How to Hit a Hybrid for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide

By Todd Kolb
June 4, 2024

How to Hit a Hybrid for Beginners: Master Setup & Swing to Get the Most out of the Best Club in Your Bag

If your hybrid is not your favorite club, it may just be because you’re not sure how to hit a hybrid.

I personally believe the hybrid is one of the best inventions in the last fifty years of golf. For golfers who struggle with their longer irons, this club fills that gap. With your hybrid, it’s much easier to get that ball up in the air and flying straight.

But in order to reap those benefits, you need to know how to hit a hybrid. If you aren’t that impressed with their hybrid’s performance, odds are, you’re trying to hit this club like an iron.


I’m going to walk you through my guide to how to hit a hybrid for beginners, including:

  • The purpose of your hybrid
  • Why you should learn how to hit a hybrid
  • The correct ball position for hybrid shots
  • How to set up with the proper body and club shaft position
  • The right swing motion for your hybrid

Let’s jump in.

About the Instructor

I’m PGA Teaching Professional Todd Kolb—a four-time Golf Digest Best-in-State Instructor, Amazon Best-selling Author and Minnesota PGA Teacher of the Year. I’ve worked with students of all ages and skill levels in my 30 years of coaching, from first-timers to an LPGA major champion.

I’m also the Director of Instruction for VLS Golf and USGolfTV, as well as the author of the bestselling book, The Bad Lie

My work with VLS Golf and USGolfTV revolves around helping the everyday golfer cut through overcomplicated traditional instruction to find solutions that actually work for them. And that’s exactly what we’ll be doing in this article.

Hitting a Hybrid for Beginner Golfers: Key Points

  • The hybrid’s design combines the best features of long irons and fairway woods to create an amateur-friendly club.
  • One of the biggest and most common hybrid mistakes is treating a hybrid exactly like an iron.
  • The key steps for hitting a hybrid are:
    • Position the golf ball just off the inside of your lead heel.
    • Set up with your hands and club shaft in a neutral position.
    • Tilt your shoulders away from the target just slightly.
    • Take your swing, finishing with your knees touching and your body facing the target.
  • You can use your hybrid in a wide range of situations, including
    • Off the tee
    • Out of the rough
    • On a bump and run
    • Out of a divot
    • On a downhill lie
  • It’s important to find the right hybrid for you. The VLS Maxvert 1 hybrid is particularly popular among amateur and older golfers.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Hybrid?

In order to understand the value of your hybrid, you need to understand the purpose of this club.

Why does a hybrid exist in the first place?

Just as the name suggests, the hybrid golf club was designed using the best features of two different clubs: long irons and fairway woods.

Long irons have always plagued amateur golfers. Due to the small club face, these clubs don’t offer much room for error. They also feature a low loft, making it much harder to get the height you need for a long flight down the fairway.

Fairway woods have a larger sweet spot and brush through the turf more easily. The trade-off is that they feature a longer shaft. This makes it a little more difficult to master the swing mechanics of a fairway wood.

This is where the hybrid comes in. You hybrid has the broad face of a fairway club with a flatter sole to achieve a lie angle that’s closer to what you’d get with an iron. The swing mechanics of a hybrid are similar to an iron, so there’s less of a learning curve.

But make no mistake: hitting a hybrid is different from hitting the ball with an iron.

I’ll get to that in a moment. Before that brief lesson in the physics of golf, let’s talk about who stands to benefit from using a hybrid.

Who is a Hybrid Golf Club For?

Anyone can benefit from using a hybrid golf club. But those who tend to love the hybrid the most are amateur golfers or golfers with a slower club head speed.

If you struggle with your 3, 4, and 5-irons, you can probably transform your game just by learning how to hit a hybrid. The hybrid was designed for you.

The long bottom makes it easy to sweep the turf so you don’t have to hit down on the club. The design of the club head helps you get the ball up in the air even with a slower swing speed.

My daughter loves her hybrid. So do some of my tour pros . . . typically the professionals who have a slower swing speed.

A hybrid is for everyone. And if you don’t know how to hit a hybrid already, learning this skill can change your game.

What’s Better: A Hybrid or a Driving Iron?

Driving irons are really popular right now. But before you jump on the bandwagon, be aware that they’re popular among top players for a reason.

Professionals who have a club head speed of 110, 115 or 120 miles per hour can do incredible things with a driving iron. In their hands, it’s a valuable tool.

