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Golf Clubs

An introduction to irons and other golf clubs

In golf, a variety of clubs are used to help players make different types of shots. Golf clubs are designed to be either versatile or highly specialized, giving players the ability to make different types of shots using the same club or precision power over control shots like chips or putts.

Types of Golf Clubs

Regardless of whether you're talking about men's golf clubs or women's golf clubs, there are four basic types of clubs that you need to know about: woods, irons, putters and hybrids.

Woods are used to drive golf balls long distances down the fairway. While these golf clubs were traditionally made from wood, today it's more common for them to be made from titanium or carbon fiber and housed inside a thin laminate or wooden casing. A basic set of golf clubs contains 1-, 3- and 5-woods, each of which has its own unique characteristics and abilities, though numerous other numbered woods are available.

Irons are clubs used for mid-range shots, approach shots and difficult shots that still require the ball to travel a significant distance. They are fairly versatile clubs and are designed with shorter shafts than woods, and faces that are flatter and have sharper angles. Also, there is a subset of irons known as wedges, which are used to make precision mid-range shots.

As the name suggests, putters are used to make putts and other close-range shots. Finally, hybrid clubs, while they are not a traditional part of a golfer's club collection, are designed for versatility and are usually used over both long and medium ranges. In other words, they combine the characteristics of woods and irons.

Tips to Help You Buy Golf Clubs

If you're just starting out, you're best to stick to a limited selection of the most frequently used golf clubs. These include the 1-, 3- and 5-woods and the 2- to 9-irons. For the novice golfer, a single putter should suffice. Golf clubs are pricey, and there's no reason to add specialized clubs that you don't yet have the skills to use.

Once you've developed a good golf game, you can try out some of the other clubs in the wood, iron and putter families. It's best for you to rent the clubs you'd like to try, to see how they feel when you're on the green, before buying them. A single club can cost upwards of $700, so it definitely makes sense to try first and buy later, especially if you've decided to pony up for a set of custom golf clubs.