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  • Writer's pictureGolf on Costa del Sol

The Best Golf Hybrids For 2023

Updated: Feb 16

Flushed with our success at recently identifying the Best Golf Iron for 2023 we continued our flirtation with science in pursuit of lower handicaps. In this review we share with our research in to the best golf hybrids for 2023.


The question at hand, “What is the hardest shot that we encounter frequently in our weekly golfing lives?” The unanimous answer: A long iron into a green. Each of us have a weak spot when it comes to hitting 5 irons or longer onto a green. We all have the same issue, we just don’t hit the green!


Best Golf Hybrids For 2023 clubs irons estepona marbella costa del sol golf course

The question posed was should we change our long irons and 5 wood for more modern hybrids and utility irons, and in doing so would a particular brand stand out as it did with iron testing as the overall best of its kind? Is there a “one club fits all” answer to the question which is the best golf hybrid on the market in 2023?


Once again our chums at Golfriends made their fitting lab available to use, this time at their Estepona shop. Our fitter for the day was Marco Taddei.


The Testers


We feel that there is little to be learned by professional players testing the best of the golf hybrids for 2023 and sharing their results as these results are rarely reflected by the golfing masses, that is to say, us, you and I!



John Walker and Stuart Leary


Our testers are JW and myself, low handicappers with a lot of experience. In order to reach scratch or better JW is hunting for a little more distance with no drop off in his accuracy, I ,on the other hand, need, would like a little more length combined with a lot more accuracy. Currently I have almost no success at hitting a green from 190m to 220m, this is a big weakness as it denies me birdie chances on reaching par fives in two and renders me hopeless on longer par three holes.


Pete Jolly


A regular playing partner and contributor to Golf on Costa del Sol, Pete is 25 handicapper in his late 60’s who generates plenty of clubhead speed, albeit it often arrives at the ball in a peculiar manner! Pete is striving to get his handicap down from the 20’s into the teens. Like all of us, an area where too many mistakes are made are with long shots into the green.


Mike Durkin


Mike plays with a handicap index of 11.1. Mike’s short game and “must make” putting skills have reached almost mythical levels amongst his playing partners. Mike is in his late 60s and has sufficient distance to bring most par 4s into range with two shots. Finding more length for 160m to 180m is key to Mike making an extra two or three pars each round and therefore get him into single figures again.


The Venue

Upon entering Golfriends Estepona we all commented on how good the shop looks, the highlight for me being the sweeping staircase that leads down to the fitting lab. We gazed upon an endless selection of clubs, salivating at the thought of being able to acquire a quick fix to a weak spot in our games. Pete initially made for the Honma showcase and wistfully waggled a gold coloured driver that was part of a set with a price tag in the tens of thousands of euros. Upon glimpsing the price we retreated to the more familiar Mizuno and Taylormade sections!


Best Golf Hybrids For 2023 clubs irons estepona marbella costa del sol golf course

As you can imagine the array of utility irons and hybrids available for us to sample at Golfriends was extensive. We narrowed the table of contenders down to the finest offerings from Ping, Taylormade and Mizuno.


The Golf Hybrids Tested


Taylormade Stealth Irons


Best Golf Hybrids For 2023 clubs irons estepona marbella costa del sol golf course

They are shown to get the ball airborne quickly, easily and with a long carry distance. The muscleback design looks easy on the eye and is a good option for players of all abilities.


Reasons to buy

  1. Easy to hit

  2. High ball flight and long carry

  3. Very forgiving


Reasons not to buy

  1. The club head looks large when next to the ball

  2. Some may feel that it looks too big



Taylormade P790 2 Iron and Taylormade P790 4 Iron

Best Golf Hybrids For 2023 clubs irons estepona marbella costa del sol golf course

The P790 range of irons are amazing. In our recent test we found them to be the best performing irons across the board for all players. This is a remarkable golf iron, a real game changer.


Best Golf Hybrids For 2023 clubs irons estepona marbella costa del sol golf course

Reasons to buy

  1. Everything! In each test we have done the P790 has been a top performer. It does everything well.

  2. A soft feeling from the face

  3. Explosive yet consistent distance even with widely off centre hits


Reasons not to buy

  1. In my opinion – none at all

  2. Some feel that the clubhead looks too small and blade like


You can check the best offers for these clubs on American Golf, by clicking here for the 2 iron and here for the 4 iron.


