Golf Club Names, Types & Uses: A Complete Guide

This complete guide is your go-to source for understanding the world of golf clubs, regardless of whether you’re an experienced golfer or a beginner taking your first swing. 

In this guide, we will look into the many kinds of golf clubs that are available in detail, as well as how they’re used on the course specifically.

Each golf club in your bag—from drivers to putters, irons to wedges—plays an essential part in determining how well you perform and how your game turns out.

In this article, we will cover:

  • What Are The Main Golf Club Names and Uses?
  • Golf Club Names: Drivers
  • Golf Club Names: Woods
  • Golf Club Names: Irons
  • Golf Club Names: Hybrids 
  • Choosing the Right Golf Club

Let’s go!

golf club names

What Are The Main Golf Club Names and Uses? 

Picking a suitable golf club is one of the most detail-oriented aspects of golf, which calls for skill and precision. 

There are many golf clubs available, each with its own unique purpose on the course that are associated with a number.

In this detailed guide, we’ll explore the main golf club names and their uses to help you better understand the equipment you need for a successful game.

set of golf clubs

Golf Club Names: Drivers

Drivers are designed for maximum distance. They feature the largest clubheads and are used primarily off the tee. 

The long shaft and low loft of drivers allow golfers to achieve greater distance off the tee, making them crucial for long par-4s and par-5s. 

Modern drivers are typically made of lightweight materials such as titanium or carbon composite, contributing to increased clubhead speed and distance.

driver golf club and golf ball on tee in the rain

Titanium Drivers

Lightweight and strong, favored for strength, forgiveness, and high ball speeds.

Composite Drivers

A mix of materials for optimized strength, weight distribution, and fuel performance.

Adjustable Drivers

Modern drivers with adjustable loft, face angle, and weight distribution for personalized shots.

Golf Club Names: Woods 

Woods are numbered clubs that come after the driver, ranging from 2-wood to 9-wood. They have larger clubheads and longer shafts than irons and are mainly used for hitting the ball long distances from the fairway, rough, or tee. 

The lower-numbered woods, such as 3-wood or 5-wood, are the most popular and often used as alternatives to drivers when accuracy is prioritized over maximum distance. 

Higher-numbered woods, like 7-wood or 9-wood, are used for long shots when the ball needs to be elevated quickly.

wood golf club

Golf Club Names: Irons

Irons are versatile clubs that are essential for various shots on the golf course. The lower numbers denote longer shafts and lower lofts, and they are available in numbered sets ranging from 2-iron to 9-iron

Compared to woods, the irons’ design enables more control and accuracy. They are frequently used for shots from the rough, the fairway, or even the green.

Long Irons 

The 2-iron to 4-iron range of long irons often have longer shafts and lower lofts than their shorter counterparts.

They usually get used for shots that need both distance and height, like approach shots on par-4s and long par-3s off the tee.

set of iron golf clubs
metl golf club closeup on green background


The mid-irons, which typically range from the 5-iron to the 7-iron, strike a balance between distance and control. 

They are adaptable clubs that can be used for a variety of shots, including approach shots, shots from the fairway, and even tee shots on shorter par-3s.

5-iron, 6-iron and 7-iron golf clubs

Short Irons 

In comparison to long and mid-irons, short irons numbered 8-iron and 9-iron, have higher lofts and shorter shafts. 

They are designed to deliver the highest level of precision and control, making them perfect for strokes that need accuracy, like approach shots to greens or shots from the rough.

8-iron and 9-iron golf clubs

Golf Club Names: Hybrids 

Rescue clubs, commonly referred to as hybrids, combine irons and woods. They offer the best of both worlds with a clubhead that is smaller than woods yet larger than irons. 

Hybrids are suitable for players who struggle with long irons, given that they are made to be forgiving and easier to hit. They are commonly used for rough, fairway shots or even as alternatives to long irons.

hybrid golf club
golf hybrid club with a golf ball lying in low rough

Golf Club Names: Wedges 

Wedges are specialized clubs for shots requiring high trajectory and precision around the green. They have the highest lofts among all the golf clubs, allowing players to generate maximum backspin and control. 

There are several types of wedges, each serving specific purposes:

Pitching Wedge 

The pitching wedge, often termed PW, is one of the most commonly used wedges. It typically has a loft between 44 and 48 degrees. 

