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How to Hit Hybrids and Turn Your Long Game into a Strength

The hybrid is a real game changer: It's forgiving, versatile and easy to hit—for most golfers. But if you're struggling to enjoy its many benefits, you may be swinging it with a sweeping, fairway wood motion. The result? Thin or fat contact. Instead, treat your hybrid more like a 6-iron. The goal is to make a more upright iron-like swing with enough of a descending blow to clip the ball off the turf. Follow my setup and swing keys listed below. You'll soon be hitting a lot more greens (from a lot farther out), and your hybrid will become your favorite club! 1. Proper Ball Position Letting the ball creep too far forward in your stance makes it difficult to hit down on the ball. Place the toe of the hybrid against your left heel, with the club face pointing toward your body, and set the ball opposite the hosel. Use an alignment stick to check this position while on the driving range. 2. Shoulder Width Stance You don't need a wide base. Set your feet under your armpits (shoulder width apart). A narrower stance makes it easier to deliver a descending blow—it prevents the "roundness" that leads to thin and fat shots. 3. Forward Press A little shaft lean will promote ball-first, ground-second contact. Press your hands forward until they're even with your left thigh. Think of your hybrids as mid-irons, and you'll soon be hitting them high and landing them softly on the green. 4. Swing Easy, Hit it Farther Hybrids are longer than most approach-shot clubs, but that's not your cue to swing harder. Think “smooth transition” and imagine the tempo you would use to hit a short iron or even a wedge. Don't worry—most hybrids have enough loft and a lower center of gravity to allow you to hit the ball high and far, even with a less than full swing.

Ernie Els “The Big Easy” certainly demonstrates that smooth tempo. Notice how his ball position is forward of center, but not up as far his left instep. Also, he has shifted his weight left and is in a great position in his downswing to make a descending blow to the ball.

So to recap, we need to setup properly in order to hit hybrids solid. Always make sure to swing easy and allow the club to bottom out and strike the ground. If you find that you are really having a tough time hitting the longer clubs in your bag, be sure to schedule some time with me this Fall for a lesson or a fitting for some new hybrids!

"There is nothing in this game of golf that can't be improved upon if you practice."

~ Patty Berg

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