Golf Clubs

It may be a crude comparison but golf clubs are to golf as baseball bats are to baseball. However, the big difference is that with golf clubs, you almost never use just one club for a single round of golf. Furthermore, golfers almost never share their golf clubs with other players. The success of a golfer in any game of golf can depend largely on the type of club he uses. That is why it is imperative that in choosing your set of golf clubs, you choose well. There are several major categories of golf clubs – woods, irons, putters, and wedges.

Woods
Woods are the longest and largest clubs in the golfer’s arsenal. They are used to make long shots. The heads of woods used to be made of persimmon or maple, hence the name “woods”. However, newer clubs are now made up of what are called metalwoods – steel, titanium, or composites.
The head of a wood is shaped such that it can deliver a strong solid force to the ball and yet not dig into the turf below. This makes for more effective long range shots.

There are different woods, depending on the range and purpose. The driver is the longest wood and is used for teeing off. The driver is also called the 1 Wood. Drivers can be made up of steel, titanium, or composites. Steel drivers are a bit on the cheaper side but they can be quite heavy. Choose steel if you are looking for durability. Titanium is the rave when it comes to drivers. The light but very strong material allows for larger heads. The one big drawback is the price. Composites mix nonmetal elements with titanium. These drivers offer all that pure titanium ones offer, for a lower price.

Shorter woods are called fairway woods. Fairway woods have different ranges. The 2 – 4 woods may be used as alternatives to the driver. The 5 – 11 woods are useful for getting out of the rough.

When buying woods, decide which particular need you have to address. Then do research as to which manufacturers will meet those needs. You can also opt for sets. There are some woods available in sets, which can help you save up on money.

Irons
For shorter shots, the golfer makes use of his irons. Ask any pro and he will tell you that irons are the staples in the golfer’s bag. Irons are numbered from 1 to 9 and can be classified depending on the number (and thus the length). Long irons are those numbered 1 to 4, mid irons are numbered 5 to 7, and the short irons 8 to 9. This classification is loosely applied, however. One player may have a different classification from another, depending on his skill.

Irons may also be grouped into two different types based on how they are made. These two processes are forging and casting. When an iron is made by forging, it basically undergoes a process wherein the metal is exposed to very high temperatures and then hammered while very hot. Not unlike how a blacksmith works his metal. Casting, on the other hand, makes use of a mould. The liquid metal is poured into this mould. The latter process is more desired today because of several reasons. Casting is an easier process and allows for more complex designs to be implemented. From the manufacturer’s point of view, casting requires less production costs, especially if mass production is practiced. Furthermore, production by casting makes it easier to make clubs that follow the specifications strictly. On the other hand, good golfers prefer to use forged irons. The reason behind this is that forged irons give the player more control. Forged irons are “soft” in that they can be bent and adjusted to the players needs. That is why they are still around today.

Irons can also be classified depending on the design. There are three basic designs – blade, cavity back, and hybrids. The blade iron is also known as a muscle back iron for the reason that more weight is placed behind the sweet spot. That is, the spot in the center which, when it hits the ball, gives the longer more predictable shot. With a blade iron, however, the sweet spot is quite small. Blade irons have thus been associated with difficulty of use. Low handicap players prefer the blade iron because of the flexibility it offers them.

In contrast to the smooth back of a blade iron, the back of a cavity back iron is hollowed out. It is also known as a perimeter weighted iron for the simple fact that the weight that used to be in the back is now distributed onto the perimeter of the club. As a result of this weight distribution, the sweet spot is enlarged, making for easier shots. On the other hand, the cavity back iron gives lesser “feel” for the player – which is what low handicap players are looking for. So basically, cavity back irons are well suited for high handicap players who want to improve their game.

Hybrid iron sets are fast becoming a staple for players who need flexibility in order to improve their game. A set usually consists of cavity back short irons, reduced cavity mid irons, and part-wood part-iron clubs. Each item in the set gives the player a distinct benefit. Now all the player has to do is choose which club to use at a particular instance.