Taylormade Stealth 4 Hybrid


Best Golf Hybrids For 2023 clubs irons estepona marbella costa del sol golf course

The Taylormade range of modern graphite woods are dominating performance reviews across the board. We found them to be the perfect tool for gaining distance and general game improvement. A well priced premium product.


Reasons to buy

  1. When it comes to drivers and woods Taylormade are regarded as being the go to brand – if its a Taylormade product then you know it will be good!

  2. Draw bias provided significant help with dispersion

  3. Low spin

  4. Greater carry


Reasons not to buy

  1. That draw bias whilst helpful to many people will not be easy on the eye for some

  2. Does not benefit form the carbon face of its big brother drivers



Ping 425 Hybrid 5 and the Ping 425 Hybrid 2


Best Golf Hybrids For 2023 clubs irons estepona marbella costa del sol golf course

It should be no surprise to find Ping at the pinnacle of technology producing clubs that excel. Usually not a Ping fanboy I found myself astounded at the playability, accuracy and distance control offered by these clubs. If you are looking for a flag finding hybrid then you have found it with the Ping 425 range.


Reasons to buy

  1. These hybrids had the same radical impact on my game as the the Taylormade P790 irons – these hybrids are truly remarkable

  2. Very forgiving across the clubface

  3. Very accurate, easy to aim

  4. Also makes an excellent tool for pitch and run shots thanks to square set up

Reasons not to buy

  1. Does not make an appealing noise at impact

  2. Square setup might make slicers feel uncomfortable



Mizuno 233 Pro 4 Iron


These are beautifully crafted irons that offer a little extra help to players. These clubs are items of functional beauty. In our opinion these would be a great asset for skilled players who demand feel and workability.


Reasons to buy

  1. Ideal for skilled players

  2. Workable , easy to shape shots

  3. Soft feel


Reasons not to buy

  1. Not the right club for those looking for plenty of help

  2. Not as forgiving across the entire clubface as some competitors

  3. Small head will intimidate higher handicap players



John Walker – Objective to replace 3 and 4 iron with a green finding device.

The first up for today’s session was John. Currently playing with a world handicap index of 1.8 John is a very steady scorer. Usually a straight hitter, JW’s weakest area is 3 and 4 irons which for him cover 180 to 200 yards. The pure strikes fly on a nice trajectory moving slightly right to left and will usually leave him in 2 putt range. As we know, pure strikes are the exception rather than the rule. JW tends to experience a large discrepancy in distance control with the long irons, many times an improper strike resulting in a shot that comes up short and to the right.

The figures for Johns 4 iron accurately described what John often sees on the golf course. The average shot missed by 19m to the right. Nineteen metres is not a makeable birdie putt. In fact consistently two putting from that range is a testament to JWs talent with the flat stick.


Best Golf Hybrids For 2023 clubs irons estepona marbella costa del sol golf course

Marco at first set up a Taylormade Stealth 4 iron in the stock regular flex shaft. Half a dozen strikes saw a huge gain in all of the numbers! Clubheads speed up to 81.5, 4mph higher than his own 4 iron, ball speed giving a mph increase at 119mph, the spin had dropped 1200rpm giving a total of 176m of distance. The down side was that the target was to replace the 3 and 4 iron rather than the 5 wood, the target being a consistent 165m. Whilst the accuracy was better it was still missing 13m to the right.


This data led Marco to select for JW a Ping G425 hybrid again fitted with the stock R flex graphite shaft. The figures for this club completely met the brief and performed the task that John was asking perfectly. This Ping G425 Hybrid would replace both Johns 3 and 4 iron giving accurate and consistent results that John had never previously experienced!


At 78 mph of clubhead speed it closely matched that of his own 4 iron. A four miles per hour gain in ball speed (116mph) was the key to finding a consistent overall length of 163.5m with an accuracy of +/- 2.4m, the best news though was the accuracy, his average shot with this club missed the pin 3.2m to the left with a divergence of +/- 3.2m meaning that his birdie putts will be between 6m and 1m!

For John it is abundantly clear. Those long irons do not belong in his bag, space must be made for Ping G425 5 Hybrid!


