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All About Golf Club Design

 

Most golfers start playing golf with very little knowledge about Golf Clubs, other than there are irons, woods, wedges and a putter.

By understanding a bit more about how golf clubs are made, and the differences between each club, you are in a better position to understand how best to utilise them during the game, and to make a more informed buying decision.

 

Standard Set Of Golf Clubs

The standard set of clubs contains:

  • Driver [often referred to as a number #1 wood]
  • Fairway Woods
  • Fairway Irons
  • Wedges
  • Putter

Whilst a standard set is made up of 12 golf clubs, a total of 14 clubs is allowed.

 

Drivers

Drivers have a club head larger and heavier than any other club. They are used primarily for the first shot of each hole, from the Tee Off Area. A driver, hit correctly, will hit the ball the furthest due to a larger transfer of energy from the more massive club head to the ball.

Compared to other clubs, the driver has a shallow pitch angle, typically 9 degrees to 13 degrees.

A driver with a loft between 7 and 10 degrees is only used by experienced golfers, as they require much more skill to hit than higher lofted drivers.

Over recent years, professional golfers are giving up using low lofted drivers and instead using large-headed, higher-lofted 10 and 11 degree drivers. These have more carry and less shot error. Most PGA pros now carry drivers with lofts of 8.5 to 10 degrees or more. Non-pros should probably play drivers with lifts 10 degrees or higher.

 

Fairway & Utility Woods

Fairway woods are ranked 3, 5. Utility woods are ranked 7, 9, 11.

Fairway woods also have a shallower lie angle (the angle between the club shaft and the club face) than most of the irons, but there is some flexibility in the angles amongst different drivers for different length fairways.

Most golfers only carry 3 and 5 woods in their bag. A 3 wood has a loft between 15 and 18 degrees, and a 5 wood has a loft between 20 and 22 degrees.

A 3 wood is generally 1/2" shorter than a Driver and 5+ woods, ½” shorter again. The shorter the club, the smaller the arc of the swing. The smaller the arc of the swing, the less speed the golf club will have when it strikes the ball — ergo the less distance the ball will travel.

Use your woods when you are 175 yards or more away from the green.

Perimeter Weighting

Woods generally have perimeter weighting to help create a larger SWEET SPOT — a larger area on the face of the club that will result in a good hit.

 

Irons

Irons are ranked 2 to 9, depending upon the lie angle; being greatest with the 9 iron.

The greater the lie angle, the more the ball will pitch up and travel in a higher arc. The lower irons, with their shallower flight path are used to hit the ball.

 

Wedges

Wedges generally increase in 4 degree loft amounts. So wedges commonly come in 48, 52, 56, 60 and 64 degree lofts.

PITCHING WEDGE (PW) - usually about 48 degrees in loft. The PW is the highest lofted iron in a standard set and lowest loft of the wedges.

APPROACH WEDGE (AW) - 52 degrees

SAND WEDGE (SW) - 56 degrees

LOB WEDGE (LW) - 60 degrees

HIGH-LOB WEDGE - 64 degrees

LAST WEDGE - 68 degrees.


Wedges are generally designed for use close to the green or simply need to get out of a deep sand trap. These clubs are designed for a very vertical shot with minimal horizontal displacement.

 

Putter

The putter has no lie angle and is simply designed to keep the ball on the ground as it travels across the green, hopefully ending up in the hole.

There are many style of putters: short, belly, long, bent, center-hosel, heel-toe, mallet, and so on.

 

Coefficient of Restitution

When buying golf clubs make sure they are endorsed by the USGA. Some hollowed out titanium clubs, have a higher coefficient of restitution than permitted by the USGA. These clubs are designed to impart a greater force on the golf ball. The maximum permitted USGA coefficient of restitution greater is 0.83.

 

More on Golf Club Design

 

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