The Complete Guide To What Are Golf Clubs Made Of?

What are golf clubs made of? Do we know, and is it of any interest to us?

Given that the sport has been around for hundreds of years, the equipment we put in our golf bags today doesn’t share any design cues or materials used by golfers in the sport’s earliest days.

Golfers today have never had such a rich choice of equipment to choose from when they want to make a change.

Making golf easier for us, manufacturers are employing materials used in making jet aircraft and Formula 1 cars.

Join us as we take a deep dive into what are golf clubs made of.

To do this, we’ll cover the following areas:

  • A Brief History Of What Golf Clubs Were Made Of
  • The Rapid Growth Of New Materials 
  • What Are Golf Clubs Made Of Today?
  • What Are Golf Shafts Made From?

Let’s get into it!

What Are Golf Clubs Made Of? The Complete Guide! Irons and Balls in the background

A Brief History of What Golf Clubs Were Made Of

Analyzing what are golf clubs made in the earliest days, we see materials such as persimmon and forged steel being the most commonly used materials.

Persimmon was favored to make drivers and fairway woods as it was a resilient wood that could stand up to the hard life golf clubs had but was soft enough to make into golf clubs.

Irons were made with steel and were forged to shape the heads, a process still followed today, and we’ll come to later in this article.

The Rapid Growth of New Materials

The question of what are golf club heads made of remained relatively unchanged until the 1970s, when new materials started to make an impact.

The first of these changes was the successful launch of the first steel-headed driver – the TaylorMade Pittsburgh Persimmon. 

Steel was exciting for manufacturers because it was lighter than wood, meaning a slightly bigger head – a theme we will see repeated in drivers to this day.

Steel also meant that driver heads were hollow for the first time, allowing weight to be distributed around the perimeter of the face, increasing the sweet spot.

The easier-to-hit steel drivers gained popularity and spelled the end for the persimmon wood.

A golf club driver next to a white golf ball.

Steel was the staple material of drivers until the mid-1990s when a new material emerged called titanium.

With irons, a new casting process meant no forging, changing the answer to what are golf club heads made of by allowing heads to be made more quickly and effectively.

We also see the introduction of cavity-backed irons pioneered by Ping, allowing weight to be distributed more efficiently, creating an easier-to-hit iron.

What Are Golf Clubs Made Of Today

So, what are golf clubs made of now? We’ll look at the materials that go into making:

  • Driver
  • Fairway Wood
  • Hybrids
  • Irons
  • Wedges
  • Putters
A silver golf driver on the driving range.

#1: Driver

We mentioned that titanium started to appear on drivers in the mid-1990s.

Titanium was lighter and stronger than steel, which offered key advantages to constructing drivers. 

For starters, lighter titanium meant manufacturers could start making driver heads bigger without adding to the club’s overall weight.

This also meant more strategic positioning of weight, which was pushed even further to the perimeters of the head, adding more forgiveness for off-center hits.

Another advantage of titanium was that it was thinner and stronger than steel. This led to an increased “spring effect” at impact, meaning faster ball speeds were being recorded.

The technical term for this “spring effect” is the Coefficient of Restitution (COR), which became the new measure for driver performance as manufacturers pushed the envelope further and further.

This was noticed by the game’s governing bodies, who introduced a new maximum COR limit of 0.83.

This new COR limit meant that only 83% of the driver’s energy could be delivered at impact.

With all drivers confirming with the new rules, a period of stability set in, but changes started to come to the fore with the introduction of carbon fiber. 

A black carbon golf driver next to a white golf ball.

Initially, carbon started to appear on the crown area of drivers. 

Carbon was even stronger and lighter than titanium. With the crown made from carbon, manufacturers could further maneuver the weight lower and deeper in the head, creating more stability.

Carbon also started to appear in the sole area of drivers along with the crown to reduce overall head weight, but TaylorMade offered a drastic new proposition in 2021 with the launch of its Stealth driver.

The striking red face was one talking point, but the more important element was that the face was made of carbon.

TaylorMade had joined 60 sheets of carbon together to create a face, which they claim offers a more responsive face, providing higher ball speed and, therefore, more distance for any golfer.

Carbon looks set to play a significant role in the design and base material used in drivers in the future, but whether all drivers will be made of carbon and not titanium remains to be seen.

A set of old golf clubs lying on a wooden surface.

#2: Fairway Woods

Carbon hasn’t captured the fairway wood market just yet.

The current crop of fairway wood heads is made from either titanium or steel. The principle remains the same, for titanium is stronger and lighter than steel; therefore, it will produce a “hotter” fairway wood.

There are two reasons to consider why carbon hasn’t yet made a more substantial presence in the fairway wood market:

  • Cost 
  • Distance Gapping


We see that premium drivers featuring extensive use of carbon are priced at the highest end of the spectrum.

It would be inevitable to think that carbon fairway woods would also follow this trend and be expensive. 

There is also the argument that fairway woods are less heavily used than the driver, which also would make it difficult to justify the increased cost.

Distance Gapping

Players don’t want a 3-wood that potentially is as long as their driver, which could leave a big distance gap to the next fairway wood/hybrid in their bag.