Putters
It has been said that half the shots a golfer makes are putts. Putting can be at the same time one of the most crucial shots as well as the most frustrating shot in golf. They say that putting is more of a mental exercise than anything else. Then again, having the right equipment for the job will make that mental exercise much easier for you.

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a putter is the face balancing. There are two styles regarding this point – face balanced putters and toe balanced putters. The former will have its face upward when you balance the shaft on your finger. The latter will have its toe towards the ground when you balance the shaft on your finger. Face balanced putters suit people whose stroke is straight, while toe balanced putters are for people whose stroke is not so straight.

Putters can be categorized into three main groups – blade, peripheral weighted, and mallet. The blade putter has been around the longest. This is the most commonly used type of putter all over the world. The blade putter is simple and flat and can be used in most any type of green. It offers a soft hit and is preferred as the safe choice for any golfer. This type of putter is suitable for people with a straight stroke as it is a face balanced putter. The peripheral weighted putter on the other hand is toe balanced and more suitable for people with an in to out stroke. This putter is also known as the “Ping-Anser” and is preferred by professional golfers. The last type of putter is the mallet. This putter has a large head and is heavier than the blade putter. It is also a face balanced putter.

Aside from basic differences between putters, there are different faces to a putter. Furthermore, you can also place inserts in the putter faces. This is to get more flexibility out of your putter. As a result, you get better shots. There are three basic types of putter faces – metal faced putters, insert faced putters, and groove faced putters.

Metal faced putters were traditionally made of steel. However, other metals are being used today. Some examples would be aluminum, bronze, copper, titanium, and zinc. Golfers would say that the best thing about using a metal faced putter is that you get feedback regarding your shot at once. How? By the sound it makes the moment you hit the ball. Once you hit the ball, the sound will tell you what kind of connection you made.

Insert faced putters are just like metal faced putters except that instead of metal faces, different materials are used. A wide variety of materials are used on the face but the one thing they have in common is that they are softer than the metals used in metal faced putters. The advantage of doing such a thing is that the weight is spread along the face of the putter. As a result, the sweet spot is widened and in case of a bad hit, there are less chances of totally messing it up. The disadvantage? Little or no sound feedback. This may or may not be that important to you. Choosing between metal faced putters and insert faced putters depends on your preferences.
Groove faced putters are a relatively new trend in putters. They are usually metal faced but there are some newer ones which are insert faced. As the name implies, a groove faced putter has grooved engraved on the face. This is done in order for the putter to grip the ball and set in on a rolling motion the moment the face hits the ball. This action lessens the chances of skidding, sliding, back spinning, or hopping of the ball even before it rolls.

Wedges
Wedges are essentially irons with a loft of more than 44 degrees. Wedges are particularly useful for shots made within 120 yards of the pin. They are quite critical to any golfer’s game as 70% of shots made are made within this distance!

There are four major kinds of wedges – pitching wedges (PW), gap wedges (GW), sand wedges (SW), and lob wedges (LW). Pitching wedges have a loft of 47 – 50 degrees and are the most commonly used. They are normally used to get fuller shots to get into the green. Sand wedges are used to get out of bunkers and usually have lofts of 56 degrees. Gap wedges offer a compromise between pitching wedges and sand wedges. Their lofts range from 51 and 55 degrees. Lob wedges has a loft of around 60 degrees and are used a lot to get out of rough spots and sand bunkers.

Wedges also differ from each other depending on the finish that they have. Here is a quick run through of the most common finishes and their features. Most wedges are finished in chrome. This gives you the best protection against rust as well as giving off that classic look. Wedges that are finished in black nickel are basically just like chrome except for the color. If you want the same look as the classic chrome finishing yet you want a softer feel, try wedges finished in nickel. Raw wedges are basically unfinished steel and will definitely rust over time. However, they provide more control and are thus preferred by experienced players. Oil can finishing can help extend the life of raw wedges. However in time, it will wear off as well. Beryllium copper looks much like the oil can finish except that with exposure to oxygen over time, the finish gets darker and darker.