My son and I had a classic battle of words the other day when he was caddying for me in a member-guest tournament. I had hit my drive into some not-too-deep rough and still had a formidable distance to go. Knowing I couldn’t get my trusted seven-wood on it, I reluctantly asked him for my “rescue club.” At first he gave me a look that said, “Once again, Mom, your joke was not funny.” Then when he realized I wasn’t trying to be funny (which, by the way, is one of my weapons on the golf course that successfully distracts from my game), he gave me the all-too-familiar sneer, followed by, “What is rescue club?”
It was then that I realized as a relative newcomer to golf, my 16-year-old had never heard the term “rescue club.” All the golfers he has caddied for have a cadre of “hybrids” in their bags — clubs that are not quite irons and not quite woods, but a cross between the two. Because I only own one hybrid that I won (longest drive for women — impressive until you see that the field only included two women and mine was the only drive that actually stayed in the fairway), I was still calling it a rescue club.
The difference in terminology, which I liken to the fact that I still use the term “junior high” and my children have no idea what I am talking about, is one that I decided to explore. It appears as if a rescue club, a hybrid, and a utility club are one in the same. The term “rescue club” had become something akin to Band-Aid or Kleenex — no matter what the brand, the product is always referred to by that name brand. (Seriously, who ever asks for a “soft tissue?”) With what appears to be a miniature wood for a club head, the hybrids can cut through rough much neater than most irons and they are great for long bunker shots. Even on the fairway, they are relatively easy to hit and shots tend to roll less, which can be a distinct advantage when there is not much room behind the green.
A decade or so ago, TaylorMade came out with a series of hybrids, the Burner Rescue clubs. A legend was born. But it appears as if the term hybrid has taken over, quite possibly because there are so many different options and the number of golfers, particularly the higher handicappers who have ditched their irons for these clubs, is growing tremendously. To call all those hybrids rescue clubs is degrading to the golfer. It implies one needs to be rescued on every shot. Hmmm …