2002: Hybrid clubs gain prominence

Considered an oddity just a few years ago, hybrid clubs are increasingly finding their way into golf’s mainstream. So much so that Wilson Golf and Adams Golf have included hybrids as part and parcel of their new iron sets.

The two club manufacturers have tossed aside 3- and 4-irons and substituted utility hybrids in their new eight-club set offerings. Typically, hybrids have been sold individually as alternatives for uncooperative long irons.

The newest iteration of the Wilson Fat Shaft irons, for example, feature the company’s signature wider tip diameter shafts in PW through 5-iron as well as two hybrid clubs.

The replacements, according to a Wilson Golf statement, “are surprisingly easy to hit, and golfers will not hesitate to pull out their No. 3 or No. 4 hybrid club when facing yardage between a 5-iron and a fairway wood.”

In early 2001, Adams Golf introduced its first hybrid club, the i-Wood, as a stand-alone purchase. Now the company has incorporated an updated version in its new Idea set.

In addition to PW through 5-iron, the set includes 17-degree and 21-degree i-Woods. (The women’s set is made up of SW through 6-iron and i-Woods of 21 and 25 degrees.)

The hybrids, however, aren’t the only design distinction found in the Idea set. Its remaining irons feature two different club styles: oversize hollow mid-irons and oversize cavity-back short irons. The intent of the “mixed” concept was to create “the optimal long, mid and short irons . . . and combine each part to make a correlated set with ideal distance and forgiveness,” said Barney Adams, the company’s founder and club designer.

Suggested retail is $599 for the Adams irons, which will be at retail in November; $499 for the new Wilson Fat Shaft irons which are available this month.

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