Common Golf Terms Explained: Part 1
There are many common golf terms that are good for golfers of every skill level to know. In this multi-part series, we’ll list and explain these terms.
Part 1 of this series looks at the different parts of a golf club. Understanding these basic terms build a solid foundation for the terms we’ll look at later in this series.
Parts of a Golf Club
The clubhead is the largest piece of the club and is what strikes the golf ball on each shot. Each clubhead in the bag has a different shape, made to hit a specific type of shot.
Clubheads are also made of different materials that affect performance. Drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids use lighter materials so you can swing them faster and hit them farther. Irons, wedges, and putters use heavier materials for more precision and control.
The grip, located at the opposite end of the clubhead, is where you hold the club during use. Modern golf grips are made with rubber. Other materials, like leather, have been used in the past.
Golf grips come in different sizes and textures. Grip size is important for controlling the club. A grip that’s too small makes it easier for the club to move during the swing. Too big of a grip makes it difficult to square the clubface at impact, causing errant shots. The proper size grip for you is one that fits comfortably in your hand without overlap of the fingers and thumb pad of your top hand.
Golf grips with different textures are important for feel and control in different weather conditions. Feel is all personal preference, with choices ranging from soft to firm. A grip with more texture is better in wet conditions or hot conditions if your hands sweat a lot.
Golfers generally use the same grip on every club in their bag, except for the putter.
The shaft, often called the “engine of the club,” is the long, straight piece between the clubhead and grip. Shafts are one of the things that control the height of the golf shot and how much spin is put on the golf ball.
Longer clubs have shafts made out of lighter materials, like graphite. Most short clubs use steel shafts, although iron sets can be made with graphite shafts.
The hosel is the part of the clubhead that houses the shaft, connecting it to the clubhead.
When an iron has the lie angle adjusted, this is the part that gets bent.
When the shaft is inserted into the hosel, a “step” is created. A ferrule is installed at that spot to smooth the transition from the hosel to the shaft.
The decorative, plastic piece comes in different lengths and colors. Choosing the right one for you comes down to what you like to look at when looking down at the clubhead. Just find the one that fits the shaft diameter and you’re on your way.
Heel and Toe
The heel and toe are locations on the clubface. The heel is the area closest to the hosel and shaft. The toe is at the opposite end.
Hitting shots in either area will lower distance and accuracy.
Topline and Crown
The topline and crown of a golf club is the area on top of a club head, as you look down at it. The topline, used mostly when talking about irons, is either thin or thick, depending on the club type. More on this in future parts of this series.
The crown refers to the top of a driver, fairway wood, or hybrid.
Looking down at the clubhead, there’s a “curve” created between the clubface and hosel. The greater the curve, the more offset there is.
More offset on a club gives the club more time to square up at impact and is a general measure of how forgiving a club is.
The bottom of a golf club is called the sole. It plays a bigger role in irons and wedges, especially the sole’s grind.
Grind and Bounce
Grind, a term mostly used in wedges, refers to the shape of the sole. Clubmakers grind the sole into different shapes to improve turf interaction. These shapes correspond to different swing types and course conditions.
Bounce is measured by the angle created from the leading edge and sole of a wedge. Higher bounce is ideal for steeper swings and soft course conditions. Low bounce fits golfers with shallow swings that don’t take much of a divot if taking one at all. Low bounce is also good for firm course conditions.
The clubface is the area of the club that contacts the golf ball. It has a degree of loft, depending on the club, to control shot height.
You’ll also see grooves running horizontally on the clubface. They are cut or etched into the face and impart spin on the golf ball.
That’s It For Part 1 of Common Golf Terms
Thanks for checking out Part 1 in our series explaining common golf terms. Stay tuned for Part 2.