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OUR JOB IS YOUR GAME
With much anticipation, today marks the release of the most comprehensive hybrid test for 2021. There are 25 models in this year’s test. Let’s see which one stands alone as THE Most Wanted.
At MyGolfSpy, our job is to provide independent, unbiased and objective testing so you can make more confident purchasing decisions. Our 2021 Most Wanted Hybrid Test is an indispensable guide for the off-the-rack buyer or for anyone looking for insight before their next fitting.
Here are the best hybrids for 2021!
2021 Best Hybrid: Tour Edge Exotics C721
- 1st in Strokes Gained
- 2nd in Forgiveness
Being #1 in Strokes Gained is an impressive feat. Furthermore, it possesses tremendous forgiveness and enough distance potential to make a claim for a spot in the bag. Give it a go.
Hybrid Buying Considerations
Performance should be your primary concern when buying a new hybrid but there are some additional considerations you may want to think about before you make your purchasing decision.
Long Iron Replacement or Set Addition
Hybrids aren’t right for everyone. Only you (and maybe your fitter) can determine if a hybrid is right for you. As the name suggests, the first hybrids blended elements of fairway woods and irons. The category has evolved to include models that are only slightly larger than utility irons, clubs that are only slightly smaller than conventional fairway woods, and everything in between. Regardless of their size, hybrids exist because many golfers with long iron consistency. If you’re one of those golfers, a hybrid may provide higher launch, more forgiveness, and ultimately lower scores.
Loft plays a huge role in the performance of a club. We see this day after day in our Most Wanted testing. Hybrid loft is no different. If you launch the ball too low with your long irons, descent angles are likely shallow as well, and you’ll have trouble holding greens because of it. With their low and back centers of gravity, hybrids often provide a more desirable trajectory. While, historically, hybrids have served as long iron replacements, many hybrids models are now available in mid-iron lofts as well. If you struggle with consistency deeper into the bag, a higher lofted hybrid may be the answer.
Not only does loft play a vital role in hybrid performance but shaft selection does as well. Since each golfer swings differently, one generic stock shaft offering most likely won’t be the golden ticket for most golfers. Consider aspects such as shaft flex, weight, material and bend profile. All can have an impact on how the shaft performs. Go through a professional fitting to see which shaft works best for you.
Much like drivers, a lot of hybrids offer adjustability. Adjustability provides greater flexibility for what is, arguably, already the most versatile golf club in the bag. Being able to change loft and lie to fit to your swing improved fitting versatility. Adjustability can help you optimize ball flight. So whether you use your hybrid for approach shots or off the tee, adjusting the loft can help with hitting the desired shot based on your own tendencies. Furthermore, adjustability can assist with proper gapping throughout your bag.
During each test, we look for trends that provide insight into where the market as a whole is moving as well as what noteworthy changes manufacturers have made to improve year-to-year performance. Additionally, we solicit feedback from our testers. We want to understand what they liked, what they didn’t like and why. Although we obtain their feedback, their subjective opinions do not influence, dictate or determine our testing rankings.
Trends and Tweaks
- Adjustability seems to come in and go within the hybrid category. Out of the 25 models tested, nine are adjustable. Having the option to adjust the loft and/or lie angle can be extremely beneficial. Furthermore, the likes of PING G425, PXG’s 0317 X Gen4 and 0211 and Titleist’s TSi1, TSi2 and TSi3 all feature a flat lie angle adjustment. That’s a feature to be mindful of if you have a tendency to hit a hook with a hybrid.
- In addition to loft adjustments, some hybrids feature movable weights. Movable weights allow for even finer tuning of your trajectory and shot shape. Sub 70 949X Pro, COBRA KING Tec and PXG 0317 X Gen4 all have adjustable weights. Changing the weight position can help increase ball speed, boost forgiveness or help mitigate a fade or draw shot shape.
