Jeff Summitt Examines The Connection Between Ball Position and Hybrid Selection

Other than perhaps putters, hybrids may be the most diverse category of clubheadsHybrid Ad from one to the next. Aside from their unique appearance, various volumes, lofts and assembly lengths there may be one key consideration to look for. Hybrids may have an offset like an iron or possess face progression like a fairway wood and this factor might very well be the reason why you should choose one type of hybrid over another.

Each golfer has a comfort zone as to the ball position in their stance relative to the distance between their front and back foot. We get used to that ball position and then when adjust our arm position until we are comfortable. You might not realize this, but the type of hybrid might cause you to change ball position in your stance as much as ¾”, the amount of forward press at address or even the angle of attack in the swing ultimately controlling the ball trajectory, direction and distance. This is with clubs of identical lengths and lofts too.

Ball Position 1To help show you why, let us take a close look at three different types of hybrids (see Diagram 1). The head on the left has the most face progression, which is simply the measurement from a shaft’s centerline (blue line) to the leading edge of the club face (red line). The head in the center has a slight offset hosel feature which reduces the amount of face progression. Lastly, the third head has offset like a game-improvement iron where there is virtually no face progression at all.

Let’s say you like to line up with the ball 4” inside your left heel (RH golfer). If you set the club behind the ball with the club on the left in Diagram 1 (the one with the most face progression) it will either force you to do one of two things than if you using one of the other two clubs. First, you may need to set your hands more toward the center at address (see Diagram 2). This can cause the player to hit lower on the clubface or even hit off the leading edge if played too far forward resulting into a bladed shot.

Ball 2The second and more common approach is to move the club rearward in the stance with a greater forward press than either of the other two clubs with less face progression (see Diagram 3). A byproduct of having to move the club back in the stance is the club becomes de-lofted (see Diagram 4). This may be fine for players who hit a high trajectory.

But another byproduct most people may not realize is the face will be slightly open without manipulating the club closed in the address position and may cause the golfer to push or even slice the ball. If youBall 3 have a hard time understanding, imagine trying to hit an offset iron with 12 pennies stacked and epoxied onto the face. This is equivalent to ¾” or the range of face progression you can find from one hybrid to another!

This is why I might suggest that hybrids with a lot of face progression reserved for golfers who can hit a high ball, have a steep angle of attack, and prefer the ball back in their stance or a tendency to pull or draw the ball. One other consideration is for golfers who tend to shank the ball as the hosel is far removed from an area the ball can come in contact with.

Offset hybrids (ones with the least amount of face progression) might be better suited to golfers who tend to have a more sweeping swing (don’t tend to take divots) or no forward press at impact. Beginners or golfers with an early shaft release may Ball 4benefit more from this hosel style of a hybrid. This should help the golfer make more solid contact, get the ball airborne and reduce the likelihood of pushing or slicing the ball by effectively making contact with the ball further forward in the swing arc.

The most common hybrids have a slight amount of offset to reduce the amount of face progression. This might provide a nice balance for golfers who like to have a slight forward hand press at address or at least encourage a slight downward angle of attack in order to get the ball out and up from a tight lie.

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Club fitters should have at least one hybrid representative of each category to see which style suits their customer best. For golfers who do not build or fit clubs, I would encourage them to determine your swing style or tendency to know what group of hybrids to select from. This will help you play your best by controlling the ball trajectory and direction for maximum efficiency.

5 Comments on Does Your Ball Position Really Matter When Choosing The Right Hybrid?

  1. WB says:

    I am a little confused. It seems that the hybrids that are built more like fairway woods such as the Acer XDS Wide Sole & Mantara, should be played more like irons, with the player using a steeper swing and striking down on the ball. The hybrids built more like irons (Dynacraft Avatar LS & Power Play Select 5000) are to be swung more like fairway woods.

  2. Jeff Summitt says:

    WB:

    Remember, golf is often a game of opposites. We swing inside/out to draw the ball and we hit down on the ball to get it up. I am not sure if you have ever had the opportunity to hit a high-lofted #15 wood. These have a tremendous amount of face progression (FP). For example our Dynacraft Avatar #15W has a FP of @ 1.2″. Compare that to the matching #3W @0.65″ and there is a little over 1/2″ difference in FP. If you like to keep the same ball position relative to front heel, then the #15 wood needs to be placed further back in the stance and naturally creates a forward hand press. If an offset version was available, then the golfer would not have to move the clubhead back and keep a more neutral shaft angle that a sweeper might have. Hopefully I worded that correctly.

  3. WB says:

    I guess Golf is Golf. It is not made to be easy, just fun. I checked out the info in the Hireko catalog on the Dynacraft Avatar. The blurb there confused me some more as it is a bit different from what you wrote above. According to the catalog, the Avatar’s “face forward design helps those who tend to have a sweeping swing path.”

    I am probably thinking too much. For me, I am more comfortable looking at face forward designs compared to offset designs. However, if it helps me improve I am sure I could learn to like it! This leads me to my next dilemma. How do you make the transition from progressive face hybrids to offset irons? For example, the progressive face of the Acer XDS Wide Sole 6 hybrid has an onset of 18mm and the Acer XDS Wide Sole 7 Iron has an offset of 6mm. I read that they can be mixed and matched, but do you use a much different swing for the two?

  4. Jeff Summitt says:

    WB:

    Even though they can be matched by name, I don’t think too many customers are mixing and matching, rather getting one or the other. The XP905 hybrid may be actually a better match with the offset irons in my opinion.

  5. Lester Ware says:

    Isightful. I have Tour edge QL’s 2-6 and wanted to add more, a club maker recommended the Avatar LS they hit much easier than the QL’s so I have added 7-8 Avatars. They hit really easy, so much so that I have ordered the 9-sw in the Avatars. A forum like this really would have helped me make an informed decision.
    Lester Ware

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