Golfers are only allowed to choose 14 clubs to carry in their bag for a round of golf. Which clubs they choose depends on their skills and the golf course they intend to play. Courses that play short may allow the golfer to leave several woods out of his bag and substitute a hybrid club, different wedges or additional irons. Most golfers carry 3 through 9 irons, putter, sand wedge, pitching wedge and a driver plus three additional clubs.
Drivers are made to hit the ball off the tee, the first shot on a hole. They are also known as a 1 wood.
Originally made of wood, these clubs are made to hit the ball longer distances than the irons. Now the club heads are made of steel or titanium instead of wood and are sometimes filled with foam. Woods hit from 200 to 300 yards depending on the strength and skill of the player. The club heads are rounded, bulge and have a flattened bottom. Woods range from 1 wood, the driver, through 8 wood. Manufacturers have developed 9 and 11 woods for shots out of the rough.
Irons range from a 1 iron to a 9 iron. Irons are used for shorter shots than the woods, from 100 to 200 yards, and when approaching the green. Shafts are from 36- to 40-inches long. The club head is made of iron and is flat. The minimal loft of the 1 and 2 irons makes it difficult to get the ball in the air, so they aren't carried by most amateur golfers.
Wedges have a loft of more than 48 degrees and are classified technically as irons. Pitching wedges are made to get the ball up quickly. Sand wedges are used in sand traps because the bottom of the club allows the club to bounce out of the sand. A lob wedge has the highest loft, between 58 to 62 degrees.
Take the best characteristics of the woods and combine them with the best characteristics of the irons and you have a hybrid club. They have shorter shafts than woods but the same loft so they're easier to control. You can hit longer distances with them and maintain accuracy. The flat face and higher angle of launch puts spin on the ball, allowing the ball to stop when it hits the green.
Used on the green to hit the ball into the cup, putters take on myriad shapes and sizes. The putter is not made to hit the ball long distances but for accuracy. While they are mostly used on the greens, they can be used to play shots from short grass just off the green, rather than chipping the ball. The shaft can be extra long, as in the belly putter, to add stability to the putt. The head can range from stubby to elongated with several shapes in between.