Terms used for golf clubs – What you thought you knew and what they really mean


Modern technology has changed the way you play golf altogether. In fact, there are so many aspects to the golf club that you must know or learn before even buying one. Knowing about them and knowing them are 2 different things so you need to find out a bit more about the terms used before you venture out.

  • Angle of Attack – The angle can either be ascending or descending or shallow or steep and it is the angle where your club is going to hit the ball. The angle of attack typically determines how high or far the ball will go and its distance as well.
  • Attack Wedge – This is also known as the Gap Wedge where the loft would be about 46 to 52 degrees. This refers to the part between the sand and pitching wedges respectively.
  • Bounce – Directly related to wedges, it is how round the sole of the club is that enable the clubhead without having to dig in to get past hazards like long grass and thick sand patches
  • Brassie – More or less the same as the 2-wood and was used in the early golfing years. Not in use today anymore.
  • Bulge and Roll – Related to Gear Effect, it is the part of the head on the club where you hit it with a spin so that it straightens the ball.
  • Carbon Steel – If you use forged clubs, this is the steel used to make them which typically is iron and carbon minerals.
  • Cavity Back – This is where the weight around the back portion of the clubhead is removed so that a cavity can be produced and where the weight is channeled to the club’s perimeter instead.
  • Casting – During the process of making the club, molten metal is poured into a cast in the shape of the clubhead.
  • Center of Gravity – Known in short as CoG, it is where the highest amount of mass is located in the clubhead.
  • Center Shafted – Commonly found in putters with the shaft being connected via the center part of the clubhead.
  • Chipper – A common choice among new and intermediate players, this is the club used if you want to chip the ball.
  • Clone – As the name implies, these are clubs that resemble the real ones. They are made from components that are available (mostly online). Manufacturers will find components and materials that are similar to branded ones. Also known as a ‘knock off’.
  • Club Fitting – When certain adjustments based on the player’s characteristics like height, swing speed and style onto a golf club. This means they make the club according to what you need.
  • Clubhead – Perhaps the most significant part of the club, it is where the club hits the ball. The other major components of the club are the grip and the shaft.
  • Club Length – Measuring the length from one end to the other end of the club. The rule of thumb is that it will be easier to hit the ball if the club is shorter.
  • Coefficient of Restitution – Sometimes related to the Trampoline Effect, this is how much the clubface could provide the rebound. Known in short as COR, a 0 means there is no rebound while 1 is where the ball rebounds at the same speed when the clubface impacted it.
  • Crown – This refers to the top of the club. They usually use carbon graphite as they are lighter to control the crown’s CoG.
  • Driver – This is the longest club designed to give you the farthest distance.
  • Ferrule – Formerly used only for aesthetics purposes but is now used to protect the shaft (usually made from graphite) from cracks. This is the part of the club that protects the segment between the shaft and the clubhead.
  • Epoxy – To connect the shaft to the clubhead firmly, this adhesive is used.
  • Face – Where the ball gets impacted by the part of the clubhead usually made from different types of metals or steels (irons) and for drivers, titanium is commonly used.
  • Frequency Matching – This occurs when the stiffness of a shaft of a set of irons is adjusted according to the swing speed of the golfer. This is because, in iron shafts, the stiffness will not be the same but will get stiffer when the shaft gets longer hence this needs to be done to uniform the stiffness.
  • Gap Wedge – Made to fill up the gap in the loft, this refers to the wedge between the sand and pitching wedges respectively.
  • Gear Effect – This is to try and make the ball go straighter, referring to the situation where the convex fact of the driver reduces the side spin amount.
  • Grooves – Found mostly in irons, this is the lateral slot-shaped depression found in those clubs. They will create a backspin when hit. Previously made to be V-shaped.
  • Heel Shafted – Found in putters, this is where the shaft is connected to a specific end of a clubface.
  • Hosel – This refers to the part where the shaft connects to the clubhead.
  • Hybrid – One of the most common drivers today, it is a type of club where wood and long iron technologies are combined in production. Typically, hybrid clubs are meant to replace long iron as they have the same length. However, the design of the clubhead takes the best from the woods.
  • Investment Casting – Where molten metal is poured into preformed molds during manufacturing, the molds are only used one time in investment casting.
