How Many Golf Clubs Are There? (And what each means!)

How Many Golf Clubs Are There

So you have just started your golfing journey and you need to know which golf clubs would work best for your kit. Don’t worry, we have you covered to help you understand how many golf clubs are there and which of them would work best for your game.

If we group the clubs into categories, we find that there are five different categories of golf clubs. These consist of woods, irons, wedges, hybrids, and your putter. However, each of these categories can be broken down even further. You will notice that a club like the “driver” is often referred to as a 1-wood by some players. 

Since the categories become complex with clubs like your pitching wedges and sand wedges, we think it is best that we do a deep dive into the different golf clubs and look at what they are and how they influence your game.

This article aims to give you a full rundown of the different clubs you might have in your bag and show you which you might need more than others.

You might be interested in reading: Average Cost Of Custom Fit Golf Clubs – How Much And Is It Worth It?

Understanding The Five Types Of Golf Clubs

As mentioned, all golf clubs can be grouped into four different groups. These five groups will encompass every golf club, which has ever been made.

It should help new players or aspiring players understand how the clubs work and which of them are essential for building your starter golf kit:

1- Woods

The first category of golf clubs you will encounter is referred to as the woods. However, many players are technically introduced to the driver first, which is also considered a 1-wood.

The woods consist of your driver and fairway woods. Yes, you might be thinking the club heads are made from wood, but this is not the case in the modern era.

Characteristics Of The Woods

  • Large club heads
  • Hollow Inside
  • Long shafts
  • Designed for the longest possible shots

Where Are Woods Used?

The fairway woods are the largest clubs in your kit and they often have larger club heads than any of the other golf clubs. Since they have an extended shaft, the player can swing them back further, which means they can generate the most amount of speed and power. Once they connect with the golf ball, they would have the most force.

Essentially, your woods, and specifically the driver is used for teeing off. However, some shorter holes like your par 3 might warrant the use of an iron. Your fairway woods work best when you have a far distance to go to the pin. They would assist the player in achieving the maximum level of distance to the tee.

2- Irons

When it comes to finesse shots, the irons are some of the best for approaching and helping you achieve the right lie. If the golf ball is too close to the pin and located on the fairway that your woods will overshoot, you would opt for an iron. Irons generally come in sets, which are numbered from 3-9, but also include the pitching wedge in many cases.

The club head on your iron is often solid, compared to the hollow heads of the woods. They have an etched groove, which serves the purpose of gripping the golf ball and offering the player the opportunity to add spin when needed. 

Characteristics Of Irons

  • Solid club heads
  • Includes etched grooves
  • Shaft length decreases as the iron goes up in a number
  • Offers the player some form of spin

What Are Irons Used For?

Say you are stranded somewhere on the fairway and your wood will overshoot the hole, the iron is the ideal club you can use. It offers a loft, which means the ball can be lifted higher up in the air and clear certain obstacles. When choosing the right iron, you would essentially be able to drop the ball at the perfect location, barring any miss-hits or wind effects.

We should mention that the iron also works best when it comes to playing a par 3. The distance from the tee-off to the pin is often much shorter and when using your woods, you ought to overshoot the hole. A longer iron will give you plenty of range and keep the ball from bouncing too much once it contacts the ground

See also: 14 Must-Have Golf Clubs For a Better Golfing Experience.

3- Hybrid Clubs

The advent of the 21st Century led to plenty of improvements in the world of golf. Golfing technology significantly improved and new clubs were presented. The hybrid became a mainstream club in the early 21st Century due to some of the benefits that it offers the player.

To best explain the hybrid, we should think of the club head of the wood and the iron. These club heads are a cross between the two and they are numbered in the same fashion as your traditional irons. The idea of the numbers is to corroborate the clubs they are replacing and since hybrid should replace irons, they are numbered similarly.

Characteristics Of Hybrids

  • Symbolizes an iron
  • Cross between iron and wood
  • Similar features to the iron

What Are Hybrids Used For?

The hybrid is used in the same fashion as your irons. You would find that many golfers will have some of their irons replaced with hybrid clubs.

Due to the technical design of these clubs, they will be used in the same way as your iron. Instead of using a 3-iron, you could choose to use the 3-hybrid.

4- Wedges

Wedges are the in-between clubs before you reach the pin. There are commonly four wedges players can have in their kits. These wedges are referred to as the gap wedge, sand wedge, pitching wedge, and lob wedge. Each of these wedges will offer the player a different distance and angle on the club head, which could make a difference.

The angles will range from 54 degrees through 60 degrees, with the higher the degree angle, the more loft and distance the club should give you. Keep in mind that even though they look similar to the irons, they don’t have the range that your irons will offer, but could still give you spin.

Characteristics Of Wedges

  • Offers spin on chip shots
  • Ideal for rough and bunker shots
  • Referred to as “approach” clubs
  • Smaller than irons

What Are Wedges Used For?

As mentioned, the main purpose of your wedge is to get you as close to the pin as possible. Let’s say you have played a shot and you are just outside the fringe of the green. In this case, you are either in the rough or on the fairway leading up to the green. The other large clubs might be hard to control in terms of distance and your putter does not have the range.

Using one of your wedges can enable you to get close to the pin with your natural swing and fewer compensations. The wedges would offer you the opportunity to effectively approach the green and also try to make your putting slightly easier. 

5- Putter

The other prominent club you might have come across is the putter. The putter is one of the most useful clubs when it comes to putting the golf ball inside the hole. It does not have a wedge club head or hollow head but often features a bar-like shape for the club head. The purpose is to keep the ball rolling on the ground.

While you might think the putter is simplistic, you will find that there are more varieties of putters on the market than other clubs. Since the putter is such an easy club to perfect and the purpose is so simple, manufacturers could incorporate a variety of styles. 

Characteristics Of Putters

  • Made for keeping the ball on the ground
  • Comes in a variety of styles
  • Plays the ball with less force

What Is A Putter Used For?

The main purpose of the putter is to get the golf ball rolling towards the tee. It will essentially keep the golf ball on the ground and allows players to put the ball inside the cup. There is nothing fancy about a putter, aside from the style you might choose.

See also: 5 Best Golf Clubs For Ladies Beginners (And how to pick the perfect golf clubs!)

How Many Golf Clubs Are There In Total?

Aside from the five categories, which give us an idea of the different types, there are hundreds of different golf clubs. If we take into account the numerous manufacturers and each offering its own style, it is easy to see how the varieties and numbers of clubs could vary. It will all come down to what you like, but having between 12 and 16 golf clubs in your kit is the optimal range.

See also: How To Know If You Need Longer Golf Clubs? (This is how!)

Wrapping Up

Each player, whether you are a Tour professional or amateur beginner, will need to choose between the different golf clubs on the market today.

There are numerous options, but dividing the five different categories into your kit would ensure you have the best value and winning opportunities. We would love to see which clubs you prefer in your kit in the comment section.


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