Golf concepts knowledge base
Many specific terms are used in golf. As a golfer, you could find the names within the sport itself in the rule books. We have listed the most important terms and technical terms in the golf material below in alphabetical order to guide you through 'the dark forest of golf terms'.
All-Weather golf glove - Golf glove suitable for all weather conditions because it is not made of leather but of synthetic materials. This creates more grip in wet weather which prevents you from having to squeeze your club to keep a grip.
Approach wedge - this wedge is one of the 4 types (see: Wedges) and is also called Gap wedge by some brands. This wedge serves to fill the gap between the Pitching wedge and the Sand Wedge (44°-48° loft).
Backspin - clubs with high loft (extra inclined face) cause a strong counter-rotating effect at full swing, causing the ball to slow down or even roll back after landing. Particularly popular with short wedge strokes because of the increase in control in these strokes.
Ball retriever - also known as a ball retriever. Telescopic extendable metal sticks with a metal safety net or tray at the end to take a golf ball out of the water.
Belly putter - putter with such a long shaft that the back of the golf club is held against the belly during putting for extra stability. No longer allowed on the PGA Tour.
Blade putter - a blade-designed putter has a conventional, uncomplicated, straight design and is still the most popular type of putter for many golfers. With this model, the shaft is usually attached to the heel of the club blade.
Blades - blade irons are forged irons aimed at better golfers with a clubhead that is forged solid. A softer steel is stamped to create a more solid whole. In this type of club, the steering of the ball and the clean feel that gives the club feedback on impact is more important than any forgiving properties. The blades segment covers less than 10% of the entire golf market. The other 90% are clubs with Cavity Back functionality, a hollow space behind the face for more forgiveness. These are (usually) not forged but cast (forged) club heads.
Casted - the English term for cast and refers to most contemporary clubheads made of irons. A mould is then used to cast the clubhead into its desired shape. Especially for better golfers, forged irons are still made but when heated, somewhat softer steel is stamped to the final shape.
Cart bag - a golf bag intended to be attached to a golf trolley, we call cart bags or
trolley bags / trolley bags. There are also carrier bags (also called carry bags) that are carried over the shoulder or on the back. Characteristic is that cart bags are somewhat heavier and larger than carrier bags but often have more functionalities and storage space. Cart bags often have a single carry strap and carry bags a multiple, more comfortable carry strap. Nowadays there are also hybrid golf bags that successfully combine the advantages of both types. Such a carrier bag is light and manageable but also has all kinds of handy features. Due to the advance of hybrid bags, there are more and more golfers who no longer use a separate summer bag (cart) and winter bag (carry).
Carrybag - a golf bag that is meant to be carried (either because people like it or because the use of trolleys is forbidden on the course in winter). With the exception of the very compact versions, these bags have a folding frame to allow the bag to be 'parked' neatly in an upright position. There is also a carrying system (double straps) for comfortable carrying. These days, carrier bags are very light and manageable. Nowadays there are also hybrid golf bags that successfully combine the advantages of both types. Such a carrier bag is light and manageable but also has all kinds of handy features. Due to the advance of hybrid bags, there are more and more golfers who no longer use a separate summer bag (cart) and winter bag (carry).
Cavity back - the hollow, or lightly padded part of the clubhead of irons behind the interface. The Cavity Back is used to make the clubs more forgiving (see: 'forgiveness'). Advanced golfers often choose clubs without Cavity Back because without this technique the club brings more feedback and feeling into the strokes. This category of golfers has such skills that a lot of forgiveness is no longer necessary. Clubheads with a Cavity Back are cast. The casting process brings more design possibilities compared to the forged Blades through more freedom of form.
Center shaft putter - putter where the shaft is attached to the centre of the clubhead instead of the heel. The top view and impact feel are different than usual, which is why some golfers prefer this.
Clubface - the part of the head on which the ball is hit. The clubface is flat and has grooves to give the ball much or little spin. Nowadays, in modern clubs, the clubface is equipped with various techniques to further launch the ball. This refers to the trampoline effect, which is applied within certain limits in the driver. With irons, a modern clubface is strong but wafer-thin in order to give even more acceleration to the ball.
