The right clubs can make the difference between a good round of golf and a disappointing one. Although the basic parts of a golf club are the same, numerous variations in size, materials, flexibility and weight will affect your game. Size is the most important factor to consider when purchasing new or used golf clubs as it can be uncomfortable or even harmful to use clubs that do not fit.
The shaft of a golf club determines the playability and distance of the club. Graphite and metal are the most common shaft materials. The shaft is tapered so it is narrower at the club head than at the grip end. This allows the shaft to flex as the golfer takes his backswing to generate more power at contact. Flexible shafts are more powerful, but less accurate than stiff shafts. Golf club shafts are generally available in sizes that range from 35 to 45 inches. As the length of the club shaft increases, so does the club's maximum distance.
Golf grips are made from leather, synthetic leather, rubber or cord. Natural leather grips are generally thought to be the most comfortable, but are also expensive and do not hold up well when exposed to moisture. Synthetic leather grips offer similar playability at a lower price. Cord grips are designed for extreme weather conditions and can easily withstand rain and snow, but can be harsh on the hands if you do not use golf gloves. The grip slides over the top of the shaft and is held in place by double-sided tape.
The head size and shape will vary based on the type of golf club. Drivers have a large, heavy head with a round back and sole to prevent the club from sticking as it slides along the grass. The club head and shaft connect at the hosel, which is a hole at the base of the head. A decorative black ferrule is usually wrapped around the top of the hosel to hide the connection point.
The club face is the edge of the head that contacts the ball. The face is angled according to the desired amount of loft for that particular club. The driver has the flattest club face so the ball will come off the club low and fast. In comparison, the wedge is designed to softly pitch the ball high into the air, so it has a sharply angled face. The grooves on the club face are designed to add backspin to the ball, which improves the loft of the ball. They also divert water, grass and other debris away from the ball to increase the contact between it and the club face. The putter is the only club that has a flat face with no grooves.