If you are a high handicapper then chances are you struggle to hit longer irons. Even with modern game improvement technology, generating any spin and hitting the spot consistently enough can be really difficult. This is where the hybrid (sometimes called a ‘rescue’) golf club comes in.
Hybrids, of sorts, called the Ginty and Baffler have been around since the 1970s. However, it was in the early 2000s that the modern hybrid really took shape. Ever since then, hybrids have been a revelation and they continue to grow in popularity. Originally designed to help golfers with slower swing speeds, they can now be found in the bags of many Tour golfers.
The hybrid, as you would expect, is a combination of two golf clubs - an iron and a fairway wood. They have the appearance of a smaller fairway wood and feature much of the same technology. Yet, they have a similar shaft length and loft to an iron for improved accuracy and control.
High handicappers should look for wider designs with high launch and plenty of forgiveness for maximum support. Luckily, there are plenty of options available that fit this description. In this article we will take a look at our favourites on the market.
Table of Contents
- 1. PING G425 Hybrid
- 2. Wilson Staff D9 Hybrid
- 3. Callaway Big Bertha B21 Hybrid
- 4. Cleveland Launcher Halo Hybrid
- 5. TaylorMade SIM2 Max Rescue
- 6. Titleist TSi1 Rescue
- 7. Cobra Radspeed Hybrid
- 8. Pinemeadow Excel EGI Hybrid
- Who is a high handicapper?
- Why select a hybrid over a long iron?
- Choosing the correct loft
- Driving iron or 7-wood?
1. PING G425 Hybrid
Distance: 95 | Forgiveness: 95 | Feel: 90 | Versatility: 95
Best for improving golfers
PING are renowned for producing golf clubs that combine forgiveness with playability and the G425 hybrid is another example of this. This is a hybrid that could be considered suitable for almost any golfer from Professionals to beginners. So, if you are a high handicapper whose handicap is coming down, this club could last you throughout your golfing journey.
New for the G425 hybrid PING have created their own word, Spinsistency. This refers to their innovative design using a modified roll profile to maintain a consistent spin rate across the clubface. More spin consistency translates to improved stability through impact and better forgiveness on mishits. Another innovation is Facewrap technology, which is designed to help create a high launching and long distance ball flight. Tungsten sole weighting boosts the MOI for improved forgiveness.
High handicappers struggling with their irons will be pleased to find out that the G425 hybrids go up to a 34 degree loft. This could be used to replace your 7 iron for a half-set of hybrids, which should be a serious consideration for many high handicappers. PING’s Trajectory Tuning 2.0 system also offers easy adjustability with 8 different set-ups to choose between.
2. Wilson Staff D9 Hybrid
Distance: 90 | Forgiveness: 90 | Feel: 90 | Versatility: 85
Best value for money
Wilson is not one of the more popular brands among low handicappers, but they arguably produce quality to rival the very best manufacturers and at a more affordable price. Their clubs are definitely underrated and the Staff D9 hybrid is another example of this.
The D9 hybrid has a confidence inspiring appearance over the ball that looks every bit as good as more expensive brands. Another example of the value for money on offer is that this club uses the exact same premium steel used by Titliest. This thin steel provides fast ball speeds and great feel from the clubface.
New Variable Face Technology retains high ball speeds across the entire face for maximizing distance even on mishits. The D9 hybrid was developed in the Wilson Labs for precise and progressive head shaping, designed to optimize weighting for fast swinging and easy launching.
3. Callaway Big Bertha B21 Hybrid
Callaway’s Big Bertha range is known for its game improvement technology, offering forgiveness and distance. The Big Bertha B21 hybrid continues in the same dynamic. Immediately noticeable is the strong offset, which will be perfect for high handicappers that struggle with the dreaded slice.
The Big Bertha B21 hybrid is packed full of the latest Callaway technology. It features the newest renowned A.I. designed Flash Face technology for long distances, even when not struck right in the middle. Dual MIM’ed tungsten weighting optimizes the CG placement to create a stable and high ball flight. There are also two internal Jailbreak bars that help stabilise the clubhead through impact and increase ball speeds.
An oversized hybrid head volume should help to give high handicappers more confidence when standing over the golf ball. Plus, as an added bonus these hybrids are available down to an 8 iron. This provides a great option for golfers considering a half-set of hybrid clubs to replace both their mid and long irons.