Clubfitting - club fitting (or just the term 'fitting') is the term for customising your golf clubs (usual irons) based on personal wishes, dimensions, properties, and specifications. For many people 'standard,' clubs are fine, but that category of golfers who want to get the most out of their clubs can contact a club-fitter to personalise clubs. Also, people who do not have an 'average' physique or body proportions are better off with custom fitter clubs. We at GolfDriver.nl still sometimes think that regular golf shops (for commercial reasons) are wrong to think that club fitting is necessary. Many 'normal' golfers, especially those with a higher handicap, generally do not notice any difference if their irons are half an inch shorter or longer. Fitting generally makes buying golf clubs more expensive and many golf shops abuse the need to fit to keep their customers away from a much cheaper internet purchase. Read more on this subject here.
Clubhead - the larger part of the golf club you hit the ball with. The size of the blade and the top view of the head is important to many golfers. Partly for the confidence to hit the ball well, partly for its properties.
Driver - the longest, and for many also the most difficult, club to turn off from the Tee. This driver has a large clubhead to allow the ball to make a lot of distance. Large differences between the drivers are present to meet personal wishes. For example, there are drivers that "hit easily", for beginners or slightly advanced golfers. Or drivers that "hit harder" but with the right technique gives the golfer more controllability, length, and control. More and more often drivers are adjustable in loft (launch angle) or can be used with weights to influence the balance in order to adjust the ball flight to your preference.
Driving iron - this club is also known as 'utility iron' and is mainly intended for more advanced, experienced golfers as the low loft makes it not an easy club to handle. With this club, you make a lot of length, comparable to a fairway wood or hybrid with low loft. Both from the tee and 'through the court' these clubs are used to make the controlled distance without losing feeling and control of the ball. Actually, this driving-iron is a normal iron but with extra muscle balls. Advanced golfers hit between 180 and 250 metres with it.
Fairway woods - whether you use irons or fairway woods (also known as metal woods or wood) on the fairway or just outside depends on your preference and the desired ball flight. A fairway wood resembles a driver but is shorter, has a smaller head, and bridges a (somewhat) smaller distance. Fans of fairway woods use these because they can easily make a lot of length in the fairway strokes (also because of the longer shaft than irons) and the head experiences less resistance in grass compared to irons.
Flex - this term is used to describe how flexible a club's shaft is. For some players it is more comfortable to hit with flexible shafts, for some with stiffer clubs. The shaft comes in a variety of flexible shapes (called flex in the values light flex, regular flex, stiff flex and extra stiff flex). Ladies and seniors generally use the more flexible light (or lady-)flex. The stiffer the shaft, the more steerable it is. The weight of the shaft also contributes to the impact result. Trend is to make the shaft as light as possible in order to build up as much swing speed as possible. For golfers with a high swing speed of their own, a stiff or extra stiff flex shaft is recommended. A light shaft is therefore used by golfers with a lower swing speed (ladies / seniors) but the majority of all golfers play with a regular flex shaft.
Forged irons - the term for forged clubheads of irons (such as blades), aimed at advanced golfers who want maximum feedback and feel in their irons. A clubhead that is forged is made of softer steel that is pounded to create a more solid whole. With this type of club, the steering of the ball and the clean feel that gives the club feedback when impacted is more important than any forgiving qualities. This segment covers less than 10% of the entire golf market. The other 90% are cast (Cast) club heads with hollow Cavity Back behind the face for more forgiveness. Casting gives more design freedom to the designer.
Game Improving - this term indicates whether, and to what extent, a club has forgiving attributes that prevent a less clean hit ball from swinging off completely and losing a lot of length. In general it can be said that (Super) Game Improvement clubs are very suitable for starting golfers. Disadvantage is that with these kinds of clubs the steering, feeling and control, which advanced players find very important, are less present. Tour preferred clubs are generally less Game Improvement and more suitable for the demands of the better golfer.
