Understanding the different golf clubs in a set is essential to learning the game. A golfer can carry up to 14 clubs while playing, each with a unique length, loft and purpose.
Woods are the larger clubs that hit the ball the farthest. Because they are longer and have low loft angles, they are generally harder to hit directly off the ground, so woods are typically hit off a tee.
Though they are called woods, they are usually made of metal, such as titanium or steel. (The term is a carryover from the days when these clubs were actually made of wood.) A driver, or the 1-wood, is the biggest of all woods, and carried by nearly all golfers. Because drivers go so far, it makes them a lot of fun to hit. Conversely, when you mishit it, the mistake will be exaggerated.
Irons are used to hit shorter and more accurate shots. They usually range from a 3-iron, which travels the farthest of the irons, to wedges such as a pitching wedge or sand wedge. Here’s a good rule of thumb for remembering what a particular iron does: The higher the number, the higher the ball will fly and the shorter it will travel. For example, a ball hit with a 3-iron will travel lower and farther than one hit with a 9-iron.
Hybrid clubs are exactly what the name suggests, a mix between woods and irons, offering the best of both. Hybrids make it easier to hit the ball off the ground than with a wood or long iron (3 or 4), while providing more distance than a shorter iron delivers. Hybrids have gained mass popularity over the last decade, replacing long irons in many golfers’ bags. Some older players have also started replacing their entire sets of irons with hybrids because they are so much easier to hit and offer a bit more distance.
Of course, the club every golfer needs is a putter. Used on the green to get the ball into the hole, the putter may be the most important club in golf. Putters come in many different varieties of head shapes including smaller blade type styles and larger mallet type heads. There are also options for using a longer length putter and anchoring it against your body. These are referred to as belly mid-length and long putters and many players find these options make the often suggested pendulum motion easier to accomplish. There are also two general schools of thought in regards to the stroke that can help you decide on the correct putter for you. Some players tend to prefer a stroke where the putter moves straight back and through while others prefer the putter head to be swung along an arc. Players that prefer a more straight back and through stroke generally prefer putters that are center shafted while those that prefer the arc style often prefer heel shafted options.