The woods are so named because at one time the heads of these clubs were made out of wood. Modern woods are actually made of titanium or steel alloys, with others made of combinations of alloys. They are referred to as metal-woods. The longest hitting golf club is the one wood, also known as the driver. It is employed to hit the ball long distances and has a longer shaft than any other club, and it has a much larger club head. The degree of loft on a driver is less than that of any other golf club and typically the driver is the hardest club to master. The higher numbered woods have a higher degree of loft and will hit the ball higher than a driver when struck properly. These are called fairway woods and are used to hit the ball long distances from a fairway lie on grass, unlike the driver, which is used when the ball is teed up. Golfers normally will carry a driver and at least one fairway wood in their bag, usually a three wood or a five wood.
With club heads made of metal, the irons are used to hit approach shots to the golf greens from distances as far away as 200 yards to much shorter yardages. Irons come with two types of club heads--forged steel with a smaller "sweet spot" to hit the ball with and those with larger hitting areas that have a perimeter-weighted back. These clubs have a hollow head and are favored by golfers with less skill and experience than the professionals and accomplished amateurs. The irons are numbered one through nine, with the ball traveling further when hit by the lower numbered clubs. Most golfers do not carry a one or two iron; the three iron is the club chosen when the distance is a bit too short to hit a wood. The lower numbered irons have a lesser degree of loft than the higher ones and hit the ball far while keeping it low. These are called the long irons and include the one iron through the four iron. The midrange irons are the clubs numbered five through seven and will hit the ball higher but not as far when hit correctly. Midrange irons can hit the ball anywhere from 130 to 160 yards. The short irons include the eight and nine iron and the various wedges. They have large degrees of loft, some as high as 60 degrees, and can get the ball airborne quickly and make it go high. These clubs are options for when the distance is 120 yards to the green or less.
Wedges and putters
Technically, a wedge is an iron, but they are clubs with very high degrees of loft and are used to chip, pitch and get the ball out of bad lies such as high grass or sand. The pitching wedge can be hit from as far away from the hole as 150 yards depending on the player's skill set and has a loft between 46 and 51 degrees. The sand wedge is used when a ball is buried in a sand trap and has a heavy head with a loft of 55 to 57 degrees. The gap wedge was introduced to "fill the gap" between the distances the pitching wedge and sand wedge hit the ball and are lofted anywhere from 50 to 58 degrees. The lob wedge is the most lofted club at up to 60 degrees and hits the ball quite high but for just a very short distance. The putter has a number of shapes to its club head and variable lengths to its shaft. It is used to roll the golf ball towards the hole. It is the most-used club during a round of golf.