different types of golf clubs

The Different Types of Golf Clubs Explained

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What are the different types of golf clubs?

The next time you venture out to the golf course or even the driving range, take notice of the number of types of clubs in players’ bags. Some players carry only a driver, with some hybrids and wedges. Others may carry three kinds of wood, a full set of irons, and only two wedges. The combinations are nearly endless since there are many different types of clubs that a player can choose from. The clubs are different lengths with various degrees of loft and are designed for different types of shots and distances.

A golfer can carry a maximum of 14 clubs in a bag, including the putter. You can also check out how to play with a half set of golf clubs here. Each club, whether a wood or an iron, has numbers on them. The lower the number, the less loft on the clubface and the farther the ball will travel. The higher the number, the more the loft and the higher and shorter the ball will carry. In addition, most clubs decrease in length as the loft increases.

Let’s examine the different types of clubs, when to use them, and the approximate distances for each.

Woods

There are different types of woods, with the driver having the least loft and is used on the tee on par 5’s and the longest par 4’s. Occasionally, amateur players will use a driver on long par 3’s.

The ball is typically hit off a tee with the driver because the sweet spot is higher on the clubface than the other clubs. Only the most accomplished players can consistently hit a driver off the deck, which is only from the fairway on the longest par 5s.  The typical ball flight of a well-struck drive is medium to high that has plenty of roll.

Driver, 3-Wood, 5-Wood

Note that only very tight fairways or those with numerous hazards, it may be wise to hit something other than a driver off the tee.

The distance a driver will carry varies, depending on skill level and weather conditions, but typically will be between 200 for an amateur and 350 for the longest tour professionals. You can also get a driver shaft extension to increase your driver distance. 

The other types of common woods are the 3-wood and 5-wood, with generally smaller heads and more loft.  Easier to hit than the driver, the 3-wood and 5-wood are much better to hit off the fairway due to increased loft. However, they are typically difficult to hit cleanly from a difficult lie or out of thick rough.

For players that really struggle with their driver, they will tee off with a 3-wood, and in fact, many players don’t even carry a driver in their bag.

Hybrids

A hybrid is a relatively new type of club that has become steadily more popular. It’s a combination of a wood and long iron. The clubhead looks like that of a wood, but the lofts come in the same lofts are the long irons and are equal in length. The idea behind them is to be easier to hit from all conditions, particularly tough lies, compared to woods.

Usually coming in a 3-hybrid, 4-hybrid, or 5-hybrid, there are hybrids as high as 9 and 11. This versatile club can even be used on a long fairway bunker shot or off the tee on short , narrow par 4s or long par 3s.

Many beginner sets come in driver, 3-wood, 5-wood, and irons from 3-9. However, it is more beneficial for beginners to carry several hybrids, which as designed to make contact easier.

The typical 3-hybrid, 4-hybrid, and 5-hybrid should travel between about 160 to 260 yards, depending on which hybrid is used and skill level of the golfer.

Long Irons

The long irons are between 1 and 4, although the 1-iron is virtually obsolete due to the incredible difficulty in hitting it crisply due to the very thin blade and very low loft. It has been commonly stated that only God and Jack Nicklaus can hit a 1-iron. 

Long irons are typically the most difficult irons for beginners and amateur golfers to hit. The lack of loft and small sweet spot leaves little room for mistake. In theory, the lower the number on the iron, the farther the ball will travel. However, this goes out the window if the ball isn’t consistently struck squarely off the sweet spot.

The recent trend in golf, even at the professional level, particularly the LPGA and PGA Tour Champions, is to remove the long irons in favor of hybrids.

The average distance for the long irons ranges from about 150 to 250 yards depending on the iron and skill level of the player.

Mid Irons

The irons numbered 5 through 7 are typically known as the mid irons. They are very common clubs used on par 3s and approach shots.  The distance typically hit with these clubs ranges from 135 to 215 yards, depending on the skill level of the player.  A professional might use mid-irons on approach shots on par 5s, while others may need to use a hybrid, fairway wood, or even lay-up for a wedge on their 3rd shot. It all depends on the golfer’s amount of power, which is based on clubhead speed.

