As a beginner, walking into a golf store can be overwhelming – with so many different clubs to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start. Each golf club is designed for a specific use and distance, making them all unique in their own way.
In this article, we will be discussing the different types of golf clubs and what they are used for in order to help you improve your game. By understanding each club’s purpose, you can learn which ones work best for you and how to use them properly.
“A golfer has to train his swing on the practice tee, then trust it on the course.” -Dr. Bob Rotella
We’ll begin by covering the basics: woods, irons, hybrids, wedges, and putters. We will explain the differences between each type of club and when they should be used. Additionally, we’ll give you some tips for using these clubs that will certainly improve your game.
If you’re looking to elevate your skills on the green, this guide is perfect for both beginners and those just wanting to brush up on their knowledge. So grab your clubs and let’s dive in!
A driver is a golf club used mainly to hit the ball from the tee box, making it travel a long distance.
The longest and largest club in a golfer’s bag, drivers typically feature a round head made of metal or graphite with slanted grooves on the face that create backspin and reduce sidespin.
Types of Drivers
There are two main types of drivers: traditional and modern.
“Traditional drivers have smaller heads, shorter shafts, and less forgiveness than modern drivers,” says PGA Professional Bill Kroen.
Modern drivers often have larger clubheads, adjustable weights, and flexible faces that allow for longer distances even on off-center hits.
“The center of gravity (CG) can be adjusted relatively easily by using movable cartridges,” explains Golf Monthly. “This means they can be moved around within the clubhead to alter how much draw or fade bias a club has.”
The loft of a driver refers to the angle between the face of the club and the ground. Most standard drivers today range usually range between 8 and 12 degrees of loft.
According to former PGA Tour player Bradley Hughes, “Players who generate more spin need less loft while those who produce lesser spin imparted into the ball will require more loft.”
“The amateur, male or female, may do better starting out with a higher-lofted driver like a 12-13 degree model,” suggests Mike Stachura at Golf Digest.
The flexibility of a driver’s shaft is measured by its flex – regular, stiff, or extra stiff. The correct flex depends on a player’s swing speed and power.
“If you’re not sure which shaft is right for you, pay attention to your ball flight,” advises GolfLink. “A very low trajectory may indicate a need for a softer, more flexible shaft, while unusually high trajectories suggest a stiffer shaft may be in order.”
Some drivers have adjustable features allowing golfers to customize their clubs based on their unique skills or preferences.
“An adjustable driver can provide many benefits like the ability to add or decrease loft,” explains Golf.com. “It provides more options and opportunities for players.”
The ability to adjust the weight distribution within the clubhead helps golfers achieve the perfect balance between control and distance. However, having too many adjustable options could potentially lead to confusion and altering the wrong settings.
- In summary, drivers are large clubs meant mainly for hitting off the tee box with the longest distances possible.
- There are two main types of drivers — traditional and modern — that vary in size and design.
- The loft, flex, and adjustability all depend on an individual golfer’s skill set and abilities.
Fairway Wood Loft
Understanding the loft of a fairway wood is important for choosing the right club to use on the course. The loft refers to the angle of the face of the club, and higher lofts will produce more height and shorter distance while lower lofts generate less height but more distance.
The standard range for a fairway wood loft is between 13 and 21 degrees, with each degree increasing or decreasing the launch angle by approximately one yard. Golfers who want to hit their ball higher into the air or require more accuracy can benefit from using clubs with higher loft, whereas those needing increased distance might opt for lower loft options.
Choosing the right shaft material for your fairway woods can make a significant difference in your game. There are two primary materials used in modern golf shafts: graphite and steel.
Graphite shafts are lighter than steel, making it easier to swing faster and allowing improved control over the clubhead. It also offers shock absorption that eases stress levels on joints resulting in reduced risk of injury. As a result of its low weight, graphite shafts reduce fatigue which allows players to maintain consistency throughout the day. Additionally, they offer plenty of flex, aiding in creating an optimal lift leading to maximum flight during shots.
On the other hand, Steel is denser and provides greater stiffness compared to graphite as well as reduced torque providing maximal energy transferred towards the head upon impact. They provide better feedback due to increased vibration produced by contact when striking the ball which appeals to some golfers’ preferences.
