Need To Know
Even waggling and hitting them, some clubs just feel right. You know from the moment you slip your hands around the grip and look down at the head you're going to be best friends.
But that first tactile impression can really only be based on the thickness of the grip. The head might be shiny and jam-packed with fancy hi-tech elements and it might have a ringing endorsement from your friends but if the grip is too thick or too thin, you probably won’t be so well disposed to it; the desire to rush out and hit it might diminish slightly.
I’m not about to base an entire review of a club on the thickness of its grip because, of course, that can be changed in five minutes by a five-year-old (I know this because my five-year-old son has replaced a couple of my grips) but it’s worth mentioning that, as far as I was concerned, this was a great club even before I gave it a little shake to get an indication of the shaft’s flex. And the urge to hit it only grew the longer I held it.
A quick waggle told me the stiff flex Diamana Red 74 Hybrid shaft was as satisfyingly solid as its longer, lighter cousin in the DST Launcher driver. The head was similarly elegant.
So, what did actually hitting a ball tell me about the DST Launcher Hybrid? Two things mainly - the people designing hybrids are every bit as gifted as those building modern drivers and I might actually score better if I laid up to 200-210 yards on every hole and hit the 20.5-degree Launcher DST I was testing.
Seriously, I felt so comfortable with this club I was as likely to leave myself a reasonable birdie chance with it, as I was a 6 or 7-iron. Iron play is not my strong suit but if you’re hitting as many greens with a hybrid from 200 yards as you are a 6-iron from 165 yards then you know that particular hybrid is more than just a keeper, it’s a guard-it-with-your-lifer.
Depending on the loft (there are five model options) hybrids perform four functions. They take care of long par-3s (in the 180-230 yard range), they're easier to hit from the fairway than long irons, they perform admirably out of most rough and they can hit a bunt-and-run shot from just off the green.
Former Open champion Todd Hamilton, you may recall, used his 17-degree (bent to 14 deg) Sonartec MD Transition hybrid to brilliant affect at the 2004 Open Championship at Royal Troon, getting up and down 13 times from 14 attempts when using it for chip shots.
I’m not sure my scrambling stat is quite as good as that, but after a little practice I felt as comfortable hitting chip-and-running shots with the DST Launcher as I did a mid-iron.
Not a lot else to say about this club, other than it's so versatile and I love it.