Officially, we are only permitted to carry fourteen golf clubs in our bags during any round, but are they all mandatory for a great game? After all, the success of your game will never be determined by the number of clubs at your disposal, and most professional golfers rarely use all of them. So after thorough research on which are the three most essential golf clubs you’ll ever use, this is what I found out.
According to most professional golfers, the most crucial golf clubs are the putters, wedges, and drivers. In fact, most golfers claim that the putter has helped take more strokes off their scores than all the other clubs, followed by the driver and wedges. (1)
With the right golf clubs, you can score the most points in any round. So in this article, we’ll show you the most crucial clubs you will ever need for golfing. We will also show you why these clubs are the most important.
The Most Important Golf Clubs
According to the rules of golf, golfers can carry a limited set of clubs when golfing. (2) While certain combinations are sold in the local stores as matched sets, professionals can use a specific combination of legal clubs. And the main difference between the clubs of similar type is the angle between the vertical plane and the club’s face. (3)
Therefore, the only set of clubs that you should always carry is the ones that work for you. And this can be determined by your weaknesses and strengths. After all, the needs for a beginner are pretty different from those of a low handicapper or an intermediate golfer.
Some clubs are pretty easy to use, and higher handicappers must focus on these. Higher-handicapper should use the hybrid clubs instead of the long irons and 5-3 woods instead of the driver. Highly experienced golfers can use more specialized options to play a wide range of shots.
High handicappers can’t hit the driver because it puts them off their game. Therefore, they should only carry the:
- Pitching wedge
- Irons (7, 8, and 9),
- Hybrids (4, 5, and 6).
The mid-handicappers can control the driver better than the high-handicappers. Intermediate players who are great at short games can add gaps or lob wedge in their bags. But the most crucial clubs a mid-handicapper should have in their arsenal include:
- Sand wedge,
- Pitching wedge
- Iron (6, 7, 8, and 9)
- Hybrids (4 and 5)
Low-handicappers must carry:
- Wedges (Lob, sand, gap, and Pitching wedges)
Therefore, the most important clubs often used by mid, low, and high handicappers are the driver, putter, and wedge. (4)
A putter is one of the essential golf clubs used to make low-speed and relatively short strokes, with the primary goal being rolling the ball into the hole from a short distance. Typically made from wood or iron, this club has a low-loft striking face, positional guides, non-circular grip, and bent shafts. This club is generally used near the cup; however, some courses have roughs and fringes near the green, making this club the best option.
While no golf club is indispensable, this option comes very close to that, as it’s designed for a specific purpose; therefore, every golfer carries this club. (5)
The Design of the Putter
The main objective for golfing is putting; therefore, this club must be engineered to give you all technical advantages. And this includes an excellent impact, great glide, bounce-less topspin ball launch, smooth stroke, and perfect fit in regards to its length and angle shaft. The putter’s striking face is not perpendicular to the floor; therefore, they have a small loft intended to lift the balls out of a depression.
The putter’s loft is about 6 degrees, and legally it’s not allowed to exceed 10 degrees. The only club whose grip isn’t ideally round has a shield-like cross-section with a curved underside and flat top. The putter is the only golf club with a bent shaft; in fact, club-makers tend to attach the club-head to the shaft to increase stability.
But its shaft is bent next to the head mounting so that the head position and lie places the line of the elongated part of the club at the sweet spot of the subhead where a ball must be for a perfect putt. This design increases your accuracy, as you can easily direct your swing through the balls without feeling like you’re behind it. Some putters come with a hosel that helps position the club’s shaft in line with the ball’s center at impact and help improve the feel and stability.
Evolution of the Putter
Initially, this club was referred to as putting cleek and was made from numerous wood species like hazel, ash, and beech. This club’s head evolved during the 1900s, with the iron club head becoming quite famous among golfers. The club’s head has undergone numerous changes since the 1950s.
The putter was initially forged from iron, and among the first designers to apply scientific principles to their design was Karsten Solheim. Karsten attached it at the center instead of connecting the putter’s shaft to the blade’s heel. It helped transfer the club head’s weight to its perimeter.
