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Category: Hybrid Clubs

September 02, 2009

TaylorMade Officially Releases the Raylor Rescue Club

Posted at 12:45 PM by David Dusek

TaylorMade Raylor As reported in the days leading up to the U.S. Open, both Kenny Perry and Fred Funk added then-prototype TaylorMade Raylor rescue clubs to their bags to battle Bethpage's deep, wet rough.

TaylorMade is set to make the Raylor, available in lofts of 19° and 21°, available to the public this week.

"The new Raylor hits the ball higher, longer and straighter from tall grass," said Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade's senior director of metalwood creation, in a release. "It's the ultimate weapon for getting out of the rough."

The Raylor is designed with a slightly sharp, slightly pointed leading edge that TaylorMade says allows golfers to slide the face through the grass and onto the back of the ball more effectively

In addition, the sole of the clubs is shaped like a ship's hull, sloping upward at the sides. Again, this should help the club glide more easily through rough.

According to TaylorMade, these two features reduce the area that would normally hinder the club in the rough by 23%.

The Raylor, which will retail for about $230, will come standard with a Fujikura RE*AX 65-gram shaft that's one inch longer than standard to create added clubhead speed.

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August 24, 2009

The Most Important Golf Club in Your Bag

Posted at 5:01 PM by David Dusek

During the PGA Championship, I wrote about the new Nike Method family of putters and the new Scotty Cameron California line of putters. Several readers wrote that $250 or $300 is too much money for a putter. Others pointed out that during a typical round, an amateur player might use his or her putter 28-35 times per round.

I e-mailed several GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teachers and asked them the following question: What is the most important/valuable club in a weekend player’s bag? 

Here's what they wrote:

Brian_mogg_74x106Brian Mogg, coach of Y.E. Yang and director of the Brian Mogg Performance Center at Golden Bear Golf Club at Keene's Point in Windermere, Fla.
The putter is the most important/valuable club in the bag. However, the actual cost to the manufacturer to build a putter is much less than a large-headed driver with a graphite shaft. Your putter is vital and important and worth every penny if it works, but proportional to what it costs to make it should also be looked at.  This is why $250 seems high-priced for a putter.

Mike_bender_74x106 Mike Bender, coach of Zach Johnson and master instructor at the Mike Bender Golf Academy at Timacuan Golf Club in Lake Mary, Fla.
Without a doubt, the most important club in the bag is the driver.  Have you ever heard of a golfer incurring a penalty on a putter? If the average amateur golfer hit to his typical distance, but you put him in the middle of every fairway, he'd better his handicap by a mile.

When I was playing the PGA Tour, officials had just started to keep detailed stats, and the No. 1 putter was Morris Hatalsky. For being the best putter, he was nowhere near the top of the money list. But guys like Greg Norman, Tom Kite, Bruce Litsky, Nick Faldo, and Mark O'Meara were, and none of them could be considered great putter like Ben Crenshaw, Lorin Roberts and Brad Faxon.

The saying should be putt for show and drive for dough.

JohnElliottJr_66x80 John Elliot, director of golf instruction at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club in Ocala, Fla.
The question can be answered a couple of different ways depending on the word valuable. Valuable can mean most expensive, which would be your driver, or most valuable can mean the club that has the most influence on your score, which is your putter.

MikePerpich_66x80 Mike Perpich, River Pines Golf Club in Alpharetta, Ga.
"For the weekend golfer, the wedges are the most important clubs. The 52°, 56°, and 60°. Stats show that even the best putters in the world only make about 15% of their putts from 15 feet, so pitching and chipping the ball closer when you miss the green is a big deal. Since most club players are only going to hit four to six greens per round, pitching and chipping the ball well is absolutely critical."

Steve_boshdosh_74x106 Steve Bosdosh, The Members Club at Four Streams in Beallsville, Md.
A 24° hybrid is the answer for average golfers. They will putt about the same regardless of putter and slice drives with a $500 titanium driver or an old persimmon model. But get them to use a 24° hybrid in place of fairway woods and long irons and most golfers will get down the fairway faster and near the green in fewer strokes. All else being equal, that will help them shoot lower scores.

