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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 large drivers.
  • 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 used.

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 steel

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, tungsten insert

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, etc.

 

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

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 shaft breakage.

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 the air.

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.

 

Marketing Terms

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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