golf club typesWoods, hybrids, putters, how many clubs are there?

If you’re ready to act as a true golf pro, you need a thorough knowledge of the various golf club types, their names, and purposes.

Knowing this will enhance your ability to play the game at your best and amplify your enjoyment in watching it. Here’s a simple club-guide to get you started.

The 5 Club Categories

You’ve seen the greats like Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus take their sweet time choosing just the right club before a hit. But why all the thought beforehand?

Selecting the perfect club for a shot can be game-altering. Golf clubs are broken down into 5 main categories.

1. Putters

If you’ve ever played mini-golf, you’ve used a putter. But the putter is actually a lot more complex than those dinky clubs you use at the mini-course. Putters come in the largest variety of sizes and shapes.

They are the most specialized club in golf.

When it comes to choosing the putter that will sink your final shot, you can’t choose any “right” one. The only way to sink it is to choose the right putter for the player.

Many of the pros have a huge selection of putters only. This is the club that’s used on the green to sink a ball in the hole.

Most golfers will choose the putter they want for that final stroke by finding the one that just “feels right.” Putters are selected based on feel and personal taste of the golfer.

They come with about 3 or 4 degrees of loft. However, they are all made to reduce backspin so your ball can roll as smoothly as possible towards the hole.

Putters are intended to simply give that ball the last little nudge in the right direction.

2. Irons

Irons are the numbered clubs that come in a set. The higher you want a ball to fly, the higher the number of iron you choose. What is referred to as “loft,” increases with each higher number on the club.

The slight angle of the iron sets is what provides the ball with an upward lift.

Irons are good for shots taken on the fairway as they get the ball up and flying far. They are also effective if you’re shooting from the tee or on a shorter hole. They help grip the ball to give it a backward spin.

Small grooves on the face of the iron head grab the ball and get it up.

Irons usually have thin, solid heads and their length decreases with each larger number. The rule is, the longer a golf club’s shaft, the farther you can usually hit it. However, as irons are usually used for loft and length, they come in sets that include shorter shafts.

The face of irons angles upward. Again, this helps get the ball aloft.

3. Hybrids

As the name hints at, hybrids are a combination of two different clubs: irons and woods. Hybrids are often used in place of irons and they come in numbered sets.

The number of the hybrid corresponds with the number of the iron it replaces. Some golfers hit with hybrids, as they are thought easier to hit with than irons.

Typically, you see hybrids used to replace long irons. You’ll commonly see hybrids used that are 2, 3, or 4s.

Hybrids only came into common use among professionals and in tournaments since about 2001. Sometimes referred to as “rescue clubs,” they are generally looked at as an easy way out during a potentially difficult shot.

You may also see a hybrid used in place of a wooden driver sometimes. They often produce a great long shot when used instead of a typical wooden driver.

4. Woods

The classic wood club is actually no longer made of wood. Well, at least the head isn’t. The shafts of these clubs are still wooden and be much longer than the shafts of other types of clubs.

Because of their length, woods can be swung much faster than other clubs. This produces long drives. Woods are perfect for sending your ball flying as far as you can hit them.

With their hollow heads, woods are often used to smack the ball from the teeing ground.

Their heads are rounded and typically several inches around in all directions. They are among the largest of club heads. The driver is usually a wood, if not a more modern hybrid.

5. Wedges

There are several types of wedges themselves, but they are also technically a part of the iron category. Wedges are equipped with highly angled heads to help scoop a ball out of a bad position.

They are made of iron and have heads that look similar to the numbered irons you will see; however, wedges provide the highest loft of any golf club.

You frequently see them used when golfers get a ball stuck in the sand or another place where they need to essentially “lift” a ball out with just the right hit.

Getting a ball out of a bunker, chipping, pitching, and taking short shots into the green are the only times you’ll use a wedge. Wedges may not be the most frequently used of the golf clubs, but they are definite necessities for getting you out of a tight spot.

The different wedges include lob wedges, gap, pitch, and sand wedges. Their names imply what they are each best used for.

Golf Club Types: Why Know Your Stuff?

Whether you are planning to watch a professional tournament or enjoy a game yourself, knowing the golf club types is essential to maximum enjoyment.

Now that you’ve had a review, you can more easily converse with other spectators about the game and the choices of those playing. You can also avoid the embarrassment of pulling out a putter when your ball is stuck in a bunker.

For more help prepping for your next big tournament-watching experience, read our post on proper golf etiquette.