The head of an offset club has a leading edge that is set back from the shaft. Such clubs are also called offset hosel clubs because the hosel -- the area where the shaft fits into the club head -- is the part that’s actually bent to set the club face behind the shaft. Offset clubs are typically irons and putters, although offset woods do exist.
Proper Iron Swing
An offset club naturally puts your hands in front of the club head. In the address position, your hands are on the shaft, while the club head is angled back a bit. This helps when swinging an iron because -- in a conventional iron swing -- you should be striking “down and through the ball,” with your hands leading the club head through the point of impact, according to swing coach Butch Harmon. PGA professional John Graham says an offset club offers “a better angle of attack” and “helps produce an impact with your hands in front of the club head.”
Center of Gravity
The main purpose of an offset club head is to help players who tend to slice. One way in which the offset helps to limit or cure the slice is by moving the club head’s center of gravity farther from the shaft. Former “Golf Digest” equipment editor Peter Farricker explained that the farther the center of gravity is from the shaft, “the better chance you have of squaring the club face.”
Squaring the Club Face
By pushing the club head a bit farther back from the shaft line, an offset club also helps to limit slices caused by open club faces because its structure “gives the head a little more time for the club face to square up at impact,” says PGA professional Don Trahan. By offsetting the club face, impact with the ball is delayed “a split-second longer,” according to Farricker. But that split second may be all that you need to square the club face and avoid a slice.
Some golf professionals worry that by using an offset club as a crutch to cure a slice, a player either won’t improve his swing and learn how to square the club face on his own, or he will improve his mechanics, in which case the offset may turn the cured slice into a bad hook. Trahan says offset clubs “serve a good purpose for helping golfers who don’t have the skills or time to develop the skills to play better golf and shoot lower scores by hitting better and straighter golf shots.” He recommends that golfers learn proper mechanics, then play with non-offset clubs.