Guide To 5 Different Types of Golf Clubs and their Uses

A set of golf clubs such as irons, approach wedge, pitching wedge, drivers, and hybrids are displayed in the image.

Use this handy guide to learn about the different types of golf clubs. This will help you to select and have your own set the next time you hit the golf course.

Understanding the types, and uses of golf equipment is the first step for any beginner. While playing golf, players use a variety of clubs to hit the golf ball. Each club is designed for a specific purpose.

At first, it can seem daunting to understand the different types of golf clubs available. Broadly speaking, there are 5 important types of golf clubs, each of which may include further subtypes.

Here is an overview of the various golf club types and their uses, so you can make an informed decision when purchasing your golf equipment.

Types of Golf Clubs

Woods, irons, hybrids, wedges, and putters are the five main types of golf clubs, and each serves a different purpose. Let us take a closer look at each kind of club.

1. Woods

These are the longest clubs in the bag and are designed for maximum distance, especially when you are 170 or more yards away from the green. They have longer shafts and more prominent, rounder heads than other club types. The heads are typically hollow, extending a few inches from side to side, front to back, with rounded lines. 

The term “Woods” was used to name these types of clubs because the club heads were traditionally made from hardwood. But, now, modern clubs have no more club heads made from wood and are commonly prepared from metal or composite materials

A traditional set of woods (clubs) includes a driver (also called the 1-wood) and one or two fairway woods (3-wood and 5-wood). They are numbered in ascending order starting with the 1-wood having the lowest loft and continuing with progressively higher lofts and numbers. 

Loft: The loft is nothing but the angle of the club’s face that is used to number the long clubs. The loft also controls the trajectory and affects distance. Moreover, the golf club number is directly proportional to the loft. This means the higher the golf club number, the higher the loft. On the other side, if the golf number is higher, the shaft length will be shorter.

Types of Woods

Drivers have the lowest loft of all woods and are used for hitting the ball for the shortest distance. Fairway woods have higher lofts and are used to hit the ball for higher distances. They are used for hitting the golf ball over longer distances in comparison to other clubs. 

  • Drivers

The driver or 1-wood is a type of golf club in the wood category. It is the longest club in the bag and is used to hit the golf ball to the farthest distance. It has a large head and a long shaft to generate maximum speed and distance.

Golf Driver is placed near to the golf ball tee.
Close up shot of Golf Driver

The driver has the lowest loft having an angle between 7 and 12 degrees. The driver golf club is ideal for tee shots or when you need to hit the golf ball over a hazard on the golf course, such as a water hazard.

  • Fairway woods

Most golfers prefer to carry 3-wood and 5-wood clubs in their bags. The 3-wood club has a loft range between 15 and 18 degrees, and the 5-wood club has a loft range between 20 and 22 degrees. Moreover, the 3-wood and 5-wood clubs are commonly known as Fairway Woods.

These wood clubs are called so because they are most often used in the second shot of play. That is when the golfer is supposed to shoot the ball in the fairway of the golf hole.

Fairway wood club position while hitting a shot

Note – The 3-wood is usually ½” shorter than a driver and is so on with each successive club. But, the one thing that needs to be considered is that with the decrease in club length, the arc of the swing also decreases. Therefore, the smaller the arc, the less the speed of the golf club, which would ultimately result in less distance that the ball will cover. So, it would be best to choose your club wisely.

2. Irons

Irons are used for shorter shots and are typically made from steel or cast iron. The shafts are shorter, and the club heads are smaller than those of woods (that is, they are comparatively thin, especially from front to back).

Different types of Irons are used in various situations, such as teeing off on shorter holes, hitting the ball from rough or the fairway as the player approaches the green, and extracting the ball from hazards such as bunkers or shallow water.

Golf Irons ready to hit off the tee

Iron types by category: 

The standard set of irons generally consists of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 irons and sometimes includes wedges. The number of the iron corresponds to the kind of shot you’re trying to make.

For example, a 3-iron is typically used for a more extended shot than a 6-iron, but the 3-iron is more complex to hit than the higher number of irons.

Here are the three sub-categories of Irons:

  1. Short irons: 8 iron, 9 iron (7 iron is some cases considered as a short iron).
  2. Mid irons: 5, 6, 7 irons.
  3. Long irons: 1, 2, 3, 4 irons.

3. Putters

Putters are used to hit the ball from very close distances to the cup, generally on the putting green. They are used to make relatively short and low-speed strokes to roll the ball into the hole from a short distance away.

Close up look of Putter used to putt the golf ball

The shaft of a putter is also shorter than that of other clubs. Putters in the past were usually made from steel, but nowadays, they are made from bronze, aluminum, brass, zinc, copper, and titanium. 

Putter types according to head

  1. Traditional blade putter
  2. Mallet putter

Read More: Mallet vs. Blade Putter

Putter types according to face

  1. Metal-faced putter 
  2. Groove-faced putters
  3. Insert-faced putters

Putter types according to shaft

  1. Center-shafted putter
  2. Heel-shafted putter

Other types of putters: 

  • Conventional / Standard putters – Shorter Shafts
  • Belly putter / Broomstick putter. – Longer Shafts

4. Hybrid clubs

Hybrid clubs are a mix of woods and irons. That is, the hybrid clubs are a combination of a fairway wood head design and an iron-length shaft. They are similar to wood in loft performance, but they resemble iron in swing mechanics.

Hybrids – The combination of Woods and Irons

Amateur golfers tend to carry 2-3 hybrids in their golf bags to replace the 5-wood and the 3-iron golf clubs. Even professional golfers carry at least one hybrid golf club in their golf bag during every golf tournament as a backup for their woods.

5. Wedges

In addition to the three main types of golf clubs, there are also specialty clubs designed for specific shots or situations known as wedges. These are short-iron clubs with high lofts that are used to make shots with a high degree of accuracy and a low trajectory.

Wedges are used for a variety of shots, such as approach shots, recovery shots, and bunker shots.

Types of wedges 

Here is a list of most common types of golf wedges:

  • Pitching wedge
  • Sand wedge
  • Gap wedge
  • Lob wedge 

Types of golf clubs: A quick glance

Golf club namesAverage distance(yards)Golf shot types
Woods182-220 Tee shots, fairway shots
Irons (3-9)95-200Approach shot
Putters20-50 Putting
Hybrid Clubs160-210Longer approach shots
Wedges73-116Approach shots, recovery shots, and bunker shots

Now that you know what are the club types, you must be aware how many clubs you are allowed to carry before you start organizing your golf bag.

What do golf club numbers denote?

Golf club numbers denote the loft of each club, measured in degrees. The loft is the angle of the clubface and determines how far and high the ball will go when hit. 

Generally, higher numbered clubs have a steep loft. The lower numbered clubs have a lesser loft.  Knowing which golf club to use for which shot is important for improving your game.

Best golf clubs for beginners

While wedges and woods are useful for advanced players. The best golf clubs for beginners are irons and putters. Irons are versatile and easy to hit, while putters allow you to make short, accurate shots on the green. 

If you are looking for the golf club sets, here is a list of the best golf club brands for beginners:

  • Callaway
  • TaylorMade
  • Titleist
  • Cobra
  • Ping


As of now, you are well aware of the types of clubs that are used for playing golf. So, if you want to be on top of the golfer’s list, you need to get the right set of clubs for yourself. We know that this can be a bit confusing and time taking. But, now, after reading this article, we think that you know what to look for and what are the different key features that make them separate from each other.

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