Being that I am relatively new to the game of golf, you'd think Id be gaming hybrids. When I first started taking lessons four years ago, I had one in my bag that I picked up in a used bin for about $50 bucks. Since I had the worst time getting the ball to go straight or even leave the mat, it didnt stay there long. I haven't put another one in my bag since.
Dont get me wrong, I dont have anything against hybrid clubs. Since my initial flubs with them, I have enjoyed some success when testing them in front of an experienced clubfitter. Very recently, it was suggested that I modify my set makeup to include a driver, 3-wood, and two hybrids ' one to replace my 5-wood and the other a 7-wood that I dont have. However, I still havent made the leap to include them in my bag.
Hybrids are a combination of irons and woods. They share many of the same traits of fairway woods (low center of gravity, high launch, wider sole), while being similar in length to irons. Hybrids are generally considered to be replacements for long irons (3-, 4-irons) and fairway woods. Wikipedia explains it this way:
For many players, long irons (numbers 1-4) are difficult to hit even with modern clubfaces due to the low trajectory and very small face of the low-loft clubhead. Players tend to avoid these clubs in favor of fairway woods. However, such woods, having longer shafts, have a different swing mechanic that is sometimes difficult to master. The long shaft of a fairway wood also requires ample room to swing, which makes it unsuitable for 'punching' out from underneath trees. In addition, the fairway wood clubface is designed to skim over instead of cutting into turf which makes it undesirable for shots from the rough. The answer to this dilemma for many players is to replace the 1-4 irons with hybrids.
The GolfWRX forums have many opinions about woods and hybrids. I suggest you experiment with them both to see which suits your game better.
I tried a 7-wood for about half a season but got rid of it. I felt I had a lot less accuracy and I ended up hitting a lot of moon shots with it. I think if you play a course that requires distance with a soft landing, it would be a good club.
I use a hybrid mainly for the rough. I just love it for that; it's my go-to club when I'm in trouble.
I have this setup: driver, 17-degree hybrid, 21-degree hybrid, 4-iron-PW, and then wedges. The two hybrids can hit just about any shot on the course but the 17-degree is my go-to [club] off the tee and the 21-degree is versatile from any lie. I tried convincing myself to go with a 3-wood this year, but it is just not as reliable as the hybrid.
I just took my hybrids out of play. I had a 3-, 4-, and 5- and now put my 4-iron back in play with a new 3- and 5-wood. My iron play is getting much better and I am spending more time on the fairway and want the woods now over the hybrids. There is some overlap on my 5-wood and my 4-iron, but I am using my 4-iron for my 220-yard shots off the tee and my 5-wood is better for me off the fairway. I very seldom put the 4-iron in play on the fairway because I do not get the consistency I need.