Golf Club Heads
Golf Club Head Material
Golf club heads are made from many materials. You will find that
many sales people in sporting goods stores are not aware of what
their clubs are made of. If the material is not evident, ask them
to find out.
- HST ALUMINUM is a much harder aluminum and popular in very
- 431 STAINLESS STEEL is a softer stainless steel very commonly
used in high quality iron heads.
- 17-4 STAINLESS STEEL is a harder steel found in professional
quality irons and wood heads.
- Maraging metal is a stainless steel put through a very special
hardening process that makes it very very hard and is a popular
material for the faceplates in the highest performing woods.
- TITANIUM - the most expensive material used in building golf
clubs heads, combines light weight and excellent strength. Titanium
is used today in the highest end woods and drivers.
- ZINC and ALUMINUM ALLOYS such as Ti-alloy are mainly used in
beginners sets and putters. Ti-Alloy is Aluminum products with
trace elements of Titanium, one of the least expensive materials
Other materials include ceramics, graphite and plastics.
Beginner woods: Aluminum, Titanium alloys [Ti-Alloy]
Good woods: HST Aluminum
Better woods: 17-4ph stainless steel, 431 stainless
Best woods: Titanium [usually in drivers only],
maraging metal, bi-metal, tungsten insert
Beginner irons: Zinc
Better irons: 431 stainless steel
Best irons: 17-4ph stainless steel, bi-metal,
Putters: material not as important as the shape,
weighting and type of inserts.
Golf Club Head Design
Key design principles in golf club heads are:
- Weight distribution - perimeter, low center
of gravity, etc.
- Size - traditional, oversize, super-oversize
- Styling - keel sole, deep face, wide body,
Golf Club Head Weight
Golf clubs come in a variety of weights. More important than the
actual weight is the ‘swing weight’, which is a relationship
between the weight of a golf head, the length of the club and the
weight of the grip and shaft.
Don’t worry about weight – all good clubs are correctly
balanced in weight distribution. This is why inexpensive clones
of good clubs often perform as well.
Club Face Grooves
Grooves running horizontally across the face of a golf club are
designed to to grip the ball during the impact and impart a backspin
on the ball to help the ball gain loft and remain in the air for
a longer period of time.
Perimeter weighting increases the size of the sweetspot but at
the cost of distance since it reduces the concentrated mass behind
the ball. More skilled golfers who always hit straight go for smaller
sweet spots and less perimeter weighting.
Toe Weighting - Perimeter weighting can be shifted
to cure toe-miss-hits and to help get the ball up in the air. Some
iron designs are heavily toe-weighted, to decrease club twisting
from severe miss-hits off the toe of the golf club. Ping clubs are
often toe weighted.
Increased toe-weighting can stress the shaft and increase golf
Perimeter Weighting - is also used in low center
of gravity designs such as Callaway Golf irons. Low center of gravity
(LCG) has become a popular design concept. Shifting weight to the
bottom of the club increases the ability to hit the ball up into
Golf clubs with tungsten inserts focus on LCG, because tungsten
is heavier than steel and allows the club to have even more weight
where it counts.
Terms you can expect to read in relation to club head design include:
- Hollow-Head Iron or Cavity-Back Iron
- 17-4 Stainless Steel
- Patented Aiming Indicator
- Enhanced Tight-Radius Sole
- Progressive Hosel Offset
- Oversized Sweet-Spot
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.
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