“The performance differences between steel and graphite can be striking,” said Golf Monthly. “Many professionals opt for graphite shafted hybrids and fairway woods so they can gain an edge on ball speed as well as swing speed. Additionally, graphite shafts are fantastic options if your game has slowed down due to age which leads to fatigue.”
Hybrid golf clubs have become increasingly popular over the years, as they offer a blend of characteristics from both irons and fairway woods. They are versatile and can be used in a variety of situations on the course.
The loft of a hybrid differs depending on the brand and model. Most hybrids range between 16 and 29 degrees of loft, which makes them a great alternative to long irons and fairway woods. The higher the loft, the easier it is for players to get the ball airborne from tight lies or rough. The lower lofted hybrids, on the other hand, are ideal for hitting off the tee or longer shots into greens.
“A golfer’s loft preference depends on what club he or she feels comfortable with,” said Adam Fonseca from Golf Link.
The shafts on hybrids are generally shorter than those found on fairway woods but slightly longer than irons. They are also available in varying flexes to accommodate all types of swings and preferences. Players can choose graphite or steel shafts, which will provide different levels of feedback and feel when making contact with the ball. Some hybrid sets come with adjustable hosels, which allows players to customize the loft and lie angle of their clubs.
According to Tyler Primm from MyGolfSpy, “Most amateurs typically see greater distance gains with graphite shafts since they have slower swing speeds compared to professionals.”
Hybrid vs Irons
Hybrids offer many benefits over traditional long irons. They have larger heads, which make them more forgiving and easier to hit out of tough lies. The center of gravity is also located further back, giving players a higher launch angle and more distance. The wider sole of hybrids prevents digging into the turf, which can cause poor shots with irons.
Players who have difficulty hitting long irons should consider swapping them out for hybrids to improve their performance on the course. With hybrids, players can achieve better results from long range, especially when they need to hit it high and far.
“The hybrid is designed so that even average golfers will find success,” said pro golfer Nick Faldo in his book “A Swing for Life”.
Hybrid vs Fairway Wood
The biggest difference between hybrids and fairway woods lies in the size of the head. Hybrids have smaller heads than fairway woods but are still larger than traditional irons. This makes them a great alternative to both clubs, depending on the requirements of the shot at hand. Hybrids are generally easier to hit than fairway woods because they allow for more control and precision while maintaining good distance.
Fairway woods are typically used for longer shots off the ground or tee. They have a shallower face and lower center of gravity, enabling players to pop the ball up quickly and get good carry distance. However, they require careful consideration to use effectively because having too low of a swing speed can make getting lift difficult.
“Think of hybrids as being like an all-purpose tool in your bag,” says Kevin Sprecher, PGA Director of Instruction at Sleepy Hollow Country Club. “Their versatility allows you to take advantage of different options, making them valuable under any circumstance.”
Golf is an exciting sport that requires skill, precision, and patience. Each golf club has a specific purpose that is essential in elevating your game to a whole new level. One of the most versatile clubs that every golfer should have is an iron. Irons are designed for accuracy, distance control, and versatility.
The different types of irons are numbered from 1 to 9, where the lower number corresponds to the longer club length and lesser loft angles. The higher numbered irons are shorter in length with steeper loft angles. The most commonly used irons by most golfers include:
- 3-iron and 4-iron: These irons are usually preferred by advanced players as they require more skill and precision to hit than other types of irons. They are ideal for long-range shots on the fairway or rough terrain.
- 5-iron and 6-iron: These irons are easier to handle and provide better height when striking the ball. They are perfect for mid-range shots especially when you need to get over obstacles like trees and bunkers.
- 7-iron and 8-iron: These irons offer great loft and spin which makes them suitable for hitting shots onto the green. They provide good control over distance and direction making them ideal for approach shots.
- 9-iron: This is the shortest iron and provides tremendous lift, allowing you to get the ball high up in the air quickly. It’s excellent for short-range shots such as pitching and chipping around the greens.
The loft of an iron refers to the angle between the clubface and the shaft. It determines how high or low the ball will go when hit with the iron. Irons with higher lofts have a more upright face making them ideal for shorter shots while those with lower lofts are better for longer shots.
The loft angles vary depending on the type of iron. Lower number irons such as 3-iron, 4-iron, and 5-iron have less loft which makes it easier to hit the ball further in the air. Higher numbered irons like 8-iron and 9-iron have steeper lofts, providing greater control over trajectory and spin.