  • Iron – Refers to the material (metal) used to make the golf club. They are made in different lofts to give you different distances. The design of irons differentiates them from hybrids, drivers and woods.
  • Kick Point – This refers to the part of the shaft where flexing mostly occurs otherwise known also as bend point and flex point. The idea is that the ball will fly higher with lower flex points.
  • Launch Angle – This refers to the angle when the clubface and the ball depart.
  • Leading Edge – This refers to the part where the ball and the clubhead first come into contact.
  • Lie Angle – The Lie angle will differ between golfers since everyone has a different height and swing plane. The lie angle is the angle where the club’s sole is sitting on the ground.
  • Loft Angle – Where the clubface’s angle relative to the perpendicular line up from the ground’s angle is known as the loft angle. Here, more loft means you will get higher and shorter shots with more backspin.
  • Lob Wedge – This refers to the wedge with usually about 58 and 62 degrees is the one with the most loft.
  • Mallet – This is a type of putter where the head is larger. Back and away from the face, it has more weight designed for larger inertia.
  • Maraging – Used in many types of fairway woods, it is the process in manufacturing where the steel is hardened very much since it is known to get more energy upon contact with the ball.
  • Mashie – Like the 5 iron today, it is a golf club in the early days of golf.
  • Milled Face – Uses a special process to precisely cut the grooves in a clubface mostly found in putters and some better iron faces.
  • Muscle Back – Commonly found in ‘blade’ style clubs, it is a design of the clubhead in forged irons. The weight is placed behind the face so that you get more power when you hit.
  • Niblick – The early golf club similar to the wedge today.
  • Oil Can – An aesthetic feature of the club, it is a finish applied to the club (mostly in wedges) which is like rust or pewter-like coating.
  • Oversize – Originally began with the Big Bertha wood but became a common feature on irons which gives you a larger sweet spot.
  • Moment of Inertia – Where the club gives you the resistance to twisting, it is known in short as MOI.
  • Pureing – A process made to compensate for the lack of actual roundness in shafts, it is also known as spine alignment.
  • Pitching Wedge – PWs is a type of club where the lowest would give you about 44 to 46 degrees.
  • Sand Wedge – As the name implies, it gets you about 52 to 56 degrees and gives you the middlemost loft. This is the one where you might get the most bounce as it is designed for the sand hazard.
  • Shaft – A major component of the club and is the long part of the whole unit attaching the head and the grip on both ends. Started out with wood before steel became the major material. Today, graphite is the order of the day and it is very crucial to have the right length and flexibility for the golfer.
  • Sole – This refers to the bottom part of the clubhead in which it contacts the floor. The rule of thumb is that wider soles will give you a smooth move across the grass.
  • Stainless Steel – One of the common materials used to make most types of hybrids, irons and woods.
  • Steel Shaft – Besides graphite, this is one of the two types of materials used to make shafts. As they have less twisting, they are believed to have more accuracy.
  • Sweet Spot – This is the clubface section that gives you the most energy where the larger the clubhead, the larger the sweet spot.
  • Swing Weight – Based on the balance point along the shaft, it refers to the weight of the club. This is not the total weight of the club but refers to the weight the golfer feels when he makes the swing. It should be ideal that all clubs have the same swing weight for the golfer which is measured between A1 and G10. This is closely related to club fitting which tries to get the right fit for the golfer.
  • Tipping – This refers to the process where the shaft is prepared for installation in which the desired point for correct flex and swing weight is cut. Otherwise known as tip trimming.
  • Toe – This refers to the tip part of the clubhead which is at the other end of the hosel.
  • Topline – This is the top of the clubhead where thick ones let players hit higher balls.
  • Torque – As the name implies, more torque would mean you get more tendency to twist.
  • Trajectory – This refers to the angle when the ball departs from the clubhead. In today’s drivers, low spin balls higher trajectories are more preferred.
  • Trampoline effect – This refers to the situation where the ball rebounds off the face of the driver and is quite popular with thinner faces.
  • Utility Club – Used in the hybrid club but was previously more popular for special situations.
  • Working the Ball – A situation where the golfer is able to move the ball from one side to another or from low to high and vice versa.
  • Zinc – Popular material used in golf clubs that are not so expensive. They would be softer and easily breakable and is not common among high-quality clubs.

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