What are Golf Clubs Made From?
Golf clubs have come a long way since the game first began. What started with simple equipment fashioned out of wood has evolved into sleek, metal clubs created in science labs. The modern-day club has been thoroughly researched, tested and optimized to be as effective as possible in the hands of a golfer.
But the parts of a club aren’t all made of the same material. The grip is different to the shaft which is different to the club head. This article will explore each of these and outline exactly what golf clubs are made from.
What Are Clubheads Made From?
The most well-known part of a club is the head. It’s what we hear about most. This putter contains X, or this driver is weighted by Y. So what exactly goes into a golf club head.
It’s pretty commonly known that titanium is used in golf clubs. It first appeared in the early 90s and once its benefits were realised, titanium clubs soon replaced wooden ones – in the driver category at least. Lighter than steel, titanium was often used in the aerospace industry before golf manufacturers saw its potential to replace clubs previously made of wood.
Golf clubs made of titanium will utilise many different titanium alloys or, in other words, different materials are mixed in with titanium to alter its weight and strength. Typically, on account of its costly and lightweight nature, titanium is usually only used only in drivers.
Many more expensive clubs will actually use a mixture of different materials for different parts of the head. Some drivers may have a club face made from titanium while the body is made of steel.
Fairway woods and hybrids don’t tend to enjoy the same advantages as a driver does when made from titanium. Plus golfers are more likely to spend greater sums on a driver than they might on most other types of golf club.
As the most used material in golf, all players should be aware of stainless steel. There are two different types of stainless steel used in golf clubs, the 17-4 and 431. The 17-4 stainless steel is the stronger of the two and is used in hybrids, woods and certain types of irons while the 431 stainless steel is used in putters and most irons.
Although they are still called woods, drivers and fairway clubs are now made from stainless steel, titanium or carbon. Some people prefer to use the term metal woods which is obviously a bit strange!
Maraging steel is a recent addition to the golfing world. It is a harder form of steel and on account of its high price, is often used as an insert rather than a whole head. It is incorporated to boost the performance of clubs and a well-known example is the Ping i525 irons.
Aluminium was widely used in the 70s and 80s however the clubs were proven to be neither strong nor durable. Modern-day aluminium alloys have rectified this problem somewhat. A low-cost alternative, aluminium is a good choice for starter sets and junior clubs. Just don’t expect the ball to fly as far with them.
It appears that we have entered the Carbon age. Carbon Graphite has started to feature more and more in driver heads to help improve weight savings. Usually used to form the crown of the club to save weight. Recently TaylorMade released their Stealth range where the face was made from carbon graphite. If it’s a success, expect to see carbon-headed clubs become much more popular. Callaway tried a similar design 20 years or so ago called the C4.
A soft, malleable material that is easy to work with, carbon steel is commonly used in irons, wedges and putters. It is used to create forged iron clubs which are softer than traditional stainless steel. As such, more skilled players with lower handicaps would prefer a set of clubs made from carbon steel.
Zinc is a low-cost, cheap alternative to other metals. It is used when a soft metal is required. It is less durable than stainless steel and is a good option in the manufacturing of starter sets and junior clubs.
While wood is no longer used except by one or two diehard enthusiasts, it was the dominant material in golf club manufacturing for centuries. Heads were typically made from hardwood such as apple, holly, beech or pear.
What Are Shafts Made From?
Golf club shafts are an incredibly important part of the golf club. The right shaft can complement your game and help you get the most out of your swing. An ill-fitting shaft can result in poor strikes and less-than-desired ball flights. Here are the most common shaft types in golf.
Steel shafts tend to be a stronger, more durable and less expensive option than graphite and can be made from either carbon steel or stainless steel. They offer greater accuracy though less distance than graphite shafts. There are two types of steel shafts, stepped and rifle.
Stepped shafts gradually reduce in diameter as they get closer to the clubhead while rifled shafts are smooth for the whole length. Most irons are made with stepped shafts which will give greater length. It has been claimed though that rifle shafts provide more accuracy.
Graphite shafts are lighter, less durable and more expensive than steel. They help the ball fly further through their flexibility. Most drivers these days use graphite shafts and graphite irons are suitable for shorter hitters.
Multi-material shafts are quite a new invention. They are made from, as you may have guessed, a combination of steel and graphite. The idea is to get the best of both worlds and improve performance.
Other Types of Shafts
Two lesser-known types of shafts are titanium shafts and nanofuse shafts. While neither is very common, it will be interesting to see if there is any rise in their popularity over the coming years.
What are Grips Made From?
The importance of the grip is often overlooked. After all, it is the only part of the club you come in contact with when you swing. As such, you need to feel comfortable with the material. Grips have a surprisingly varied composition and the materials used include cord, rubber, plastic, chamois, cabretta leather and leather.
Rubber, cord and plastic tend to be the most common in today’s game while in the past leather was the material of choice.
What are Ferrules Made From?
The ferrule is the small little object at the base of the shaft that connects the shaft and clubhead together. They are vital to the golf club and are either made out of plastic or aluminium.
Rules on Materials
For all the rules the game of golf has, there are surprisingly no guidelines on the material that can be used in the Rules of Golf. Sure, there are rules on the maximum size (460cc) and shape of a club, but not on the materials used.
What are Golf Clubs Made From: Summary
There’s a lot of technology in today’s golf clubs. Whether it’s in the head, the shaft or the grip, everything has been tested and retested to ensure optimum performance. So next time you’re buying a golf club, remember that you aren’t just buying the club. You are buying the technology and decades of research that went into making it!