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All irons have relatively thin clubheads with grooved faces, but there are two different basic styles of iron.
The first style is a muscle back or blade style of iron, which has a round or full-back to the clubhead and is for advanced golfers.
The other is the cavity back or hollow back style, which has a hollowed-out back of the clubhead and is for beginners and recreational golfers. The latter club-style creates an effect known as perimeter weighting, which is helpful to most players.
Irons can be purchased as singles but are often purchased in sets ranging from a 3-iron to a pitching wedge. The lower number of the club, the less loft, and more distance.
The irons run from 1-9; then there is the pitching wedge and the sand wedge. These clubs are essentially the 10 and 11 irons, respectively, yet there are other specially made clubs found in between
For most golfers, the short irons are easier to hit than the mid-irons or long-irons. Generally speaking, the shorter the club, the easier it is to control in the swing.
Knowing when to use which iron is basically a function of knowing how far each one will send the ball, yet there is no right distance for any club.
You have to know your game to know which iron you need at any one point. An easy way to figure the system is to base it on one club. Figure how far you can hit a 5-iron and assume there is a gap of 10 yards between irons.
Though it is primary, distance is not the only factor when choosing an iron.
Trajectory often is a factor to consider. Though a pitching wedge might give you the right distance, it may not be the right club.
If you need to make it under a limb, for example, then maybe a low iron and a half swing will give you a better shot, a bump and run.
Irons are typically fairway clubs, but they can be used from the tee box.
Obviously, on a par three where wood is way too much club, one would use an iron, but beginners may consider using an iron off the tee even on a par five. The reason is that irons are generally easier to control. It’s better to be short and in the fairway than long and out of bounds.
When searching for irons, don’t overlook used golf clubs and discount golf clubs. You may want to start by reading golf club reviews. Some reputable name brands include Ping, Callaway, Cobra, Nike, Adams , Wilson , Cleveland , Calloway, Taylormade, Tommy Armour, Knight, Ram, Golden Bear, Dunlop, Hippo, Titleist, Mizuno, and Nancy Lopez.
Woods are called such because their clubheads were once made of wood. In the 1980s, wood was replaced by metals, such as steel or titanium alloy.
Steel costs less, but titanium adds some power to a golf swing because it is a lighter material (able to flex and give).
Golfers typically carry a driver (the 1 wood) and one or two fairway woods, most commonly a 3-wood and a 5-wood. Some women and seniors may carry a 7-wood or 9-wood, and the 4-wood is also spotted occasionally.
The driver is one of the toughest clubs to master. It is the longest club in the bag, which makes it the toughest to control in the swing.
Though designed for the tee box, drivers can be hit from the fairway, yet this is a difficult shot and not recommended for beginners.
Fairway woods, like irons, increase in loft and decrease in length as they increase in number. They are generally much easier to control in the swing and, thus, beginners are often encouraged to use a fairway wood off the tee.
As a general rule, fairway woods are easier to hit than long irons for most beginners and recreational golfers.
Though club distances are unique to the golfer, typically a driver will go 20 yards or so farther than a 3-wood, which will go 20 yards or so farther than a 5-wood, which is roughly equivalent to a 2-iron in distance.
The putter comes in more varieties than any other club at your local pro shop. It’s no wonder, though, considering it is the most used club in the golf bag.
Putters can be broken down into a few basic styles of clubheads and shaft lengths with a multitude of materials available to make up each.
Properly used, the blade type putter head provides the most accurate but is unforgiving if your stroke is sloppy and off-center.
Larger and wider than the blade type head, the mallet head offers a broader base and more stability.
Most mallet type heads also come etched with lines to help guide the shot in the right direction.
Stainless steel or carbon steel is the most common putter head material, offering a firmer contact area.
Bronze, brass, and aluminum putter heads absorb some of the energy from the stroke, giving a softer feel when contacting the golf ball.
Graphite or polymer composites bring the lightweight feel of aluminum to your short game, with the added benefit of better durability.
Weight is the main factor in putter feel. Lighter putters will generally cause the unseasoned user to overcompensate and putt long, while heavier putters will cause the opposite effect, and the user will tend to hold back on their swing, causing the putt to roll short.
Designing a putter head with more weight in the heel and toe, not the center, will help produce a balanced putter.
A balanced putter is less likely to warp when contacting the ball, ensuring that the clubface remains parallel to the direction of the stroke, and providing a more accurate putt.
The use of inserts on the putter face can also be of benefit. The focal point of inserts is to use materials that will wrap around the ball at the moment of contact, driving it forward with more accuracy.
Like every club in the golfer’s bag, the putter is designed with a certain amount of loft built into the clubhead. This gives the ball a certain amount of backspin.
Putter shaft length depends mostly on your putting style. If you prefer to crouch over the ball, the shorter the required shaft length will be. Like choking up on a baseball bat, this provides most golfers a more controlled feeling over their shot.
A more upright stance will obviously require a longer shaft. A longer shaft will create more clubhead speed and can be deceptive to the newer golfer.
Putter shafts are generally connected near the middle of the putter head or the heel of the putter head and come wrapped with larger grips.
A larger grip generally leads to less hand pressure applied to the putter, keeping the golfer’s wrist from breaking prematurely.