- Throughout product categories, ball speed is a focus. Within the hybrid category, efforts to increase and maintain ball speed are evident. Varying-face technology is implemented to achieve such goals. To name a few examples, TaylorMade SIM 2 features C300 Steel Twist Face. Callaway Apex Pro utilizes Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades. Mizuno CLK showcases MAS1C Maraging Face and Wave Technology.
How Many Hybrids Should You Carry?
There's no right number of hybrids for every golfer. A good rule of thumb is to replace any long iron you can't hit consistently with a hybrid. If you struggle to create consistent 4mph ball speed and at least 10-yard gaps between clubs, we recommend working with a fitter to determine if and where in your bag a hybrid (or two ... or three) might make sense.
Notes from the Testing Pool
The following section details subjective feedback from our pool of 20 testers. Gathering feedback is an important aspect of any test. We use their feedback as a representation of what golfers like and dislike about the product we test. That being said, the feedback is strictly subjective. It does not play a factor in the rankings.
- Without question, the PING G425 is one of the highest-rated clubs among the testing pool. A plethora of testers loved the simple, matte black profile and design. Furthermore, they thought it was easier to hit and is consistent.
- Throughout testing, Tour Edge Exotics C721 caught the eye of the testing pool. In terms of design and feel, the C721 stood out. Testers also thought the performance was remarkable.
- Overall, the COBRA KING Tec impressed the testing pool. Although the larger, fairway wood-like head profile stood out, testers said it inspired confidence. The matte, two-tone finish appealed to them as well. Additionally, testers were pleased with performance.
- Offset designs, such as Callaway Big Bertha B21 and Wilson Staff Launch Pad were generally not well received by the testing pool. That said, offset designs typically work exceptionally well for slicers.
- Other hybrids that received high remarks for their designs and shape were the COBRA RADSPEED, Srixon ZX, TaylorMade SIM 2 Max, Titleist TSi2, PXG 0317 X Gen4 and PXG 0211.
BEST FORGIVENESS - PXG 0317 X Gen4
The PXG 0317 X Gen4 offers a quality that most golfers should look for: forgiveness. Ranking the best in forgiveness, the 0317 X Gen4 can help increase consistency at the long (and middle) part of your bag. With multiple adjustability features (including the anti-hook flat setting), the 0317 GEN4 offers tremendous fitting capabilities.
2021 Most Wanted Hybrid Data
To filter and compare by club, use the drop-down list and checkboxes to select only the hybrids you wish to compare.
Forgiveness vs. Workability
Larger, more fairway wood-like hybrids typically provide higher launch and more forgiveness, which may appeal to average and higher handicap golfers. By contrast, more compact, iron-like hybrids are typically billed as more workable. While not as forgiving, they offer a later, more iron-like trajectory, which is exactly what many more accomplished players want from a hybrid.
- Strong (JACKED) lofts are prevalent in the iron category. While stronger lofts can produce more distance, not every golfer is able to generate the launch and height necessary to create playable landing angles into greens. If you struggle to get your long or mid irons into the air and have trouble holding greens on approach, consider switching to a 5-, 6- or 7-hybrid for more effective and consistent shots.
- We all love the idea of distance. But whether you are using a hybrid for approach shots or off the tee, don’t obsess over distance. Hybrids are scoring clubs; you want playability. For approach shots, consider a hybrid that launches higher, spins a bit more, and offers greater forgiveness. If you use a hybrid almost exclusively off the tee, a lower-launching and spinning hybrid might provide the perfect recipe for success.
- All other things being equal, a hybrid will typically produce more speed, launch higher, and ultimately travel farther than an identically lofted iron. For that reason, it’s important to be mindful of your yardage gaps, particularly in the transitions from fairways to hybrids and hybrids to irons. A good rule of thumb is to look for 4mph of ball speed between clubs.
How We Test
Our mission is to help you find the best hybrid for your game.
About our Testers
Over the course of several sessions, each golfer is required to hit 10 to 12 "good" shots with each club. Club order is randomized on a per-tester basis.