But this club is better suited for high swing speeds. If you’re reading this article, you are probably not swinging fast enough to use a driving iron to its full potential. Focus on hybrids for now.

What is the Correct Ball Position for Hybrid Golf Clubs?

If you follow us here at USGolfTV, you know I’m all about ball position. Getting the ball in the right place is the easiest, quickest, and sometimes the most effective way to improve your golf game.

When your golf ball is in the wrong place, you are going to hit the ball at the wrong part of your swing arc. This affects the trajectory of your shot and can cause disastrous results from a deep divot to a horrifying slice.

You can have incredible swing speed, but if the ball is not in the right position, all that power is worthless.

If you have been having trouble with your hybrid, it may not be your golf swing. It may be because you’re using the same ball position you would use for an iron shot.

Ball Position for Irons vs. Ball Position for Hybrids

As you may already know, you always want to hit down on your irons. That is to say, you want to catch the ball just before the very bottom of your swing, when your club head is still descending.

This is not the case with your hybrids.

While you don’t want to hit up on your hybrids like you do with your driver, you do want to make contact at the very bottom of your swing arc. Slightly forward of the bottom is okay, too.

In order to accomplish this, your golf ball should be just slightly forward of center. To find the right spot:

  1. Take your golf setup.
  2. Position the golf ball just off the inside of your lead heel or one roll back from that position. (In other words, roll the ball one rotation away from the target.)

If you use a Rimer Short Game Trainer, this is a great time to bring it out. If you know your regular ball position for iron shots, start from there. Move the slider on your trainer slightly forward of your iron position. Then take a shot with your hybrid and see how it feels.

If you’re not familiar with the Rimer, you can learn more about it here. This is one of my favorite training aids to use when I’m helping students master golf ball position.

What is the Best Setup Position for a Hybrid?

Now that you’ve mastered hybrid golf ball position, let’s talk about your hands, club shaft, and body position.

How to Position the Club Shaft for Hybrid Shots

We talk a lot about grip in golf. But the position of your hands is just as important as the way you hold the club. If you set up your hybrid shots the way you set up your iron shots, your hands are probably too far forward.

From this position, you are guaranteed to drive the leading edge of the club face down into the ground. This negates the design features of the hybrid that are meant to help your golf swing. As a result, your ball flight will most likely be low and to the left (if you’re right-handed).

In order to make the most of your hybrid, position your hands in a neutral position. This should bring your golf club into a neutral position as well.

Before you take your golf swing, make sure the club shaft isn’t leaning back (away from the target) or forward (towards the target).

How to Position the Body for Hybrid Shots

Remember, you don’t hit down on your hybrid the way you do with your irons. This means you want more of a sweeping golf swing motion. And your body position can do a lot to help you reach this goal.

When you take your hybrid setup:

  1. Square your shoulders.
  2. Tilt your shoulders away from the target just slightly so your trail shoulder is lower than your lead shoulder.

If you’ve read our article on driver setup, you know I’m a big fan of using that shoulder tilt in driver shots, as well. Just know that this is different. Your hybrid tilt should be very slight compared to your driver tilt.

What is the Best Swing for a Hybrid?

Now you know the best golf ball position for hitting a hybrid. You know how to position your hands, club shaft, and body. Now that you’ve mastered stance and setup, it’s time to take a look at your golf swing.

As I mentioned earlier, the beauty of the hybrid is that you can hit great shots without generating a ton of swing speed. Your hybrid is not a “grip it and rip it” club like your driver. What you do need in your hybrid golf swing is solid rhythm and tempo.

My best advice for achieving this is shockingly simple.

As you take your golf swing, focus on getting to a balanced finish. You want to finish with your knees touching and your body facing the target.

It sounds too easy, but I promise you: if you take your swing with the goal of reaching that exact finishing stance, the rhythm and tempo will follow.

How to Compress the Ball at Impact

When you’re hitting a hybrid, you want to compress the golf ball at impact. That is to say, you want ball-first contact, reaching impact at a downward angle of attack (AOA).

But be aware that it’s not the same sharp downward strike you might be used to with an iron. When you’re hitting an iron, you’re aiming for a 3-degree AOA. With a hybrid, it’s more like 1 degree.

