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Golf Equipment

Golf Equipment: An Introduction

A golfer's main equipment consists of the ball and a set of clubs. Each club is designed to play a particular type of stroke or to hit the ball a certain distance.

Golf balls used in competition throughout the world can weigh no less than 1.62 ounces (45.9 grams) and must measure at least 1.68 inches (4.27 centimeters) in diameter.

There are two types of balls, wound and two-piece. Wound balls are made of thin rubber thread wound tightly around a core. The core may be solid rubber, or a sac filled with water or another liquid. Wound balls are softer and take more spin, allowing skillful golfers more control of the ball's flight. Two-piece balls have a solid core with no rubber thread. They are harder and more popular with less skillful golfers. Both types can be covered with rubber or synthetic material. The cover has numerous tiny depressions called dimples that increase the ball's distance and accuracy.

Golf clubs are slender tubes, usually of steel, with a grip at one end for the golfer to hold and a head at the other for striking the ball. There are two types of clubs: woods and irons. Woods have a large, thick head made of a solid block of wood or of laminated wood. But some woods may have hollow metal heads. Players use woods for the longest shots. Irons have much thinner, blade-like heads of steel. They provide less distance than woods but more accuracy. Although it is sometimes considered an iron, the putter is usually sold separately. Most club shafts are made of steel. Shafts of such materials as aluminum, fiberglass, graphite, and graphite and steel are also available. In golf's earliest days, shafts were often made of ash, and later of hickory.

Woods are used by golfers when they want to hit the ball a long distance. Golfers use the driver to tee off. They use the other woods for shots from the fairway. The greater loft (angle of the club face) gives iron shots more height but less distance than wood shots. The greater the loft, the higher and shorter the shot. Skillful golfers can put backspin on an iron shot, which stops the ball when it lands on the green. Golfers then tap the ball with the putter to roll it into the hole.

Woods and irons are usually numbered from 1 to 9. The higher the number of the club, the greater is the loft (slope) on the face (front of the head). Each club has a different vertically angled loft. The greater the loft, the higher and shorter the ball will travel.

The No. 1 wood, also called the driver, has the least amount of loft of any club except the putter. It also hits the ball the farthest. The driver is used off the tee. Professional golfers and top amateurs will average about 250 yards (229 meters) on a drive. Other woods, called fairway woods, are used for long shots off the fairway. Fairway woods include the No. 2 (rarely used today), No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 woods. Professional golfers usually do not carry woods beyond No. 5.

The loft on an iron ranges from the No. 1 iron, which has the least amount, to No. 9, which has the most. Other irons include the pitching wedge for short, accurate shots, and the sand wedge, for shots from sand traps. Most golfers carry both wedges.

Golfers may carry a maximum of 14 clubs during a round. Golfers are free to choose their own set. By the mid-1980's, the set used by professional or top amateur golfers consisted of a driver, a No. 3 wood, and either a No. 4 or No. 5 wood, No. 2 iron through No. 9 iron, the two wedges, and a putter. When a No. 1 iron is included, one of the fairway woods is usually left out.

2004 The World Book Inc. All rights reserved.

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golf for beginners article, golf equipment introduction
Golf Equipment: An Introduction

A golfer's main equipment consists of the ball and a set of clubs. Each club is designed to play a particular type of stroke or to hit the ball a certain distance.


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