Fill The Gap
Back in the late 1990s, TaylorMade reshaped the long game with a new category of hybrid clubs called Rescues. Since then, countless updates have been made to wood-based hybrids, iron-like hybrids and driving irons. Now comes TaylorMade's GAPR (pronounced gapper), which packages the three aforementioned head styles into one neat product line. "For some players, particularly those who prefer iron-style clubs, the GAPR may be a better option," says Tomo Bystedt, TaylorMade's Senior Director Product Creation, Metalwoods.
The family has three distinct models, GAPR LO, GAPR MID and GAPR HI ($250 each). The hollow, stainless steel heads are filled with foam, which absorbs unwanted vibration at impact while allowing the maraging steel face to flex. The trio also features the company's redesigned "Speed Pocket" along the sole, which promotes additional power and higher launch on shots struck low on the clubface. In addition, the GAPR has interchangeable shafts (KBS Hybrid graphite comes standard), loft adjustability (+/- 1.5° from the stated number), and the lowest center of gravity (CG) the company's produced in each head style.
Which GAPR is best for your game? Not to be coy, but the one that plugs the yardage gap between your longest playable iron and shortest metal wood. Once you know that distance, go ahead and select the loft, head shape (and corresponding ball flight) you prefer.
Resembling a compact driving iron, the GAPR LO (2/17°, 3/19°, 4/22°) is built for players who generate fast ball speeds. The smallest head of the bunch has a low, forward CG for penetrating ball flight. The LO is also the easiest one to shape shots with and ideally suited for golfers with a steep downswing ("digger"). Eleven Tour pros, including Tiger Woods, sported the LO at The Open Championship earlier this summer. The GAPR MID (3/18°, 4/21°, 5/24°) blends a pure driving iron and traditional hybrid. With a neutral-weighted head bias, iron-like profile and medium-wide sole, both diggers and sweepers (players who take little to no divot) of all skill level could benefit. "The GAPR MID is a clear differentiator from other hybrids on the market," says Bystedt. "It's the Jack-of-all-trades and has the chance to be a cult classic."
As the only wood-based head in the bunch, the GAPR HI (3/19°, 4/22°, 5/25°, 6/28°) flies highest and is most forgiving. Players accustomed to sweeping a small-headed, draw-bias hybrid should feel comfortable with this one. It's available in the most loft options and shaft flexes, too. On the subject of shafts, the GAPR LO is shortest by corresponding loft, the GAPR MID is right in the middle, and GAPR HI is longest (GAPR LO 19° is 39.75"; GAPR MID 18° is 40.25"; GAPR HI 19° is 40.75"). "Partially, it's based on what looks right to the golfer using that particular club," says Bystedt. "A shorter shaft in GAPR LO is more appropriate for hitting down on the ball whereas a [one-inch] longer shaft in GAPR HI fits the sweeping motion of a hybrid."
Long clubs can be scoring sticks, too. With the GAPR, even regular Joes can take dead aim.