Short Irons

The 8-iron and 9-ion are the short irons in the bag. They are great clubs to use on short par 3s and approach shots into the green. Golfers with a good amount of skill expect to hit these irons relatively close to the pin to give themselves a good chance at making the putt.

The typical distance the average male golfer will hit a 9-iron is around 130 yards, while the most powerful can reach 180 yards or more.  When struck correctly, the ball flight will be very high, meaning the ball will not roll much after it lands.

Wedges

The idea behind the use of the wedges is to get great height and a soft landing on the green with no roll or backspin. Wedges range in loft from at least 46 degrees for a pitching wedge to as high as 64 degrees for a lob wedge.

The pitching wedge has an average loft of 48 degrees and will carry the greatest distance, and has many uses, such as a knock-down shot, to 100 yard third shots on par 5s, to hitting the ball out of the rough, to chipping near the green. The average male hits a pitching wedge about 110 yards, with the most powerful professionals able to launch it 170 yards.

When do I use each wedge?

For years there were no suitable clubs between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge, that is, until the gap wedge came into existence. The gap wedge has an average loft of around 52 degrees but generally ranges between 51 and 56 degrees. This is a preferred club to use for shots that need less than full swings. The shots with these wedges require great touch and precision to execute properly, but those that do often find themselves in great putting positions for birdie. The average male golfer hits the gap wedge around 100 yards, but the top professionals can extend it to 140 or 150 yards.

The sand wedge typically has around 56 degrees of loft and is not only used for bunker play. Certainly, they are used in greenside bunkers due to the shape of the head and the bounce, but they are also used out of thick rough, around the green, and on flop shots. Not meant for distance, the average male golfer hits the sand wedge about 90 yards with top professionals able to carry it 130 yards.

The wedge with the highest degree of loft is the lob wedge. They average around 58 degrees and generally range up to 64 degrees. On rare occasions, you may see a lob wedge with 68 degrees, which is extremely difficult to hit except by the very best short game masters in the world. Check out our best lob wedge for beginners here

The lob wedge is tough to make good contact with unless the lie is pristine. The club is basically used on a short, straightforward approach that you must get up quickly to avoid hitting an object, such as a tree. It’s also good for shots where you can’t roll the ball out.  The average distance for a full lob wedge is 65 yards for men, with the top players getting it out there about 90 yards. Note that these distances also depend on various other factors, including the wind.

Putters

The club that is used the most is the one that has the least powerful swing and goes only short distances. That club is the putter, and it is the moneymaker, the single most important club in the bag. After all, it’s the last club used to get the ball in the hole in nearly every case.

Putters come in different lengths, with the standard putter averaging about 34 or 35 inches tall. There are many types of heads on putters with various aiming lines, weights, grips, and overall feel. Their belly putter and broomstick putters are taller than the standard-length putter and are typically used by players with the yips. The yips occur when one is unsteady over a putt, typically on short putts.  The idea behind the bell and broomstick putter is to assist in a smoother, more relaxed putting stroke.

On the green, it is vitally important to know how to read the speed and contour of green and judge the distance. After calculating that, a proper stroke is needed to put the ball in the hole.

Long Bombs Golf Final Say:

The 14-set club limit per bag can contain as many different types of woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, and putters as you wish. You can also buy clone golf clubs that are cheaper. The main thing is to experiment with each different type to see what best works for you. Perhaps you like a driver, a bunch of hybrids, and a few wedges. Maybe you prefer three woods, many irons, and two wedges. If you are not adept at hitting your woods, maybe skip them altogether and fill your bag with hybrids, long irons, and wedges. Whatever the case may be, work with each club and put those in the bag that best suit your game. Don’t forget to work with numerous types of putters on the practice green. Find one that is comfortable and work on your stroke.  A strong short game is the key to success!

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