If you’re new to golf, then you might find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer range of different clubs on offer. There are woods, irons, putters and wedges, each of which comes with its own gradations. Individual clubs have their own special characteristics, and, to make matters more complicated, there are clubs which straddle the boundaries between categories.
A wood has a longer shaft and a rounder, heavier head than most other clubs. It’s able to hit the ball over longer distances. The 1-wood, or driver, tends to be the longest club in the bag. It’s used for teeing off. Shorter woods are known as ‘fairway woods’; they’re called upon when the ball is off the tee, but still need to be carried a long distance. You might think of a par 5 hole where the second shot is still a way from the green.
The wood is so-called because the head, traditionally, was made from a dense hardwood like oak. Over time, the face of the club came to be made from metal, and eventually so did the entire club. While it might be tempting to consider just the head, the shaft has just as pronounced an impact on the actual shots being played. You’ll want to consider not just the length of the shaft, but its flexibility, too.
We’ve already mentioned that the hybrid club is often used as a substitute for the long iron. Long irons tend to be unwieldy, especially for new golfers, thanks to their smaller faces. The shorter shaft on a hybrid club tends to make them preferable to fairway woods in situations where there isn’t much room to swing, such as underneath a tree. The hybrid tends to be a good choice in any situation where a long iron might traditionally be called for, such as from the rough.
Given that a hybrid club is a relatively new type, there’s no settled consensus as to how it should look and behave. Generally speaking, a hybrid is designed to swing in the same way as an iron, but with superior loft and a greater distance carried.
When they were first introduced, hybrid clubs tended to come with a prohibitively high price tag, thanks to the unique nature of their construction. Nowadays, however, they’re affordable enough for even new golfers to include in their bags.
What’s your experience between and woods and hybrids? Do you have a preference that compliments your handicap? Let us know in the comments below!