Authored by Douglas Mefford in Golf
Published on 08-28-2009
The tools of golf have been basically the same for many years. Rules of both play and the equipment used fell into a basic design that varied little throughout the world. With strict rules on the size and shape of the grips and shafts there were set shapes for the club head as well. Wooden headed clubs were designed for distance driving and the various angles of the iron headed clubs were made to give specific angles of flight for middle distance and obstructed shots.
Within the last twenty-five years not only the materials used but the shape and length of golf clubs began to change. The first innovation was in creating shafts with a blend of carbon fiber and a resin composite material. With different properties than the standard steel construction of traditional golf club shafts, players could expect improved performance. It was not long before golf club manufacturers began experimenting with the rest of the construction. Shaft lengths became more varied, with shorter or longer clubs offering options on the force delivered to the ball.
Soon the very shape of the club head began to undergo changes. Different angles were tried and varied sizes of the striking surface, the face, and the design of the sole were reworked. For extra personalization of the club, heads were also developed with the ability to vary and adjust the weight of the head from shot to shot. These newly designed clubs began to be referred to as “hybrid golf clubs”.
One of the most noticeable changes to the hybrid woods lay in the shape of the face. Traditionally these long distance drivers were shaped with a bit of curve on the striking surface. Many of the new hybrid woods are made with a flat face striking surface. The shaft length is also designed more along the lines of an iron.
While still within the strictures of set limits, these new clubs demonstrated a blending of traits that were comparable to both the wooden and steel heads of traditional golf clubs. These new hybrids gained popularity among golfers as they offered better control on the force used to strike the ball. The center of the face, called the “sweet spot”, was enlarged in some heads and moved to the edges of others. The new hybrid designs offered even the amateur player a better chance of making a good shot from a less than perfect swing.
Now almost every golf club manufacturer produces the hybrid club designs alongside the more traditional golf clubs. By staying within Association rules these hybrids are being increasingly used even in tournament and professional golf.
The quality of play still rests within the skill of the player. A poor golfer will still play poorly with the best of clubs while an experienced player can do well with only average equipment. The hybrids merely give a greater variety for the golfer to choose from to find what works best for them. The hybrid golf clubs only offer an edge in performance that can be utilized to help one play a better game.