So as you can see, while no one disputes the importance of good putting, there is plenty of debate over which club is the most important in your bag, even among the experts. So what's your view? What is the single most important golf club to you? Write your answer in the comments area below.

August 14, 2009

Kenny Perry Still Swinging the Raylor at 2009 PGA Championship

Posted at 4:00 PM by David Dusek

Kenny-Perry-TaylorMade-Raylor CHASKA, Minn. -- Kenny Perry put a yet-to-be released TaylorMade Raylor hybrid club in his bag in the days leading up to the U.S. Open. At the time, he said he wanted a club that would help him hit high, soft, 220-yard shots out of the Bethpage Black rough.

With a weight screw in the back and a V-shaped leading edge, the unique sole of the Raylor is designed to hit just such shots. To make room for the Raylor, Perry took out his 3-iron.

Since that time, the club has stayed in the bag, and he is continuing to use it here at Hazeltine. Look for the TaylorMade Raylor to be released later in 2009.

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August 12, 2009

Mickelson Will Carry Custom Hybrid Again at Hazeltine

Posted at 7:10 PM by David Dusek

Phil-Mickelson-Hybrid CHASKA, Minn. — Earlier this season, Phil Mickelson used a Callaway FT hybrid. But in the months leading up to the U.S. Open at Bethpage, Mickelson and the club makers at Callaway Golf created a very unique hybrid.

When I asked him about it in June, Mickelson said, "This is a special club I actually made, taking the back part of the hybrid out so that I can open it way up and get through that thick rough."

The photo on the right, taken during the U.S. Open, shows the club in detail.

Although the rough here at Hazeltine is not as deep—and certainly not wet like it was at Bethpage—Mickelson told me today that nothing has changed in his bag.

"This is the same setup I had at the U.S. Open, and that I've had most of the year" he said. "It is the same hybrid. I think that it has performed very well out of this rough, and I expect to able to recover because of that club."

He went on to say that when he misses fairways, he'll depend on the club to help him advance the ball.

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(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

July 08, 2009

Hybrids Ruled at Bethpage, but Irons Could Be Back at Turnberry

Posted at 10:23 AM by David Dusek

Paul Casey Golf Clubs Before the start of U.S. Open at Bethpage, many players put hybrid clubs in their bags and pulled out long irons. With several long par 4s and wet conditions to contend with, they were looking for a way to hit high-flying, soft-landing shots from 220 to 230 yards out.

Now, as the best players in the world get ready to take on Turnberry's Ailsa Course in Scotland in the British Open, those long irons may be going back in the bag.

On Tuesday, Paul Casey said on Twitter:
"Thinking the 5 wood will be coming out and the 2 iron will be making a guest appearance for the Open. No other changes."

I asked him which model and he wrote back, "Still the Nike Pro Combo OS. I have 2 or 3 of them that I'm hanging on to."

Turnberry is located on the western coast of Scotland, so players can expect windy conditions. Since hybrids are designed to hit the ball high, irons would seem to be a better choice.

Here is a list of the clubs that Casey used to win the blustery 2009 Shell Houston Open:

Driver: Nike SQ Tour (8.5°) with a Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board shaft
Fairway woods: Nike SQ II (13°)
Irons: Nike Pro Combo OS (2), Victory Red Forged Split Cavity (3, 4), Victory Red Forged Blades (5-PW)
Wedges: Nike Victory Red (52°, 59°)
Putter: Nike Prototype
Ball: Nike One Tour

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(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

June 28, 2009

Kenny Perry's Travelers Championship Winning Clubs

Posted at 6:58 PM by David Dusek

Kenny-Perry-Hartford During last week's U.S. Open at Bethpage Bloack, Kenny Perry removed his 3-iron and put a 19° prototype TaylorMade Raylor rescue club in its place. According to TaylorMade, Perry used the club successfully out of the rough from 220 yards out on the 10th hole to reach the green and make a birdie. Company reps said that because Perry's angle of attack is shallow, he often has trouble hitting longer clubs from deep rough, but the Raylor's V-shape sole design helped him a lot.

