This is my first posting so I'm hoping to get some advice about buying hybrids/rescue clubs.
About myself: I started playing 25 years ago but have become enthusiastic about the game after moving to New Zealand. As a result, I'm currently a high handicapper although I manage to get a few pars or birdies every time I play. My main challenge is hitting woods off the fairway in bad lies, rough, etc. Instead of using my 4 iron or 3 or 5 woods, my friend suggested I get a hybrid to get a comparable distance (like a wood) but easier to swing with its shorter club length (like an iron), especially for those bad lies. My tendency now is to hit a safe shot back on to the fairway.
Club options: After reading a few Internet articles and visiting a few shops, I've got my eye on 2-3 hybrids. #1 option is Cleveland Mashie for its glide rail and lighter shaft. #2 is Ping Rapture V2/G10/G15/G20 or Callaway Razr X HL for their forgiveness/ease of getting a high trajectory. #3 TaylorMade Rocketballz because of the reviews and its white crown. I've also read great reviews about other hybrids (Adams, Cobra T-Rail, Mizuno JPX-800, Titlelist 910h, Diablo Edge, Nike, Nickent, Bobby Jones) but they are either hard to find, too expensive, not appropriate for high handicappers, look more like a wood than a fat iron, or I simply don't like the look of the crown/alignment aid at address.
Question: Although I think I would be happy with any of the 3 options listed above (i.e., I just need to play more and have fun), my question is which degree loft (23 or 26/27) should I start off with (to help me with those bad lies)? A local salesperson recommended a 23 degree loft (considering the clubs that I already have) and then add clubs as needed. What do you think?