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Golf Club Glossary of Terms

A - F


Backspin
Backspin is the backward rotation of the golf ball in flight along its horizontal axis, or the measured rate of that rotation. When the clubface makes contact with the golf ball, the golf ball slides up the clubface and is gripped by the golf club's grooves, which produces backspin. Backspin produces lift which creates greater carry. The more lofted a golf club, the more backspin it will produce. Backspin is what provides shot-shaping and stopping-stopping control into and around the greens with all golf clubs.

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Blades
Blades, also known as musclebacks, are a type of iron that have a full, smooth back and thin topline, as opposed to a cavity back and thicker top-line profile. The top-line is what you see as you are standing at address looking down at the top of the iron. The weighting of blades is concentrated behind the center of the clubface, resulting in a smaller sweet spot. Blades are usually forged and are preferred by better, discerning players seeking enhanced shot-shaping control and soft feel at impact.

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Bore-Through
Bore-through is a feature of some golf clubs where the shaft goes into the clubhead and penetrates to the sole of the club. Golf clubs with this feature may be said to have bore-through heads, bore-through shafts or a bore-through hosel. Golf clubs with the bore-through feature cannot have their lie adjusted.

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Bounce
Bounce is a measurement in degrees of the angle from the front edge of a club's sole to the point that actually rests on the ground at address. Most commonly applied to wedges, more bounce keeps the golf club from digging too deeply into turf or sand. The amount of bounce needed depends on the condition of the surface from which a shot is being hit. If hitting from soft, fluffy sand, more bounce ensures the golf clubs slides smoothly through the hitting area without digging. If hitting from harder sand or tight lies, less bounce ensures the golf club catches the golf ball clean and square through the impact area.

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Cavity Back
Cavity back is a design feature on the back of some irons where the area is hollowed-out to distribute the weight around the perimeter. The distribution of weight resulting from the cavity back design allows for a larger sweet spot for enhanced forgiveness on off-center hits. Cavity back irons are preferred by mid to high handicap players, but many low-handicappers and touring professionals use cavity backs too.

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Center of Gravity
The Center of Gravity (CG) of a golf club is the point within the clubhead where the golf clubs is perfectly balanced. The position of the center of gravity within a clubhead can affect the trajectory of shots. A center of gravity positioned low and back in the clubhead produces a relatively higher initial launch trajectory. A center of gravity positioned high and forward in the clubhead produces a relatively lower initial launch trajectory.

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Closed Face
Face angle is the angle of the face of the club head relative to the target. If the club head is square to the target, then the clubface is directly facing the target on address. If the club head is closed, then the clubface is aligned to the left of the target (for right-handed players). If the club head is open, then the clubface is aligned to the right of the target (for right-handed players). Some game-improvement golf club features, like offset, are designed to affect face angle.

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Coefficient of Restitution
Coefficient of Restitution is a measurement of the clubface's ability to rebound the ball, expressed as a percentage that is determined by a ball's speed off the clubhead divided by the speed at which it struck the clubhead. Coefficient of Restitution (CoR) became a popular term in golf as ultra-thin-faced drivers began to proliferate which produced spring-like effect and increased driver distance. Spring-like effect occurs when the face of the driver depresses as the golf ball is struck, then rebounds which increases initial ball velocity. T he maximum CoR allowed under USGA rules is .830.

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Draw
Draw is the flight path of the golf ball in which the golf ball curves gently right-to-left for a right-handed player, or left-to-right for a left-handed player. Spin imparted on the golf ball at impact has it starting out slightly to the right of the target (for a right-handed golfer) and curving back to the left to arrive at its target. A draw has the same right-to-left curvature of a hook, however a hook is a much more severe curve that players do not often intentionally play.

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Driver
The driver is the golf club most often used off of a tee peg from the tee box on Par 4 and Par 5 holes. The driver may also be used on long Par 3 holes or from the fairway depending on the driver loft, player ability or specific needs of a golf shot. The longest golf club in the set in terms of both club length and distance, the lofts on drivers typically range from 7 degrees to 12 degrees. Drivers may be constructed of varied materials, or combinations of materials, and are engineered with different design features to maximize distance and accuracy from the tee. Early drivers were constructed from a combination of wood and forged or stamped metal components, while the vast majority of current-day drivers are constructed of advanced, high performance steel, titanium and graphite materials. Advancements in both golf club head and golf club shaft material technology over the years have allowed for larger and more forgiving driver designs. Today's driver manufacturer's produce and sell drivers in varied lofts, and shaft types, lengths and flexes to optimize performance for all types of golfer launch conditions. Some of the more popular driver brands include TaylorMade drivers, Titleist drivers, Ping drivers, Callaway drivers, Cleveland drivers, Cobra drivers, Nike drivers, Mizuno drivers, MacGregor drivers, Wilson drivers and Ben Hogan drivers to name a few.

