What is a rescue club in golf?

What is a Rescue Club in Golf?

Rescue clubs, also called hybrid golf clubs or hybrids, have become popular among golfers, all the way from professional golfers to the casual hacker.

But what is a rescue club, and do you need one in your golf bag? This comprehensive guide answers your questions to help you learn more about rescue clubs and how to use them to your advantage!

What is a Rescue Club in Golf?

In golf, a rescue club is a hybrid club that combines the strengths of a long iron and a fairway wood.

Also known as hybrid clubs, rescue clubs combine long irons (which can be tougher to hit) and fairway woods (which tend to be easier to hit). Merging the properties of these two golf clubs into one offers amateur golfers the best of both worlds. Rescue clubs make it easier to hit the ball for distance in certain situations.

My Nike Vapor Fly 3 Hybrid (or Rescue Club) After an 18 Hole Round

For example, hybrids can help you escape tricky spots like a deep rough on the golf course, hence the name. A traditional long iron is difficult to hit in the rough, but the larger club heads on rescue golf clubs can power through that grass for better ball contact.

Hybrids also give golfers versatility for approach shots and tee shots. They can replace long irons that are difficult to use for most beginners.

Readers often wonder, what clubs should I have in my golf bag? A rescue club is one of them.

What Does a Rescue Club Replace?

Rescue or hybrid clubs usually replace long irons from the 2-iron to the 5-iron. You can also use a rescue club to replace a 6-iron. Many golfers now use a 5-iron as the lowest club and mostly use a fairway wood and hybrid golf club during a game.

When to Use a Rescue or Hybrid Golf Club

You can use rescue or hybrid clubs in any situation. However, most recreational golfers use them:

  • From the tee
  • For long shots from fairway bunkers and the rough
  • Approach shots into long par 4s and par 5s
  • Hitting from an old divot
  • Hitting below the trees

Benefits of Using a Rescue Golf Club

Using rescue or hybrid golf clubs offers golfers several advantages while playing. Here are some benefits of using them at the right time during your round.

Get a Higher Ball Flight

Hybrids enable you to hit a golf ball higher, producing a higher trajectory than regular irons with a similar loft. This result is possible because a rescue club’s center of gravity is lower and has more weight in the back of the club head.

Meanwhile, irons have the center of gravity right at the club’s center. They require more precision and skill to hit properly.

Rescue clubs offer a better ball flight with a slower swing speed and a less ideal strike.

Rescue Club Face
The face of a rescue club is similar to that of a fairway wood, just smaller in size.

Cut Through the Rough

The shape of a rescue club’s head is wider, allowing you to strike through longer grass and the rough. Because of its design, it’s easier for amateurs to get the ball out of difficult spots, unlike when using long irons with the same loft.

Hit With Ease

Since the club head design has a lower center of gravity, hybrids are easier for beginners to get the ball off the tee, even with a slow, off-center strike. This type of club also includes a shorter shaft than a fairway wood, allowing you to control your strikes better from the same distance.

Limitations of Using a Rescue or Hybrid Club

Hybrids also have some cons, making them less appealing for some golfers. For every upside, there is also a downside, and rescue clubs are no exception.

Here are some of their limitations:

They have a bit of a learning curve.

Hitting an iron and a fairway wood requires a different skill and mastery. Similarly, you’ll need to learn how to use a hybrid club to make consistent shots.

Although it’s easier to hit than irons, you still need to familiarize yourself with its weight, design, look, and feel. You’ll eventually learn how to use it well with a bit of practice.

They offer less control.

Lower-handicap players who want more control over their hits may prefer their irons over rescue clubs. Again, while launching a ball into the air with a hybrid club is easy, it takes practice to shape your shots.

They are built mostly for beginners and high handicappers.

A rescue or hybrid club caters to beginners and high handicappers, so it won’t be the best club for everyone.

However, it is important to note that some pros do use hybrids.

How to Hit a Hybrid

Since a hybrid combines a long iron and fairway wood, your setup and strike should also combine how you play these two clubs.

Start by placing the ball forward in your stance. Set your feet, hips, and shoulders square to the ball if you want to hit a straight shot.

Then, strike the ball with a slight descending arc, and instead of sweeping it away like using fairway woods, hit the ground after meeting with the ball, leaving a scuff mark.

What to Look for When Buying a Rescue or Hybrid Club

Consider the following factors to get the best rescue club for your game.


The loft refers to the clubface’s angle relative to the ground. When you want to replace your iron or fairway wood club, you need to know what clubs you’re replacing based on their loft.

  • A low-lofted hybrid (14° to 17°) can replace a 3-wood or 5-wood
  • A moderate-lofted hybrid (18° to 22°) can replace a 5-wood, 7-wood, 3-iron, or 4-iron (see my write-up on the 19 degree hybrid)
  • A high-lofted hybrid (above 22°) can replace a 4-iron, 5-iron, or 9-wood

Length and Size

Rescue golf clubs generally have a slightly longer length than irons, with 38 inches on the shortest, high-lofted hybrids and 41 inches on the longest, low-lofted hybrids. Choosing the right length will help you cover the right distances in different scenarios.


The shaft gives you better control over your ball flight, so consider it when switching to hybrids. Ideally, you should use the same design as the club you’re replacing. For example, use a regular flex shaft design for your rescue club if you use a 4-iron with a regular flex shaft.

Recommended Reading: Regular vs stiff flex irons

Should You Buy a Rescue Club?

Now that you’ve answered the question: “what is a rescue club in golf,” the next question you should answer is whether or not you need one.

For most golfers, having one or two rescue clubs in your bag cis helpful for escaping tricky spots and providing a good option between irons and fairway woods. However, these clubs benefit the average golfer more than the professional since they’re easier to hit but tougher to control.

Ultimately, you should look at your play style and decide if using rescue clubs or hybrids will save you a few strokes.

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