Hybrids are miracle clubs for a lot of players, thanks to the center of gravity in the clubhead. Because it's set back from the face, you can launch the ball high—and square the club—more easily than you can with a long iron, even from the rough. But just because hybrids are user-friendly doesn't mean you don't have to take some care in how you swing them. Tour players like Ricky Barnes, who's demonstrating for us here, know how to make subtle adjustments in ball position and setup to promote the ball flight they want. They also know how to use the whole body to generate speed.
Ricky can carry the ball 230 yards with his hybrid and flight it like a middle iron, which is useful on long par 3s and approach shots to firm, fast greens. That's a great weapon to have. Read below to learn more.
KEEP THE BALL FORWARD
A lot of the advice you hear about hybrids is to play them like middle irons. It is possible to hit a hybrid from a centered ball position with a downward blow, but you won't get the most out of the club. You want to sweep it more, which is easier to do when the ball is farther forward—midway between the center of your stance and where you'd tee up a driver. The longer the club, the more toward the front foot you should go.
FINISH YOUR TURN
Ricky's follow-through says a lot of great things about the swing he just made. His shoulders and hips turn through completely and in the right proportion: His left shoulder has moved all the way around and is behind his head, but his belt buckle is still pointing to the right of the target. Many amateurs spin their hips wide open, and their shoulders never catch up. Ricky's also taller than he was at address. You can't turn your body through if you stay bent over.
*Rob Akins teaches at Spring Creek Ranch Golf Club in Collierville, Tenn.
Ricky Barnes has 12 top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour.*