A golfer is allowed to carry up to fourteen clubs during a round. A typical set of clubs may consist of 3 woods (a driver and 2 fairway woods 3 and 5), irons 3 to 9, three wedges (generally a PW, a SW and one other wedge), and a putter. The most common wedges are traditionally a Pitching wedge (PW) and a Sand wedge (SW) to which golfers now usually add a Lob wedge (LW) or a gap wedge (AW). The PW is sometimes labelled and considered as a 10 iron. See also: different types of clubs, where the different clubs are explained into more details.
Not all players carry the entire set of clubs. The latest trend is to replace the hard-to-hit 3 and 4 irons (and sometimes the 5 iron) by 7 and 9 woods or hybrid utility clubs which are easier to play.
This was especially true for beginner golfers and ladies, but the trend is now progressing to players of all handicaps, men and women alike. In fact many new golf club sets now include the higher lofted 7 and 9 woods which are played on comparable distances as a 3 or 4 iron, or hybrid clubs which combine the functions of a fairway wood and an iron. Read more about utility clubs>>
Why Do I need all these different types of golf clubs ?
While it is possible to play a range of different shots using only one club, modifying only the speed and direction of swing, this is not a particularly successful technique. Far easier is it to keep the swing as constant as possible and achieve different lengths and characteristics of ball flight using a different club for each shot. To facilitate the choice of a club for any particular situation, all irons (and many woods and wedges) come in sets of similar clubs graded by loft, shaft length, and weight. Clubs are numbered for identification with the smallest numbers indicating the lowest loft.
Will my game improve considerably if I buy these more expensive clubs?
Many players believe that the most innovative, expensive clubs will also be the best. However, each golfer's swing is unique and requires the clubs that match their personal swing. For example, most amateur golfers need a driver with at least 11 degrees of loft - and perhaps even 13 to 15 degrees, depending on their swing speed. The book The Search for the Perfect Golf Club shows how to find the best clubs based on your swing speed (which you can have checked at a clubfitter or pro shop). The same book also discusses some very interesting alternatives to long irons - explaining the pros and cons of each type of club.
How To Select Golf Clubs: Choosing the Right Golf Irons
by Quick Easy Guides More information:
The Search for the Perfect Golf Club
by Tom W. Wishon, Tom Grundner An extremely well-written book on golf equipment technology for the everyday golfer. More information:
Construction of Golf Clubs
The parts of a club are the shaft (with grip) and the head. The shaft is a tapered tube made of metal, or graphite fiber. The shaft is roughly 1/2 inch in diameter (12 mm) near the grip and between 35 to 45 inches (89-115 cm) in length. The end of the shaft opposite the head is covered with a rubber or leather grip for the player to hold.
Of all parts of the golf club that affect playability, the shaft is perhaps the most underappreciated. Nevertheless, the shaft is critical for two reasons: It elastically bends and straightens during the swing, and any weight that club designers save in the shaft (especially toward the tip) improves your chances of increasing clubhead velocity. See further: shaft flex and shaft torque.
The head is the part that hits the ball. Each head has a face which contacts the ball during the stroke (but the head of a putter may have two faces).
Traditionally, most metal golf club heads were made by forging, which involves the careful shaping of the club head through hammering and pressing of heated steel. Today, most modern golf club heads are cast. Forged clubs are still prized for feel while cast clubs often have modern game improvement characterists.