Stuart Leary – No confidence with either 4 iron or 2 iron

I use my 2 iron as a fairway finder on tight driving holes and often for second shots into par 5’s. The only problem is that I rarely hit it well and often snap hook it into the countryside. It’s a similar story with my 4 iron. There are two par 3’s at my home course, Mijas Golf, both with water on the left of the green, both play 210m from the back tees. Depending upon the conditions of the day it is either a 2 iron or a 4 iron, either way I am screwed, I cannot remember the last time I hit the green with either of them.


Best Golf Hybrids For 2023 clubs irons estepona marbella costa del sol golf course

I need a club, or maybe two cubs to replace my aged irons that will cover 190m to 235m and be a laser straight fairway/green finder.

My statistics with my aged Mizuno MP4 4 iron equipped with a telegraph pole KBS X flex shaft were predictably grim.


A club head speed of 91.5 mph lead to a ball speed average of 124.6mph with a huge variance of +/-5.4mph which shows how unforgiving bladed clubs are! The telling number, and the number which described the problem I have with these old irons is a carry distance of 168m but with a variance of plus or minus 10m!! That’s insane. On the golf course it means that my 4 iron will fail to carry hazards and fail to reach the green most of the time! The accuracy was shown to be lamentable also with an average miss 0.9m to left plus or minus 13m!!! That figure tells us what is already clear to me, I have no idea what’s going to happen to the golf ball each time I address it with that 4 iron!


With a monumental problem to solve for me Marco initially set me up with a modern Mizuno 233 4 iron fitted with a 120g S flex steel shaft. The distance went up as did the consistency of strike but the results gleaned were far from a fairway finder! A more forgiving club was required.


Salvation came in the form of a Taylormade P790 head fitted with a Nippon Pro Modus 3 shaft of steel construction, 120g and S flex. Just like in my iron fitting of a few weeks earlier the combination of a Taylormade P790 head and the 120g shaft was almost magical. Truly, Taylormade have come close to perfection with the P790 irons.


The weight saving allowed me to swing the clubhead slightly faster at 92.3mph. At this point the numbers began to make excellent reading. My ball speed increased to 134.4 mph with a variance of only +/-0.8mph! In turn my average carry increased to 191m +/-3.6m which is exactly what I need from my 4 iron. The overall distance of 206.7m +/-5m with a dispersion of 2.3R +/-10 gives me the club I need to deal with those two dangerous par< 3 holes at Mijas Golf.


The next challenge I had for Marco was to give me a tool that would replace that old 2 iron, would give me the chance of hitting and holding the green on par fives and acting as a fairway finding weapon on the tee of those gnarly tight driving holes. I need a surefire straight hitting, soft landing club that will carry 220m.

The baseline numbers for my old hollow body design Mizuno 2 iron were 95.8mph clubhead speed, 133.8mph ball speed +/-4.2 which is far more consistent than I could manage with the bladed irons. A carry distance of 185m +/-7.3 is less than the Taylormade P790 that I tried a few minutes earlier. The overall distance of 206.6m is more or less what I see on the golf course.


Because of my success with the Taylormade P790 irons Marco suggested the P790 2 iron with the standard shaft, in this case 120g S flex. The numbers were better in every area, however none of them were in the blue banded optimum range displayed on the Trackman screen. Marco went to the Ping rack and brought me the G425 2 Hybrid with a standard graphite shaft 70g S flex.


https://www.golfoncostadelsol.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-golf-in-the-mijas-golf-valley

The Ping looks good beside the ball. The club feels easy to swing, lighter than my 2 iron, the first few waggles instilled confidence. The numbers were outstanding. The clubhead speed was the same, 95.9mph, what the club could do with that clubhead speed was incredible! Ball speed was up to 140.5mph with a tight consistency of +/-4.2, the spin dropped to 2717 allowing me to carry the ball 207.8m +/-6.5. The overall distance came to 228.8m +/-7 with a dispersion of 7.6L +/-7.8! To put that in context I could hit the 2 Hybrid almost as far as my 3 wood and with greater accuracy than my pitching wedge!! This Ping G425 2Hybrid is the fairway finder that I have always been looking for! As an extra bonus, it makes a great chipper from 30m out! Much easier than a 7 or 8 iron


The advice and feedback from Marco have transformed my game. I can replace my 4 iron, 2 iron and 3 wood with the Taylormade and Ping he suggested and I no longer need to be fazed by tight driving holes, long par 3s, attacking par 5s. This will make an immediate and huge difference to my scoring!


