Descriptions and Uses of Different Golf Clubs

Published: 16th September 2009
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If you are new to the game of golf, choosing the golf clubs to carry in your set can be quite confusing. A knowledgeable friend or a golf instructor can provide some help, but you still need some guidelines that will cover what to look for before you make a purchase. The consistency and efficiency of your golf game is going to be largely determined by the set of clubs that you have.

The following is a overview on frequently used golf clubs to help make the buying decision easier:

The rules of golf state that a golfer cannot have more than 14 clubs. Each golfer will have his or her own indiviual set consisting of a combination of drivers, woods, irons, wedges and putters. Many golfers also carry extra clubs like hybrid clubs which are generally thought of as more versatile and easier to work with than typical clubs.

The different types of golf clubs are:

• Drivers

• Woods

• Irons

• Wedges

• Putters

• Hybrids


The driver is the very first club that you use when you "tee off" (i.e., your first shot) and is the club that will get you off the tee and onto the fairway. This club is usually the tallest and largest in your bag. Drivers are available in both left hand and right hand versions as well as those that are more suited for ladies. Most manufacturers design their drivers so that ball speed is increased, launch angles are optimized, and spin is minimized once contact is made with the golf ball.


Golfers use golf clubs known as "woods" to hit the ball over a long distance and to bring it closer to the hole. The clubs are numbered in numerical order and an average golf set typically includes the one (being the driver), three and five woods. The combination of a woods large head and long shaft enables a ball to achieve optimal speed after contact is made. Woods are so called because they traditionally made from laminated hardwood. This changed, however, in the 1980s when the golf world was introduced to woods made from steel. These days, woods are composed of different materials: carbon fiber, scandium or titanium. Despite the non-wooden materials being used, they are still commonly referred to as woods as a nod to both their original composition and what they are used for on the golf course.


Irons are so named because the heads of the clubs are made up of metal, which historically have been cast-iron. They are marked by their flat angle faces and shorter shafts. Golfers typically use them when approaching the green as they work really well with difficult to hit shots such as those in the rough or when hitting the ball over trees or hills.

When it comes to irons think 90 degrees as the general rule of thumb with the higher the number, the lower the angle difference from 90 degrees. Irons can be either hybrids, cavity-backs (where a small to medium quantity of metal is removed from across the back of the head) or muscle backs (irons that have no cavity at the back of the head which means that the weight is evenly distributed at the back of the head).

Irons therefore drive a ball to the hole. They have three key components: head, shaft and grip. The head will usually have grooves for the purposes of spin and control. The clubs are numbered 1 to 9 (ranging from lowest loft and longest shaft on to higher lofts and shortest shafts).


Wedges are used for short distance shots, high altitude shots, approach shots or hitting the ball out of difficult spots. Golfers can choose from four types - pitch, gap, sand, or lob.

Wedges have a very special use in golf. You can recognize them by their soles which have been designed to help a ball out of the sand and rough. Wedges are also generally easier to control because of their short shafts and also produce the most ball spin as they have the highest loft among the clubs.


Putters are clubs that have no more than a 10 degree loft (with the exception of chippers) and are generally used when the ball is at a short distance from the cup. The clubs are designed so that the ball rolls smoothly onto the grass, instead of deviating from, or bouncing off, the path when impact occurs. They are usually not made with a rounded grip. Instead, it is more common for putters to have a flat top with cross-sections or curves than a round one like normal clubs.

Putters require precision and concentration, two attributes which are essential to a solid golf game. Putters also offer players additional technical advantage including smooth rolling, efficient gliding, good impact and a no-bounce topspin launching of the golf ball.


Hybrid clubs combine the qualities of both an iron and wood club. They are extremely versatile and are easier clubs to hit than traditional clubs. Many golfers prefer to use the clubs in place of a high-number wood or a low-number iron. Hybrids are often used in golf's more difficult and trying moments hence their reputation as "rescue clubs".

Mike Cole is a freelance writer who writes about sports, often focusing on a particular product used in sports such as golf clubs .

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