When looking for a driver, there are a few things to keep in mind. We recommend visiting your local PGA TOUR Superstore for a free custom fitting where a certified club fitting expert will fit you for the proper clubhead design, shaft, length, lie, swing weight, adjustment setting and grip size. If you want to do a little research before your fitting, here are a few of the basics to help you select your driver.
This is the angle the face of the club sits relative to the shaft. The lower the loft the lower the ball flight, while a higher loft means a higher trajectory. Most of today's drivers are made with adjustable hosel sleeves. These adjustable sleeves allow the golfer to change the loft up to +/- 4° and set the face angle open or closed. Driver with a lower loft typically fit higher clubhead speed players, while slower swing speeds generally prefer higher lofts.
According to the Rules of Golf, drivers can be no longer than 48", but most drivers are built at 45 3/4" standard length. The longer the shaft the higher the clubhead speed produced, but longer shafts also make it more difficult to square the clubface at impact. Shorter driver shafts can help a golfer with more consistent contact and control.
Grips are available in multiple sizes, textures, and colors. The grip sizes include undersize, standard, midsize and oversize/jumbo; all dependent on the size of your hands. Grip size can also help with clubhead release and accuracy. A larger grip requires less grip strength and applies more shock absorption. A corded grip provides a firmer grip with more texture, which is ideal for all weather conditions, sweaty hands and players who don't wear a glove. However, most golfers gravitate toward a rubber (non-cord) grip. If you have arthritis or tendonitis, you may benefit from a slightly larger grip.
Flex and kick point are two common terms used when talking about shafts. Flex, the shaft's ability to bend, is determined at different points in the swing by measuring swing speed, tempo and personal preference, and ranges from regular to extra stiff. Kick point, refers to the bend profile of a shaft in a 3-4 inch section toward the bottom of the shaft. Shafts with higher kick points produce a lower launch and spin, while lower kick point produce a higher launch and spin condition.
The clubhead affects the distance, direction and height the ball will travel. Clubheads with more perimeter weighting and higher Moment of Inertia (M.O.I) will limit the golfer's ability to shape ball flight in all directions. Clubheads with less perimeter weighting will allow the golfer to manipulate ball flight, but will also provide less forgiveness for off-center hits.
Game improvement/beginner/slower swings should look for a driver with a higher loft, higher M.O.I and draw-biased options. All driver heads in this category would be 460cc, the max size allowed by Rules of Golf. Adjustable or offset options come with lighter shafts (40-55 grams) to help generate additional clubhead speed.
Weekend golfer/minimal practice/moderate swing speed players benefit from a variety of head shapes, lofts and shafts. These players should select a driver with mid to high loft, high M.O.I and adjustable heads for changes in your golf swing. Drivers in this category will range in head size from 430cc to 460cc, and provide a range of head shapes and adjustments to accommodate a variety of swing types.
Low handicap/competitive players should select a driver head with a lower loft and a higher/more forward Center of Gravity (C.O.G), with neutral to fade bias and heavier shafts with lower launch angles. Drivers in this category may have a head size under 460cc to optimize C.O.G. and lower spin conditions.
Irons are used on almost every hole and in a variety of different shot types. That being said it is important to get irons that will fit your game and needs. Check out our guide to find the irons that are perfect for you.
Irons typically come in sets that include six to eight clubs. A typical iron set consists of a 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9-iron and a pitching wedge. Many players have elected to carry a hybrid in place of longer irons like a 3- or 4-iron because of the forgiveness of the hybrids. Some iron sets also come with an additional wedge called a "gap" or "approach" wedge, which falls directly between the pitching wedge and sand wedge in loft.
Iron clubheads have a greater number and greater depth of grooves than a fairway wood or hybrid. These grooves generate spin on the golf ball to help you control your shot. The clubhead is also much thinner in depth in comparison to woods or hybrids, which creates a higher MOI (Moment of Inertia) to help improve accuracy.
The number of the club indicates how high and far the shot will travel. The higher number correlates to a greater angle of loft. High loft results in the ball flying higher and traveling a shorter distance.
Types of irons
Two main styles for irons are cavity-back and muscle-back (or blades). The cavity-back style offers perimeter weighting for increased forgiveness on off-center hits. Blades are designed with more weight directly behind the hitting area or sweet spot. These thinner irons are typically used by pros and lower-handicap players, because they offer increased performance and shot-shaping ability.
- Game-improvement irons: These irons offer greater forgiveness while enhancing performance. Often these iron sets will include a hybrid to replace the hard-to-hit long irons (like the 3, 4 or 5-irons), and normally feature cavity-back clubheads. These irons are perfect for a beginning to intermediate player looking to benefit from a forgiving design. The cavity back allows for a larger sweet spot, while the longer face length helps with off-center strikes. They also have a lower center of gravity (COG) to enhance trajectory.
- Players' irons: These irons have shorter blade lengths, reduced offset, narrower sole widths and thinner top lines. The shape allows for more experienced golfers to play a wide variety of shots. They are typically less forgiving on off-center hits and feature muscle-back clubheads.
Irons are divided into three sets: Long irons (2, 3, 4-irons), mid-irons (5, 6, 7-irons), and short irons (8, and 9-irons + PW). Long irons are used to hit the ball a further distance with less loft. The short irons create a higher launch which produces more spin and allows the ball to travel a shorter distance. When purchasing an iron set, most players opt for clubs separated by 4 degrees of loft (increasing from the 3-iron to the PW). Iron sets that are properly fit help a golfer achieve consistent distance gapping throughout the set.
