Golf woods get there name because they were originally made out of wood. Today, they are more often made from metals to improve durability but they still have the same basic structure and purpose so they have kept their name.
Golf woods are most often going to be your drivers and your fairway clubs. No other club compares to golf wood distances but that distance comes at the expense of loft and control.
So read through our golf wood buying guide to learn a little more about the difference and how to know a good golf wood club when you see it. We’ll also talk briefly about how to use golf woods.
The golf woods in a standard set are usually a golf driver along with one or two fairway woods. Golf wood angles are some of the lowest you’ll find. This means they don’t go very high but they do go far.
For beginners, the 1-wood (golf driver) is one of the toughest clubs in the set. It has the longest shaft and a relatively light weight which makes it very difficult to control. But once you master it, it’s going to help you do great things.
Like irons, golf woods are crafted in a steady progression from 1 up to 9. The 1 is the longest with the lowest loft while the 9 is the shortest with the highest loft. However, they are still woods so they have comparatively less loft (and longer shaft length) than your irons, wedges, and putter.
For reference, a 1 wood usually has a loft of 8-11 degrees (meaning a distance of up to 250 yards). As you move up the line, the degree of loft increases and maxes out at around 27-28 degrees. So even at the high end, golf wood loft is still much lower than your irons and wedges.
Along with the driver, you will often see a 3 wood and 5 wood included in a set to be used as fairway woods. That is, for moving the ball down the fairway as quickly as possible (without worrying too much about accuracy and control).
You could, technically, use a 1 wood on the fairway but unless you are a pro with this challenging club, you are not going to have very much success. It’s highly recommended to have 1 or 2 fairway woods in your set along with the driver.
Some also recommend that beginners and high handicappers trade out a few over their lower loft irons for woods since your higher loft woods (particularly the 5, 7, and 9 woods) are usually easier to hit than the longer irons (namely, the 2, 3, and 4 irons).
If you follow this advice, a good set of clubs will include a 1 wood, 3 wood, 5 wood, 7 wood, and 9 wood (and then a few high loft irons).
In terms of the shaft: a steel shaft is stronger but a graphite shaft is lighter and more flexible. Go for steel if you want consistency (and an easier shot) but go for graphite if you want speed.
Golf woods have smaller clubheads compared to the other clubs in your set which make them a bit more challenging but do help with speed and distance (which are the primary purposes of woods) so you don’t actually want something with too bulky of a clubhead.
Lightweight drivers with a speed pocket design on the clubhead are ideal for maximizing speed and distance although you do sacrifice control. Woods with an adjustable hosel (where the shaft meets the clubhead) give you greater control and precision balance.
Here are a couple helpful tips to improve your swing:
Woods are an essential component to your golf club set since these are what you’ll be using to drive your ball down the fairway and into the green. This means you need to do your research to choose the best ones and practice often to make sure you are using it as effectively as possible.