Luke is an avid weekend-warrior golfer from the East Coast who plays golf more than he cares to admit.
Golf clubs are one of the most important pieces of golf equipment. But how do they work? And what are the different types of golf clubs that you can use during a game?
In this article, we’ll take a look at how golf clubs work, as well as some of the different types that you might encounter on the golf course. We will be covering golf club numbers, different club mechanics, swing mechanics, and some course management.
Let’s get those golf club numbers out and dive in!
Understanding the golf club numbers & golf ball flight
Let’s work through the golf bag starting with the Driver which doesn’t have a number on it usually. From there we can move to:
Long Irons and Mid Irons
The long irons contain a number one on the longest club then it moves to two and so on down to the six iron.
The Mid Irons have a number two on them with the exception of the pitching wedge which has a number one.
Short Irons and Wedges/Sand Wedge
The short irons have a number three on them with the exception of the sand wedge with a number four.
The Lob Wedge usually doesn’t have a golf club number designation.
Next is the putter which is always designated with the letter P followed by a number. So your putter would be P-1.
Golf Club Types
Golf club types vary based on several parameters such as:
- Club Heads
- Iron Length Shaft
- Shaft types – i.e. steel shafts vs wooden woods vs graphite shafts
- Shaft Length and Flexibility
- Loft i.e. low loft vs not
- Launch Angle – Higher Launch Angle vs Low Launch Angles
- Center of gravity
Golf Club Vocabulary List:
Before we talk about each club individually, lets get you up to speed with golf club terminology and definitions
The Club Face is defined as the front surface of the golf club that strikes balls.
The Head is defined as the top portion of the golf club that contains the golf club face and striking area.
The Grip is defined as the part of the golf club that you hold with your hands. The grip can be made from a variety of materials including rubber, leather, or plastic.
Loft is defined as the angle at which the golf clubhead strikes the golf ball. A higher loft angle results in a higher launch trajectory for the shot.
Club Face Angle:
The Club Face Angle is defined as the angle of the golf club face in relation to the vertical. A closed club face angle will result in a decrease in distance, while an open club face angle will result in an increase in distance.
Now that we have some of the golfing basics down, let’s take a look at each golf club and how it can be used on the golf course.
Perimeter weighting golf clubs
These golf clubs have a large, weighted head that is designed to provide more forgiveness on off-center hits.
The perimeter weighting also helps to increase the launch angle and distance of the shots. These golf clubs are perfect for beginner golfers or golfers who are not looking for too much precision in their shots.
The Driver is golf’s most important club and is used to hit a long shot off the tee. Drivers are typically made of titanium or other light materials, and they have a large head that helps golfers generate more power.
Usually the distance the ball travels with the driver is an average of 210 yards for men and 165 yards for women. This allows for a second shot either laying up or going for the green.
The second swing in golf is arguably the most important as it sets up your score for that hole, usually, unless you’re an experienced golfer on the pga tour.
A golfer’s swing is also different with a driver than the irons in your iron set because you want to achieve a high trajectory and generate as much speed as possible.
3-Wood and Fairway Woods
The 3-Wood is usually used as an alternative to the Driver, and it’s designed for hitting a long shot from the fairway. 3- Woods are typically made of wood or composite materials, and they have a smaller head than Drivers.
Fairway woods are similar to 3-woods, but they have a slightly larger head and are designed for hitting shots from the rough.
Fairway wood head design is made to help golfers hit down on the ball and create more backspin for greater control.
Hybrids are golf clubs that combine the qualities of a wood and an iron. They have a large head like a wood, but they have a thin, flat face like an iron. This makes hybrids easier to hit than either woods or irons, and they’re perfect for golfers who don’t hit their long shots very well.
Irons are golf clubs that are designed for hitting short and mid-length shots. They come in a variety of lofts, and each loft is designed for a specific type of shot.
Wedges are golf clubs that are designed for hitting shorter shots
The 5-Wood is similar to the 3-Wood, but it has a slightly larger head. It’s designed for hitting long shots from the fairway.
