Golf club components: what works for you
Golf club components should compliment your style and strengthsGolf is a precision sport. For the amount of time golfers spend on the course, the golf club only actually makes contact with the ball for an instant. Where the ball goes from there is the result of the golfer using every golf club component to optimize her swing.
Do these golf club components really make a difference in a golfer's performance? Many golfers would agree that the right golf club will play to a golfer's strengths, while the wrong one will reveal his weaknesses.
Different types of Golf Clubs
There are five different types of golf clubs in most bags: putter, wood, iron, wedge and driver.
Putters - Putters help with aim and help steady a new golfer's hands. These are often used when the ball is within rolling distance to the cup.
Wood - Woods have large rounded heads and are the longest club in the golf bag. They are made to hit a ball hundreds of yards.
Iron - Irons come in a wide variety and can be used to hit the ball long or short distances, depending on the design.
Wedge - Wedges are a variety of the iron made to send the ball shorter distances in a arched trajectory.
Driver - The driver is often the first club a golfer reaches for at a hole for its ability to drive the ball hundreds of yards on an arched trajectory.
Golf Club Components
Golf clubs have three main components: the grip, shaft and head. The grip is the part a golfer holds, the shaft is the long part that connects the grip and the head, and the head hits the ball.
Visit a sporting goods store and you'll see that a wide variety of designs are available for each component. If you aspire to compete in golf competitions, your golf club components must conform to standards and regulations set by the United States Golf Association (USGA) in the United States and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of Saint Andrews (RANDA) in other parts of the world.
Golfers choose the grip for their golf club based on feel and material preference. According to golf rules, the grip cannot have obvious bumps or hollows and it must be round. You'll find grips made of leather or rubber with small holes, ridges or grooves designed to make it easier for the golfer to hold without slipping. The sizes vary for different hand sizes and how people hold the grip.
Like the grip, the shaft must be round. Shafts can be made of carbon-fiber, resin composite or steel. Steel shafts are more affordable than carbon shafts because they weigh more. In addition to weight, golfers consider the stiffness of a shaft, which is rated in one of six degrees: Ladies (L), Seniors (A), Regular (R), Firm (F), Extra Firm (X), and Stiff (S).
While most golfers prefer a stiff shaft, the variation in the preferences is due to the golfer's strength and how far they need to hit the ball. A very stiff shaft will transmit all of the energy of you swing to the ball. A less stiff shaft will bend and vibrate upon connecting to the ball, absorbing some of the power.
If you have a weaker swing, a shaft with flexibility can actually increase the force of impact on the ball if you can apply a 'whip' motion.
The head transmits the energy of the swing to the ball. Heads have the most variety of any golf club components. There are three categories for golf club heads: woods, irons and putters.
Types of Golf Club Heads
Woods - Woods are the largest heads and can send the golf ball over 300 yards.
Irons - Made to hit the ball over 200 yards, many modern irons are more forgiving of swings that are slightly off-center because they resist twisting.
Wedges - Wedges are made to hit the ball under 40 yards. Golfers use putters for gentle swings so they generally have more flexible shafts.
When shopping for golf club components, consider having a professional golfer, a member of PGA, review your swing. Experienced golfers can make recommendations based on your control, aim and power. From their suggestions, you can choose the club the feels best to you.
United States Golf Association
Royal and Ancient Golf Club of Saint Andrews