All golf clubs are composed of a shaft with a grip and a club head. There are six types of golf clubs – wood, iron, hybrid, putter, wedge and chipper. The rules of golf allow for the player to have fourteen clubs in the bag. The most complete set you can have in your bag is to have seven irons, three woods, a putter, a hybrid, a wedge and a chipper.
A wood golf club should be used if there is a great distance between the position of the ball and the hole. Most “wood” golf clubs today aren’t actually made from wood, but from different materials such as titanium, scandium or carbon fiber. The name was preserved because they have the same shape as the old the first wood models made; the head is large and the shaft is long. This offers maximum club speed. They are the longest and most powerful golf clubs, making them mandatory for any golfer to have in the bag. The biggest “wood” golf club is known as the driver and it’s usually made of titanium that has been hollowed out to be light and the shaft is feather-light.
Iron golf clubs have an all-metal head with a flat angled face, a short shaft and an upright lie angle for ease of access. Originally, they were made from forged iron, but the modern versions of these clubs are made from steel alloys. These clubs are designed for a variety of situations; they can be used for the dog-legged holes or the tee box on short, to tricky situations like lobbing over trees, hitting from tight lies with a compact swing, or for getting out of hazards. Most of them have a number from 1 to 9 that corresponds with the relative loft angle within a matched set.
As the name says it, hybrid golf clubs are a cross between iron clubs and wood clubs. The advantage is that a hybrid gives you the best of both worlds; you can strike a ball from a long distance and have an angled swing as well. They can easily replace some wood and iron clubs in a golf match. For example, a hybrid club can be used to replace a number 2 iron to hit better, the number 2 iron club being very hard, making it difficult to hit with it.
Putter golf clubs are designed to roll the ball along the grass primarily, generally from a close distance. They are the only clubs allowed to have features like two striking faces, bent shafts and non-circular grip cross-sections, being the only clubs allowed on the green as well.
Wedge golf clubs are actually a sub-class of iron golf clubs. The difference is that they have a greater loft than the numbered irons and some additional features like wide soles and high-mass club heads for an easier use in tricky lies. They are generally used for high-altitude shots, short-distance shots and high-accuracy “utility” shots. There are five types of wedge golf clubs: pitching wedge, lob wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge and ultra lob wedge.
The chipper golf club is designed to feel like the putter golf club but with a more lofted face. It’s used to replace the high-lofted iron and it allows you to make a shot from a position and with a motion similar to a putt. The rules of golf don’t allow for chipper clubs to have any features that are allowable for putter golf clubs, like two striking faces for example. Unfortunately, this disqualifies most chipper designs, but there still are some chipper golf clubs that conform with the USGA and they are allowed.