What is a Rescue Club? Hybrid, Rescue, Utility Explained

A rescue club is often known as a hybrid or utility golf club. It is a club designed to fill the gap between long irons and fairway woods by combining the best of both clubs in one easy to hit package.

Why is it called a rescue club?

These clubs are called "rescue clubs" as they are often used by golfers to get them out of tricky situations on the golf course, such as deep rough or as a go to club for use off the tee.

Whatever you call these clubs, they have revolutionized the game and I believe they should be in golfers bags across the world. They replace harder to hit long irons and offer golfers valuable versatility for tee shots and approach shots.

In this article we will look at what makes a rescue club unique, and give some examples of why you should consider rescue clubs for your golf bag.

What makes rescue clubs different to irons?

hybrid golf club ball flight

Joe hitting a hybrid off the tee on a par 4. Notice the high ball flight. 

Higher Ball Flight

Rescues send the ball into the air with a higher trajectory than irons with the same or similar loft. This is because hybrids have a lower centre of gravity (CoG). In classic irons like blades, the center of gravity of the club face is positioned right in the centre of the club meaning only the purest strikes will get golf ball airborne.

Rescue clubs place the center of gravity is lower and further back in the club head. By doing this, a rescue club can send the ball higher with a less than perfect strike and with slower swing speed. This has made rescues clubs very popular with senior golfers.

Better from the rough

Due to the size of the head of rescue club, it has a much wider sole which means it is able to cut through rough and longer grass much better than an iron. A golf hybrid looks way more confidence inspiring down by the ball and you feel that getting the ball out of trouble is easier than hitting an iron with the same loft.

More forgiving

The head design of a hybrid means that the clubs center of gravity is lower and further back making it very forgiving on off center strikes. The club face on hybrids feels way "hotter" than the small face of an iron and you can really feel the ball fly when you make even semi decent contact. Hybrids also have shorter shafts than equivalent fairway wood which gives you the perfect combination of iron control and wood distance.

Who Makes Rescue Golf Clubs?

Nearly all of the major golf manufacturers make hybrid golf clubs and they offer a variety of different models to suit golfers of different skill levels. TaylorMade rescue clubs were some of the first to be produced and they are famous for making this style of club. Other companies like Adams Golf, Cleveland, Ping and Callaway have now become just as well-known for the quality and performance of their rescue clubs.

JMac from my YouTube channel swears by Cobra rescues, where as Joe from the UK who writes for the site uses older Sonartec utility clubs. It's all about what works for you.

What Clubs Do Rescues Replace?

  • 2 iron
  • 3 iron
  • 4 iron
  • 5 iron

As you can see, rescue or hybrids replace an iron of similar loft in many golfers bags. Many set of irons now start with a 5 iron being the lowest club and golfers will fill the game up to their fairway wood with one or two rescue or hybrid clubs.

Rescue club loft chart

Here are the lofts of rescue and hybrid golf clubs.

hybrid loft chart in golf

Why Use Rescue Golf Clubs?

  • More forgiving and accurate than fairway woods
  • Easier to launch than long irons
  • More versatility from poor lies like longer grass and sand

Most golfers will find that the versatility of rescue, utility or hybrid will help them gain more consistency in their game and lower their scores. The average golfer will have periods of time when their driver just isn't working for them. Having a hybrid as a go to option off the tee will might actually help their game in the long run as it's easier to find the sweet spot with these clubs and they might actually provide more length than a poorly hit driver!

Another big reason is how easy it is to get the ball out of the rough with a rescue. A golf iron will get stuck in the sand unless you have serious swing speed, especially the longer irons. A hybrid allows you to make a solid swing safe in the knowledge that the club will do most of the hard work for you and pop the ball out of the rough.

hmac htting a ping hybrid iron

When to use a rescue club

  • From the tee
  • Approach shots into long par 4s and Par 5s
  • Long shots from the rough and fairway bunkers
  • For chipping around the green - bump and run style

How to Hit a Rescue Golf Club?

Hybrids and rescues are designed to be hit like an iron with a descending blow. You can sweep the ball like a fairway wood, but you won't be maximising the technology in the club head with this style of swing.

Place the ball forward in your stance and hit the ball then the ground, leaving a scuff mark the size of a dollar coin. Don't expect the low trajectory of a long iron, a hybrid will fly much higher.

Rescue club distance

You should expect your hybrid to hit balls about the same distance as the iron it is replacing. Indeed, the loft will be similar but you should expect the ball flight to be higher, resulting in less roll.

Here is a chart which shows you the distance you would expect to hit all golf clubs based on your skill level, with a hybrid or rescue included. 

Best rescue club

Any rescue from the top golf club companies will be a good purchase, but some stand out from the pack. These are;

Final thoughts: Should You Buy a Rescue?

Yes, most amateur golfers will benefit from playing one or more hybrid or rescue golf clubs. These clubs are easier to hit than irons and woods and just make playing golf more fun. There are loads of different models, lofts and other options to choose from to create the perfect rescue club for you. Find the right one and you will see a massive difference in your game! 

Last Updated on October 31, 2023 by Matt