The shaft is another crucial aspect of any golf club, including irons. The material used in constructing the shaft has a huge impact on the performance of the club. Most irons nowadays come with either steel or graphite shafts.
Steel shafts provide excellent durability and consistency, allowing you to maintain optimal accuracy and distance control. They tend to be heavier than graphite shafts, making them suitable for players who prefer a solid feel during their swing. In contrast, graphite shafts offer lighter weight, which allows for faster swings speeds producing a greater distance compared to steel shafts. They also absorb vibrations better, reducing strain on your hands and arms.
“Shaft choice depends on what’s important to you in each area—distance, dispersion, feel, trajectory, cost.” – Michael Vrska (Director of product development at Wilson Golf)
The right shaft depends on personal preference and skills levels. However, it’s essential to get custom fitted before investing in iron clubs to ensure they suit your body measurements and skill level.
A well-executed iron shot can make all the difference in your game. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned player, understanding the different types of irons will help in identifying which iron to use depending on the target destination and course conditions.
Golf clubs are used by players to hit the ball towards the hole, and different golf clubs are designed for specific purposes. The wedge is one such club that is typically used for short-range shots around the green or in bunkers. Wedges have a high loft, which means they can lift the ball off the ground quickly and get it soaring into the air with greater precision than other clubs.
There are three types of wedges: pitching wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge. Each type has different lofts and bounce angles, making them suitable for different shots on the course.
- The pitching wedge typically has a loft angle between 44 and 48 degrees and is used for shorter approach shots. It has less bounce, making it easier to strike downward through the ball for more accuracy.
- The sand wedge usually has a loft angle between 54 and 58 degrees and is primarily used from greenside bunkers and deep rough. This wedge has more bounce, allowing it to slide along the surface without digging too deeply into the turf.
- The lob wedge, also known as a L-wedge, generally has a loft angle between 58 and 64 degrees and is ideal for hitting high-arcing shots over obstacles such as trees or bunkers. This wedge also provides maximum spin.
Bounce refers to the angle at the bottom of the clubhead’s sole that touches the ground. A higher bounce will make it easier to strike the ball correctly and prevent the club from digging into the turf. Low bounce wedges are better suited for firmer conditions whereas high bounce is preferred when playin under softer conditions.
“When you’re deciding on bounce, consider your typical conditions. If it’s really firm with tight lies, you want a low-bounce wedge. As it gets softer, you start introducing more bounce.” -Bob Vokey
Grinding refers to shaping the sole of the club to help players achieve specific shots or turf interaction. The most common grind is the “C-grind,” in which the heel and toe areas are ground down to create a versatile club that works well in all types of situations.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all design for wedges; everyone has different needs based on their individual techniques. Grinding lets us get as close to those needs as possible.” -Todd Harman
The angle formed by the face of the wedge and the vertical axis through the shaft is called loft. Choosing the correct loft depends on several factors, including course conditions, distance to the hole, and type of shot required.
“Loft changes trajectory more than anything else: Higher trajectories fly higher and come down steeper so can stop faster on greens. Lower trajectories will roll out farther but still maintain their line better in windier conditions.” -Roger Cleveland
Having a complete set of golf clubs gives players versatility to overcome any obstacle they might encounter while on the course. Wedges play a significant role when playing around the green helping to execute precise shots over obstacles along with bunker shots.
A putter is a type of golf club used specifically for rolling the ball into the hole on the green. It is designed with a flat face and shorter shaft to help aid in control, accuracy and precision.
There are several types of putters available on the market today. Each type has its own unique design that caters to different golfing styles.
- Blade Putters: These are the most common putter type used by both amateur and professional golfers. They are smaller with a flat blade-like head, which allows for more precision and feedback on each stroke. Blade putters tend to be better suited to golfers who prefer a classic look and feel.
- Mallet Putters: Mallet putters have larger heads and come in various shapes (such as round or square), offering improved stability, forgiveness, and alignment aids. They typically provide more weight distribution than blade putters and can reduce twisting caused by off-center hits. Mallet putters are ideal for golfers looking for more confidence when putting.
