Golf becomes an obsession to many people. It looks rather simple, just hit a small ball into a hole in the middle of a flat green surface a few hundred feet away. It is anything but simple though, as you soon learn one you try playing the game. The clubs are you tools, and that is one of the biggest factors in how you will do on the course. Some people do have some innate ability, or natural talent, but the clubs are the key to success in many ways.
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There are a lot of variations of clubs, but there are really only a few types. There are woods, or drivers, normally with a wooden club at the end. Wood has been the traditional substance, but now titanium and ore modern metals are used more often. These are used for tee-off shots and designed to hit the ball a long way.
Another type of club are called irons, because the small club at the end is made of iron, and has a wedge shape at the end. These clubs range from drivers to chippers, and have a wide variety of uses. The various wedges at the end are at different angles, and affect how high the ball goes, as well as how far it goes. Some people split wedges into their own category, but they are the irons that have the greatest angle to the head and are used for chipping onto the green. Usually this is a short shot that needs to go high in the air.
The third type of club is the putter, which has a flat end and is used on the green for short shots. There is a lot of technology used in putters, and it is arguably the most critical club you can have. There are a lot of different types of putters, but you will usually need only one in your bag, depending on the type and style you choose.
While there are endless possibilities for specific types of clubs, the official rules of golf say you may have 14 clubs in your bag when in competition. Just because the rules say you may have no more than 14, that does not mean you must have 14. In theory you could play with just one club and not carry a bag at all, but very few will try that strategy.
A base set for beginners would include a driver, whether wood or iron, a hybrid, a couple of irons, a wedge and a putter. That would be just a few basic clubs to get you started, and from playing you will realize what your needs are, and can add to your collection as needed. There is also a fairly new club called a hybrid that combines elements of two or three in one, reducing the number you need. Usually this combines the wood and the iron, and eliminates the need for at least two levels of irons and maybe two or three levels of woods.
Woods and irons have numbers, such as a two-iron, three-iron and so forth, referrin to the level the wedge has at the end of the club.
It is also important to have a basic understanding of the parts of a golf club, especially if you are a beginner. Just as in clubs themselves, there are a lot of variations depending on the club maker and the latest technology. No matter the type of club, each club has four basic parts. Those parts start with the grip, made of rubber. For the best grip find the ones that feels the best in your hands. The shaft is graphite or or metal, and the length depends on the club it is attached to and has differing levels of flexibility. These two parts are fairly standard.
The other two parts, the hosel and the head, are the most critical and the most technical in nature. The Hosel is a part between the shaft and the head of the club that can be adjusted. This controls the angle of the club to a large degree, and you may adjust this to fit your swing. This is often a solid piece, but professionals have adjustable hosels on their clubs, and can adjust them at any time. The final part is the club head, which is what actually hits the ball. The clubheads have different technology depending on the manufacturer, and is geared toward specific talent levels.
You may also get clubs that are custom fitted to you. Golf pros, or golf shops, have equipment and means of figuring out the best clubs for your physical stature and ability. Some golf experts say it is even more important for a beginner to have custom fitted clubs. A professional can adjust to about any kind of club if need be, while a beginner needs all the advantages he or she can get while getting some confidence in the game.
Most golf professionals recommend this because everyone is different. There is a lot of technology in golf now, and a lot of things you can adjust on a club that will fit your game. There are a lot of technical terms as well, such as the lie, length, tightness or looseness, and all of those things a golf pro can use to fit a set of clubs to you individually.
While it is a good idea to have clubs that take advantage of your abilities, there is no real reason to have clubs that are beyond your ability level. That is why a beginner does not really need all 14 clubs sanctioned by the PGA, but you can grow into them.
Figuring out your handicap is a good measure of your skill level. Finding that out can help you determine which clubs you should get. A golf pro at a golf shop can give the best advice for your individual situation.
How to buy
Several manufacturers sell complete sets of clubs in one bundle. A lot o beginners like this option. In the past though, the latest technology was not included, so more advanced golfers shied away from the bundled set. Technology is developing faster now, so that is not the case. You can now get a complete set that also includes the latest technology. If you can get a set that has been custom fitted for you, you will be set up for success on the golf course.
It might be best to get a basic set of clubs if you are a beginner. You can add clubs, and even hybrids, to your collection as your knowledge and skill level increases.
Once you have your clubs, you will want to protect your investment as much as possible. Carry a towel to clean the heads off after you play. It may be a good habit to do this after every shot. Clean your clubs after practicing at the driving range. Use the tee to clean out the grooves on the head face. You may also clean your grips with a wet cloth and soap to keep it from getting slick over time. Keep your clubs as dry as possible, but a little water wont hurt anything.