At the TPC River Highlands outside Hartford, where the rough was less severe than at Bethpage Black, Perry put his 3-iron back in the bag, but used a 22° Raylor instead of his 5-wood.

Here is a complete list of the club's Perry used to win his 14th career PGA Tour event:

DRVIER: TaylorMade R9 460 (9.5°) with Fujikura Matore F1 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade Burner (14.5°) with Fujikura Re AX TP75 shaft
HYBRID: TaylorMade Raylor prototpye (18°) with Fujikura Rombax TP 75 shaft
IRONS: TaylorMade r7 (4-PW) with FST KB Tour shafts
WEDGES: TaylorMade rac (54°, 64°), Cleveland CG14 (60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts
PUTTER: Ping G2i Craz-E
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

Take a look inside more PGA Tour winners' bags

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(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

June 21, 2009

Phil Mickelson's clubs for 2009 U.S. Open

Posted at 1:21 PM by David Dusek

Phil Mickelson Hybrid Bethpage 2 I had a chance to speak with Callaway Golf club designer Roger Cleveland in the company's massive tour truck this week. Cleveland mentioned that Phil Mickelson is using a new hybrid this week. Still in the prototype phase, the club was designed and conceived with significant input from Mickelson himself.

Mickelson has previously used a Callaway FT hybrid in some tournaments.

Cleveland would not go into detail about the club or specific technologies used in its creation, but Mickelson himself told reporters, "This is a special club I actually made, taking the back part of the hybrid out so that I can open it way up and get through that thick rough." (Click on the image for a better look at the club.)

Like all prototype clubs, there is no guarantee Phil's new hybrid will ever make it to the pro shop. Here is a complete list of the clubs he is using at Bethpage:

DRIVER: Callaway FT-9 (7.5°) Tour hosel with Mitsubishi Fubuki 73 X shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD:  Callaway Big Bertha Diablo (15°) with Mitsubishi Fubuki 83 X shaft
HYBRID: Callaway PM prototype (18°) with Mitsubishi Diamana Thump X shaft
IRONS: Callaway X Forged (3-4), Callaway X Proto (5-9) with Rifle Project X 7.0 shafts
WEDGES: Callaway X Tour Forged (56°, 60°, 64°) with Rifle Project X 7.0 shafts
PUTTER: Odyssey White Hot XG #9 Blade
BALL: Callaway Tour ix

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(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

June 18, 2009

TaylorMade Raylor Prototype Hybrid Seen at Bethpage

Posted at 4:10 PM by David Dusek

TaylorMade Raylor FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Kenny Perry and Fred Funk each tried a new, unreleased prototype hybrid club as they prepared for the U.S. Open at Bethpage.

The TaylorMade Raylor has a weight screw in the low, rear area and a V-shaped leading edge. According to representatives from TaylorMade, the unique sole of the club helps it work through the rough especially well.

Perry practiced using two Raylor hybrid clubs, a 19° and a 22°, each fitted with Fujikura hybrid shafts. Funk was given a 22° Raylor and took it to an unused fairway on Bethpage's Red Course. TaylorMade Raylor Face

TaylorMade reps didn't know if either player would be putting the club into play during the U.S. Open, and like all other prototype pieces of equipment, there's no guarantee that the Raylor will ever be made available to the general public.

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April 07, 2009

Rory Sabbatini Testing New Hybrids

Posted at 10:00 AM by David Dusek

Sabbatini-Rescue-Clubs AUGUSTA, Ga. – Rory Sabbatini, who recently signed an endorsement deal with TaylorMade, asked the company's Tour reps to make him two new hybrid clubs on Monday.

