So you think you've found your true love in life eh? That soulmate that just makes everything seem better. Yes, we're talking about everyone's favorite game, golf.
If you're new to the game of golf, we know just how thrilling it can be to play. But also how it requires you to learn the ins and outs to really master it. But before you just go out and hit balls, it's worth your time to really get to know the clubs you will be playing with.
And yes, there are quite a few different types of clubs out there, with different characteristics and use cases. Knowing this is the requisite first step to playing great golf.
But don't worry; consider this a crash course in golf clubs 101. In this article, we'll go over the different types of clubs and when/how to use them. After reading this article, hopefully, you have a better understanding of not just the different clubs, but how to up your game with timely selection.
Ready? let's go!
Drivers are amongst the favorite golf clubs in any player's bag, as they're integral in teeing off. They have the longest shafts of any golf club and are meant to hit the ball the farthest. A driver is going to have a large head, usually with a rounded shape to promote a longer, straighter shot.
Previously, drivers used to be made with wooden heads, but over the last 25 years or so they have evolved significantly with heads made of metals like titanium or alloys. This evolution has made it routinely possible for the average player to achieve distances of 300 yards and more- a feat not possible before.
A driver is best used to tee off on par 5's or 4's, and only occasionally par 3's if you are severely lacking distance. They are not used otherwise, as the distance from shots will be too much.
They are also not best for tight fairways or when lots of hazards are in play, as the risk for a bad shot is too high.
Drivers are also typically the most expensive golf clubs, so be mindful of that when making your purchase. However, many golfers don't mind paying a premium if this translates to a better drive than their competition.
Also known as fairway woods, these are the second most popular club type and are sometimes used in lieu of a driver depending on the lie or shot desired. They have shorter shafts and a slightly smaller head than a driver, but share many of the same characteristics: made of metal with a large, rounded head.
The main difference you'll notice with woods is that they have a lower center of gravity (CG) which results in a higher launch angle and good distance. They are also more forgiving on off-center hits, so if you're struggling with your driver these could be a great option for you.
Woods typically come in 3, 5, 7, and 9 varieties and are used on long holes when you need to get maximum distance. By far, the two most common kinds of wood are the 3 and 5 wood.
Fun fact: did you know that a driver is basically a 1-wood? Although it hasn't been referred in this manner for decades, it is the correct way to think about it.
Woods are the preferred club at the tee box on par 3's and occasionally par 4's as they achieve slightly less distance than a driver would. The average man will hit a distance of about 200-210 yards with a 3-wood.
Hybrids are another favorite, possessing traits that are in-between those of a fairway wood and an iron. They have the same general shape as irons but with a larger head and shorter shaft. They also usually have a metal head, although some hybrids feature graphite heads for increased Clubs speed and distance.
The primary advantage to hybrids is that they are incredibly versatile, and can be used in a variety of different lies and situations. They also promote a higher launch angle and more forgiveness than irons, making them a good option when you're just starting out or having difficulty with your iron play.
You'll typically see hybrids in 3- through 5-iron varieties, although some companies produce hybrid 6- and 7-irons as well. They can be used from the tee box on longer par 3's, fairways, or rough and are a great option when you need a little extra help getting out of tough spots.
No, we're not referring to a crowbar! Long irons are simply irons with a lower club number (2-iron, 3-iron, etc), usually between 1-4. They have the longest shafts of any iron and are the most difficult to hit consistently. If you're just starting out or struggle with your iron play, long irons might not be the best option for you.
Long irons have very little loft, which results in a lower launch angle and less forgiveness. They also have a smaller sweet spot than other irons, so it's important to be precise when hitting these clubs.
The 1 and 2-irons are hardly still used, and for that matter- mostly out of production. The 3 and 4-irons are still around, but at risk of extinction as well at the hands of hybrid clubs. The average distance with a 4-iron is around 170 yards.
Mid irons (5-iron, 6-iron, 7-iron) are the workhorse of the iron category and are used on a variety of different shots. They have shorter shafts than long irons and more loft, resulting in a higher launch angle and fair distance.
Mid irons are also more forgiving than long irons, making them a good option if you're just starting out.
The 5-iron is the most popular of the mid irons and is used on a variety of different shots. The average man will hit a distance of about 150 yards with a 5-iron.
Today, mid irons are used almost exclusively for tee shorts on short par 3's, or approach shots to get close to the green on a par 4 or 5. Their goal is solely to get the ball as close to the hole as possible.
They too, are being swapped out for hybrids, especially if distance is your weakness (diet is sometimes responsible- a Whole In One Bar could fix this) or you are unable to generate consistent contact.
Short irons (8-iron, 9-iron) have the shortest shafts of any iron and are used on shots that require the most accuracy. These clubs have the most loft, which results in a higher launch angle and shorter distance.
The 8 and 9-irons are still considered staples in most players' golf bags as they are important for making approach shots on shorter par 3's.
The short irons achieve a lot of flight- so much that there is minimal rolling upon contact with the ground. This is useful for avoiding the overshoot.
An average distance of about 120 yards is achieved with the 9-iron.
All wedges are a subclass of irons, although they possess more loft. The pitching wedge achieved enough distance that you can use them for approach shots, but are better suited for chipping around the green. The low loft means you can get a little more distance out of it, perfect for this scenario.
Distances of around 110 yards are average for this club.
Approach/ Gap Wedge
Called the gap wedge for a reason, it serves to fill the yardage gap between the pitching and sand wedge. This wedge was developed as a way to deal with approach shots in the 100-yard range, as they were proving to be a nuisance for both the pitching and sand wedge.
The loft achieved is between the other two aforementioned wedges as well.
The primary goal of a sand wedge is to get a ball out of the sand as easily as possible, usually with one lofted shot. And that's their primary use.
They also come in handy on approach shots around the green when you need a little extra help getting out of tough spots such as bunkers, or for occasional chipping as well.
The lob wedge is used to hit high, soft shots around the green. It has the most loft of any club, making it great for hitting short, high shots that land softly. They are great for shots in the 65-yard zone, and also very helpful for obstacle shots when you just need to loft and clear the hazard.
There's a saying " drive for show, putt for dough". That is quite frankly, the most succinct way to describe the importance of a putter. It is the only club used close to the hole and accounts for about 40% of your total score.
On a typical 18-hole round, 31-34 putts will need to be made. If you require two or more putts per hole, that indicates poor performance, and in turn, a bad score.
The putter is the most specialized club, even though they do come in different shapes, sizes, and weights. Its primary function is to roll the ball a short distance so it can fall into the hole.
If you find your putting is extremely poor, you first need to look at the length of the putter. Your putter should be the correct length for your height, as this will ensure a comfortable, fluid stroke.
Many people use a putter that is just too long, causing inconsistent and inaccurate shots.
Take your time, judge the distance and make a smooth stroke. Remember, it's all about consistency.
The number one mistake newer golfers (and even some seasoned players) make is thinking that they need to follow a standard golf club composition, and if they deviate from that they are a cheat or a poor player.
This is wrong, and actually only serves to limit your true playing potential. This is because no two players are the same, and your goal at the end of the round is to get the balls in the holes as fast as possible.
It doesn't matter how you do it, or which clubs you use to do it. Just ask Happy Gilmore!
Experiment with different clubs, get to know your strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly- have fun! golf should be enjoyable, not a source of frustration.