It used to be that if you wanted to hit a fairly long shot into a green from the rough, you'd need a prayer and a 3-iron. Now you just need to know how to hit hybrid. Their margin for error is much greater. Nowadays, while our 3-irons are collecting dust, we've got hybrids to do this job more reliably—provided you make a few adjustments from your normal swing. The first adjustment is the way you hold the club. You've got to make sure the face doesn't twist open or closed as it passes through the grass. That's why you should grip it firmly with the last three fingers of your glove hand like I am here (above).
The second adjustment you need to make is to play the ball in the center of your stance. The tendency is to address it farther forward because a lot of people look at their hybrids and think 'fairway wood.' While you're right to play your fairway wood forward, it's not the right move for your hybrid. Playing the ball forward means you're coming into the ball with a more shallow angle of attack. When hitting a hybrid, you need a steeper angle of attack to minimize contact with the grass around the ball, and a middle ball position helps.
When you swing back, don't sway away from the target. Instead, focus on turning around a fixed axis. This thought also promotes the steeper attack angle you need to hit your hybrid well. Finally, as you swing down, focus on accelerating through the rough while maintaining that firm grip pressure in the last three fingers of your glove hand. No matter what club you hit out of the rough, you need clubhead speed to get the ball up and out.
Do that, and the club will come down on the ball square to your target. You'll turn a potential double bogey into a scoring opportunity. Thank you, Mr. Hybrid.
Adam Kolloff, a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher, is at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J.
MORE ON POWER & SAVING SHOTS
You've played enough golf to know that you don't have the same issues as the guy hitting balls next to you. But there are two things you both want: longer drives and lower scores. This month in our video-instruction hub, aka the Golf Digest Schools, we launch two series: "The Science of Speed" and "Scoring 101: The 5 Requirements." Here are two Golf Digest Best Young Teachers—Mike Jacobs and Adam Kolloff—at the top of their games. Jacobs teaches you the essential truths about distance, and Kolloff presents the quickest ways to bring down your scores. Each series ($9.99) contains five extended video lessons, with tips, fixes and drills you can access anywhere and everywhere you want. For more on these new programs, go to golfdigest.com/golf-digest-schools.