4. Cleveland Launcher Halo Hybrid
Distance: 90 | Forgiveness: 95 | Feel: 85 | Versatility: 95
Best for hybrid for hitting out of the rough
Cleveland are possibly best known for their wedges, but they have also had several popular hybrids in recent years. The Launcher Halo hybrid is likely to be another successful model, especially for higher handicappers. It is easy launching and great for hitting out of tricky lies.
A HiBore Crown places the CG lower in the clubhead for a high launch and low spinning ball flight. This combination is ideal for high handicappers wanting to hit their hybrid further and straighter. Three Gliderails have been placed on the sole for improved turf interaction and maintain clubhead speed. Higher handicappers will find themselves outside of the fairway more times than they like and the Launcher Halo performs brilliantly out of the rough.
A high strength steel clubface with a variable face insert maximizes a high COR value across a larger area. This improves distance and ball speeds on both good and bad strikes. Costing less than the bigger named brands, the Launcher Halo hybrids are also good value for money. They are only available in 2-4 hybrids, however for golfers considering a full hybrid set I recommend checking out the Cleveland Launcher HB Turbos.
5. TaylorMade SIM2 Max Rescue
Distance: 95 | Forgiveness: 95 | Feel: 95 | Versatility: 95
Best overall for high handicappers
The upgraded model of the SIM Max hybrid, which was so successful it found its way into the golf bags of many top Tour Professionals. By refining the V-Steel sole design the SIM2 Max hybrid boasts improved forgiveness and is now even easier to hit. A reshaping of the sole also improves turf interaction for better versatility and support on slightly heavy contacts.
TaylorMade’s renowned Twist Face technology offers support for mishits, keeping the ball closer to the target by imparting less sidespin. The Thru-Slot Speed Pocket also remains from the previous model. This is designed to maintain ball speed consistency throughout, especially shots low on the clubface, which is a common miss area for golfers. Overall, the SIM2 Max is an exceptional all-around hybrid that would not be out of place in any golfer's bag.
6. Titleist TSi1 Rescue
Distance: 90 | Forgiveness: 95 | Feel: 95 | Versatility: 95
Best for slower swing speeds
Titleist have created the TSi1 hybrid to maximise performance for slower golf swings. Many higher handicappers will fall into this category and will benefit from the ultra-lightweight design. The clubhead has been designed to reduce drag for improved speed and an Aldila Ascent Ultralight shaft has been chosen to further reduce weight.
The TSi1 has a larger wood-like clubhead shape that should appeal to many high handicappers. Carefully distributed weight placement creates a deep CG for the launch and spin characteristics required from slower swing speeds. Higher MOI helps to improve forgiveness and retain ball speed on mishits.
Fans of Titleist will approve of the classic and timeless design. It has plenty of bag appeal and looks stunning when standing over the ball as well. Titleist’s SureFit hosel allows for 16 different loft and lie variations, so you can be sure you will find the perfect set-up for your game.
7. Cobra Radspeed Hybrid
Distance: 95 | Forgiveness: 85 | Feel: 90 | Versatility: 90
Best for golfers that want more distance
Cobra Radspeed is designed to be low spinning with high ball speeds, without sacrificing any of the forgiveness. This has been achieved through front based Radial Weighting, designed to optimize the CG placement. This combination of traits is ideal for higher handicappers that want to prioritise a few extra yards of distance.
Hollow Split Rails are positioned at the front of the sole, which Cobra claim produce 70% more flex behind the clubface for a higher launch angle and greater speed. An additional benefit is that these rails improve the turf interaction for better performance in the rough and tricky lies. A thin and flexible forged face insert further increases ball speeds, highlighting how much emphasis Cobra have put into speed and distance with the Radspeed hybrid. Coming in cheaper than most of the top manufacturers, the overall performance presents brilliant value for money.
8. Pinemeadow Excel EGI Hybrid
Distance: 80 | Forgiveness: 80 | Feel: 75 | Versatility: 80
Best low budget option
High handicappers and newer golfers do not always want to splash out $200+ on a hybrid. Sometimes a lower budget option will perform the job you want or maybe you are looking to test out if a hybrid suits you. If this is the case, then Pinemeadow Excel EGI hybrids are a great option.
