The sport of golf has been around since the 1400s. What started out as the simple use of a single piece of wood has evolved to involve technologies like graphite, steel and titanium. The modern club has changed significantly over time, but there are certain facets of the club, namely the head, shaft and grip, that remain fairly consistent year after year.
The Club Head
The club head is the weighted part of the club that creates impact with the ball. There are three basic types of club heads: the wood, iron and putter. Each of these results in a different type of ball trajectory and distance. The wood is named because it used to be made of wood. Today, woods that are made of actual wood are rare, giving way to modern-day materials such as steel, titanium and composite materials, which are a blending of titanium and other elements such as carbon. Irons are strictly made of steel and can be purchased as forged, where the club head is pounded in to shape, or as cast irons, where the entire iron comes out of a mold. Then you have putters, which are for play on the green. These, too, are made of steel and soft metals like brass.
Shaft technology has taken a wooden whippet that connects the club head to the grip, and evolved it to be a air-slicing piece of advanced golf technology. For decades, steel shafts were the standard in golf, but today, steel shafts have to share the spotlight with graphite. Graphite tends to give the golfer a more flexible shaft for generating increased club head speed and more impact upon the ball. It's typically found on women's clubs, and those for amateurs and seniors. Low-handicap golfers tend to use a combination of both, with steel more popular on drivers and long irons, clubs that require copious amounts of club head speed and power. Titanium golf shafts are fairly new on the market and are not in common use yet, as shaft flex variation has been slow to develop.
Grips are to a golf club what tires are too a car. The grip sits on the opposite end of the club and is what you use to hold it. The grip is the only part of a golf club you actually touch. Grips are primarily made of rubber. They provide stickiness so that, when a golfer swings the club, he doesn't have to worry about his grip slipping and the hand position changing at impact. He also doesn't have to worry about the club flying through the air in the follow through. While the grip on a golf club may be the least expensive component, its effect on the shot is invaluable.