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Face Angle
Face angle is the angle of the face of the club head relative to the target. If the club head is square to the target, then the clubface is directly facing the target on address. If the club head is closed, then the clubface is aligned to the left of the target (for right-handed players). If the club head is open, then the clubface is aligned to the right of the target (for right-handed players). Some game-improvement golf club features, like offset, are designed to affect face angle.

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Fade
Fade is the flight path of the golf ball in which the golf ball curves gently left-to-right for a right-handed player, or right-to-left for a left-handed player. Spin imparted on the golf ball at impact has it starting out slightly to the left of the target (for a right-handed golfer) and curving back to the right to arrive at its target. A fade has the same left-to-right curvature of a slice, however a slice is a much more severe curve that players do not often intentionally play.

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Fairway Wood
The fairway wood is the golf club most often used from the fairway or rough as a 2 nd shot on Par 4 and Par 5 holes. The fairway wood may also be used off of a tee peg as the 1 st shot on long Par 3 holes, or Par 4 and Par 5 holes that require a specific distance less than the driver. A shorter golf club than the driver in terms of both club length and distance, the lofts on fairway woods typically range from 13 degrees to over 30 degrees. Certain styles of fairway woods are also referred to as hybrid or utility golf clubs.

Fairway woods may be constructed of varied materials, or combinations of materials, and are engineered with different design features to maximize distance and accuracy from the tee, as well as from the playing surface. Early fairway woods were constructed from a combination of wood and forged or stamped metal components, while the vast majority of current-day fairway woods are constructed of advanced, high performance steel, titanium and graphite materials. Advancements in both golf club head and golf club shaft material technology over the years have allowed for larger and more forgiving fairway wood designs. Today's fairway wood manufacturer's produce and sell fairway woods in varied lofts, and shaft types, lengths and flexes to optimize performance for all types of golfer launch conditions. Some of the more popular fairway wood brands include TaylorMade fairway woods, Titleist fairway woods, Ping fairway woods, Callaway fairway woods, Cleveland fairway woods, Cobra fairway woods, Nike fairway woods, Mizuno fairway woods, MacGregor fairway woods, Wilson fairway woods and Ben Hogan fairway woods to name a few.

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Ferrule
The plastic ring or cover over the hosel at the point where the shaft enters the clubhead.

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Flange

The flange, a term most commonly used in reference to putters, is the part of a clubhead that juts out from the rear. The thin strip of metal that sits along the ground is the flange of the clubhead.

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Flex
Flex is a measure of a golf club shaft's ability to bend during the golf swing. All shafts, no matter how stiff, exhibit flex under the forces of the golf swing. Typically, a player with a very fast swing will benefit from a shaft with less flex, while a player with a slower swing will benefit from a shaft with more flex. Shaft flexes are generally categorized as Extra Stiff, Stiff, Regular, Senior and Ladies in order of increasing flex.

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Frequency Matching
Frequency matching is the process of ensuring that the shaft vibrations of all clubs in an iron set match in frequency when struck, so that the feel is the same for each club. Golf clubs are measured for frequency by a special machine that records the oscillations of a shaft after its tip is pulled down and released, causing it to vibrate.

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G - M


Hook
A hook is the flight path of the golf ball in which the golf ball curves severely right-to-left for a right-handed player, or left-to-right for a left-handed player. Spin imparted on the golf ball at impact has it starting out to the right of the target (for a right-handed golfer) and curving back to the left of the target. A draw has the same right-to-left curvature of a hook, however a hook is a much more severe curve that players do not often intentionally play.

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Hosel
The part of the clubhead into which the shaft is fitted and secured.