Mike Durkin – 68 Years of age. 12 handicap, highly competitive match player. Needs to hit more greens from 160m

When in Spain Mike uses a set of Taylormade M2 woods and irons fitted with regular flex graphite shafts.


After a number of hits Marco’s feeling was that the shafts were both too heavy and too stiff for the swing speed generated by Mike. At 73mph with ball speed of 101mph a ten gram saving in shaft weight and a softer flex would aid Mike. The baseline figures for Mikes 4 iron included 126.8m of carry with a very tight variance of +/-3m. . The overall length was 139.8m missing 12R +/-3.9. Clearly this end of Mike’s golf bag is a weak part of his game.


https://www.golfoncostadelsol.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-golf-in-the-mijas-golf-valley

A Taylormade Stealth 7 wood fitted with the lighter A flex shaft brought immediate improvements in all the metrics except for accuray. The balls were going all over the place missing the centre line by 27m on either side!

Marco switched the 7 wood for a Stealth 4 hybrid with the same A flex light shaft. Instantly the club gelled with Mike, the numbers showed a tremendous improvement across the board. With this club in his bag Mike would be able to reach greens from 153m away, 13m more than his 4 iron, and would find himself on average 6m to the left of the pin! The difference is night and day.


So taken with this club was Michael that he bought it on the spot and immediately put it in his golf bag!


Pete Jolly, 69 years old, 24 Handicap with a target to get to 16.

Like many higher handicap players Peter does not hit many greens in regulation. Often this is due to a mishit drive or a mishit second shot robbing him of the distance needed to reach the short grass. An important part of Pete’s journey to 16 handicap and below is to hit or at least get close to more greens in regulation.

Pete’s longest iron is his 5 iron, a Taylormade SIM 2 with an R flex 60g graphite shaft. Pete does not have a warm relationship with this club, indeed, the eclectic collection of fairway woods in Pete’s tote are often uncooperative too!


The baseline data for Pete’s 5 iron showed a clubhead speed of 69.2mph, a ball speed of 88.1mph carrying 80m and 15m to the right. The overall distance was 100.7m. These numbers were far removed for the optimum numbers that trackman said Peter should be achieving.


https://www.golfoncostadelsol.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-golf-in-the-mijas-golf-valley

Marcos immediate advice was to move to a hybrid to get more forgives, ease of use and in turn to get the ball travelling further and straighter. A Ping 5 hybrid was brought to bear with the standard A Flex shaft. Whilst distance went up the consistency of the distance was troublesome. The Taylormade Stealth 4 Hybrid replete with A flex shaft was called into action and saved the day. The figures are as different as night and day. The argument to switch to this amazing club was so compelling that Pete too made an on the spot decision to put it in his bag!

Clubhead speed was up by 5mph which led to an increase in ball speed to 95.1mph. The carry distance jumped by 33m which is incredible and of the highest importance on the golf course. Pete is now able to fly over greenside hazards rather than lay up short. The overall distance increased to 121m adding 20m to his fire power.


What does this extra distance really mean. How will it help you to score better?


Pete joined us on a fitting at the Golfriends Marbella store last week and discovered a configuration of the Taylormade Stealth driver that added 30m to his drive. The hybrid has given a further 20m meaning that Peter is now able to cover a massive 50m more ground with two blows. From this point on Pete will find himself reaching or at least on the fringes of many more par 4 and par 5 holes in regulation.


Our recent game at El Paraiso with the new clubs in Pete’s bag proved the real world proof. Pete recorded a best ever 5 gross pars and a gross birdie and played to an approximate 14 handicap! The difference is immediate and emphatic.


Summary

Two brands stood out during this fitting session, Ping and Taylormade.

For JW and I our objective was to find consistency and accuracy from long range. For both of us the characteristics of the Ping G425 hybrids provided the solution. For Mike and Peter whilst accuracy is important they also sought something that would put the target in range from 160m to 180m. Gaining distance was also an objective. The Taylormade Stealth Hybrid brought both of those things.


How do we answer the question, “What is the best Hybrid for 2023?” For players with high clubhead speed looking for accuracy then the Ping is peerless. If you want to reach greens that are a little further away then the Taylormade with its graphite technology in the Stealth range of clubs is the clear winner.



Many thanks to Marco and the team at Golfriends Estepona for patiently providing the technology to make these reviews possible.


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