Ask the expert: Todd Beach
Director of metalwood development, TaylorMade
What did TaylorMade have in mind when it introduced the first Rescue back in ’99?
We wanted a club that looked easy to hit. More than that, we wanted a club that was easy to hit. Right away, people were surprised how easy it was to get the ball up in the air.
Did you realize you were introducing a new category, which many have labeled the modern hybrid?
Yes. As the club evolved, we came up with new designs. Other companies were doing the same thing. The category just exploded. . . . I think it was because the tour players started using them.
Was there one tournament that stands out in your mind that launched the hybrid boom?
Yes, it was the 2003 British Open. The clubs were really catching on with amateurs by that time, but the 2003 British was like an announcement to the whole world. Mike Weir, Retief Goosen, Rich Beem and Colin Montgomerie all used them, and the publicity was huge.
Did hybrid-type clubs benefit from the modern golf ball?
Absolutely. The Pro V1 and similar balls were being used by all the tour players. They were driving the ball enormous distances, but they had trouble getting their 2-irons and 3-irons up in the air because these were lower-spinning balls. So they were searching for an alternative, and . . . hybrids or utilities were the answer.