The club heads of the woods are made of metal these days, but at one time, they were comprised of wood. Beginning in the early 1980s, metal began to replace the wood in the heads of these clubs and various steel and titanium alloys form these golf clubs' heads now. The golf club that can hit the ball the furthest, if it is hit with good form, is the one wood. This is also known as the driver since it can drive the ball great distances, with some players able to hit the ball more than 350 yards with their best drives. The shaft of the driver is longer than any other club, with the average length being 45 inches, and this makes it the club that is the most difficult to always connect squarely with the ball. The driver has a low degree of loft to its club face in relation to the shaft, which is why it can hit the ball a long ways. Normally used when the ball is teed up, the driver is chosen when the hole is very long in yardage. Fairway woods, such as a three wood, are used when a ball is still over 200 yards from the hole and lying in the grass. They have a smaller club face and a shorter length shaft, which makes this club the choice of many beginners as they are learning the game. Players often make the mistake of thinking they should be able to hit their woods as far as the professionals do when they connect solidly with the ball, but most golfers will drive the ball considerably less than the pros do on a regular basis.
Since golf's earliest days, the clubs called irons had metal club heads. These club heads are grooved and thin with different types of backs. The blade type is one that has a full back located at the rear of the club head; the cavity back is somewhat hollow to make ball strikes that are slightly off-center not go so far off target. Most golfers will have a three through nine iron in the bag but one and two irons do exist. However, few players use them as they are particularly hard to hit well all the time. As the numbers progress downwards from nine, each iron has less loft and the shaft of the club will be longer. This allows the lower numbered clubs to hit the ball further, since it will not go as high. A normal player will hit her irons with a gap of 10 to 15 yards between each club. For example, a six iron will go 10 to 15 yards less than a five iron, which in turn will go 10 to 15 yards less than a four iron if they are all hit with the same force. Beginners will find the clubs with the most loft are much easier to control and hit the ball with then those with less loft. Irons can be hit from the tee on shorter holes and from the grassy fairways as well.
No golf club is used more than the putter; even the best golfer will use it at least 27 times in an 18-hole round. There are many different types of putters available and players are urged to find one that they are comfortable with. The club heads can be the traditional blade type of putter that resembles an iron with no loft. There are also the heel-toe type and the mallet head putter. The shafts can be normal in length or exaggerated, with some shafts extending to the belly while others go even further--they are called belly putters and broomstick handle putters, respectively. The putter hits the ball in an effort to roll it into the hole and it is used when the ball has finally arrived onto the putting surface. Many golfers will use the putter when close to the green to get the ball close to the flag under the right circumstances.
Wedges are really irons with high degrees of loft to their club heads. These specialized clubs are made to hit the ball with accuracy and can also hit the ball high due to their exaggerated loft and short shaft lengths. Pitching wedges are often grouped with the irons since they can hit the ball as far as 150 yards and have a loft of 45 to 49 degrees. Gap wedges are lofted even more, up to 54 degrees, while the lob wedge may be as high as 64 degrees and is built to hit the ball quite high in the air over a short distance. Sand wedges were designed with a loft of about 56 degrees and are constructed so as to be able to hit the ball out of a sand trap--one of the hardest shots in all of golf.