The two clubs TaylorMade created were both R9 Rescue TP clubs, a 22° version that was de-lofted to 20° and a 19° was de-lofted to 18°. Both heads were set in the Neutral (N) position and featured Fujikura Motore F1 X-stiff shafts.

In 2007 Sabbatini finished tied for second place at the Masters, his best performance in a major to date. Although there were rain showers in Augusta Monday morning, the sun and wind appeared in the afternoon. The drier the course plays, the harder it will be to stop long irons on the greens. For many players like Sabbatini, that means replacing long irons with higher-flying, easier-to-stop hybrids.

(Photo by David Dusek)

March 24, 2009

New hybrid wins another convert

Posted at 10:19 AM by David Dusek

Todd_hamilton_royal_troon My first experience with a hybrid club didn't work out so well. I bought one in 2004 after Todd Hamilton famously used his all over Royal Troon to win the British Open. After he chipped from the fairway to within a few feet in his playoff with Ernie Els (right), hybrids were all the rage.

But the hybrid I bought to replace my 3-iron wound up being too iron-like. True, it was more forgiving than the 3-iron, but the head was small, and it just didn't instill a lot of confidence when I looked at it from the address position. After about three months, it was gone and the 3-iron was back.

But I recently decided it was time for me to give hybrids another try. After all, even Adam Scott, one of golf's best ball strikers, has yanked a long-iron in favor of a Titleist 909H hybrid. "It's just so easy," he told me recently. "I just feel that getting this hybrid into a par 5 is like chalk and cheese compared to a 2-iron."

I've never carried a 2-iron, but as a 10-handicapper I'm pretty good with my long irons. Still, after seeing GOLF Magazine's recent article about new hybrids and thinking about what Scott said, I figured it was time to give the Swiss Army Knife of golf clubs another try.

So this weekend, before my first round of the season, I once again pulled my 3-iron and dropped in a new 21° hybrid. The results were amazing, and my 3-iron has found a new home in the back of my closet.

Even though I played in a turtleneck, wool vest and wind shirt, my first tee shot with the hybrid flew higher and straighter than the 3-iron would have. From light rough on the next hole, the club muscled a shot effortlessly into the air, and I watched it land softly on the green.

I even used it to chip. The first time I tried, from the fairway, the 21° of loft got the ball into the air with backspin, and it stopped more quickly than I had anticipated. Later, I intentionally hit my hybrid chips a little thin, and the ball rolled beautifully.

Here are a few things to think about if you are in the market for a hybrid:

1. Do you sweep or dig? If you take small divots with your irons, or no divots at all, a fairway wood-style hybrid will probably match your sweeping swing well. If you have a steep angle of attack and take large divots, an iron-style hybrid might be better.

2. Pay attention to the shaft. My first hybrid had a steel shaft that was different from both my irons and my woods. The hybrid I tried this weekend had a graphite shaft that was very similar to the one in my 5-wood. Getting fitted for the right shaft is crucial.

3. Watch the gaps. Ideally, you want consistent gaps between your irons. If you remove an iron in favor of a hybrid, pay close attention to the gap between your highest-lofted fairway wood and the hybrid, as well as the hybrid and your longest iron. A hybrid with the same loft as a 3-iron will likely fly a little farther because the shaft will likely be a little longer. At the very least, get to a launch monitor and learn your precise distances with each club. If an awkward gap is created between your new hybrid and your longest iron, talk to a club fitter about the best solution to the problem.

Padraig Harrington's hybrid tips | Research and buy hybrids in our new Equipment Finder


(Photo by Al Tielemans/SI)

July 31, 2008

Gear Doctor: Putter length, hooks and finding the right ball

Posted at 3:23 PM by Mike Helfrich

Every Wednesday, we'll tap into the expertise of our exclusive research partner, Hot Stix Golf, to answer reader questions and help you navigate the increasingly complex word of golf equipment. If you have a question for the Gear Doc, e-mail it to or post a comment below. He'll answer a few lucky readers' questions every week on

Dear Doc,
My 5-foot 7-inch, 17-year-old daughter wants a new putter. What length putter would be ideal for her?
Mark Bradley

Dear Mark,
There is not a magic formula for length of a putter based on height because it has a lot to do with posture in the setup position.