A golfer pulls a golf club out of a golf club bag.

#3: Hybrids

Hybrids have been with us since the early 2000s. They offered a viable replacement for harder-to-hit long irons, producing higher ball flights and more forgiveness.

Hybrids are the middle ground for players who don’t get along with more lofted fairway woods but need more playability than a 2 or 3 iron.

Regarding the materials used in head production, we see steel as the most common material. Still, some hybrids are titanium-based for maximum performance.

Outright distance is not necessarily an essential requirement when purchasing hybrids.

Distance gapping is the more critical element in bridging the gap between fairway woods and irons.

#4: irons

What Are Golf Irons Made of?

Irons are still made from different steel varieties, depending on what type of iron you are creating.

The answer to “What are golf irons made of?” Well, there’s no one answer.

Irons today fall into three categories:

  • Forged 
  • Cavity Back
  • Hollow Body
A set of three golf clubs next to three white golf balls.


The appeal of a forged golf club is likely to remain the same. We associate bladed irons the most for going through a forging process.

Companies like Mizuno and Miura will select the softest carbon steel they can use and follow traditional forging methods to create arguably the best-feeling irons.

While forged blades can be considered the best-looking irons, they are not for everyone.

Blades demand consistent, solid ball striking, which makes them more appealing to better players.

Better players are also looking for playability and feedback in their irons, which are best delivered in forged blades.

One type of club that has become very popular that straddles the high-performance elite professional to single-figure handicap golfers is the player’s cavity back iron.

These irons can be forged and look similar to a blade but feature a small cavity in the rear to assist off-center hits.

Cavity Back

Cavity back irons can also help medium to higher-handicap golfers.

Cavity back irons are still made from steel, but the steel isn’t forged in production and is cast instead.

Casting is the process of heating steel to a given temperature and pouring it into an iron head-shaped mold during production.

Cast iron heads don’t offer the same feedback as a forged iron but are not as susceptible to the “dings” forged iron heads can be subjected to as they move around in your golf bag.

Cavity back irons spread the weight to the outermost perimeters of the iron head, increasing the sweet spot and forgiveness of the iron.

Cavity back irons can also feature a wider sole to help get the ball airborne. The higher flight helps the ball stop more quickly on the greens.

A number of iron golf clubs sit on a table.

Hollow Body

A relative newcomer in the iron world, the hollow body iron aims to provide explosive performance in a club with a similar look to a blade.

A hollow body iron is created by having the front of the iron made separately from the back of the iron and melding the two pieces together with a hollow area between the two halves.

Recently, we have also seen the market for multi-material irons becoming more popular.

Manufacturers have used tungsten in certain parts of the iron head to alter the center of gravity or used a forged insert in the face to provide the same feedback as a forged iron but attached to a cast head.

#5: Wedges 

Wedges follow a similar pattern to irons, falling into either the forged or cast camps.

Forged wedges will offer the maximum feel and feedback. The steel can be treated to allow it to deliberately rust through use, adding more feel.

Cast wedges can also have different finishes applied, which can help feel or reduce glare from the sun.

Five golf clubs lie on the ground next to golf balls.

#6: Putters

Putters are also steel-based but can feature different materials in the face to enhance the feel. The alternative to insert putters is milled putters.

Milled putters are more consistent in their feel as they are machined from a single piece of soft carbon steel.

Scotty Cameron or Bettinardi putters offer the best examples of milled putters.

Insert putters are easily spotted as their inserts tend to be a different color to the rest of the putter and can feature materials such as surlyn as in the famous Odyssey White Hot putters.

What Are Golf Shafts Made From?

What are golf clubs made of would not be complete without looking at golf shafts.

Golf shafts are made from either:

  • Graphite
  • Steel


All drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids feature graphite shafts. 

A graphite shaft is constructed from sheets of carbon and resin. Different playing characteristics for graphite shafts can be achieved by adding more carbon and resin sheets to specific shaft areas.

A row of steel golf shafts lie on the grass.


For most, steel is still the material of shaft choice for irons, but some players opt for graphite shafts.

The production process sees a large cylinder of steel shaped and stretched, then cut to the length required.

Steel shafts are generally heavier than their graphite counterparts.

Final Thoughts

Today, when we answer the question of what are golf clubs made of, we see materials like carbon and titanium alongside more traditional materials such as steel.

The techniques to make a traditional forged blade iron have stayed the same for generations, and in looking at manufacturers like Miura, they are still entirely hand-built to this day.

From an equipment perspective, there has never been a better time to be playing or taking up golf!

How about improving your fitness to help you hit the ball further and reduce the risk of injury? Check out this great article to help you get fitter for golf!

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Golf has been a passion of mine for over 30 years. It has brought me many special moments including being able to turn professional. Helping people learn to play this great game was a real highlight especially when they made solid contact with the ball and they saw it fly far and straight! Injury meant I couldn't continue with my professional training but once fully fit I was able to work on and keep my handicap in low single figures representing my golf club in local and regional events. Being able to combine golf with writing is something I truly enjoy. Helping other people learn more about golf or be inspired to take up the game is something very special.

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