Limiting Variables and Gathering Data Reliably
Crunching the Numbers
To determine our rankings, we collect key performance metrics with Foresight GCQuad. After eliminating outliers, we utilize a proprietary methodology to calculate strokes-gained values for each combination of tester and golf club. The iron that produces the highest strokes-gained values relative to the field average is our Most Wanted.
2021 MOST WANTED HYBRID PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS
2021 Most Wanted Hybrid Product Specs
|Product||Stated Loft||Measured Loft*||Length||Swingweight|
|Ben Hogan VKTR +|
|Callaway Apex Pro|
|Callaway Big Bertha B21|
|Cobra KING TEC|
|PXG 0317 X Gen4|
|Sub 70 949X Pro|
|TaylorMade SIM2 Max|
|Tour Edge C521|
|Tour Edge Exotics C721|
|Tour Edge Exotics EXS Pro|
|Wilson Staff Launch Pad|
|Wilson Staff D9|
|XXIO X Series|
* denotes measured value vs. manufacturer’s stated spec.
BUYING A NEW HYBRID
Q: How often should I buy new a hybrid?
A: While on rare occasions there are quantifiable year-over-year breakthroughs, typically it takes three to five years for manufacturers to make any significant performance gains. With the USGA further tightening restrictions on manufacturers, it’s possible, even likely, that it will take longer still moving forward. Our recommendation is to buy new a new hybrid only when it appreciably outperforms what is already in your bag. Of course, if you want a new hybrid because you want a new hybrid, that’s fine, too.
Q: How do I determine the right hybrid for me?
A: Choosing the right type of hybrid can seem daunting but starting with an assessment of your own game is a great jumping-off point. Figure out what you need out of a hybrid. Do you find yourself having long irons into greens often? You may need a hybrid for short par-4 tee shots or high-lofted shots into par-5s. Make sure you let your fitter know what you’re hoping to achieve so they can guide you to a club that will optimize launch conditions and help you shoot lower scores.
Q: Does the shaft matter?
A: Absolutely. While changes to spin and launch are rarely massive, shaft changes frequently lead to improved accuracy, tighter dispersion and greater overall consistency.
Q: What should I look for when testing hybrids?
A: While golfers have been conditioned to consider distance to the exclusion of nearly everything else, we recommended looking at the little numbers and looking for small circles. When comparing metrics like distance and ball speed, be sure to look at your standard deviations (the small numbers usually found under the big ones on the data screen). Smaller numbers mean better consistency which will usually mean more than an extra yard or two on the golf course. Similarly, look for tighter dispersion ellipses (small circles). We can’t understate the importance of consistency with hybrids.
Q: How are the hybrids in the test fit to each golfer?
A: We use a fitting process that we call fit from stock. Hybrids are fitted to each tester using the stock, no up-charge options from each manufacturer. Our 2021 Hybrid Test included hybrids with stamped lofts ranging from 18 to 20 degrees. Some offer adjustability features (loft and CG) and we make use of all available adjustability options to optimize trajectory. Furthermore, we fit to flex for each tester in the pool. Occasionally manufacturers will send multiple sets with different stock shafts that we can utilize to improve launch conditions.
Q: How is the “Most Wanted Hybrid” determined?
A: After eliminating outliers, we calculate the average strokes gained values for each combination of tester and golf club. The club that produces the highest strokes gained values relative to the field average is our Most Wanted.
Q: How is the “Longest Hybrid” determined?
A: Our total distance metric determines the Longest Hybrid.
Q: How is the “Most Forgiving Driver” determined?
A: To determine our Most Forgiving driver, we compare strokes gained values for the best shots each tester hits with each driver to the worst. The club that produces the narrowest gap in strokes gained values is our Most Forgiving.
Q: How much does subjective feedback like looks, sound and feel factor into your rankings?
A: ZERO. Our rankings are based purely on launch monitor data and quantifiable performance metrics.