Golf Club Primer

We have met many parents, my wife included, who see golf in their child’s life, who don’t know anything about golf. Well here is a basic primer on golf clubs for you guys.

Starting from the bottom up with respect to swing size or distance in general, the clubs order like this:

  • Putter
  • Lob Wedge
  • Sand Wedge
  • Gap Wedge
  • Pitching Iron
  • 9 Iron
  • 8 Iron
  • 7 Iron
  • 6 Iron
  • 5 Iron or 5 Hybrid
  • 4 Iron or 4 Hybrid
  • 3 Iron or 3 Hybrid
  • 7 wood
  • 5 wood
  • 3 wood
  • Driver

Note that the USGA rules only allow 14 clubs in the bag of a tournament player. They can be 14 putters if you want, but 14 is the limit.

Some players mix the various clubs, some may have a 5 Iron but a 3 Hybrid, some many will not use a 7 wood, some may not have Hybrids at all.

The Putter is the club that is used on the putting green. Most people are familiar with a putter at least from miniature golf.

The irons, Lob through 3 Iron, are used off the green. Usually the Lob is for just around the green and the 3 Iron is for the longest distance. There are shots where a little chip onto the green with a 3 Iron is a good call. Keep in mind what I am saying here is in general and each club can be used in a variety of shots.

When thinking about irons think high and short through low and long from Lob through 3 Iron respectively. The Lob is intended to pitch up high, and land soft with little roll, but not go far; for close shots around the green. The 3 Iron will go far and relatively low for the distance, for shots from the fairway out for example 180 yards from the green.

To remember think, low and long for low number Irons. So a 6 Iron is longer than a 9 Iron since 6 is lower than 9. The lower the number the longer the shot.

Woods, which are usually metal these days, are the longest clubs in general. And again, the lower the number the longer the shot. A 7 Wood is not as long as a 3 Wood since 3 is a lower number.

Every club has loft. Loft is the angle of the club face. If you look at a 9 Iron for example, you can see the face has a lot of loft, the 3 Iron in contrast has a steeper face. The higher numbers are said to have a higher loft, the ball pitches up in the air more.

So high number, high loft, low number, low loft/long shot.

The “1” Wood is the Driver. No one calls it the 1 Wood though. The driver is generally only used on the tee with a tee and is the longest of all clubs. A tee is the little pin used to set the ball up off the ground for the driver. This is only “legal” in the tee box at the start of each hole.

In general, and sorry for saying that a lot, for kids up to 7 or so, a putter, a sand wedge, a 7 Iron, a 3 Wood (Fairway Wood) or 3 Hybrid, and a Driver will get them started nicely.

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