That’s why we emphasize a sweeping swing motion. In fact, if you follow all the instructions I already laid out:

  • Position the golf ball just off the inside of your lead heel.
  • Set up with your hands and club shaft in a neutral position.
  • Tilt your shoulders away from the target just slightly.
  • Take your swing, finishing with your knees touching and your body facing the target.

…you’re just about guaranteed to compress the golf ball. You’ll hit the ball at the perfect moment in your swing because you laid all the groundwork.

Should I Take a Divot With a Hybrid?

No, you don’t want to take a divot with your hybrid. Especially not if you’re working with a modest swing speed.

A divot means you’re hitting the ball with a more severe downward AOA like you would with an iron. 

And after 30 years spent coaching golfers of all skill levels, I can tell you hitting down with a hybrid like that is likely to result in a chili dip. At least it is if your swing speed is on the lower end.

Advanced Tips: 5 Other Ways to Use a Hybrid

We’ve been talking about how to hit a hybrid for beginners. But I’d like to teach you a few more tricks that are beginner-friendly but will make you look like you’ve got this whole hybrid thing nailed.

This is why I love this club. You can use your hybrid to prevail in a wide range of tough situations from the tee to the fringe. It’s seriously the most versatile club in your bag.

Here are five underappreciated ways to use your hybrid:

1. Hit a Hybrid Off the Tee

Between the long shaft and bulky club head, drivers are tough to control. If you’re tired of fighting with yours, see if you have more success with a hybrid.

Hitting a hybrid off the tee isn’t that much different from hitting a driver. You’ll just make these minor adjustments:

  • Tee it down a little more than you would with a driver—just a fraction of an inch.
  • Take your setup and check how the ball lines up with the club head. If the top of the ball is just slightly below the top of the clubhead, you’ve got it right.
  • Position the ball a bit forward of center in your stance.

That’s it. Easy, right?

2. Use Your Hybrid to Get Out of the Rough

The hybrid’s design makes it a particularly good option for getting through the tall grass. The next time you’re stuck in the rough, try this:

  1. Grab your most lofted hybrid.
  2. Position the ball a little farther back in your stance than you would if you were taking a regular hybrid shot. Think about getting the ball somewhere between the logo and buttons of your golf shirt.
  3. Choke down on the handle a little.
  4. Take a firmer grip. The long grass will try to twist and turn the club head. You’ll need a strong grip to stay in control of your face orientation.

The only thing left to do is take a swing. I think you’ll find it’s an easier way out of the rough than anything else you’ve tried.

3. Use a Hybrid for a Bump and Run

I wasn’t kidding when I said this club covers just about everything from the tee to the fringe. When the ball lands in the long grass around the green, a hybrid can help you get out and stay in control.

The trick is to treat your hybrid more like a putter. By that I mean:

  1. Use a putting grip.
  2. Get closer to the ball.
  3. Position your eyes over the ball.
  4. Make a putting motion.

Between the design of your hybrid’s sole to the high loft, the ball will hop up in the air just enough to get over the fringe and onto the green. 

4. Hit a Hybrid Out of a Divot

Every once in a while, you hit a fantastic drive only to find that your ball has come to rest in a divot. That’s the perfect time to reach for your hybrid. All you’re going to do in this situation is:

  • Use your most lofted hybrid.
  • Position the ball a little farther back in your stance than you would if you were taking a regular hybrid shot. Think about getting the ball somewhere between the logo and buttons of your golf shirt.

Then take your shot just like you normally would. Couldn’t be easier. 

5. Use a Hybrid on a Downhill Lie

Yes, you can even hit a great shot with your hybrid on the dreaded downhill lie. In fact, the tip for this one is the easiest to remember of all the advanced hybrid shots.

  • Flare your lead foot out wide so your toe points down the slope.

That one tiny adjustment stabilizes you so you’ll be able to swing without falling forward. 

How Do I Find the Hybrid That’s Right for Me?

To get the most out of everything you just learned, get your hands on a hybrid that’s right for you. That typically means getting fit for a hybrid the same as you would for any other club in your bag.

If you’re a senior golfer (though I prefer the term “experienced”), I highly recommend checking out the VLS Maxvert 1 hybrid. It’s the only hybrid on the market designed entirely around the experienced golfer’s swing. And believe me, that matters.

One of the biggest reasons amateur golfers struggle with their hybrids is simply that these clubs are designed for advanced skill sets. If you’re curious to see what it would be like to use a hybrid that was engineered around your swing, click here.

FAQs on Hitting Hybrids

Should I be using a hybrid golf club?

