Choosing Golf Clubs
Ok. Here are the basics. A golf club has three parts – the head, the shaft and the grip. A standard set of golf clubs consists of three woods (the Driver, #3, and #5 fairway woods), eight irons (#3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, and PW), and a putter – that’s twelve clubs in all. According to the rules of golf, and we should all play by the rules, you can carry fourteen clubs in your bag, so many golfers add a specialty wood or another iron.
Now, let’s have a look at the different types of clubs.
Drivers & Fairway woods
These clubs are used to hit longer shots. That’s a basic yet apt way to look at it. If a golf hole is a par four or five from tee to green, most golfers would choose to use a wood.
The driver, or 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. Better golfers have traditionally favored drivers with less than 10 degrees of loft, which require a lot more skill to hit.
Most golfers also carry a #3 and #5 fairway wood as part of their arsenal. A #3 wood has a loft of 15 degrees, and a #5 wood has a loft of 18 degrees. The higher the golf club number, the higher the loft. The #3 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 on the fairway.
Hybrids are a recent innovation to golf. A hybrid is a combination of an iron and a wood and is an easier to hit alternative to a long iron. Hybrids are versatile enough to be used in any situation. Hybrids come in a range of four lofts – 16 (#2), 19 (#3), 22 (#4) and 25 (#5) Degrees. Hybrids replace their equivalent number long iron, e.g. a #3 hybrid will replace a #3 iron and a #2 hybrid can be used to replace a #5 fairway wood.
Irons are generally used for shorter distances and more control than drivers and fairway woods. 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 and #9 and the PITCHING WEDGE (PW). A sandwedge is generally a good option to purchase for shots out of sand traps. The #3 and #4 irons are harder to hit than the higher numbered irons. Many golfers choose to replace the #3 and #4 iron with higher lofted woods or hybrids which are easier to hit than traditional long irons, resulting in comparable distances.
Wedges are really just specialty irons. The first wedge is the Pitching Wedge (PW), which is usually between 52 and 56 degrees in loft. The PW is the highest lofted iron in a standard set and lowest loft of the wedges. Lob wedges range from 58 to 64 degrees and are used for close range short and high shots to overcome obstacles close to the green. Wedges are extremely useful for your short game and it is beneficial to keep a selection of them in your bag.
Sand Wedges are another type of wedge and are designed to get you out of the dreaded sand traps. They have a shorter shaft and a more angled face to get under the ball in order to exit a bunker.
As the adage goes “Drive for show, Putt for dough”. The putter usually gets you in the hole, so it can be assumed, that choosing the right putter is critical to your game. Putters come in various styles and types.: short, belly, long, bent, center-hosel, heel-toe, mallet, and so on. When choosing a putter the main things to consider are the: weighting, balance and feel. Better putters provide alignment aids to help you visualize the line from your ball to the target.
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