Lesson on Golf Club Terminology & Definitions(part one)

Golf has lots of jargon and it can be confusing.

Alloy Any combination of metals used to produce a club head or shaft. Alloys may contain aluminum, steel, beryllium, nickel, copper, titanium, or other metals in varying combinations. Less than honest descriptions of products often have the term “alloy” in them to hide the fact that the product may only contain trace elements of the desired metal. For example, “titanium alloy” may actually contains 98% aluminum and only 2% titanium which may be used to confuse the consumer with “real titanium” that has high levels of titanium. Alloy is often a code word for substituting a cheap metal for an expensive metal. Back Weight A weight, usually tungsten, brass or aluminum attached to the back of a wooden, graphite or titanium wood head.(Ping G15 Irons) The back weight moves the center of gravity toward the back of the club to assist in getting the ball airborne. Backspin The backward rotation of a golf ball in flight around a horizontal axis as caused by the club hitting the ball. The more loft on a club, the greater the backspin. Certain finishes on a club face (e.g., milling, brass-blasting) can also increase backspin. Balance Point The point where a shaft’s weight is evenly distributed in both directions when rested on a single point. Belly Putter Type of putter that positions the grip against the player’s stomach in order to create a pendulum effect from a relatively stable pivot point. Most belly putters are about 40″ in length. Belly putters generally are available in several lengths to accommodate different bellies. Bent (or Curved) Shaft A shaft designed for use in no-hosel putters, featuring a bend or bends within 5″ from the shaft tip. The curved shaft creates offset and face balancing. Beryllium Copper (BeCu) An alloy used to produce heads for some irons. More dense than stainless and some players claim it has a softer feel. Beryllium heads are easily identified by their copper coloration. Beta-Titanium An alloy of Titanium both harder and heavier than typical cast titanium. Big Butt Shaft Any shaft with a butt size over .620″. Bi-Metal Describes club heads constructed from two different materials, for instance, a stainless steel club head with a brass sole insert or brass sole rails. Bi-Matrix Shaft Patented by True Temper, the BI-Matrix is a shaft that contains both graphite and steel. BI-Matrix wood shafts have a steel tip section, with the remainder being made of graphite. BI-Matrix irons have a graphite tip for feel, with the remainder of the shaft being steel for control. Blade (or Face) The striking face of an iron head. Blade Style Head Blades are also known as muscle-back irons due to a possible concentration of weight directly behind the center of the club face. Predominately used by very experienced golfers. Boron A high strength element added to some graphite shafts to increase tip strength. Boron shafts are more expensive. Since the mid 1990’s boron has become less common as the technology of manufacturing graphite shafts has improved their strength and reduced torque considerably. Bounce The measurement from the leading edge of the club face to the groundline. Wedges typically have the most bounce in a set of clubs. Bounce helps these clubs go through sand and high grass easily. Bounce Angle When looking at the sole of a wedge you will notice the trailing edge hangs beneath the leading edge. This angle in relation to the ground plane is called bounce angle. Build-Up Tape Masking tape applied to the butt end of the shaft to increase grip size. A single layer of masking tape (.005″ thick) will increase grip size approximately 1/64″. Bulge The curvature of the face of a wood or metal wood from heel to toe. Bulge helps give corrective spin to shots hit on the toe or heel of the wood face. Butt (shaft butt) The grip end of the shaft. Butt Cap The plastic or rubber cap at the top end of the grip. Also called the “End Cap.” Camber The radius measurement of the sole of a club. A sole can be cambered from toe to heel, or from front to back, or both. Cavity Back An iron head with the weight is distributed toward the perimeter of the head. Cavity back irons are easily identified by their recessed area on the back of the head. Center of Gravity (CG) The point in a club head where all of the points of balance intersect. The lower the CG, the higher the ball flight. Higher CG clubs produce lower ball flight. Center-Shafted Hosel configuration where the shaft enters the head toward the center. Most common in putters. Chrome Plated Finish High-luster, shiny finish electrostatically applied to forged irons and to steel shafts. Component Parts used to assemble golf clubs. The three primary components of a golf club are the head, shafts and grips. Other components include ferrules, labels, tape, and epoxy. Compression The hardness of a golf ball, identified by a number – a higher number indicates a ball that requires more force to compress it. Lower compression