- Single Length irons: Some manufacturers offer single-length iron sets. These sets are built at 7-iron standard lengths for all clubs within the set. This can be effective for beginner golfers learning the game because he/she can focus on one type of address position and swing.
Having your irons custom fit for your body and swing type is very important. Taller golfers will play irons longer in length and more upright in lie angle. The opposite is true for shorter golfers. Many manufacturers offer custom set configurations with cavity-back irons in the longer irons and blade or muscle-back irons in the shorter irons. It is also important to be custom fit so all distance gaps are met, both on the longer irons and wedges in your set. Your configuration will often determine what kind of fairway wood, hybrid and wedge set you carry.
The flatstick. The money maker. The putter. No matter what you call it, it's one of the most important clubs in your bag. Selecting the perfect putter is the first step in helping you find your way on the green.
Most golfers end up purchasing putters that are too long for their game. When thinking about length, the first thing you need to focus on is finding a length that keeps your eyes directly over the ball. Putters generally range in length from 32 to 43 inches, with 35 inches being the standard length. To find the length that works best for you, take your address position (the position used to make a putting stroke) with your eyes over the ball and your hips slightly angled over your heels. Your arms should be bent at your sides, with your elbows falling in line with your ribcage. A properly fit putter will have the shaft in line with your forearms.
So you've got your length, now you need to choose between a blade or a mallet. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and it can ultimately come down to personal preference.
- Blade putters are for an arching stroke and have a tendency to push a player's miss to the right. They typically provide more feedback on off center hits, and are used more often by lower handicap golfers.
- Mallet putters are larger and can help golfers achieve more consistency because the higher inertia generated from the clubface keeps the putter face square and provides greater forgiveness for an off-center hit. With the weight balanced, the shaft can be located at either the heel or center of the clubhead.
There are three types of balances for putters: Face, neutral and toe. If you sit the putter upright on a flat surface, with the head hanging off the edge, and the face points upward, you have a face-balanced putter. Face-balanced putters are best for a straight back, straight through putting stroke because it keeps the clubface square through impact (it's also good for players who stand closer to the ball). If the toe is hanging at a 45° angle, you have a neutral-balanced putter. If the toe points at the ground or 90°, you have a toe-balanced or "toe-hang" putter. Toe-balanced putters are great for an arced putting stroke that squares the clubface at impact.
The larger the grip the less head rotation which is better for someone with a straight back, straight through stroke. It also pairs very well with a face-balanced putter.
How-to-Buy Fairway Woods
Fairway woods can offer greater control off the tee on shorter, more challenging tee shots, and can also offer added distance from the fairway on approach shots to par 4s and 5s.
Material and design
Made from a variety of materials including steel, titanium and composites, fairway woods are smaller than drivers and have lower face heights with higher lofts to help with trajectory from fairway lies. Steel is the most common material used in fairway woods, but Titanium is a lighter option that helps maximize distance. Composite clubheads use multiple materials to lower the center of gravity, which provides better launch and consistency.
A club's loft is the angle of the clubface that controls trajectory and affects distance. The greater the loft, the higher the ball trajectory and the shorter distance the ball will travel. The higher the club number also equates to a higher the loft. For fairway woods, the degree in loft varies from 13 to 30º, with women's clubs having higher lofts than men's.
There are several factors that determine the fairway metals a golfer should play. A player's clubhead speed and iron set configuration will help decide which type of fairway metal is best suited. Most fairway woods configuration start with a 3-wood, but players with slower swing speed might benefit from starting their set at a 4- or a 5-wood. Golfers who carry less long irons will have a larger gap area to fill between the longest iron in their set and their driver distance.
The higher the number, the shorter the shaft length. Fairway woods vary in length from 40-43 inches, with a standard men's 3-wood being 43 inches. Starting with a 3-wood, and as lofts increase, shaft length will typically be shortened by a half inch.
Hybrids, a savior for many golfers, combine the forgiveness and hot face of a fairway wood with the accuracy and consistency of irons. The clubs feature a head that resembles a smaller wood, yet are typically shorter in length and contain more loft than fairway woods. Hybrids are typically labeled 3 to 7, with their numbers corresponding to the irons they are meant to replace. Used in many situations, hybrids provide more forgiveness than a harder-to-hit long iron, and bridge the distance gap between your longest iron and shortest fairway wood.
The majority of hybrids feature lofts between 18 and 31 degrees. Although the loft may match one of the irons or fairway woods in your bag, it may not produce the same results. A hybrid will typically launch higher and carry farther than the iron it replaces. Some hybrids also feature adjustable loft to better fit your distance needs.
Hybrids are shorter than fairway woods, but are usually slightly longer than irons. The club length varies from about 38 inches to 41 inches, depending on the lift of the hybrid. Hybrids become shorter and more lofted as the number increases.
Hybrids feature lower face height and wider soles than traditional irons; helping to provide a higher launch and more forgiveness versus long irons. The head design allows golfers to hit a variety of shots from different lies. Hybrids typically have a smaller, narrower clubhead, which prevents the club from getting caught in longer grass.