The hybrid. In today's world, we have hybrid cars, hybrid plants and animals, and hybrid golf clubs. Which you choose to care about most is a matter of your personal, political, and playtime preferences. But here at The Sand Trap, we care about the golf clubs.
Though many can claim to have created the first hybrid (our money is on Cobra's Baffler from 20+ years ago), some of the first to get some serious ink started showing up in 2003 and 2004. TaylorMade found that it had one of the more successful hybrids when it released the Rescue Mid in late 2003/early 2004.
What, then, is TaylorMade to do with the follow-up to a verified hit? Why, the same thing they do to everything else: add movable weights to it! 2005 saw the introduction of the "Rescue Dual" where "dual" means two movable weights. What'd we think? Read on…
Design, Technology, and Specs, Oh My!
It would have probably been fairly easy for TaylorMade to drill some holes in their Rescue Mid, introduce the Rescue Dual, and call it a day. Fortunately, they've taken the design a bit further.
The sole has been redesigned with a new "T" shape that helps promote clubhead stability at address. It's also designed to reduce drag through impact, promoting greater accuracy and distance.
The Rescue Dual is available in two models: TP (for "Tour Preferred" - TaylorMade's higher-end, "better player's equipment" line) and, uhhh, "not TP." In the Rescue Dual, the TP model has a higher center of gravity (CG) than the non-TP model to promote a lower, more boring ball flight. Additionally, the TP model comes standard with the Mitsubishi Diamana Hybrid graphite shaft, which is lightweight and tip stiff to promote as much control as possible.
The Rescue Dual's "TLC" or "TaylorMade Launch Control" ports are standard size and will accept any standard TLC cartridge in any of TaylorMade's offerings (even-numbered numbers from 2-14 grams). A wrench is not included, as TaylorMade's target for this club are owners of their r7 driver. A wrench can be purchased separately, of course, for the low-low price of $50.
The TLC ports in the Rescue Dual perform the same functions as they do in the r7 Quad and the r7 fairway wood: they allow better players to control the swingweight and shot-shaping characteristics of the club. More weight in the heel = shots that go more to the left. More weight in the toe yields shots that prefer to stay right. If you fight a slice or a hook, move the weight the way you want the ball to go. If you like to shape and work the ball, set the club up fairly neutrally. Either way, the weights will perform their secondary function: stabilizing the clubhead by increasing the moment of inertia (MOI) at impact. TaylorMade claims that MOI jumps up to 24% in the TP model and 20% in the non-TP Rescue Dual.
TaylorMade offers the Rescue Dual in several lofts (16°, 19°, 22°, 25°) for righties and two (19°, 22°) for lefties with either an ultralite steel or graphite shafts weighing between 64 and 91 grams. The Rescue Dual is recommended, as seen above, to players with a maximum driver swing speed of 105 who favor a high launch with high spin. The Rescue Dual is shipped with two TLC cartridges: one 14-gram weight and one 2-gram weight.
The Rescue Dual TP is equipped with a Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip. Shaft options for the Rescue dual TP include the tour-proven Mitsubishi Diamana Hybrid graphite in extra stiff, stiff, and regular flexes, and the tour-proven Dynamic Gold steel in X-100, S-300 and R300. All shafts are, stock, ¼-inch longer than the non-TP models. Four lofts available: 14°, 16°, 19°, and 22° (16° and 19° for lefties). The TaylorMade TP badge is located on the toe. The TP model is best fit for players who swing their driver above 105 MPH and want a lower launch with a bit less spin than the non-TP model. The Rescue Dual TP ships with four TLC catridges: one 14-gram weight, one 2-gram weight, and two 8-gram weights.
Looks and Setup
The Rescue Dual and the Rescue Dual TP set up almost identically:
In fact, if you're a Rescue Mid fan, you may have trouble telling the difference, at address, between four different clubs - the Rescue Mid and Rescue Dual in TP and non-TP configurations.
Personally, the look at address was particularly off-putting at first. The topline is curved and the curve where silver meets black does nothing to help aid in alignment. Once I adjusted to using the top groove to aim the clubface, I became confident enough to hit solid shots, but for the first few rounds the silver curve was nothing but distracting.
The club rests solidly on the ground, and the new "T" sole keeps the club a lot more stable at address than the Rescue Mid. The sole is slightly rounded, which will keep players who play to within a degree or two of standard lie happy, as it rockers gently without rotating the face open or shut.
The TLC ports are 100% hidden, as is the TP stamp on the toe of the TP model. Again, if you didn't tell a Rescue Mid player that you'd switched his clubs, from the address position he may never guess.
Of course, as soon as your pal puts a swing on it, he'll guess that he's got a new club in his hands. Though I never cared for the original Rescue Mid - I'd yet to get over the wood-like appearance of the hybrid (over the 503.H and other iron-like hybrids) - the 2005 version of the "Rescue" line proved itself to me in a few swings.
