When starting to play golf I found it quite difficult to get to grips with all the golf terminology and the golf club names of the clubs in your bag.
Not understanding the terms and names was not a unique experience, and I am sure that many other golfers took a while to understand the terminology and the purpose of each club in their bag.
You are only allowed to put up to 14 clubs in your bag according to the governing bodies of golf rules, USGA and Royal and Ancient golf club. There is no limitation on which clubs you put in your bag therefore you can have 2 of the same numbered clubs if you so wish.
Now that we know that there is a limitation of the number of clubs allowed, what are the 14 main golf clubs?
We provide a breakdown of the most popular golf stick names with their purpose and when to use each club.
All golf clubs can be categorized according to their appearance and functionality. The most used categories are woods, hybrids, irons (including wedges), and putters.
Basic golf equipment names can be categorized as follows:
Woods are generally played off the tee as they provide more distance than irons and hybrids.
- Fairway Woods
- 5- wood
- 7- wood
- This is a specifically shaped club initially known as a rescue club.
- Long irons
- 1-iron through 4-iron and sometimes the 5-iron.
- Mid Irons
- 6-iron to 7-iron and sometimes the 5-iron can be classified as a mid-iron as well.
- Short irons
- 8-iron to 9-iron
- Pitching Wedge
- Sand Wedge
- Gap / Approach Wedge
- Lob Wedge
- Blade Putters
- Mallet Putters
Let’s look at the list of golf clubs in a set and how they are used.
Different Golf Club Names and Their Uses
Drivers are the longest clubs in your bag with a maximum shaft length of 46 inches. This was reduced from 48 inches by the governing bodies in October 2021.
The longer shafts make it the most difficult club to hit but also provide you with more swing speed to get the ball out there and make your approach shots easier.
A larger clubhead on a driver compensates for the difficulty of hitting a driver.
Beginners often struggle to hit their drivers consistently and resort to hitting a fairway wood or hybrid off the tee. It is most important to keep your tee shots in play to reduce your score and handicap.
A significant difference between a driver swing and other clubs is that with a driver you hit the ball on the upward trajectory after the club has reached its lowest point.
Other clubs need to hit the ball on its downward path and turf contact is made after hitting the golf ball.
For this reason, the golf ball is placed higher on a tee than other clubs.
Fairway woods have similarly shaped but smaller clubheads than a driver.
These woods can be swept off the turf much easier than a driver and are generally used from the fairway for long-distance approach or layup shots.
Golfers sometimes use a fairway wood from the rough or for putting from the fringe of the green as it deals better with the rough due to its wider sole.
The sweet spot of a fairway wood is generally larger than that of an iron thus it is more forgiving and provides extra distance.
Clubhead shape and size of fairway woods allow manufacturers to position the center of gravity differently to irons thus making it more forgiving.
Shafts on fairway woods are shorter than that of a driver assisting you in hitting them more accurately than a driver but they sacrifice distance.
Hybrid golf clubs provide a combination of the best features of a wood and the best features of an iron.
They generally replace similarly lofted irons and are much easier to hit than an iron with the same loft.
The hybrid shape helps the versatility of the club allowing the golfer to use them from the tee, fairway, rough, bunker, and even putting from off the green.
The most frequently found hybrids are a 4-hybrid, 5-hybrid, and 6-hybrid.
Hybrid shafts are generally shorter than fairway woods shafts making them more straightforward to hit.
It is easier to hit a hybrid than long irons if you don’t have a high swing speed making them ideal for beginners that are still tweaking their swing.
Experienced golfers with faster swing speeds may find that it generates too much spin and thus have an apex that is too high.
Irons make up the biggest component of the clubs in your bag.
The loft and shaft length determines the number that is put on the club with some manufacturers producing strong lofted irons for more distance.
Most irons can be sub-categorized as long irons, mid-irons, and short irons.
Long irons generally include clubs from a 1-iron, which is extremely rare, up to a 4-iron.
Some golfers include their 5-iron under long irons if they struggle to hit it consistently.
