An Explanation of Golf Clubs

Tour players can carry up to 14 clubs in their bag at a time.

Someone once said that golf is a game played with an implement ill-suited for the task and while that may be true, a standard set of golf clubs consists of woods, irons and a putter.


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Universally, the 1, 3 and 5 are considered a set of woods by the majority of golfers. The 1-wood, or driver, is used to play from the tee on the par 4s and par 5s and will usually make the ball travel the farthest distance in comparison to the other clubs in the bag. It is also the largest-headed club in the bag. The 3-wood is usually played from the fairway, without the aid of a tee, and is not as long as the driver. Most golfers opt for a 5-wood, which is used for shots closer to the green, where the length of the 3-wood is not needed. A 5-wood is also used when the ball is being played from the longer grass of the rough. Some golfers carry a 4-wood, which is between a 3- and 5-wood in regard to the distance the ball will travel. In recent years, some club manufacturers have designed and produced woods from a 7-, all the way up to a 14-wood, for those who prefer them over the traditional iron.


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Irons are smaller-headed, blade-like clubs that make up the majority of the set. They usually range from a 2-iron to 9-iron, plus a pitching and sand wedge, used for pitching and chipping around the green and bunker shots. The higher the number on the iron, the more loft or angle of the face of the club and the less distance the ball will travel with it. A 2-iron will usually have about 20 degrees of loft compared to a sand wedge, the most lofted club in the bag, which will have around 56 degrees of loft. The 2, 3 and 4 are considered the long irons, the 5, 6, 7, 8 are the mid-irons and the 9 through the sand wedge are categorized as the short irons.


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Also referred to as "the flat stick" because of its lack of loft on the club face, the putter is used on the closely mowed green to roll the ball into the hole. Even though it is the shortest club in the bag in regard to its length and usage in close proximity to the hole, it is one of the most important clubs to master. A commonly known golf adage is that golfers drive for show and putt for dough.


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Like the advancements made in the development of all sporting equipment, the standard set of golf clubs has endured its fair share of changes. Most notably, the development of hybrid clubs that are between woods and irons in their look and design. They replace the 2-, 3-, 4- and sometimes 5-irons in a standard set of clubs because of their ease of use over the regular long irons.

Full Set

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A full set of golf clubs usually numbers 14. This is the total allowed for tour players when competing in an event. Amateur golfers may carry as many as 18 to 20 clubs in their bag if they are partial to hybrids and other clubs that are easier to use.