The rules of golf permit a player to carry no more than 14 clubs in her bag during a round. These clubs will typically vary from one golfer to the next, with a player gravitating toward those clubs he hits the best. However, all players need to carry a variety of clubs that will hit the ball a variety of distances.
The clubs that can hit the ball the farthest are the woods. These clubs derived their name from the fact that at one time the clubheads were composed of wood such as persimmon and hickory. These days, steel, titanium and alloys are used to make the clubheads. As a result, these clubs are increasingly called metals. With a wood, players can hit the ball from 200 to more than 350 yards with precision. Woods have a flat bottom; a large, rounded head; and a low degree of loft--the angle of the club face in relation to the shaft of the club. The degree of loft is the lowest on a driver, also called a 1-wood, which results in the greatest distance on shots. The degree of loft increases with the number of the wood. While golfers usually employ the driver to hit the ball off a tee, the higher-numbered woods can be used to hit the ball off the fairway or the tee. The normal set of golf clubs will have a driver, a 3-wood, and a 5-wood. However, other woods are available.
Just like for the woods, the degree of loft for an iron increases with the number of the club. As the loft of the club increases, so does the height of the shot, which translates into a shorter distance the ball will travel. Although irons numbered 1 through 9 are available, only a few players carry an entire set. Most golfers don't carry a 1- or a 2-iron because these are the most difficult to hit accurately. Most standard sets consist of the 3-iron through the 9-iron. The 1-, 2- and 3-irons are called the “long irons” because of the distance range these clubs will hit the ball. The 4-, 5- and 6-irons are called the “middle irons,” and the 7-, 8- and 9-irons are called the “short irons.”
Wedges and putters
The wedges have the highest loft of any golf club. This allows the player to hit the ball short distances as well as get it high in the air. Wedges come in assorted types-pitching wedges, gap wedges, sand wedges and lob wedges based on the club's degree of loft. The more skilled players will have a collection of wedges in her bag. The weekend golfer will carry a pitching wedge and perhaps one other. Every player will have a putter in his bag to complete his set of clubs. Putters have no loft, so the ball will roll when struck. These clubs come in a variety of head shapes and shaft lengths. Players will use one that they feel comfortable with, but commonly will change putters many times, attempting to find one that increases their accuracy on the putting greens.