Through attempts to improve the putter’s head and reduce its center of gravity, its head evolved into a thick and short head that has been curved from its rear to the front. The adoption of investment casting allowed designers to build different shapes of the affordable putter. It allowed them to keep the mass of the clubface as low as possible, resulting in an L-shaped side design with a flat and thin face.
The addition of another thin block along the club’s base placed the weight of the clubface as far as possible from the center. It helped reduce twisting of the club when it contacts the balls’ off-center giving your golf club a more significant sweet spot.
Some designers have replaced the sweet spot’s metal with a polymer compound or soft metal, which rebounds and gives at the point of impact. It increased the peak impulse of the ball at impact for better distance.
Types of Putter
The toe of the top-balanced putter points to the floor when the shaft is balanced on your finger. Therefore, its COG (center of gravity) isn’t below the club’s shaft axis. This putter is inclined to close and open throughout the strokes and is ideal for golfers with an arc in their stroke.
The face-balanced putter always has its face facing upwards when the shaft is balanced on the finger; Meaning that this putter’s COG is situated below the shaft’s axis. The face-balanced putter tends to close less during follow-through and open less in a backswing.
Putter Head Designs
The putter’s head comes with a wide range of designs engineered to improve your game. Some of these head designs include:
Mallet-shaped putters offer the same benefits as the large-head of driver design. Mallet putter provides a more forgiving and consistent shot on the green. And to help golfers align their putts better, most manufacturers used numerous alignment shapes and aids on the rear part of the head.
The deep design of the putter’s head allows golf club designers to increase MOI (moment of inertia) and have a more profound and lower COG. It helps improve performance and reduce spins on an off-center putt. Mallet-shaped putters are face-balanced and ideal for straight strokes.
Peripheral Weighted Putter
This design is a natural evolution of the blade putters. Thin and long at address, the peripheral-weighted putter could still be delicate and soft, but the extra weight in the toe and heel portions adds more forgiveness and consistency. Made famous by the 1966 Ping Anser’s design, this design helped revolutionize golfing, and it is still being used by some of the world’s top players.
Blade putter is the most traditional and oldest kind of putter in the market that is still used to date. Thanks to its small head, the blade putter’s design was quite famous between 1900 and 1990. And that is because its flat and simple design was easy to produce, and the soft hit it produced made it popular on a wide range of greens.
Initially designed for faster, more challenging greens that need a delicate touch, this type of putter tends to be face-balanced. It means that they are ideal for golfers with straight putting strokes.
By using lots of movable-weight settings and adjustable hosels, golf club designers have been trying to create a perfect driver club that fits all. Unfortunately, with the infinite possibility of adjustabilities, there can never be a one-size-fits-all. (5) Therefore, all beginners must first know their drivers before hitting the course; after all, they will need this club for a tee shot.
The drivers belong to the woods golf class, and they were initially referred to as wood. Woods are designed to drive the ball a considerable distance towards the hole. Drivers have a long shaft and massive head for top club speed. (3)
Out of all the clubs in your bag, the driver provides the most distance accurately. And that is because it has the smallest angle of loft and the most extended shaft. Therefore, if you can control the driver, swinging your ball from the tee can be less frustrating. (6)
Evolution of Drivers
Currently, drivers don’t resemble the original, small-sized wooden head drivers from over half a century ago that were referred to as 1-woods. In fact, the only similarities between these drivers are the club shaft length and the loft of the clubface.
Currently, producers are working towards reducing the effects of mishits. Right-handed individuals using an open clubface tend to slice the shot and send it to the right side. Therefore, off-center mishits can also affect the distance and accuracy.
Manufacturers have produced many drivers fit for different skill levels and playing styles to counter this error.
Picking the Right of the Driver That Matches Your Style
When hitting a golf ball on the tee, there are two types of emotions that run through a golfer’s mind. If your drive games always get you into trouble because of lack of power, then you may have some fear. On the other hand, if you hit straight, long drives, then chances are you might get excited when it comes off the tee.
