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What Are 18- and 20-Degree Hybrids?

by William McCoy

    Hybrid clubs make a valuable addition to many players' golf bags, so much so that they're extremely common on the PGA Tour. Often called utility clubs or rescue clubs, hybrid clubs are available in varying degrees, including 18- and 20-degree lofts. Hybrid clubs are versatile, and when used properly, one club can replace several in your bag.

    Design

    Visually, a hybrid club has a design that includes elements of a fairway wood and an iron. The hybrid club's face is similar to an iron, but the head is rounded, similar to a wood, with the center of gravity further back and lower than in an iron. This makes hybrids more "forgiving" for many players than either an iron or a fairway wood. Hybrids are among the most versatile clubs any golfer can use, with lofts as low as 14 degrees in men's clubs and as high as 31 degrees in women's.

    Equivalents for an 18-Degree Hybrid

    Charts showing conversion equivalents for hybrids to either woods or irons list hybrids with lofts between 17 and 19 degrees to be workable as replacements for a 5-wood or a 2-iron for men, and hybrids with lofts from 18 to 20 degrees as suitable replacements for those same clubs for women. An 18-degree hybrid, then, would be worth trying for either a man or a woman having difficulty hitting 5-wood or 2-iron shots, and reasonably could replace both those clubs in a bag.

    Equivalents for a 20-Degree Hybrid

    For ladies, a 20-degree hybrid is still in the equivalency range for a 5-wood or 2-iron. For men, though, a hybrid between 20 and 22 degrees is charted as being closer to a 7-wood or 3-iron. Of course these are approximations, and the actual play of either loft of hybrid will depend on the individual player, regardless of gender.

    Considerations

    Because golfers are allowed to carry only 14 clubs in their bag, many players replace one or more clubs with a hybrid. Because of its myriad uses, adding a hybrid club to your bag is generally a smart decision. It can replace clubs that you seldom use or struggle with using. Depending on your ability with hybrid clubs, consider adding a low-loft hybrid and a high-loft hybrid.

    About the Author

    Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as health, nutrition and sports. He has spent much of his career in community news, including at "Nepean This Week" newspaper, and has written for "Canadian Sports Collector" magazine. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.