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Iron Sets
An iron set consists of a series of typically 6 to 8 sequential golf clubs ranging in specification from shorter lengths and higher lofts producing higher trajectory and shorter distance, to longer lengths and lower lofts producing lower trajectory and longer distance. The iron set provides a range of trajectory, spin and distance required for a wide breadth of golf shots needed in a typical round of golf from shorter shots into and around the green to longer shots from the fairway and tee box. Iron sets are available in various set compositions, with 3-PW being the most common iron set composition. With the increased availability and popularity of hybrid fairway wood golf clubs, iron sets are increasingly available with hybrid golf clubs replacing the long irons. Iron sets may be constructed of varied materials, or combinations of materials, and are engineered with different design features to maximize distance, playability and accuracy from the playing surface, as well as the tee. Early iron sets were constructed from forged steel, while current-day iron sets are cast, forged and assembled from advanced, high performance steel, titanium and graphite materials. Advancements in both golf club head and golf club shaft material technology over the years have allowed for larger and more forgiving iron set designs. Today's iron set manufacturer's produce and sell iron sets in varied set compositions, lofts, and shaft types, lengths and flexes to optimize performance for all types of golfer launch conditions. Some of the more popular iron set brands include TaylorMade iron sets, Titleist iron sets, Ping iron sets, Callaway iron sets, Cleveland iron sets, Cobra iron sets, Nike iron sets, Mizuno iron sets, MacGregor iron sets, Wilson iron sets and Ben Hogan iron sets to name a few.

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Kickpoint
Kickpoint, also referred to as flex point or bend point, is the point along a shaft's length where it exhibits the greatest amount of bend when the tip is pulled down. Initial launch trajectory is affected by the location of the kickpoint. It is generally agreed upon that kickpoint has only a very modest effect on actual ball flight. A high kickpoint may help lower initial launch trajectory while a low kickpoint may result in a slightly higher initial launch trajectory.

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Leading Edge
The front-most edge of the sole of a golf club. Literally, the edge of the club that leads in a swing.

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Lie
Lie is a golf term that has two potential meanings. The first meaning of the word lie is simply where the ball sits; the location of the ball at rest. The second meaning of the word lie is the number of strokes it took the ball to get to where it sits. Lie is most commonly used in descriptive terms like good lie and bad lie where a good lie would be one on the fairway with good grass under the ball, and a bad lie would be one in the rough.

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Lie Angle
The lie angle of a golf club is the angle formed between the center of the shaft and the ground line of the golf club when it is soled in its correct playing position. Lie angles typically range from the mid-50 degrees to the mid-60 degrees, and are lower (referred to as flatter) in the long irons and higher (referred to as more upright) in the short irons. Finding the optimum lie angle to fit a golfer's unique swing and launch conditions is an important part of the club fitting process. Taller golfers tend to require larger lie angles while shorter golfers tend to require lower lie angles in order to make the best contact with the ball.

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Loft
Loft is a measurement in degrees of the angle at which the face of the club lies relative to a perfectly vertical face. Loft generally indicates how far and how high the ball will go. Drivers are the least-lofted golf clubs (not including putters which typically have 3-5 degrees of loft), while wedges are the most-lofted gol clubs. Golf clubs increase in loft through the complete set from driver to lob wedge, which is typically lofted from 60 to 64 degrees.

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Maraging Steel
Maraging steel is a type of steel alloy that is harder than normal steel and is used most often for driver faces, but sometimes also in irons.

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Moment of Inertia (MOI)
Moment of Inertia is the term applied to a clubhead's resistance to twisting when the ball is struck. On any off-center hit, a club head with a higher MOI will twist less, ensuring more consistent distance and straighter ball flight verses lower MOI designs. Moment of Inertia is a physical property that can be expressed as a numerical measurement. The size and weighting properties of a clubhead can be manipulated to add a greater MOI. High MOI golf club designs are described as being more forgiving on off-center hits.

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Muscleback
A muscleback is a type of iron head design that has a full back of the clubhead, as opposed to a cavity back iron that has been hollowed out to redistribute weight around the perimeter of the clubhead. Tyapically played by only discerning, low handicap golfers, muscleback irons are usually forged, although they can be cast, and they provide greater feedback to a golfer, but also offer a smaller sweetspot area and less forgiveness on off-center hits.

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N - T


Offset
Offset is the distance from the front-most part of the hosel to the front-most part of the clubhead. At address, the shaft of an offset club will appear to be in front of the clubhead. Offset may be found in any club from the driver to the putter, and is designed to help the golfer square the clubface at impact for longer, straighter ball flight.

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Open Face
Face angle is the angle of the face of the club head relative to the target. If the club head is square to the target, then the clubface is directly facing the target on address. If the club head is closed, then the clubface is aligned to the left of the target (for right-handed players). If the club head is open, then the clubface is aligned to the right of the target (for right-handed players). Some game-improvement golf club features, like offset, are designed to affect face angle.

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Perimeter Weighting
Perimeter weighting is the distribution of weight around the perimeter of the club, and specifically the heel, toe and sole, that increases the size of the sweet spot on the club face and provides enhanced forgiveness on off-center hits. Cavity back clubs are perimeter weighted are designed for golfers seeking more forgiveness on off-center hits.

