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Review & Comparison of hybrid clubs

Preface:

Every year, the multitude of golf magazines and web sites come up with reviews of golf clubs and by and large they do a good job. But they all review clubs from major manufacturers like Nike, Callaway, McGregor etc. There is nothing to guide the golfing public about minor brands. First most people don't even know that minor brands exist and even if they do, they have no way to read reviews, do a comparative analysis and make informed decisions. At Interloper.com where we specialize in minor brands, we face this issue daily. How to help our customers make better more informed decisions. Left with no choice, we decided to take the plunge and do it ourselves.

The next issue was what to review first, drivers, woods, hybrids, irons or putters? Since we sell more hybrid clubs than woods, drivers, irons and putters combined, we decided to review hybrids first. The only thing that comes close to our hybrid sales are our wedge sets.

Now we were faced with the task of doing a fair evaluation. One thing that is frustrating when reading reviews in major magazines is that the clubs come assembled from the manufacturers and all the testers can do is test what they receive. A key component of a golf club is the shaft and if every club has a different shaft, the testers cannot normalize their results. The same club head will perform differently with different shafts. At Interloper.com we have the luxury of being able to assemble our clubs with whichever shaft we want. We chose the Apollo Shadow Steel Shaft. The Shadow's low Kickpoint helps produce higher trajectories for improved distance and softer landings. It is not a very expensive shaft so the results will not be skewed to favor the affluent golfer.

What club # to test? We can't possibly test them all from # 1 to 9, that would just be impractical. What hybrid do our customers buy the most? The # 3 hybrid and that is usually the iron they so desperately want to replace. So we decided to test the # 3 hybrid club from different manufacturers.

What about club length? Usually different manufacturers have different club lengths for the same club size. A # 3 Nickent hybrid may have a different length than a Taylor Made. So we decided to make all the same length.

Using the same shaft, same length and the same grip on all helped us achieve uniformity of flex, length and weight. We could not control the loft angle as different manufacturers have different loft sizes for their # 3. We could not control the head weight either. So out of a total of six variables, we neutralized four - shaft length, shaft weight, shaft flex and grip size. We also spine aligned the shafts even though every one is not yet convinced of the value of spine alignment.

What kind of shots to test? We decided on Tee Shots, Shots off the turf (fairway), Shots in the rough, cut shots, draw shots and flat shots. Every club was tested on the golf range as well as on the golf course to get a more realistic feedback. Not surprisingly, results vary. Besides it is not easy to simulate shaped shots on a range or hit a shot from the rough over water. We used the Cowboys Golf course, the Grapevine Golf course and the Bear Creek Golf course during our testing. They all pose different challenges.

Club head speed was measured using the portable Swing Speed Radar. The assumption is that the higher the swing speed, the greater the distance the ball will travel.

Results were logged on a scale of 1 to 10 on every shot and then averaged out. Bad shots, that is golfer error, were not recorded. The table will give you our test results. Following the test results is a commentary on all the clubs to give you more information on a club's unique features / characteristics. Every golfer is unique and what works for one golfer may not necessarily work the same for another.

Review of Hybrid Clubs
    Swing Speed Tee Shots Turf Shots Ball Shot Shaping Flat Shot Rough Club Total Score Ranking
  Make/Model   Range Course Range Course Trajectory       Aesthetics    
    Scale of 1 to 10. 1 being the absolute worst, 10 being as good as it gets    

Power Play Select 5000 hybrid clubs, review of hybrid clubs

Power Play Select 5000
Loft: 21
Head Weight: 242 gms
95.3 7.6 8 6.9 6.8 8.7 3.5 3.8 6 6 57.3 9

oxygen type x hybrid clubs, review and comparison of hybrid clubs

Oxygen Type X
Loft: 19
Head Weight: 237 gms
90.7 7.8 7.4 6.8 7.3 8.8 7 5 6.6 7 63.7 8

Synchron Medic hybrid clubs

Synchron Medic
Loft: 18
Head Weight: 216 gms
93.3 7.8 7.4 7 6.8 8.2 6.6 6.4 5.5 8 63.7 8

acer xds wide sole hybrid clubs

Acer XDS wide sole
Loft: 22
Head Weight: 244 gms
90.2 6.8 7 6.7 7 9.0 5.8 7.5 8 8 65.8 7

power play system q hybrid clubs, review and comparison of hybrid clubs

Power Play System Q
Loft: 19
Head Weight: 231 gms
88.7 8.3 8.8 8.1 7.4 8.7 7 5 7.2 7 67.5 6

acer xp hybrid clubs / utility irons, best deals on hybrid clubs

Acer XP
Loft: 20
Head Weight: 228 gms
97 8.3 8 8 7.3 8.6 7.8 6.9 7 7.3 69.2 5

power play select 5000 maraging utility irons / hybrid clubs

Power Play Select 5000 Maraging
Loft: 19
Head Weight: 223 gms
94.3 8.4 9 8 7.3 8.6 8.8 9 9 7 75.1 3
Acer Mantara Square hybrid club, square face, utility iron, faced, Acer Mantara
Loft: 20
Head Weight: 242 gms
96.2 9.3 8.1 8.5 7.5 9.5 6.6 5 8.5 8.4 71.4 4
power play system Q2 hybrid club, rectangular face, utility iron, faced, Power Play System Q2
Loft: 20
Head Weight: 242 gms
97.4 9 8.6 9.2 9.1 8.9 9 8 8 8.8 78.6 1
acer xp905 hybrid club, utility iron, best deals on hybrid clubs Acer XP905
Loft: 19
Head Weight: 242 gms
96 8.2 8.3 9 9.8 8.7 9 9 7 7.5 76.5 2

* Swing Speed excluded from totals

Notes:

  • Swing Speed: Swing speed translates to distance but people buy hybrids not for distance but for control and trajectory. Testing was done with the conscious exclusion of speed as a variable. This helped us avoid errors that creep in when you are trying to hit a ball real hard. The tester had to focus on everything except speed. We recorded the speeds and are presenting you the data but we are not including that in the ranking.
     