A well-sized and rounded shape features well balanced weighting to create a larger sweet spot. The clubface has a noticeable offset, which will help golfers that struggle with a slice. Available from 3 iron to a pitching wedge, you could replace your entire iron set with these hybrids. However, it is worth mentioning that compared to the other hybrids made by leading manufacturers on this list, you will be sacrificing some durability and performance.
Who is a high handicapper?
A high handicapper is generally considered to be any golfer with a handicap of 19 and over. With handicaps now available all the way up to 54, this category spans the largest section of golfers.
Golf clubs for a high handicap golfer will usually be designed to prioritise forgiveness above all else. Manufacturers have pushed the boundaries of game improvement technology in recent years and high handicappers can now benefit from more assistance than ever before.
High handicappers will not find the centre of the clubface with much regularity. Therefore, it is important they look for clubs with a bigger sweet spot and less ball speed reduction for off centre strikes. Many hybrids feature similar technology found in fairway woods, with designs often prioritising slice or hook reduction, a higher launch angle and forgiveness on mishits.
Why select a hybrid over a long iron?
Hybrids continue to grow in popularity amongst all golfers, not just high handicappers. When it comes to long irons, there are only a small minority of the best ball strikers that can achieve consistent results. Long irons can offer improved workability and control, however the vast majority of golfers will prefer the easier to hit, longer and more versatile hybrid option. This is the reason why even many Tour pros carry a hybrid in their bag.
The wood-like clubhead of a hybrid not only makes the ball travel further, but it allows manufacturers to create a deeper centre of gravity placement. This creates a much higher MOI than an iron for more forgiveness and a higher launch angle. This makes a hybrid much easier for higher handicappers to get airborne when hitting from the ground, which means they can hit better approach shots from further away from the green. A longer and shallower clubhead design means that a hybrid is suitable for hitting from short rough and bunkers as well.
Choosing the correct loft
When looking to buy a hybrid it is imperative to get the correct loft. What loft to get will depend on the club it is going to replace or where it fits within your current bag set-up.
Hybrids normally have a very similar shaft length and loft to the equivalent iron they are designed to replace. They are also meant to be swung in the same vein. The only difference is that with slightly more weight behind the ball, they can travel slightly further.
It is important to know all the yardages and lofts of your current clubs, so that you do not buy a hybrid that performs an overlapping role. Modern irons now have stronger lofts than ever, so it is important to not get caught out assuming all 3 irons must be the same.
The best way is to test a hybrid out and find out how far you hit it on average. That way you know for sure if it is going further than your longest iron, but shorter than your fairway wood.
Driving iron or 7-wood?
Hybrids are an excellent option for high handicappers looking to replace their longer irons with a club that is more forgiving, easier to hit and travels further. But, it is not the only option available. Should you also be considering a driving iron or 7 wood as alternatives?
A driving iron retains an iron-like appearance, except they have much thicker toplines and soles for a more confidence inspiring shape. They are typically packed with tons of game improvement technology and designed for hitting low spin accurate tee shots. High handicappers will usually stay clear of these clubs, because they are not as forgiving and versatile as a hybrid. The lower spin profile can also be hard to launch for slower swing speeds, especially from the fairway.
Any high handicappers that seem to hit their fairway woods more consistently than a hybrid should consider buying a 7 wood. Golfers with a flatter swing that tend to sweep the ball through impact are likely to hit a fairwood wood better. Despite being a little less versatile, fairway woods have a larger sweet spot and travel further than hybrids. Once previously thought of as ‘an older persons club’, 7 woods have found themselves in the bag of Tour golfers such as Dustin Johsnon in 2021. So, if it is good enough for them it is definitely worth a try.
High handicappers looking to buy a new hybrid are currently spoilt for choice with plenty of excellent options available. We have chosen the TaylorMade SIM2 Max as our overall number one hybrid for high handicappers thanks to its all-around performance. However, you could easily make a case for naming almost every hybrid on this list as the best.
When it comes to purchasing any new golf club it is best to try before you buy. Using a launch monitor in a custom fitting to see the data is the only way to ensure you get the most suitable club for your swing. However, this will not be an option to all golfers and some high handicappers just want to get their new club as quick as possible. If that is you, then hopefully this list has helped you choose your next hybrid.