‘The best invention for me’: Fred Funk says this piece of golf equipment saved his career

“There’s not many guys that grew up modeling their game after Fred Funk, but I’m one of ’em,” Subpar co-host Colt Knost joked at the top of this week’s episode of Subpar.

There’s also no doubt Knost was on to something in his admiration of Funk’s game.

Sixty-six-year-old Funk has had an enviable professional career, with eight wins on PGA Tour, including the Players Championship, and nine more on the PGA Tour Champions, including the U.S. Senior Open.

And perhaps most impressively, Funk has achieved these wins with an average driving distance of less than 250 yards. But he balanced that by topping the Tour’s accuracy-off-the-tee ranking a whopping six times, with a high of 82 percent.

Still, the occasional missed fairway proved to be penal for Funk, who says his shorter length off the tee resulted in being caught in an ultra-thick cut of rough. And that’s when another saving grace kicked in: hybrids.

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“I’m glad they came up with hybrids,” Funk said. “Had they not come up with hybrids — the best invention for me, in all of golf. That saved my career when they came up with those.”

Funk recently beat his age for the first time in competition, posting a bogey-free round of 65 at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club at the PGA Tour Champions’ Ally Challenge in August. He ultimately finished T13.

“How many [hybrids] are you carrying right now?” Subpar co-host Drew Stoltz asked.

“I got a bouquet,” Funk said with a laugh. “My first hybrid is my 4-iron. It was an original hybrid by TaylorMade. That’s kind of my money club. It used to be, I’d hit it 175-200. I could get 200 yards out of it back in the day. And now I might get 190 if I really stomp on it and I’m feeling good.

“But it was such an accurate club and it was so versatile because I could hit it out of the light rough, I could hit it out of the first cut of rough, I could get it out of a divot, I could hit it high. I found one, it’s a really short shaft and it’s really stiff, so it wouldn’t balloon.”

Funk said TaylorMade helped him hone in on the right specs when he first introduced hybrids into his set. Now he says he carries a 3-iron hybrid and another “hot” one, if he pulls out his 3-wood on a given week.

“You and I have so much in common,” Knost said. “4-iron hybrid, that’s my favorite club in the bag.”

“I just think it’s a really easy club to hit,” Funk said. “And your misses even with that are better than a 4-iron.”

For more from Funk, including his thoughts on the PGA Tour versus LIV, check out the full interview below.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.