Here is a simple way to learn which length putter fits her best:
1.    Have your daughter stand in her normal putting position, you want her arms to hang (dangle) straight down from her shoulders, her eyes should be right over the ball to an inch inside the ball. (While putting, your eyes should never be outside the line.)

2.    From that position try several putter lengths to see which length allows her to be in that position and have the sole of the putter level to a couple of degrees toe up. 

My guess is she will probably be somewhere between 31" and 34" but her posture may prove me wrong.

Dear Gear Doctor,
I have a 17° Nickent Genex 3DX hybrid with a stock stiff shaft that I have using for about 3 months. I hit every other club in my bag straight, but I hook this hybrid. Can you tell me why?

Dear Dominick,
Assuming you make fairly consistent swing with all your clubs, then it's either a shaft flex issue or a lie angle issue.

If the shaft is too soft the tendency is for a miss to be a hook, and you may struggle with distance control as well. If the club is too stiff, it usually leads to low and right misses, but I often see people work harder with a club that is too stiff and therefore hook it.

If the club has a lie angle that is too upright for you, like any other club in you bag it will cause a hook.
Take a look at the bottom of the club, and if all your ground strikes on the club are on the heel it is possible that it is too upright for you.

Dear Doc,
In some of your previous responses, you have suggested that readers try a different golf ball to either improve distance and/or accuracy. Is there really that much difference between golf balls?

Dear Kevin,
Yes. The golf ball you play makes a huge difference when it comes to distance, accuracy, control trajectory and spin. In fact, there is a variance in spin of up to 1000 RPM's with a driver at 100 MPH, and up to 4000 RPM's with a wedge.

Knowing that, you can see how playing one ball on the spin spectrum instead of another can impact your performance.

Don't get too hung up on which ball optimizes distance off the driver. You should hit balls with irons, wedges and your putter as well when looking for the best ball to match your game. Make sure you choose a ball that meets your needs in ALL aspects of your game.

June 05, 2008

New TaylorMade Fairway Woods and Rescue Clubs

Posted at 11:12 AM by David Dusek

Tmburner3_400 TaylorMade Golf officially released two new fairway woods and two new rescue clubs on Wednesday.

The new Burner High Launch fairway woods are designed to do just what you'd think — hit high-launching shots that maximize distance and forgiveness. The Tour Launch Burners are designed for players with higher swing speeds who want more workability and a lower ball flight.

According to a media release from TaylorMade, the High Launch (above right) version is the largest steel fairway wood in TaylorMade's line, but both models are nearly triangular and designed with a crown that is much smaller than the soleplate. The walls of each club are also extremely thin, only .55 millimeters thick, which helps designers redistribute weight down and back in the clubhead to lower the center of gravity. That lowered center of gravity should make the new Burner and Tour Burner easier to hit.

The Burner High Launch fairway woods will be available in 3 (15°), 5Tmburnerr3_400 (18°) and 7 (21°) woods and will come standard with a 49-gram graphite shaft. The Burner Tour Launch fairway wood comes in a TS (Tour Spoon, 13°), T3 (14.5°) and T5 (17.5°).

In a separate release, TaylorMade said the shallow-faced High Launch Burner Rescue (below right) has a slight draw bias and is designed to promote more backspin than the Tour Launch rescue club. That should help slower-swinging players get the ball in the air more easily and add distance. In contrast, the Burner Rescue Tour Launch has a slight fade bias (to prevent hooks) and should help fast-swinging players work the ball more easily.

There will be 3, 4, 5 and 6 rescue clubs available in the Burner High Launch version and T2, T3 and T4 models in the Tour Launch version. Graphite-shafted models will be priced at $219 while steel shaft models will be $175.

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