Hybrid Clubs are designed to replace the long irons in your golf bag. They’re made of metal and have a head that’s larger than a traditional iron, but smaller than a Driver.
Ions are golf clubs that are used to hit short and mid-length shots. They come in a variety of different lofts, and they’re typically made of metal or composite materials.
Wedges, Pitching Wedge, Lob Wedge
Wedges are golf clubs that are designed for hitting shorter shots around the green. They come in a variety of different lofts, and they’re typically made of metal or composite materials.
Pitching wedge usually has a loft of about 48 degrees, and it’s designed for hitting short shots from the fairway and around the green.
The Lob usually has a loft of about 60 degrees, and it’s designed for hitting high shots from the fairway and around the green.
The approach wedge is a golf club that’s designed to replace the 3- and 4-irons in your golf bags. It has a loft of about 54 degrees, and it’s perfect for hitting short shots from the fairway and around the green.
Putters are golf clubs that are used to put the ball into the hole. They’re typically made of plastic or metal, and they have a flat club head that makes it easy to roll the ball smoothly along the ground.
The science behind golf clubs
Each golf club is specifically designed to work shots a certain way. Specifically, each club will hit the ball differently and result in:
- Shorter distance (Shorter average distance the ‘higher’ the iron numbers get closer to the wedges)
- Loft angle
- Launch angle (higher launch angles are seen with the woods)
- Backspin (Driver has low backspin, wedges have high backspin)
- Side spin (again Driver low, wedges high)
- Carry (clubs with more loft will carry the ball further than those without loft)
- Roll (Putter does not create roll as it is designed to hold projectiles on the face – this is one reason why you putt with a Putter and not another club!)
The science of golf clubs will help you select the right club for each golfing situation. Remember that golf is all about choosing the correct club and making a smooth swinging motion to hit the direction you want it to go.
With practice, most golfers be able to hit any golf shot they imagine some of the time. Experienced golfers know that hitting a good. golf shot during a golf game is a series of near misses.
No shot when it leaves the mind of the golfer club usually results in a perfect shot.
When to use which golf club as an average golfer
Driver – off the tee or from a fairway at a longer distance
3-Wood – from a fairway if you have more distance to cover
5 Wood – you want to use the 5 wood with caution off the tee, as this club is designed for distance and can easily send golfers too far
Hybrid Clubs – 2 iron replacement
5-Iron – 200-250 yards (typical with modern sets)
Shorter iron number stats:
7-Iron – 170-190 yards
9-Iron – 130-150 yards
Pitching Wedge – around the green
Sand Wedge – out of sand traps or rough
Lob – close to the green, high shots
Putter – on the green only!
Golfers have many golf clubs to choose from when they play golf. Each golf club is designed for a specific type of shot. The golf club you use on any given golfing situation will depend on your distance to the hole, the lie of the ball, and the amount of roll you want the ball to have.
When selecting golf clubs, it’s important to understand the science behind golf clubs.
Each golf club is designed to hit a shot in a certain way, and each club will result in a different distance, loft angle, launch angle, backspin, side spin, and carry. With practice, most golfers can hit any golf shot they imagine.
However, knowing which golf club to use for each golfing situation will help you play better golf.
Always select the golf club that will give you the best chance of hitting shots in the direction you want it to go.
Higher Launch Angle & Steel Shaft Design
A high launch angle is used now for woods as the manufacturers have designed them to fly higher and with more spin. Many golfers prefer a high launch angle when they use their woods. The golf shaft on a wood is usually made of steel, which helps create a high launch angle.
Low Backspin & Graphite Shaft Design
A low backspin is desirable when using a Driver, as this will help the ball travel further down the fairway. The golf shaft on a Driver is typically made of graphite, which helps create a low backspin.
The Right Club for You
Understanding the science behind golf clubs will help you select the right club for each golfing situation, but it’s important to also understand your own swing tendencies.
Low Loft Golf Shots (Using the lowest loft isn’t bad!)
