Golf equipment is undoubtedly the area of the game that has developed most rapidly in recent times. Everything from clubs to balls, and from shoes to waterproof clothing, has been revolutionised in terms of technology and design.
The basic components, however, remain largely the same:
The Ball: Has a dimpled surface to reduce aerodynamic drag and can be made from a variety of materials designed to make the ball fly further, or to generate more spin. It must have a diameter of not less than 42.67millimetres and must not weigh more than 45.93 grammes. There are no limits on maximum size or minimum weight.
Driver: The club designed to send the ball as far away as possible, almost exclusively used from the teeing-ground. The driver is usually the longest club in the bag and has fewer degrees of loft than any other club (excluding the putter). This means that more of the energy created during the swing is translated into distance from the tee, rather than height and spin. For that reason it can be the most inaccurate of the clubs, although larger head sizes and higher moment of inertia have helped to make drivers more ‘forgiving’. Some of the top professionals can regularly drive the ball over 300 yards.
Fairway woods: Have smaller club heads than drivers and are designed to make it easier to strike a ball sitting on the ground, though players will often take a three-wood from the tee as it offers increased accuracy. For higher-handicapped players, more lofted fairway woods will often be used instead of long irons.
‘Rescue’ club: A hybrid club containing elements of fairway woods and long irons, the rescue club is a relatively new addition to the golf world that has made its way into the bags of many top pros. They are easier to strike from the rough than a long iron and, generally, strike the ball further.
Irons: Were originally manufactured from forged iron, hence the name, and have shorter shafts and flatter faces than woods. They are designed for shots approaching the green or, thanks to sharper leading edges and a steeper swing-plane, for scything through the rough. Irons have lofts ranging from approximately 16 degrees (one-iron) to 41 degrees (nine-iron).
Wedges: Have lofts above 42 degrees and are designed to be high trajectory, high spin and high accuracy clubs. They are most frequently used for hitting the ball short distances onto the green, getting out of or over hazards and chipping the ball from the fringe. Wedges generally fall into four categories: pitching wedge (48 degrees), gap wedge (52 degrees), sand wedge (56 degrees) and lob wedge (60 degrees).
Putter: A putter is a club with a loft not exceeding ten degrees designed primarily for use on the putting green.