  • Range Shots vs On-the-course shots: The purpose is to measure shot dispersion, that is the ball ends in the general area where intended. We are listing results from both to give you a better idea of how the results were derived and how they vary from the range to course in real play.
     
  • Aesthetics: The looks, feel and sound of a club: Though very subjective, how the club feels like at address and how it sounds at impact can affect your confidence. If a club gives you confidence, quite often you will hit a better shot.
     
  • Trajectory: Most amateur golfers struggle to get the ball high enough with their long irons and this looses them distance. The lower CG and design of hybrids is meant to overcome that. They all vary in their ability and hopefully our research will help you pick the right club.
     
  • Shot Shaping: It covers draw and fade shots. If you are a very high handicapper, this probably will not matter much to you as your focus will be to just get the ball up and straight. Better players though need a club that they can guide the ball with left or right.
     
  • Flat Shot: Why did we add a separate column for flat shots when shot shaping should cover that? The low CG of hybrids creates a problem - the ball pops up more than conventional irons. A feature that you want in your hybrids except when hitting a flat shot. It is an important shot as quite often we are in the trees and to get out, we need a flat shot that just grazes the grass underneath and comes back out to the fairway.
     
  • Rough Shots: Since most recreational golfers end up in the rough more often than not, we thought it would be a good idea to test shots out of rough as a category. As the results show, different clubs perform differently in thick rough.
     
  • Chipping: Pretty much the same results from all makes. The # 3 hybrid is not really a club you would use to chip in most cases so the test results were pretty much the same and we decided not to include them in the comparison. Most golfers would use a mid to short iron or a wedge for chipping, not a # 3.

Commentary:

  • Power Play System Q2: The # 1 ranked club:
    • Perhaps the most delightful club in our arsenal. Great aesthetics - just looking at it makes you want to play golf.
    • Not too big, not too small.
    • Rectangular design - looks like a square head and almost is but not quite.
    • Provides great control and shot shaping ability.
    • Stellar in all categories.
       
  • Acer XP905:
    • A very close second with a more traditional design.
    • The best at off the turf shots.
    • You can do anything with this club - want to hit it straight or shape your shots, it will not let you down.
    • Because of its traditional design, there isn't much of a learning curve.
       
  • Power Play Select 5000 Maraging:
    • A very well balanced club that handles all kinds of shots.
    • The harder Alpha Maraging steel face gives you more distance. The # 2 hybrid in this series will out distance many # 3 woods.
    • Incredible performance in shot shaping. Even on flat shots, you can fade or draw.
    • The Ball Bearing Insert technology helps distribute the weight and dampen shock giving you a crisp and clean feel.
    • A little pricier than the others because of the Alpha Maraging steel and ball bearing inserts. Well worth it.
       
  • Acer Mantara:
    • Bold and bright colorful design.
    • Big square face offers a large hitting area. You can't miss the ball with this club.
    • Very forgiving on miss hits.
    • Superb ball flight. The low CG design of this club provides the highest ball trajectory in our lineup.
    • Great for thick rough also. Big face can mow down any rough.
       
  • Acer XP:
    • Stable performer, very elegant design.
    • Features a smooth center rail that cuts through rough.
    • Wider selection - 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.
       
  • Power Play System Q:
    • Has a draw bias and that makes it difficult to fade. However; the draw bias can be changed with the interchangeable weights.
    • It's low CG design made it difficult to keep flat shots down. The ball just kept popping up.
    • Ideal for those who struggle with draw or fade.
    • Wide selection - 2 to 9, PW and SW. You can have a complete set of these hybrids.
       
  • Acer XDS:
    • Its sole has distinct rails that makes it easy to slide through thick rough. If you play on a golf course that has heavy rough, this club can be a life saver.
    • The XDS has the largest head of all the hybrids we tested. It is half the size of a regular wood. Off the tee, it gives you confidence. It's an intangible advantage.
    • When you are getting set before a shot, the wider sole helps the club rest squarely on the turf. You don't have to contend with the wobble associated with conventional irons or hybrids that are more like irons.
    • The ball goes further on flat shots than you expect.
    • Wide selection - 1 to 9, PW and SW. You can have a complete set of these hybrids.
    • Has been our best selling hybrid this year.
       
  • Synchron Medic:
    • Perhaps the most dandy looking club.
    • Nice club. Available in sizes 3, 4 and 5.
       
  • Oxygen Type X:
    • Great lift. If you struggle with getting your ball up in the air, this is the club for you.
    • Draw bias makes it difficult to fade the ball.
    • Poor at flat shots - it is very hard to keep the ball down.
    • Available in sizes 2, 3, 4 and 5.
       
  • Power Play Select 5000:
    • It has been our second best seller this year and is at a very aggressive price point.
    • It is more iron like while the other hybrids are more wood like. Great for those who are better with irons than woods.
    • Wide selection - 1 to 9, PW and SW. You can have a complete set of these hybrids.


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