What Materials Are Used in Golf Clubs?
Components of a Golf Club
The parts of a golf club are the club head, the shaft and the grip. These components are put together to create every golf club.
Club heads were historically made of beech, dogwood, apple or pear. For most of golf's history, the favored wood was persimmon.
By the 1900s, forged iron clubs began to be seen. By the 1980s, even the clubs known as woods would become metal. Today club heads are made of light metals like steel or titanium that allow for bounce off of the club face, as well as keeping the total weight of the club down to increase the club head speed. In addition to metal, some drivers use a composite material derived from carbon fibers to provide a lightweight but strong club head that can then be strategically weighted to increase distance.
Historically shafts were made of different types of wood including orangewood, ash and hickory; but, hickory became the wood of choice in the mid-1800s.
The 20th century brought innovations in shaft construction including the development by Ping of laminated woods for increased strength.
Today shafts on "woods" are usually made from graphite or titanium. Graphite shafts are different composites of graphite and other alloys which allow for different club weights and flexes.
Shafts on "irons" are cast today from steel alloys that allow for cavity designs that lower the center of mass, making the club easier to hit.
Originally grips were made of leather strips wrapped around the shaft. The leather outer grip is sometimes used today on putters and custom clubs. Wrap-style grips allow for custom designed diameters and textures for the club's owner.
Other clubs sold on the golf market typically have grips made of a single piece of rubber which is slipped onto the shaft. This rubber grip is often preferred because it deals with moisture well and allows for a more consistent grip. The rubber grip can be found in a variety of thicknesses and textures, allowing the golfer to customize their grip.
Some golfers prefer the feel of an outer wrap of leather or a faux leather sleeve. These sleeves typically use a synthetic base under the grip to enhance the grip.
Regulations about Golf Club Materials
The USGA governs the basic characteristics of clubs to be used in tournament play. The current rules and results of recent rulings are included in the USGA Rules of Golf.