Yes! Hybrids are great for everyone, especially golfers with lower swing speeds. They’re also extremely versatile. You just have know how to use them properly.

When should I use a hybrid?

Hybrids are best known for their usefulness in hitting approach shots, but they actually come in handy in a wide range of situations, including:

  • Off the tee
  • Out of the rough
  • On a bump and run
  • Out of a divot
  • On a downhill lie

What is the best hybrid for amateur golfers?

Our top recommendation is the VLS Maxvert 1 hybrid, because it’s the only hybrid designed specifically for senior golfers and those with slower swing speeds.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you follow the steps you learned in this article consistently, I have no doubt you’ll see a difference after your next eighteen holes. I’ve seen this advice change the game for literally thousands of amateur golfers, and I know it’ll work for you, too.

But now I want to know what you think.

Has this been helpful? Do you have any questions or any hybrid tips of your own to share? Do you disagree with any of my advice on how to hit a hybrid?

Whatever is on your mind, please join us in the comments!

And if you’re ready to start adding some speed to your golf game, check out our Free Counter Backswing Sequence Series. It can add 20 yards or more in 20 minutes or less!


  1. Super interesting! I have a question– I use women’s clubs that are hybrid clubs 3 through PW. Should I use a forward ball position for all of these hybrids? Thanks for your help!

  2. Lori,

    Great question! Yes, hybrids are designed to sweep the club off the turf, not compress down the ball like an iron. Therefor, a ball position of slightly forward of center is ideal for most all hybrids. Hope that helps!

  3. That helps me a lot. When addressing the ball should I place the club directly behind the ball or bring the toe of the club more towards me in order to hit it square.

  4. Mike, awesome to hear. Thank you for taking the time to post. We have more great content to come, be sure to check back.

  5. – Great advice. I will try it next time I’m out. Small difference from hitting a iron, but important. I was led to believe I was to hit a hybrid just like an iron in other golf videos (not yours, but no names mentioned). Right now I am always hitting my hybrid too low and not as far as I would like (to replace my fair woods and long irons).

    – Quick tip I learned from a golf lesson when you have little time to putting warm-up. Take 4 balls to putting green. Go to centre of green and try putting in all 4 directions to check ball speed/distance control, to stop the balls on just the fringe of the green. Gives you idea of what the greens are like that day and place. I enjoy all your training videos very much. Thanks again.

    P.S. – I have seen your video on the new Teton Hybrid Driver. Is it as good as they say? Can you use it off the turf as well? I am thinking of getting one. Let me know. Thanks.

  6. Glen,

    Great to hear from you! I like the 4 ball tip on the putting green before a round…good stuff! Yes, the Teton is solid and is a good mix of length and accuracy for those who struggle with the driver.

  7. Todd: I’m replacing my tired 10 year old Adams A7OS seniors hybrids and irons (great clubs in their day), with a new set of Cobra T-Rail4/5 hybrid and 6-PW. They are basically all hollow clubs that should work like a hybrid. Do your recommendations on ball placement and setup apply to the shorter hybrids like the 8-PW? I take it that you recommend placing the ball slightly forward than a similar iron and use a flatter swing with a wider and less steep backswing. Is that right? There’s lots of these clubs coming on the market like the T-Rails, Cleveland Launcher HB and Wilson Staff Launch Pads. Perhaps you could do a video on shorter hybrids now that they’re becoming more popular for us slow swing seniors.

  8. Jamie, thanks for asking. I like just slightly forward of center ball position for 8-PW with that design of club. You want more a sweeping motion with those clubs. Thanks for the idea on shorter hybrids…will be sure to share with our team!

  9. Would one use the same ball positioning for a 9, 11,13 wood as you would for the hybrids? What is the difference between a hybrid and those for mentioned woods

  10. Greg,

    Yes you can use the same ball position for all the clubs you listed. The difference would be so minor I would not be concerned. The main difference between a hybrid and a wood is the general design. We have found hybrids are better off the ground and woods better off a tee. Hope that helps.