- Center-Shafted Putters: These putters consist of the shaft being attached at the center of the clubhead, resulting in a more balanced swing. This type of putter helps enhance consistency and accuracy while reducing mishits. However, not all golfers may find it comfortable to use due to competition rules limiting their design and manufacture.
- Face-Balanced Putters: This putter style works best for players with minimal arc in their putting strokes. The clubface remains perpendicular to the intended target line during the entire pendulum motion, allowing for more consistent straight-back-and-through strokes.
The length of a putter is another crucial factor to consider. While most golfers prefer the standard 34-35-inch putters, there are shorter and longer options available for players who need them.
- Short Putters: These putters range from 28-33 inches in length, making them ideal for players with smaller statures or those who struggle with consistency. They also promote more control and accuracy by forcing a player to swing on a flatter plane as compared to a longer putter shaft.
- Long Putters: These putter lengths can vary between 40-50 inches long. The idea behind their design is that the added length helps reduce hand/wrist movement during the putting stroke. Sometimes they’re referred to as belly putters due to the grip being anchored against the stomach area.It allows golfer with bad back problems or shaky strokes to play better.
Putter Head Design
A putter head’s size, shape, weight distribution, and material have an impact on its feel, feedback, and performance.
- Head Shape: As discussed earlier, blade and mallet putters have different head shapes catering to various golfing styles. It is always best to choose the one which provides better ease and alignment while keeping comfortability in mind.
- Head Weight: Lighter heads facilitate freer motion while heavier heads bring stability and more control over each putt. Players may experiment with head weights to see what feels comfortable to them during practice before settling down.
- Inserts & Materials: Putter heads nowadays come in all types of materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, etc., coupled with inserts made of rubber, urethane or plastic. Inserts often enable efficient energy transfer at impact to improve consistency and feedback. They’re also engineered to enhance distance control, forgiveness, and sound.
Putter Alignment Aids
Lastly, putters now come with alignment aids that help golfers line up their putts accurately towards the hole. These can include ridges behind the clubface, visible stripes or dots on top of the clubhead, etc.
“Alignment is the most crucial aspect of putting since it dictates where the ball will ultimately go” – Phil Mickelson
Pros like Phil Mickelson often use lines drawn on a golf ball’s cover to connect with the clubface’s mark or arrowing features or even a particular point target for better aim visualization while achieving optimal impact conditions.
Selecting the right putter type, size, weight, and alignment aid comes down to personal preference as well as testing out various options to find which provides more confidence and precision under pressure situations. However, one should evaluate his/her stroke technique basics such as posture, grip, stance, and how an individual swings a putt before committing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of a driver in golf?
A driver is used to hit the ball off the tee and is designed for maximum distance. It has the longest shaft and the largest clubhead of all the golf clubs, allowing for a powerful swing and high launch angle. The goal of using a driver is to get as much distance as possible from the tee shot, setting up an easier approach shot to the green.
What type of shot is a putter typically used for?
A putter is used for the final shot on the green, with the goal of rolling the ball into the hole. It has a flat clubface and a shorter shaft than other clubs, allowing for more control and precision on the putting surface. The putter is used for short, gentle strokes, and is designed to keep the ball rolling smoothly and steadily across the green.
How is a wedge different from other golf clubs?
A wedge is designed for short-range shots and has a high degree of loft to help the ball get up into the air quickly. Unlike other clubs, which are designed for distance, wedges are designed for precision and accuracy around the green. There are several types of wedges, including pitching wedges, sand wedges, and lob wedges, each with a different degree of loft and designed for specific types of shots.
When should a golfer use a fairway wood?
A golfer should use a fairway wood when they need to hit the ball a long distance from the fairway or rough. It has a smaller clubhead than a driver and is designed for more control and accuracy. Fairway woods are also useful for hitting the ball out of tricky lies, such as a fairway bunker or deep rough. They are often used for approach shots to the green, when a golfer needs to hit a high, soft shot that will stop quickly on the green.
Which club is best for hitting the ball out of a sand trap?
A sand wedge is the best club for hitting the ball out of a sand trap. It has a high degree of loft and a wide, rounded sole that is designed to glide through the sand without getting stuck. The sand wedge is used for bunker shots, with the goal of hitting the ball high and landing it softly on the green. With a little practice and the right technique, golfers can become very proficient at hitting out of sand traps with a sand wedge.