Luckily, modern technology has evolved to a point where hitting a ball hard and straight has become a routine. After all, your success will depend on which type of driver you pick. So here are a few factors to consider when choosing the correct driver that can improve your game:
Head Size and Material Used to Make It
When it comes to the size of the club’s head, drivers offer a wide range of choices. And while a considerable percentage of the drivers provide giant heads for more prominent sweet spots, some materials give the driver an even bigger head. Therefore, picking the suitable material also matters. Titanium heads offer more oversized heads and sweet spots; plus, they are more forgiving.
On the other hand, steel-headed drivers offer smaller sweet spots than titanium ones. They are cheaper than the titanium clubs, less forgiving, and even harder to hit. The composite drivers are made up of titanium and another material.
Composite clubs fall in the mid-range price and offer the same forgiveness and distance benefits as titanium clubs.
Numerous variables of the shaft play a vital role in the club’s head and impact position. Steel shafts have more weight and less flex. They offer more control; however, they can generate less power and slow swinging speed at impact.
The amount of flex needed on any shaft will depend on the club-head speed, which is why low handicap individuals will look for more control of the shaft that will make up for the loss of distance. Graphite shafts can improve your club’s head speed, making it possible to do longer hit. Shafts come in a wide range of lengths; therefore, you can easily pick an option that fits your height and swings.
The driver’s loft determines how high your ball travels, with a considerable percentage of the lofts running between 11 and 18-degrees. Therefore, the trick is finding a club that optimizes the drive’s length when it comes to the loft. Loft maximizes how far the ball rolls on the ground and the flight.
The greater the loft, the less your side spins, and this can result in slices and hooks. It is the main reason why low-handicap individuals go for drivers with a loft of below 11-degrees. Alternatively, avid golfers can handle the less forgiving clubs due to their experience.
Numerous drivers are hitting the market that can help improve your game. And one of the latest clubs is the weighted driver designed for golfers looking to control the flight of their balls. The removable weights on the club can allow you to change how your club feels.
Depending on the number of weights attached to your club and their position, you can alter the ball’s flight path while making sure the swing is consistent.
The highest-lofted golf clubs in any bag are the wedges. Wedges are designed for pitch shots, chip shots, strokes played on sand, and short approach shots. Wedges are perfect for anyone who needs their ball to ascend and sharply descend.
Most golfers believe that wedges are made from a specialized iron or a subset of irons. And they are believed to be a category of clubs on their own.
The Most Common Wedges During the Twentieth Century
From the 1930s to the late twentieth century, it was prevalent for people to always have two wedges in their bags when golfing. These included:
This club makes it easy for you to hit balls out of the bunker. This club is designed to help you hit the ball out of softer places like the sand. The sand wedge comes with a loft of approximately 56 degrees and 10 degrees of bounce. (7)
Gene Sarazen is hailed for inventing the current sand wedge and even used it to win the US and British Open tournaments in 1932. Sarazen developed this club by taking a 9-iron and then soldering an extra piece of metal below the leading edge to make a heavy and wide sole. He then experimented with the angle created between the ground and sole.
The outcome was a wedge-shaped club that offered better loft to remove the ball from a sloped or deep bunker while not digging into the soft sand. The current sand wedge still uses the idea of bounce angle, higher-loft, and high mass. But modern wedges’ club heads have higher mass than the original ones to help drive through firmer sand found in most courses.
The pitching wedge is the most basic club every golfer must own: in fact, It’s considered the lowest-lofted of all wedges. This wedge is used to hit the short-range shot. The loft of modern pitching wedges is about 48-degree with little to no bounce.
This club descended from an obsolete blade-like club with a higher loft known as niblick. As manufacturers adopted the standardization of the loft, the niblick was split into two to create a new club (52 and 54 degrees) and the 9-iron. Other firms kept the numbering system and renamed this club 10-iron, while others adopted it for a short game and named it the pitching wedge.
The Most Common Wedges After the Twentieth Century
As golfing evolved, the golf firms started manufacturing extra wedges by the late twentieth century. Currently, there are two more common wedges.
The lob wedge is actually the highest-lofted option any golfer can carry with a loft of about 60-degree. This club creates a steep angle of descent and ascent for shots to hit the green with minimal roll or shots that have to ascend quickly. Dave Pelz envisioned this club during the 1980s as a solution for modern greens that were engineered to be difficult to approach.
