct length to help it fit seamlessly into your bag.

An incredibly easy club to hit, this club really could suit every type of golfer if they can find the right specs for their unique game.

How we test hybrids

When it comes to Golf Monthly's testing procedure, we use the same ethos and methodology for all golf products to make sure they are as insightful, honest and comprehensive as possible. When it comes to golf clubs, we usually attend product launches so we can meet with the manufacturer’s R&D experts to understand the new technology.

After we have an understanding here, our first port of call when hitting clubs is usually the indoor simulator at Foresight Sports, where the team can test in a controlled environment using premium balls and the GCQuad launch monitor. We also use TrackMan at golf facilities across the UK.

We then do outdoor testing, usually on ranges at West Hill Golf Club, Surrey, The Wynyard Club in Teesside and at Brancepeth Castle Golf Club in Durham. We then put the clubs into play out on these golf courses.

Specifically for hybrids, product testing is headed up by Matthew Moore, supported by technical editor Joel Tadman. Both are competitive low handicap golfers, able to efficiently test the biggest product releases and successfully communicate equipment technology and product features to a wide golfing audience.

How to choose the right hybrid

It's one thing knowing what the best golf hybrid clubs on the market are, and something else entirely choosing which model to add to your bag. So, how do you make such a decision?

In an ideal world, a properly executed club fitting will provide the answers - the amount of data available covering things like swing speed, club path, ball speed, angle of attack, and distance is quite staggering. One of these will definitely get the right make and model in your hands.

However, if this isn't possible for whatever reason, we have a few tips.

Performance -  How a hybrid performs is the most important factor. You are looking for versatility that will improve your scores and help you out of trouble in a range of on-course situations. We would recommend trying out hybrids off the tee, from the rough, fairway, around the green and even from the middle of low-lipped fairway bunkers. You need to gauge how well they perform for you and a demo day is an ideal opportunity to do the kind of testing you need to be sure a hybrid is right for you. 

Feel -  A thorough test can inform how some clubs feel during the golf swing and most importantly at impact. Some models sound loud at impact, others are more muted. Some will feel like the contact is a dense thud, others will feel hot and energetic off the face. Feel is entirely subjective and personal to the player. Again, we recommend hitting some models indoors and outdoors, so you can have an idea of what you like and dislike.

Looks - With all golf clubs you need to like how they look, especially at address, because you don't want to be distracted by a club you really don't enjoy looking at. Take some time to shop around, feel the club in your hands and see if you like the way it looks and feels at address. Does it match the rest of your set-up, will you feel completely comfortable putting it in the bag? As much as it may seem vain to judge a club on looks, it can increase your confidence on-course if you love the look of your hybrid when you pull the headcover.

Not every hybrid is the same. Some are more wood-like in appearance, whilst others have a higher toe and are designed to look more like an iron.

Budget - The penultimate factor you should consider is budget. Given the number of hybrids available on the market, you can find a quality club at most price points and to suit almost any budget. If you want a premium brand model then you can get one, or if you want to save money, there is usually value for money to be found if you are happy not to own a club by a marquee manufacturer.

Testing - We hate to sound like a broken record but go to a range and try some out. Most places still tape clubs up and let you conduct your own range test. It won't be as thorough as a custom fit but you can draw some conclusions.

For example, you'll be able to get a sense for the weight and looks of the club and whether the shaft suits the way you swing it. 

Hitting some shots, even with tape on the face, will also give you an idea of how easy each hybrid is to hit and get airborne. For higher handicappers, this will likely be very helpful.

Better golfers may be in the market for something that's more workable and therefore would be suited to something with plenty of hosel adjustability.

Ultimately, it depends on what aspect(s) of performance you value above all else and which hybrid is able to tick the most boxes for your game.

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