What Are the Various Golf Clubs Used For?

By Matt Crownover
Each club serves a unique purpose.
Each club serves a unique purpose.

For beginning golfers, the contents of a golf bag might be uncharted territory. You might not know a wedge from a long iron or the difference between a 3-wood and a 5-wood. Each club has a different job. Once you learn which club to use in each situation, you'll hit your ball around a golf course much more efficiently.


Woods are designed to hit the ball the farthest. They are the clubs that have the big heads on the end. They were originally called woods because, well, they were made of wood. Nowadays, woods are more commonly made from metal, such as titanium, and other alloys. Common woods include a driver, 3-wood and 5-wood. Drivers have the lowest loft of any club, usually between 7 degrees and 12 degrees, and they are designed to hit the ball farther than the rest of your clubs. Typically, a 3-wood has a loft between 15 and 18 degrees and a 5-wood has a loft between 20 and 22 degrees. Woods are to be used on the longer holes. Most golfers should use their woods when they are 200 or more yards from the pin. Woods are used to hit the ball from a tee or, in some cases, from the fairway.


Irons are most commonly used when you are less than 200 yards away from the green. Most golf sets include 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 irons. The loft increases with each iron. The closer you are to the green, the higher the iron you should use. Each player can hit their irons at various lengths. To determine how far you hit each iron, head to the driving range and practice.


Wedges, which are specialty irons, are used for short approaches to the green or to hit your ball from the rough. A pitching wedge has about 48 degrees of loft. It's the lowest loft of all the wedges. Other wedges include the sand wedge and lob wedge. Each wedge has a different degree of loft in order to hit different shots.


A putter is used to hit your ball toward or into the hole while on, or sometimes around, the green. The putter has a flat surface in order to hit the ball squarely and accurately. There are many different putter designs, all of which help you with one goal: getting the ball into the hole.

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