The green needed a shot that drops the balls close to the pin with a little-to-no roll. Dave proposed that the new club should have a loft angle of about 60-degree and low-to-mid bounce. And the first professional to try this club was Tom Kite, who encouraged others to try it.
A lob wedge is perfect for any shot that needs a shorter carrying distance ranging between 10 to 50 yards and a high launch angle, which creates high backspins and low rolling distance. These shots include shots near a tall obstruction and a tight approach to the green. (8)
It is a specialized version of the lob wedge that has a high loft of about 70 degrees. And when added to the bag, it generally has the highest loft angle. Ultra-lob wedge is used for high-angle shots like the lip of the bunker.
Ultra lob is produced by some companies, while others consider it redundant since you can easily open the lob wedges for this kind of high-angle situation.
The gap wedge falls between the sand and the pitching wedge. And that is because it has less loft angle than the sand wedges and more than pitching wedges. This club is one of the latest wedges; therefore, it’s one of the least standardized options for purpose and design.
Luckily, the lofts for this club are centered around 52 degrees and a moderate amount of bounce. The idea of this club came when the irons’ loft angles were lowered due to their high launch angles of cavity-back irons. It resulted in the loft angle of pitching wedge clubs being reduced while sand clubs remained the same.
The Properties of the Wedges
Compared to other clubs, wedges have the highest lofts and shortest shafts. In fact, they are identified by their loft size instead of their names. For example, lob wedges can be referred to as the 60-degree wedge.
Sand wedges have several lofts ranging between 52 and 56 degrees. And as the loft angle of iron clubs has reduced over the years, it has become more common for people to carry an extra wedge.
During the early 2000s, another wedge club referred to as X-wedge was invented. The X-wedge is quite common among low-handicapped golfers, plus it has the highest loft angle of all wedges (64 to 70 degrees). Currently, the X-wedges are pretty rare, particularly outside professional golfing.
Another crucial feature of wedges is the bounce angle, commonly referred to as bounce. The bounce angle is a physical characteristic of the wedge’s sole. The bounce angle can make your club less or more resistant to digging when it hits the ground.
When Should I Use a Wedge Golf Club?
Your shot’s yardage typically determines the right time to use your wedges. A typical recreational female golfer can hit the sand wedge about 45 to 60 yards, while a male golfer can hit between 65 to 75 yards. A lob-wedge will be between 25 and 40 yards for women and between 40 and 50 yards for men.
The gap wedge falls between the sand and pitching wedges. These clubs produce a high arching shot; therefore, they are the best option for getting over trees. And the fact that they have a high trajectory, wedges tend to roll a little bit when they hit the green.
What Is the Most Common Golf Club You Will Ever Use?
Most golfers claim that the most critical golf clubs are the driver, putter, and wedges. But the most highly used club in any round is the putters. In fact, some golfers make about 53% of their shots using the putter.
What’s the Easiest Club to Hit?
Drivers whose heads have a volume of about 460cc and have a shallow profile are considered the easiest to use. And that is because they have a low center of gravity. Unfortunately, drivers that are below 460cc are favored by most golfers due to their increased workability.
Who Should Use a Club With a Graphite Shaft?
Graphite shafts are ideal for golfers with slow swinging tempos. And that is because graphite shafts can increase their swing by about 5 yards. Graphite shafts are perfect for individuals with shoulder, arm, or hand problems.
Are Graphite Shafts Better Than Steel Shafts?
Despite being more expensive than steel shafts, graphite shafts are lighter. Graphite shafts weigh around 85 grams. And thanks to their lightweight, the graphite shafts can create more swing speed.
Despite having a maximum of 14 golf clubs when hitting the course, most golfers rarely use everything in their bags. The most commonly used clubs are the putter, wedges, and drivers. Therefore, knowing your skill level can help you carry the right combination of clubs for every game; instead of the 14 required clubs.
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- Golfdigest contributors, drivers, https://www.golfdigest.com/hot-list/golf-clubs/drivers/ Accessed Jun 29, 2021
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- Brent Kelley, Meet the wedges: an intro for golf beginners, https://www.tripsavvy.com/meet-the-wedges-1560509/ Accessed Jun 29, 2021
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