It’s in the Bag

BY Emily Russell

The United States Golf Association only allows a golfer to carry 14 clubs in his or her bag. It goes without saying that these clubs must be chosen with great care. If you’re teeing it up for the first time it’s important to know which club does what.

There are three major families of clubs: fairway woods irons and hybrids. You’ll also need a putter for use on the green.

Fairway Woods

Fairway woods ironically are generally made out of steel or titanium (the name persists from a time when wood was used to make these pear-shaped headed clubs) and have a yardage gap — the distance the next-highest wood can hit farther than the previous — of around 20 feet.

Irons have always been made out of metal and have flat grooved heads and a yardage gap of around 10 to 15 feet.


Wedges a specialized type of iron have a large amount of loft or tilt to the face of the club and a very short shaft for hitting a ball high into the air for short distances.

When golfers use terms like “3-iron” or “5-wood ” they are referring to a numbering system for irons and woods that pertains to the length of the shaft. The longer irons and woods — clubs with lower numbers like the 3-wood or 3-iron — have longer shafts and less loft. Longer irons and woods are more difficult for the beginning golfer to use but hit the ball farther.


Hybrid clubs combine elements of woods and irons and are designed to replace the difficult-to-hit long irons in a golfer’s bag. Hybrids are a great choice for amateur golfers who want the distance of a long iron without the difficulty of hitting one.

To fit your clubs see a professional — most golf stores will work with you to find clubs that suit your size and game. Using the right club that fits you is the first step toward lowering your score.

There are four basic measurements: the length of the club the flex or how much the club will bend; the size of the grip; and the lie angle or the angle the club strikes the ground.

With a well-stocked golf bag you’ll have a leg up on the links. You’ll need it when you’re stuck in a sand trap or facing your first par 5. Either way you’ll look great with those new clubs! Fore!