Along with a golf course and a golf ball, golf clubs are essential pieces of equipment to have to play a round of golf. Clubs are pieces of apparatus – that vary vastly in terms of quality, materials and usage within the game – to hit the ball. Clubs consist of a shaft and a clubhead joined together, with a lance or grip wrapped around the end of the shaft where the golfer holds it. There are a number of essential types of golf club from powerful ‘woods’ to versatile ‘irons’ to delicate and accurate ‘putters’.
Golf clubs can be absolutely integral to a golfer’s performance and a well chosen and good set of clubs can improve a player’s game in the same way that poor choices and badly suited clubs can severely damage someone’s game. Golfers generally bring up to 14 different clubs with them on a round of golf and deciding which to bring can potentially have a large impact on the winner.
The main difference between clubs is their ‘loft’, the angle of the face of the clubhead which hits the ball. Clubs such as woods and irons are numbered with higher numbers indicating greater lofts and different angles and trajectories are opted for in different scenarios and to make different shots. Below is an outline of the main types of golf club:
Woods are the most long-distance golf clubs and are used to drive the ball as far as possible. The clubheads of woods were first, predictably, made of wood and were crafted from Persimmon wood although more recently laminated woods have been used. Some manufacturers also use metals such as steel and titanium or even materials like carbon fibre. Nevertheless, woods are instantly recognisable by their chunky clubhead and lengthy shaft. This combination in woods gives golfers the capability to hit the ball that extra distance. It is common for a golfer to bring a driver (1-wood) plus two other woods. Each golfer has their own preference but the 3 and 5-wood are particular popular, as are some of the higher woods.
Irons are the most multipurpose type of clubs and are generally used for approach shots to the green. The flat clubheads were originally made from cast iron – hence ‘iron’ – although today other metals such as steel are commonly used. Irons have shorter shafts than woods and can be used with more control. Golfers choose irons for fairway shots as well as trickier shots from the rough or for going over obstacles. Irons span from driving irons (1-iron) up to 9-irons for a fair bit of loft and offer the largest range of golf club type.
Wedges are technically irons with a loft that exceeds the 9-iron. They are used for various shots which either require a great deal of accuracy and control or are coming from particularly rough terrains. When attempting to get the ball onto the green from a short distance, for example, having a club that allows you to hit the ball high gives you greater accuracy and control. On the other hand, if the golf ball is in the bunker a high loft will also significantly help. There are four types of wedge – the pitching, gap, sand and lob wedge – and these are all used for different purposes. Wedges have the shortest shaft but greatest loft of all the types of club and are favoured by good golfers for those shots around the green.
Hybrids are clubs that effectively cross woods with irons and allow golfers to make shots combine the iron’s classic swing with a wood’s impressive distance. Many golfers prefer these hybrids to fairway woods and low numbered irons from about 2-irons to perhaps 5-irons as they cover similar ground in terms of usage and shot. Increasing numbers of recreational and professional golfers are taking to this relatively recent innovation in the golf club universe. Hybrids can be straightforward and uncomplicated to use compared to other clubs and their versatility is another bonus.
Putters, as one might guess, are used for putting. On reaching the flat green, golfers take out their low-loft, delicate putters to make highly accurate shots in terms of both angle and pace. Putters come in a range styles and are designed to simply roll the ball along the green, although they do in fact have a minimal loft to help the ball roll smoothly. The clubheads on putters vary to suit different styles of player and there are traditional, heel-toe and mallet clubheads. Shaft lengths are also variable and there are standard putters, belly putters and long putters, which are also known commonly as broomstick or broom handle putters.