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The basics of golf clubs

May 31, 2005
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Donít know an iron from a wedge? While they probably wonít heckle you when you pull the wrong bat out of the bag itís good to know the basics before you go out to play a few holes.

Woods vs. Irons

  • Woods hit the ball farther and with greater spin than long irons.
  • Irons hit the ball higher. The high loft in short irons and wedges automatically produces a lot of backspin
  • You choose a wood (1-wood) usually off the Tee for par 4 and 5's and in the fairway (3-wood) when you cannot reach the green and are farther then your longest drive away.
  • Always use a mid-lofted iron from deep rough (6-iron or 7iron).
  • Use Irons on some par 3's if you think you are close enough. If you are farther away you can use a wood.

The difference in Irons

  • The higher the number, the more lofted the club.
  • The more loft, the higher the ball will go, but shorter in distance.
  • The Sand Wedge is the most lofted. This is used out of the sand, but also from shorter distances.

The differences in Woods

  • The higher the number the more lofted the club.
  • The more loft, the higher the ball will go, but shorter in distance.
  • The driver (1-wood) is the longest club. This should only be used from the tee box and on a tee.
  • The 3-wood is longest club you will use after any tee shot.

Whatís in a club?


1 Wood
The driver or 1-wood is one of the toughest clubs to master, and for this reason itís probably best to leave it out of the bag for the beginner. It is the longest club, usually about 45 inches, which makes tough to control the swing.

2 Wood
These clubs are available, but not very common. Sometimes referred to as a spoon.

3 Wood
A 3-wood is usually the second-longest club in a golfer's bag. Woods(and irons) are progressive in nature, meaning a 3-wood goes farther than a 4-wood, etc.

4 Wood and Beyond
3-woods, 4-woods, 5-woods, etc are known as fairway woods. These woods are easier to hit than long irons for most beginners. Generally, thereís about 15-20 yards between each club.

1 Iron
The 1 Iron does not usually come when purchasing an initial set of irons. The thin club heads provide very little loft.

2 Iron
Like the 1 iron, it does usually come when purchasing an initial set of irons. With its thin club heads and very little loft and longer shafts, 1 and 2 irons are difficult clubs to master.

3 & 4 Irons
The 1, 2, 3 and 4 irons are considered long irons. Itís usually recommended that beginners stay away from them and use woods instead because they are easier to use.

5, 6 and 7 Irons
Also known as mid-irons, the 5, 6 and 7irons are not as easy to hit as the short irons. As a rule of thumb the yardage gap between irons is generally 10-15 yards.

8 and 9 Irons
The 8- and 9-irons are the short irons, which are the easiest to hit for the amateur. Irons are designed to create divots (holes in the turf). If you take a shot with an iron and chunk the turf, don't feel bad, it is entirely appropriate to take a divot with an iron played from the fairway. Just put the dirt back when youíre done with your shot.

Wedges
Wedges are irons but often in their own category. Wedges refer to the gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge they are often sold as a 3-club subset.

Sand wedges make shots out of sand traps easier. The lob wedge allows a player to hit the ball high into the air, and drop onto the green with little roll. The gap wedge closes the "gap" between the pitching wedge and sand wedge. If you do not have a sand wedge a pitching wedge can be used for sand shots around the green.

Putters
A Putter is used on the putting green. It isnít uncommon however for golfers to putt from up to a few yards off the putting green if the turf is cut very low.


Typical Clubs for a Beginner

When you first start out the following clubs will serve all the purposes you need. As you get more proficient you can fill in other clubs.

3-Wood
5-Wood
5-Iron
7-Iron
Pitching wedge
Putter

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