  11. Thanks for all your videos. Two questions:
    – any guesses why I have problems hitting my hybrid severely off the toe? (Only seems to happen with my hybrid)
    – are you familiar with the latest Tour Edge E521 “ironwoods”? These seem like hybrids, perhaps, so would you hit these the same as with the hybrid tips in this lesson?
    Thank you,

  12. I have had both hips replaced , most recently 2 years ago. I cannot make the full turn and have lost considerable distance on all my clubs. 70 years of age.

    do you have any suggestions on how to improve my swing and distance

  13. Robert,
    Here you go

  14. Molly,

    Thanks for posting. Not familiar with the E521, sorry. Check your distance from the ball, you may be standing too far away. You want to position your body so that you hands fall directly below your shoulders. Hope that helps!

  15. Your comments on the hybrid is very informative thanks . Where would one position the ball using a tee w/a hybrid

  16. Phil,

    Good question, for a hybrid off a tee place the ball directly out from the logo on a golf shirt. This is a good reference point.

  17. Thanks for the hybrid information. My question is hand position. Should it be strong, weak or neutral. Meaning thumb position RH golfer.

  18. Phil, I am a 71 year old, 145 # man. I have had 1 lower lumbar surgery and 1 neck (Discs) surgery. I don’t have the power in my arms any more to hit hard and long so I have to play off the reds, which is embarrassing. What can I do to play with my friends and others? I am a self taught golfer and really love the game. I have mix matched clubs, some irons and some hybrids, which I find more user friendly.

  19. Where can I buy the ball position tool you use in your videos?

  20. Todd
    First of all thanks for all the instruction. I’m a senior golfer been playing for about a year. I really struggled with long irons and even the 4 and 5 hybrids in my original golf set. I got a fitting and the fitter recommended a 7 wood and 9 wood versus long irons or hybrids. These clubs are much easier for me to hit they have much larger sweet spots and get ball up in the air quickly. Is the Hybrid hitting instruction appropriate for these two clubs?

  21. Keith,
    Great questions. Yes, the 7 and 9 wood are going to be similar set ups to the hybrid. These are great clubs and glad to see you have them in the bag!

  22. We like a neutral to slightly strong grip position for most our players…thanks for asking!

  23. Todd: I have a rimer. For the hybrid I was going to position the ball on the -1 mark but looking at these pictures it looks as if yours is positioned on perhaps -4? Thanks for all you do.

  24. I have problems with my 5 and 6 irons . Is there a certain degree hybrid i should use ?

  25. muy buen video. el instructor es excelente

  26. Terry,

    Look for a hybrid with over 20 degrees of loft. Hope that helps.

  27. Eric,

    You get one for free with our Short Game System

  28. Regarding ball position for hybrids. I see where you have the ball left of center. I have read and reviewed several other pros and they suggest placing the ball in center of stance and hitting down on it like
    An iron. I am soooo confused. Thank you.

  29. Ellie,
    Good question. The hybrid is designed to connect with the ball at the bottom of the swing arc. We suggest having it just forward of center, or off the logo on a golf shirt. Here is a video we did that may help

  30. You talk about knees touching. I cannot get my knees to actually touch, fairly close but not touching. Does your knees actually need to touch or is fairly close good enough?

  31. Charles, great question. The “knees touch” is a good visual and reference point. It is not mandatory to hit a quality shot. Thanks for asking.

  32. Thanks Todd! Is there any difference in the way you would swing a fairway wood ( compared to a hybrid) apart from a slightly wider stance?

  33. Todd, I think this video will certainly help me with my hybrids. I have been pounding them into the ground like an iron, as you pointed out. thanks! Just wondering about where to use them? only on open fairway?
    My sister likes to use them out of the rough but it seems to me a longer iron would be a better choice to punch the ball out. thanks again!

  34. I’m an older golfer have never been able to successfully hit hybrid clubs. I am able to hit my fairway woods
    without any problem and carry a 3, 5 and 7 wood. Would I benefit from replacing the 7 or 5 with a hybred?

  35. Do you get instructions on where to place the ball for all your clubs?

  36. Do you get instructions on where to place the ball for all your clubs with the Rimer 2.0 Ball Position Trainer?

  37. Not with the purchase of the Rimer. However we have some good videos on that topic. Here is one

  38. Jim,

    Here is a great video on that topic

  39. Mike,

    Hybrids are one of the easiest clubs for most golfers. Now this is also based on the individual, your experience may be different. We suggest trying the hybrid…worth a shot.

  40. Good question, not really. The swing “feel” is really the same for hybrids and fairway woods.

  41. Are 4 5 and 6 hybrids positioned in same place in your stance off the fairway.?

  42. Sal,

    Yes they very similar. Good question.

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