The pitching wedge is primarily used for approach shots from the fairway or rough when the player needs to hit the ball high and land it softly on the green. It is also useful for chipping around the green or hitting short-pitch shots.

set of wedge golf clubs
Close-up of the hands of a male professional player holding three different golf clubs, while standing against sunshine on the golf course of a modern country club

Approach Wedge 

The approach wedge, sometimes called the gap wedge or utility wedge, fills the gap between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge regarding the loft. It typically has a loft between 50 and 54 degrees. 

The approach wedge is designed for shots that require a higher trajectory than a pitching wedge but with more control than a sand wedge

It is useful for approach shots from the fairway or rough, especially when the player needs to carry a hazard or navigate a tight landing area.

Sand Wedge 

The sand wedge, commonly denoted as SW, is specifically designed for shots out of the sand bunkers. 

Its loft is high, often between 54 and 58 degrees, which helps launch the ball out of the sand and onto the green. 

The sand wedge can readily go through the sand owing to its larger sole and more rounded leading edge. 

Additionally, it can be used for shots from thick rough, or flop shots around the green where the player needs to get the ball up quickly.

sand wedge golf club

Lob Wedge 

The highest loft of all the wedges is found in the lob wedge, occasionally referred to as the L-wedge or the flop wedge. Its typical loft is between 60 and 64 degrees. 

It is mainly used for shots that call for a high, soft trajectory with few rolls, including those that need to be struck over hazards or onto elevated greens. 

When a player wants to carry the ball over a bunker or a slope and stop it quickly on a shot near the green, the lob wedge is very effective for this purpose.

lob wedge golf club

Golf Club Names: Putters 

Putters are specifically designed for rolling the ball along the green and into the hole. They have a flat clubface with minimal loft and are generally shorter than other clubs. 

Putters come in various styles, including blade, mallet, and counterbalanced. The choice of putter depends on the player’s preference and stroke style. Finding a putter that feels comfortable and instills confidence in your game is crucial.

Blade Putter

Their compact design and slender clubface characterize blade putters. These putters offer enhanced feedback and control, empowering golfers to refine their strokes precisely. 

Golfers seeking a classic aesthetic and maximum control over their putting technique often gravitate toward blade putters.

blade putter golf club

Mallet Putter

On the other hand, mallet putters exhibit a larger and more forgiving clubhead compared to their blade counterparts. With their comprehensive alignment aids, these putters assist golfers in aligning their putts more accurately. 

Golfers who struggle with alignment or prefer a forgiving, stable putter commonly opt for mallet putters.

mallet putter golf club

Counterbalanced Putter

Counterbalanced putters prove to be an excellent choice for those desiring additional stability and control during the putting stroke. 

These putters feature a longer and heavier clubhead, often accompanied by a counterbalanced grip or extra weight in the shaft. 

By minimizing wrist action, the counterbalanced design facilitates a smoother stroke. Golfers who reduce hand and wrist movement frequently rely on counterbalanced putters to achieve a more consistent putting stroke.

counterbalanced putter golf club

Choosing the Right Golf Club

Choosing the right golf club for each shot is crucial for success on the course. Distance, trajectory, and the ball’s lie must be considered when selecting a club. 

The first step in making the right choice is understanding the different types of golf clubs and their uses. Additionally, practicing and developing a feel for each club through trial and error is essential.

Consider your skill level, swing speed, and playing style when selecting a club. It can be helpful to consult with a golf professional or club fitter who can analyze your swing and provide recommendations based on your needs. 

Trying out different clubs and seeking feedback from experienced players can also help you find the clubs that suit your game the best.

golf club set

Final Thoughts: Golf Club Names, Types & Uses

To wrap things up, golf clubs are designed for specific uses on the course, and understanding their names and functions is essential for playing the game effectively. 

Each club serves a unique purpose, from drivers to putters, and selecting the right club for each shot is crucial for low scores

By familiarizing yourself with the various golf club names and their uses, you can improve your game and enjoy the challenges and rewards golf offers.

Next Up: How To Polish Golf Clubs Correctly!

Photo of author
After graduating from the Professional Golf Management program in Palm Springs, CA, I moved back to Toronto, Canada, turned pro and became a Class 'A' member of the PGA of Canada. I then began working at some of the city's most prominent country clubs. While this was exciting, it wasn't as fulfilling as teaching, and I made the change from a pro shop professional to a teaching professional. Within two years, I was the Lead Teaching Professional at one of Toronto's busiest golf instruction facilities. Since then, I've stepped back from the stress of running a successful golf academy to focus on helping golfers in a different way. Knowledge is key so improving a players golf IQ is crucial when choosing things like the right equipment or how to cure a slice. As a writer I can help a wide range of people while still having a little time to golf myself!

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