Game Improvement (forgiveness) - this term indicates the extent to which shots that are not pure are launched somewhat straightforwardly without losing too much length. Novice golfers and golfers seeking more control will benefit from clubs with these characteristics. Enormous progress has been made in this area over the last five years. Where "in the past" a misshot ball lost a lot of distance and ended up way off course, this is certainly not always the case with modern, forgiving clubs. The technique ensures that the ball goes less far off course and still maintains a great deal of distance. Advanced or professional golfers have the technique to use less forgiving clubs where the focus is on more distance or accuracy. The club blade is often narrower (less high) in order to create less air resistance and therefore more swing speed.
Grip - handle of a golf club. Important because it ensures a stable contact between golfer and club and therefore also club and ball. If the ball is not hit cleanly, a stiff grip can prevent the club from turning in your hands and the ball from blowing off. The cross-sectional dimension of the grip also ensures more or less grip during the stroke. This also largely depends on the size of the hand and the player's preference. In putters, a thicker SuperStroke grip suppresses wrist action during putting.
Hosel - connection between clubhead and shaft. The method of attachment and the bend in the hosel determine whether the blade is open or closed. Nowadays all kinds of functionalities are incorporated in the hosel for drivers and fairway woods, creating all kinds of adjustment possibilities to influence the ball flight. The angle incorporated in the hosel is also important. This is called the lie-angle (see further description). The angle of the hosel can be bent to adapt the lie-angle to the player. More and more clubs have also integrated a loft adjustment in the hosel so that the launch angle can also be adjusted.
Wood (fairway wood / metal wood) - whether you use irons or 'wooden' (fairway woods, also known as metalwoods) on the fairway or just outside depends on your preference and the desired ball flight. A fairway wood resembles a driver but is shorter, has a smaller head and bridges a (somewhat) smaller distance. Fans of fairway woods use these because they can easily make a lot of length in the fairway strokes and the head experiences less resistance in grass compared to irons.
Hybrid club (rescue club) A Hybrid club, Hybrid or also called rescue club by some manufacturers is a club with the properties that 'float' between those of fairway woods and irons. The shorter shaft in relation to the fairway wood makes it easier to hit the ball clean, while the narrower head experiences less resistance when striking from the high grass. As a result, the club is most often used to hit from perilous positions (hence the term rescue club) or to play the green from afar with a higher ball flight like a long iron. Lots of length, lots of forgiveness: use fairway wood clubs as replacements for the long irons (3,4,5,7).
Hybrid golf bag - Nowadays, in addition to carrybags and cartbags, there are also hybrid golf bags that successfully combine the advantages of both types. Such a carrier bag is light and manageable but also equipped with all kinds of handy features. Due to the rise of hybrid bags, more and more golfers are no longer using a separate summer bag (cartbag) and winter bag (carry/standbag).
Iron - the term iron (golf iron) does not only stand for a hard material but in golf all the more for a kind of club. These clubs, numbered nowadays from 3 to 9 and S(W) and P(W) are called irons. Each number differs in length and loft. From low to high numbers the degrees loft increase, the club becomes shorter and the ball flight higher and higher. For convenience, it is assumed that the difference in length / stroke distance between the following numbers is about 10 metres.
Loft - the loft of a club indicates with the number of degrees under which angle the clubblade is placed in relation to the shaft. The higher the number of degrees, the more open (more horizontal) the blade is and the higher the ball flight. For drivers with a low / small loft of e.g. 8 degrees, it will be more difficult to hit exactly right, but if this is the case, a low, distant ball flight will occur. For drivers with a loft of e.g. 13 degrees loft (ladies) the ball is easy to hit correctly and the ball flight is high and less far. With irons, the loft rises with the club number. An iron 3 with a loft of 15 degrees will be much straighter than an iron 9 with a loft of 40 degrees with all the predictable consequences for the ball flight.
Loft adjustability - more and more golf clubs are equipped with loft adjustability. The face is often adjustable at an angle so that you can discover which loft you like best as a golfer. The adjustment is done with a wrench which is usually supplied with drivers and sometimes with other clubs (hybrids and fairway woods).
