The Basics about Golf Clubs

The Basics about Golf Clubs

What does the number on the club mean?

For the most part, the number "represents" the loft of a club. The lower the number, the lower the loft and the longer the club. The lower loft and longer club will result in greater distance with a loss of accuracy. This also equates to lower numbered clubs being more difficult to hit (if all the golf club jargon is confusing to you you can check an extensive collection of definitions HERE.)

What makes a "set" of clubs?

A "set" of golf clubs is restricted to no more than 14 clubs. What constitutes this "set" depends on your preferences. In general, a "set" will include the following clubs:

  • Driver (#1 Wood)
  • Fairway Wood (#3 Wood)
  • Hybrids #3 and #4
  • Irons 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW
  • Wedges (Gap Wedge, Sand Wedge & Lob Wedge)
  • Putter

This is not to say you have to carry all of these clubs. For example, a beginner may carry a Driver (1 wood) or 3 wood, a 3, 5, 7, and 9 iron, a Sand Wedge as well as a putter. Some manufacturers let you configure a set to your needs, so you don’t need to but what you don’t want.

A good basic descriptions of the clubs is provided HERE.

Choosing the correct lie:

Lie is the angle that the hosel of the iron makes with the rest of the iron head (an introductory article on golf club heads can be found HERE). Generally, each iron has a hosel – this is the part of the iron that connects with the shaft – that projects out from the clubhead at standard lie. By adjusting the hosel the lie of the club or the angle that the hosel forms with the rest of the iron head can be altered to better fit a player’s physical characteristics.

  • If you stand at address with a club and look at how the bottom of the clubhead is touching the ground you will know how your lie should be adjusted. If the middle bottom of the clubhead is on the ground then the lie of the club is perfect. If the toe of the club is pointing up in the air and the heel of the club is on the ground then this means that your current lie is too upright and needs to be made flatter. If the heel of the club is in the air and the toe is on the ground then the club is too flat and needs to be made more upright.
  • Shorter players generally prefer a flatter lie (the hosel bent down) to adjust for the fact that their arms are closer to the ground. Taller players generally prefer a more upright lie (the hosel bent up) to help them adjust for their arms and torso being higher up.
  • Use the chart below to help you make your decision (these are only suggestions and is not responsible if they don’t work for you):
Shorter than 5 feet, 2 inches 3 degrees flat
5 feet, 2 inches – 5 feet, 5 inches 2 degrees flat
5 feet, 5 inches – 5 feet, 8 inches 1 degrees flat
5 feet, 8 inches – 6 foot Standard lie
6 foot – 6 foot, 2 inches 1 degree upright
6 foot, 2 inches – 6 foot, 5 inches 2 degrees upright
Taller than 6 foot, 5 inches 3 degrees upright


Choosing the correct shaft flex:

The most important part of the golf club is by far the shaft (an introductory article on the components of a golf club can be found HERE). And one of the most important aspects of the shaft is the shaft flex. Flex refers to the stiffness of the shaft. If you are in a golf shop and look at various golf shafts and waggle various golf clubs you will see that some shafts are stiffer than others. The stronger a player is, the stiffer the shaft that he or she wants.

The stronger a shaft the less flexible it is. When a player swings a club the clubhead acts as a weight at the end of the club and causes the shaft to bend. On the downswing the player causes the shaft to bend as he or she throws the clubhead at the ball. If a shaft is too flexible and is bending too much then it becomes impossible for the player to control where the ball is going to go. The bend in the shaft is where much of the power is generated in the shot. If the shaft doesn’t flex enough then the shot loses power and accuracy is affected. So you want to pick a shaft that gives you the right amount of flex. You should also keep in mind that every manufacturer has different grades or qualities of shafts, and you should look out that you don’t get the rejects which are sold by some cheap companies.

In general the stiffer the flex of a shaft the more accurate the shot, but the less far it goes. Use the chart below to help you pick the right shaft flex for your game (again these are only suggestions and is not responsible if they don’t work for you, and in case this sounds too confusing please visit the free ‘club fitting wizard’ at Pinemeadow Golf).

Distance Hit with a Driver

(Carry only, do not include roll)
Recommended Flex
Less than 180 Yards Ladies Flex
From 181-200 Yards Senior Flex
From 200-240 Yards Regular Flex
From 241-275 Yards Stiff Flex
Greater than 275 Yards Extra-Stiff Flex