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Progressive Offset
Progressive offset, a term most commonly applied to iron sets, is when the amount of offset changes from club to club throughout the iron set. Typically, the offset decreases from the long irons to the short irons to provide the optimum forgiveness and shot-making performance through the set.

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Putter
Putters come in a variety of head shapes and have a very low loft and often a short shaft. They are used to play the ball on the green, but may occasionally be useful for playing from bunkers or for some approach Putters may be constructed of varied materials, or combinations of materials, and are engineered with different design features to ensure consistent, square alignment, distance control, feel and true, forward roll. Early putters were constructed from forged steel, while current-day putters are cast, forged and assembled from advanced, high performance steel, titanium, graphite and various plastic materials. Advancements in putter head and putter shaft material technology over the years have allowed for improved putter designs. Today's putter manufacturer's produce and sell putters in varied lofts, shapes, sizes, weights and shaft types and lengths (Standard, Belly, Long) to optimize putter performance on the green. Some of the more popular putter brands include TaylorMade putters, Titleist Scotty Cameron putters, Ping putters, Callaway putters, Cleveland putters, Cobra putters, Nike putters, Mizuno putters, MacGregor putters, Wilson putters, Never Compromise putters, Bettinardi putters and Ben Hogan putters to name a few.

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Slice
A slice is the flight path of the golf ball in which the golf ball curves severely left-to-right for a right-handed player, or right-to-left for a left-handed player. Spin imparted on the golf ball at impact has it starting out to the right of the target (for a right-handed golfer) and curving severely back to the left of the target. A slice has the same left-to-right curvature of a fade, however a fade is a much less severe curve that players often intentionally play.

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Spring-Like Effect
Spring-like effect is the layman's term for coefficient of restitution (COR). Coefficient of Restitution (CoR) is a measurement of the clubface's ability to rebound the ball, expressed as a percentage that is determined by a ball's speed off the clubhead divided by the speed at which it struck the clubhead. Coefficient of Restitution (CoR) became a popular term in golf as ultra-thin-faced drivers began to proliferate which produced spring-like effect and increased driver distance. Spring-like effect occurs when the face of the driver depresses as the golf ball is struck, then rebounds which increases initial ball velocity. T he maximum CoR allowed under USGA rules is .830.

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Square Face
Face angle is the angle of the face of the club head relative to the target. If the club head is square to the target, then the clubface is directly facing the target on address. If the club head is closed, then the clubface is aligned to the left of the target (for right-handed players). If the club head is open, then the clubface is aligned to the right of the target (for right-handed players). Some game-improvement golf club features, like offset, are designed to affect face angle.

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Swingweight
Technically speaking, swingweight is the measurement of a golf club's weight about a fulcrum point which is established at a specified distance from the grip end of the club. In laymen's terms, swingweight is a measurement that describes how the weight of a club feels when the club is being swung. Swingweight is expressed as a letter and number, ranging from A0 which is the lightest, to G10 which is the heaviest. Swingweight is mostly used to match clubs in an iron set as it is preferred, but not required, by golfers that clubs within a set match in swingweight.

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Trailing Edge
The trailing edge is the very back part of the sole of a golf club. Literally, the trailing edge is the edge of the clubhead that is bringing up the rear (trailing) during a swing.

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U - Z


Wedges
Wedges are relatively short golf clubs with higher lofts designed for full and partial shots into and around the green from the fairway, rough and sand. The shortest irons in a golf club set in terms of both club length and distance, the lofts on wedges typically range from 48 degrees to over 60 degrees, and are most often referred to as a Pitching Wedge, Sand Wedge, Gap Wedge, Utility Wedge or Lob Wedge. Wedges may be constructed of varied materials, or combinations of materials, and are engineered with different design features to maximize playability and shot-stopping control into and around the green from a wide range of lies including the fairway, rough and sand. Early wedges were constructed from forged steel, while current-day wedges are cast, forged and assembled from advanced, high performance steel, titanium and graphite materials. Advancements in both golf club head and golf club shaft material technology over the years have allowed for larger and more forgiving wedge designs. Today's wedge manufacturer's produce and sell wedges in varied lofts, shapes, weights, bounce angles, sole cambers and shaft types, lengths and flexes to optimize performance into and around the green. Some of the more popular wedge brands include TaylorMade wedges, Titleist wedges, Ping wedges, Callaway wedges, Cleveland wedges, Cobra wedges, Nike wedges, Mizuno wedges, MacGregor wedges, Wilson wedges and Ben Hogan wedges to name a few.

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