Many a golfer, especially beginners and golfers with a slower swing speed, replace long irons with a hybrid of a similar loft.
These irons are prone to a lower trajectory than other irons but produce more rollout and distance. This is ideal for shots that you play against the wind or from under trees.
Mid irons generally include 5-irons, 6-irons, and 7 irons and are some of the most used clubs in your bag for approach shots and par 3s.
Ideally, you should have 2 distances for each club, and distance control is extremely important to get the golf ball on the green from your approach shot.
Short irons include 8-irons and 9 irons and are also known as your scoring clubs.
They are designed for increased accuracy from 150 yards or less. It provides a high ball flight and maximum spin that minimizes the rollout on the green.
Beginners and high handicap golfers often use these irons to ingrain their swing thoughts and improve consistency.
Short irons offer an ideal alternative to chipping when just off the green and you have a substantial distance that the ball must roll towards the hole.
Wedges have the highest lofts and shortest shafts of all clubs in your bag.
It is estimated that up to 60 percent of your shots are played from 100 yards or less. This is where your wedges offer you the advantage and accuracy to get the ball close to the hole.
It is also a part of the game that requires loads of work to create the right feel for each distance.
Wedges are designed for optimal accuracy and control, not pure distance clubs.
High lofts of wedges enable you to hit them high and produce extra spin for stopping power on the green.
The four most common wedges are the pitching wedge and sand wedge while more specialty wedges such as the approach/gap wedge and lob wedge provide coverage for specialized shots.
Traditionally pitching wedges have a 48-degree loft, but it can range somewhere between 45 and 50 degrees.
Most golfers can achieve around 110 yards maximum with a pitching wedge and it is frequently used around the green for chipping and putting.
Approach or Gap Wedge
Approach wedge is ideal for shots that fall between your pitching wedge and sand wedge distances. It is also referred to as a gap wedge due to its ability to fill the gap between the pitching and sand wedges.
These wedges can vary from 48-degrees to 54-degrees enabling you to tweak them to suit your swing.
Sand wedges traditionally have a loft of 56-degrees but are available between 55-degrees and 57-degrees.
This is one of the most trusted clubs for beginners due to its versatility from inside 60 yards off the green as well as its ability to get the ball out of bunkers.
Lob wedges are traditionally available in 60-degrees of loft and can go as high as 64-degrees or more.
An increased number of golfers have strengthened the loft of their lob wedges to 58 degrees for more control.
This specialty wedge is ideal for shots where you are short-sided with little room between the edge of the green and the hole. It goes the highest of all your wedges with extreme stopping power.
Beginners tend to struggle with lob wedges as it requires accuracy to produce the type of shot that they are designed for.
When you finally reach the green and need to get the golf ball into the hole, you will require a putter.
Depending on your putting stroke, you may be better off using a blade putter or a mallet putter.
Faster greens require putters that weigh less and generate less speed of the face while slower greens require more weight and speed.
Putting requires the right amount of feel and this makes it ever so important to find the right putter by going through a putter fitting.
What are numbered golf clubs called?
Numbered clubs are generally called irons even though woods and hybrid clubs also have numbers. The measurement for irons and hybrids are generally expressed in the loft in degrees. Irons can be numbered from 1 to 10 but most sets come standard from a 3-iron or 4-iron up to a 9-iron while the longer irons are often replaced by hybrids.
What does H mean on a golf club?
To set hybrids apart from woods and irons they are designated as H clubs.They are easier to hit than long irons and often replace the long irons in your set.
What does G mean on a golf club?
Clubs delimited as G clubs are generally found in the wedges section and represent a gap wedge. This is a wedge that covers the distance between your pitching wedge distance and your sand wedge. Most gap wedges are ideal for distances between 75 and 100 yards.
What does P stand for on a golf club?
Wedges marked with a P, or PW, is known as a pitching wedge. This is one of the most used clubs for approach shots from around 120 yards or less, also known as scoring shots.Traditionally the loft of a pitching wedge is between 45 and 48 degrees.