The beginner's guide to choosing golf clubs

If you’re just taking up golf, you’ll need to buy your own set of clubs. Here’s the rundown on the most common types of golf clubs to help you get started.

The beginner's guide to choosing golf clubs

Types of golf clubs

Experienced golfers carry between 12 and 14 clubs in their golf bags to cover every shot possible in every situation that might occur. However, while you're learning, you can start with fewer clubs.

  • You’ll notice that woods and irons are numbered.
  • What's more, clubs with higher numbers are angled to provide more loft (height) and less distance.

More specifically:

  1. Drivers: Drivers favour distance over control. The large club heads are made of lightweight composite metal with a broad striking surface designed to hit the ball as far and close to the target as possible. A driver with a larger head can compensate for off-centre hits and help to keep the ball on a straighter flight path.
  2. Fairway woods: Woods look just like drivers but have smaller heads and more angled club faces for more loft and control. They’re designed for shorter holes or shots made from the fairway. A typical starter golf set includes a 3-wood and sometimes a 5-wood.
  3. Irons: Irons have club heads made from a solid piece of metal and are designed for making accurate shots toward the green from a variety of distances. A starter golf iron set will typically come with 3, 5, 7 and 9 irons, but you’ll add more as your skills improve.
  4. Hybrid clubs: Many beginning golfers are replacing their 3 and 4 irons with hybrid clubs, which combine the features of a wood and an iron. They’re shaped like woods to provide better contact but are angled like irons for extra loft.
  5. Wedges: Pitching wedges and sand wedges are irons designed for short approach shots or escaping hazards like sand traps and deep rough. Their extreme loft sends the ball high into the air for a soft landing on the green.
  6. Putter: Arguably your most important club, the putter is for precision strokes on the green. It has a short shaft with a flat face for accurate ball-striking. The putter head is often weighted for balance and control. You may experiment with many putters before you find the one that’s most comfortable and gives you confidence.

Anatomy of a golf club

From top to bottom, knowing the various parts of a golf club and what they do will help you choose one suited to your style and abilities.

  • Club head: The part of the club that strikes the ball, club heads are made from stainless steel, light metal alloys or titanium. A bigger club head is better for beginners.
  • Shaft: Shafts are made from graphite or steel. Graphite is lightweight with greater flex but steel can provide more control.
  • Grip: The cushioned part where the hands grasp the top of the shaft is important for comfort and control.

Why proper fit matters

A proper fit is vital. You should purchase clubs based on your height and gender to help maximize your strength and swing. Otherwise you wind up "wasting" a lot of energy. Seek the advice of a knowledgeable golf retailer and take some practice swings to find the clubs that match your size and skill.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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