When you need to hit it low with the lowest loft and have little roll, use a golf club with less loft, such as a 7-Iron (will go a longer distance) or 9-Iron. These clubs will result in lower launch angles and less backspin, which will cause the golf ball to travel shorter distances.
High Loft Golf Shots with higher lofts
When you need to hit a shot high into the air with lots of roll, use a golf club with more loft, such as a Pitching Wedge or Sand Wedge. These clubs will result in higher launch angles and more backspin, which will cause the balls to travel further distances.
How to hit out of longer grass?
When you are golfing from grass that is taller than the height use a club with more loft, such as a Sand Wedge or Lob Wedge. These clubs will help you hit it out of the taller grass and onto the green.
The Putter is designed to hold golf balls on the face and create no roll. This club should only be used on the green, as it’s designed to put the golf ball to the hole.
The Driver is designed to hit shots the farthest down the fairway. This club should be used when you have plenty of room to hit the golf ball and you need to cover a lot of distance.
The 3-Wood is designed to hit shots farther than a Driver, but not as far as a 5-Wood. This club should be used when you have more distance to cover and there isn’t enough room for a Driver.
The 5-Iron is designed to hit around 200 yards, which is typical for most golfers using a modern set of golf clubs. This club should be used when you are relatively close to the green and need to hit the golf ball with some distance.
The 7-Iron is designed to hit the around 170 yards, which is a good distance for most golfers when they are on the green. This club should be used when you are close to the green and need to hit the golf ball with some height.
The 9-Iron is designed to hit around 130 yards, which is a good distance for golfers when they are off the green. This club should be used when you are away from the green and need to hit the golf ball with some height and distance.
The Pitching Wedge is designed to hit around 120 yards, which is a good distance for golfers when they are on the green. This club should be used when you are close to the green and need to hit the golf ball with some loft.
Out of all the golf club numbers and innovative clubs these days, the gap wedge is the most reliable and standard golf club for golfers. Most golfers use a gap wedge to increase their chance of making par or birdie.
The Sand Wedge is designed to hit around 100 yards, which is a good distance for golfers when they are in a sand trap.
This club should be used when you are in a sand trap and need to hit the golf ball out of the sand. Sand bunkers are one of the most challenging golfing situations, so it’s important to have a club in your golf bags that can help you get out of them.
The Lob Wedge is designed to hit the golf ball around 80 yards, which is a good distance for golfers when they are on the green.
This club should be used when you are close to the green and need to hit the golf ball with lots of loft. This usually isn’t the first wedge of choice depending on other irons traveling less distance when a golfer hits the sweet spot.
The Putting Wedge is designed the same way almost as the lob wedge. It’s used to hit the golf ball around 50 yards, which is a good distance for golfers when they are on the green. This club should be used when you are on the green and
The Putter head is designed to putt the golf ball into the hole from short distances. This club should only be used on the green.
Now that you know a little more about golf clubs, it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice! Get out on the golf course and start experimenting with different clubs to see which ones work best for you.
Golf is all about trial and error, so don’t be afraid to try new things. Who knows – you might even find yourself using a 5-Wood on your next golf outing!
How golf clubs work consistently for you
In order to nail the sweet spot when you hit the ball, you’ll need to practice consistently with or without instructions or a coach. The nuances of the golf game even extend to a firm grip or low center of gravity throughout a golf swing.
Experienced golfer turmoil is always with some facet of their game where the golfing equipment just isn’t working well for them. Shorter distance shots get over shot due to miscalculated higher loft or total club hits that slice left or right of the fairway.
Mastering these clubs and understanding the science behind club heads (getting acquainted with golf club number) is a lifelong journey out on the green!
Best Golf Clubs For Beginners?
If it’s your first time getting out to golf, we suggest you leave the ‘other clubs’ alone and spring for a solid beginner club set. Specifically, we recommend the:
This complete set comes stocked with all golf club numbers needed to experience the golf course being played. Check out our review and breakdown of the Taylormade rbz speedlite package set here!