balls flatten more when hit. 100 would be a high compression golf ball, 80 would be a low compression golf ball. Compression Molded Manufacturing method for graphite heads and face inserts where layers of graphite are placed upon one another and heat cured to create a clubhead or insert. Conforming Club A golf club that conforms to standards set by the USGA. Core (Grip) Inside diameter measurement of a grip, which determines the size of the grip. Core size does not match shaft butt sizes. The standard core size for a man’s grip is .620″, for a lady is .590″, but both use the same shaft butt size. Cover Outside surface of a golf ball. The cover may be one of any number of materials, Surlyn and balata being most common. Crown The top of the head of a wood or metal wood. It’s what the golfer sees at address. Cubic Centimeters (cc’s) Measurement of the volume of a wood head. Curved (or Bent) Shaft A shaft designed for use in no-hosel putters, featuring a bend or bends within 5″ from the shaft tip. The curved shaft creates offset and face balancing. Deep Face A club face with higher than average distance from the sole of the club to the crown. Deep face clubs have a higher CG and launch the ball on a lower trajectory. Diamond Face A face coating containing fine diamond crystals to enhance backspin and face wear. Primarily used on wedges. Die Cast Injection of material into a pre-formed die to form club heads. This process is generally used on lower-priced heads such as zinc alloy irons and aluminum alloy woods. It is also commonly used on putters made from brass and zinc. Driver The club that used to hit the ball for the first shot on a par 4 or par 5 hole. The longest hitting club in the set. Drivers commonly have lofts between 7 and 12 degrees. Driving Iron A golf club with low loft and a muscle or hollow body similar to a wood. The driving iron is a utility club most commonly used by golfers who have difficulty hitting their long irons. Face (or Blade) The striking face of an iron head. Face Angle Position of the club face relative to the intended line of ball flight. For right-handed golfers, a square face angle aligns directly at the target; an open face aligns to the right, while a closed face aligns left. Face Insert An epoxy, graphite or fibrous material in the center portion of the face on a wooden, composite, or metal head. Ferrule Decorative trim ring, directly on top of the hosel on many woods and irons. Flat Lie A lie flatter than specification. For example, if the spec is 60 degrees, a 2 degree flat club would have a lie angle of 58 degrees. Flex The relative bending properties of a golf club shaft. Flex is usually identified by a letter: L for ladies, (PING G15 Driver)A for senior, R for regular, S for stiff and X for extra stiff. Graphite shafts commonly use the term Firm instead of Stiff for Firm and Extra Firm graphite shafts. Flexible Face A golf club face designed to “flex” upon ball impact, potentially propelling the ball a longer distance than if the face did not flex. See also “Spring-Like Effect” or “Trampoline Effect”. Flow Weighting Head design where weight positioning shifts from one club to the next. For example, a #1 iron may have more weight concentrated on its toe, a #2 iron slightly less, and so on. Also called Progressive Weighting. Form Forged Iron club head manufacturing process in which a club is first investment cast from an alloy of carbon steel and then formed to shape through a series of forging dies. 431 Stainless Steel Stainless steel used in iron and putter head construction, not more than 20% carbon, 15-17% chromium, and 1.25-2.5% nickel, with the remainder being iron and a few trace elements. The most common iron making material in high quality irons. Softer than 17-4 stainless steel. Forged Titanium A method of wood head manufacture in which the body and sole of the head is forged from 100% pure titanium. The face and hosels are usually cast from 6-4 Ti. Forging Producing a golf club head from a series of forging dies stamping the head to final shape. Forged heads are made of softer metals than cast heads and require hand finishing and chrome plating. Gear Effect The effect that tends to cause a ball hit toward the toe or heel side of face center to curve back to the intended target line. Gooseneck A putter (or iron) that has an extremely offset hosel. Graphite Synthetic filament material used for shaft and head production, produced through a series of heating steps. Graphite fibers may differ greatly in strength and modulus. Grip Collar Plastic collar used to secure the bottom of a grip in place on the shaft. Most commonly seen on leather grips. Gunmetal Dark, almost black,(Ping Rapture V2 Irons) finish applied to the surface of iron heads for cosmetic reasons or to prevent rusting of a carbon steel head. Heel-Toe Weighting A type of club head design with weight positioned toward the heel and toe of the clubhead, resulting in stabilizing the clubhead (and produce straighter shots) on off-center impacts. BOLA TANGKAS