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Golf Clubs

"Improve your game by better understanding golf clubs."

Golf clubs are the tools we use to strike the golf ball. A golf club has three components the Head, the Shaft and the Grip. The rules of golf constrain golf club designs, but the goal of clubmakers is to create golf clubs, within those rules of golf, that maximize the physics of the golfer's swing while allowing for a range of swing error to provide an accurate, long, yet forgiving shot. The better your swing, the less forgiving club you require.

A standard set of golf clubs consists of three woods (the 1-driver, 3, and 5), eight irons (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and PW), and a putter twelve clubs. The rules of golf allow you to carry fourteen clubs in your bag, so many golfers add another iron or a specialty wood. After all, the more tools we have in our toolbox, the easier it is to do our job! Click here to learn more about golf clubs from Pinemeadow Golf.

Woods

Woods are used to hit long shots. If a golf hole is 450 yards from tee to green, most golfers use a wood to hit off the tee. A wood is a hollow-bodied large headed golf club. Use your woods when you are 175 yards or more away from the green.

The Driver (also called the 1 wood) has the lowest loft of any golf club. Loft is the angle of the club face that controls trajectory and affects distance. A driver has a loft between 7 and 12 degrees. Experienced golfers have traditionally favored lower lofted drivers (less than 10 degrees of loft), which require much more skill to hit than higher lofted drivers.

A dramatic development has occurred over the past several years - professional golfers are throwing out their low lofted drivers and opting for large-headed, higher-lofted 10 and 11 degree drivers. Their argument is that the longest drives are achieved by combining a high launch angle with lower spin.

The newer, higher-lofted designs for large-headed drivers provide the higher launch angle; the new solid core golf balls provide less spin on the golf ball. This results in the longest drives. So the professionals are increasingly moving to larger headed higher lofted drivers. They get more carry with less shot error. Just like you should do!

Most PGA pros now carry drivers with lofts of 8.5 to 10 degrees or more. Non-pros should probably play drivers with lifts 10 degrees or higher. So our recommendation is follow the advice of the PGA pros and increase the loft of your driver.

Most golfers also carry 3 and 5 woods in their bag. A 3 wood has a loft between 15 and 18 degrees, and a 5 wood has a loft between 20 and 22 degrees. The higher the golf club number, the higher the loft. In addition, the higher the golf club number, the shorter the club. A 3 wood is generally 1/2" shorter than a Driver and so on with each successive club.

However, we build all our woods higher than a 5 wood the same length as the 5 wood. This is because the shorter the club, the smaller the arc of the swing. The smaller the arc of the swing, the less speed the golf club will have when it strikes the ball ergo the less distance the ball will travel. We believe that a 5 wood is short enough and while the 7 and 9 woods provide more forgiveness, we also want longer distance in our shots. Arghh, the physics of golf!

Why aren't woods made of wood? They used to be, but since the 1980's woods have been made of metal. Metal has many advantages over wood the most important to the beginning golfer being the ability to precisely mold metal to create a golf club that has perimeter weighting and low center of gravity (LCG).

Both of these design technologies result in golf clubs that are much more forgiving than wooden woods. Perimeter weighting helps create a larger sweet spot a larger area on the face of the club that will result in a good hit. Low center of gravity creates mass at the right place increasing the height that the ball will launch off the club and reducing the likelihood of miss-hits into the ground.

What about 2 and 4 woods? These woods actually exist and were popular 20 or more years ago, but they have fallen out of favor as newer technologies have improved the performance of woods. Today, most golfers prefer 7 and 9 woods in their bag (which can only have fourteen clubs) than a 2 or 4 wood.

In fact, there is now a trend to include higher numbered woods and eliminate the traditional low numbered irons in your set of golf clubs. That will be discussed in greater detail when we talk about irons.

The 3 wood and 5 wood are commonly referred to as Fairway Woods, because they are most often used during the second shot of play, when you are supposed to be in the fairway of the golf hole (as opposed to in the woods!). All higher lofted woods (7, 9, 11, and so on) are commonly referred to as utility woods.
 

Irons

Irons are generally used when you are less than 200 yards away from the green. The closer you are to the green, the higher the iron you will use. A standard set of irons consists of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 irons and the Pitching Wedge (PW). The 3 and 4 irons are harder to hit than the higher number irons.

Many golfers, especially ladies, seniors and higher handicap golfers, are changing to a modified standard golf set that replaces the 3 and 4 iron with higher lofted woods like the 7 and 9 woods.

We think this is a sensible trend and one that a beginning golfer should consider. Higher lofted woods, like the 7 and 9 wood are easier to hit than a 3 or 4 iron and result in comparable distances.


Wedges

Wedges are really just specialty irons. The first wedge is the Pitching Wedge (PW), which is usually about 48 degrees in loft. Wedges generally increase in 4 degree loft amounts. So wedges commonly come in 48, 52, 56, 60 and 64 degree lofts.

We manufacture a very special wedge called the Last Wedge which has a 68 degree loft. The PW is the highest lofted iron in a standard set and lowest loft of the wedges. Following the PW with higher lofts are the Approach Wedge (AW), Sand Wedge (SW), the Lob Wedge (LW), the High-Lob Wedge and, finally, our Pinemeadow Last Wedge at 68 degrees.

Wedges are extremely useful to your game and most golfers have a few of them. Wedges are generally designed as "blade clubs" because you are close enough to the green that the game improvement design elements (discussed below) are less important.

The need for increased shot control and shot shaping, which blade design encourages, becomes the more important technology for a good wedge design.


Putters

A putter is a golf club with a special purpose: getting the ball into the hole. After you have slammed your drive 250 yards right into the middle of the fairway, hit your second shot 175 yards into the sand trap, and then wedged out onto the green, it is time to "putt for dough."

The putter is used on the green and there are many style of putters: short, belly, long, bent, center-hosel, heel-toe, mallet, and so on.

At Pinemeadow Golf, we provide you a huge selection of putters and we have a good reason for it, which we explain next.

 

Related Pages

Buying Custom Golf Clubs - The basics of buying custom golf clubs - Overview of club components - Advice from a custom golf club maker.

Buying Golf Clubs - Tips on buying the right golf clubs for your specific needs - Differences between graphite shafts and steel shafts.

Golf Swing Biomechanics Part 1 - How to make a perfect golf swing every time - Improve your golf swing with these tips on using the proper grip and posture when addressing the ball.

Getting Started - Simple tips on how to get started at playing golf - Why you shouldn't buy any clubs right away - Lessons from a certified pro are the best investment you can make.

How To Fix Your Shank - Advice on how to correct your swing to avoid shanking the ball - What a shanked shot is and how to fix your shank - Easy practice method to keep your club vertical at impact.

The Most Important Golf Shot - Discover which golf shot is the most important - Ben Hogan favored the initial tee shot - Harvey Penick favored the putt - Which do you think is the most important?

How To Play A Water Hazard - The best way to play a water hazard is to ignore it - Trying to loft a ball over the water causes you to top the ball and hit it directly into the water.

 

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