Lie / lie angle - the "lie" angle of a
club indicates the angle between the shaft and the head when it rests parallel to the ground. This lie-angle is important because it determines whether your club head is straight/even on the ground when you hit the ball. If the head is off the ground when hitting the ball with the toe or the heel, the ball will not go straight. Your height in relation to the length of your shaft and your posture / position determine whether you can operate the club in the correct position. If this is not the case, you can have the groin angle adjusted by a club fitter who will bend the groin angle (hosel) until the club suits your body and posture.
Rescue club - A Hybrid club, Hybrid or also called rescue club by some manufacturers is a club with the characteristics that 'float' between those of fairway woods and irons. The shorter shaft in relation to the fairway wood makes the ball easier to hit cleanly while the narrower head experiences less resistance to blows from the high grass. As a result, the club is most often used to hit from perilous positions (hence the term rescue club) or to play the green from afar with a higher ball flight like a long iron.
Shaft - the stick, the long, straight part of the golf club is called the shaft. The shaft is made of steel (stem) and graphite, nowadays made of various components. In irons, steel provides more control and feedback on how you hit the ball. Graphite shafts, due to their lighter weight, provide more swing speed (i.e. a little more length in strokes) but less vibration and feedback. Personal preference determines what you 'should use'. The shaft is available in various flexibilities (referred to as flex). In drivers, fairway woods and rescue clubs ("wooden") light graphite shafts are used for more feel and speed. Ladies and seniors generally use light (or lady-)flex.
The stiffer the shaft the more steerable and the less "sway". The weight of the shaft also contributes to the stroke result. Trend is to make the shaft as light as possible in order to build up as much swing speed as possible. For golfers with a high swing speed of their own, a stiff or extra stiff flex shaft is recommended. A light shaft is therefore used by golfers with a lower swing speed (ladies / seniors). The length of the shaft is also related to the length of the strokes. More shaft length means more lever so more ball speed. With the longer clubs it is more difficult for beginning golfers to hit.
Sweetspot - the sweetspot of a golf club is the part of the club magazine where the ball is hit the best to get the best result. A larger sweetspot will bring more forgiveness to the technically less advanced golfer who will hit the ball less cleanly. A smaller sweetspot, when hit cleanly, will give more explosiveness, a property that makes the ball flight longer.
Tour Preferred (TP) - golfers come at different levels. For each level there are different characteristics that are important to achieve an optimal result. The Tour Preferred (TP) clubs are generally more suitable for the better golfers with more technique. In this kind of clubs forgiveness is clearly subordinate to feeling, steerability and control. With these clubs, provided one has the necessary technical skills to deal with them, more ball flight length can be achieved.
Forgiveness (Game improvement, game improving) - this term indicates the extent to which blows that are not completely clean are launched somewhat straight ahead without losing too much length. Novice golfers and golfers seeking more control will benefit from clubs with these characteristics.
Enormous progress has been made in this area over the last five years. Where "in the past" a misshot ball lost a lot of distance and ended up way off course, this is certainly not always the case with modern, forgiving clubs. The technique ensures that the ball goes less far off course and still maintains a great deal of distance. Advanced or professional golfers have enough technique to use less forgiving clubs where the focus is on more distance or accuracy. Here the club blade is often narrower (less high) in order to create less air resistance and therefore more swing speed.
Wedge - is an iron / club with a large loft and a short shaft, suitable for pitching with a Pitching Wedge (PW) (playing high on the green / approach) or chipping or hitting the ball out of the bunker with a Sand Wedge (SW). The higher loft (45* loft or more) creates a high flight unless the ball is hit accidentally with the sole, then the ball shoots straight ahead.... Meanwhile, there are some variations between the gapwedge (low loft 44-48 degrees) and the lobwedge (LW, extremely high loft 60-64 degrees) in order to hit specific high balls. The Approach Wedge (AW) is also occasionally used for wedges that fill the gap between the Pitching Wedge and the Sand Wedge (44-48* loft).
Sole - the sole of a club head is the lower, weighted part of a golf club (head). Nowadays, the focus is on making the sole as low as possible because this makes the club more forgiving. Forgiveness becomes less important as the golfer's experience / technique increases.