I started with the Rescue Dual, but quickly discarded it as everything went left. Everything went left. I'm a 5-handicap with a decent swing speed. I normally play a small draw, and the non-TP Rescue Dual didn't fit my playing characteristics anyway. The trajectory chart shows the leftward bias of the Rescue Dual. That's great for the majority of golfers who play a "power fade" (I'm trying to be nice - "banana ball" isn't as politically correct), but not for me.
Quickly, I moved to the TP version and found a little slice of heaven. The Mitsubishi Diamana shaft felt as though it loaded better with my swing speed, the trajectory was lower, and once I evened out the weights, the snap hooks and pulls all but vanished. The Rescue Dual TP comes with a 14-2 configuration (14 grams in the heel, 2 in the toe), but I found that a neutral 8-8 worked nicely.
The club works from any lie - fairway, hardpan, rough, and even fairway bunkers. Perhaps - and true to its name - the shot at which this club most excels is the "rescue" shot - a ½ to ¾ swing from trees or tall grass. Though I normally expect this club to hit the ball about 220 yards, the ball easily travels 180 or so with what amounts to a punch swing from "interesting" positions on the golf course. If you're looking for a club that makes your second shots on par fives - regardless of the location of your drive - a piece of cake, the Rescue Dual may be it.
The ball leaps off the clubface with authority, and though you can occasionally catch one toe- or heel-ward, the ball responds with a straight, buttery flight that knuckles through the wind beautifully. I pulled off one of my best shots ever - a high, soft cut that had only a 5-yard gap between trees about 75 yards ahead of me - with the Rescue Dual TP.
What of my 503.H?
Longtime readers of this site may remember that, long ago, the 503.H by Titleist replaced my 2-iron. I liked the ability to hit the 503.H from places I couldn't use the 2-iron, and I lauded its playability from the rough, distance and control off the tee, and iron-like feel.
The only area in which the 503.H is lacking is the ability to use the club from very poor lies. Thick, nasty rough, punching out from the clumpy grass you find beneath trees, and so forth. This is precisely the area in which the Rescue Dual excels the most.
Unfortunately, I can't declare the Rescue Dual the better of the two clubs, because the 503.H, as a more iron-like hybrid, is much better at hitting "stingers" off the tee and from the fairway. The 503.H is a bit easier to turn over and to work left and right. While the Rescue Dual is great at getting the ball up, it's not as great as the 503.H at keeping the ball down.
Which you put in your bag is up to you: do you typically hit long irons (a 2-iron like club) off the tee, or do you always play with your driver and your 3-wood? Does the long par 3 at your home course play into a brutal wind for which you'd like to keep the ball down, or do you need to float something in high? How many trees and spotty pieces of thick or clumpy rough does your course have?
Determine the answer to those questions, and you'll have your winner. If you don't hit "stinger" shots and are looking for a utility club that's going to get you out of trouble with ease, the Rescue Dual TP is the best I've used.
The Rescue Dual and the Rescue Dual TP, again, do not come with wrenches, as TM expects that customers may already have one from their r7 Quad, their r7 fairway wood, a friend, their club pro, etc. If you do need your own, again, you can pick one up for $50 at shop.taylormadegolf.com.
The Rescue Dual comes with the 2- and 14-gram weights, while the TP adds two 8-gram weights for your swapping pleasure. For those without a second-grade math education, 8+8 = 2+14 = 16. If you keep the club with some combination of weight that adds up to 16, the swingweight will remain the same. If you go crazy and put in two 14-gram weights, well, it's gonna weigh more because 28 > 16.
Both come with headcovers, of course, though the TP model has a slightly more garish (i.e. "blazing yellow") look that immediately identifies you to other golfers as a true player. Or at least someone who thinks he's a true player enough to buy TP equipment and not need clubs that help his slice… The headcovers, regardless of my (bad) jokes, are well constructed, slide on easily, and have a thumbwheel that lets you choose between "2" and "5" and "X" and other numbers. Though my Rescue Dual TP is marked "3" on the sole, it replaced my 503.H (which replaced my 2-iron), so I set the dial to "2."
Retailing for $375 in graphite and $325 in steel (who wants a steel shaft?) for the TP model and $275 and $225 for the non-TP (street prices of $299, $249, $199, and $179 respectively), the Dual Rescue line is going to set you back a pretty penny. If you're looking for a set of these to replace all of your long irons, you may want to look into the older Rescue Mid.
However, if you're buying one or maybe two clubs to replace a wood and/or a long iron, the Rescue Dual model is a tremendous value. I've never hit a club that gets the ball airborne so easily from so many bad lies. While it's true that this can hinder performance from the tee, you'll be hitting Driver more frequently anyway, confident in your Rescue Dual to save you from the trees, thick rough, and fairway bunkers you're bound to find hitting the Big Stick.
If you play a "power fade" currently, look at the non-TP model. If you, like me, find that all non-TP TaylorMade equipment acts like a hard-line Democrat, pick up the TP model to straighten out the lefts. The next time you punch out of the woods only to find yourself left with a pitch shot into that long par 5 for your third, you'll be glad you did.