Golf Lesson #1: The Basics of Golf Clubs
Golf clubs are the tools we use to strike the golf ball. A golf club has three components - the Head, the Shaft and the Grip. The rules of golf constrain golf club designs, but the goal of clubmakers is to create golf clubs, within those rules of golf, that maximize the physics of the golfer's swing while allowing for a range of swing error to provide an accurate, long, yet forgiving shot. The better your swing, the less forgiving club you require.
A standard set of golf clubs consists of three woods (the 1-driver, 3, and 5), eight irons (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and PW), and a putter - twelve clubs. The rules of golf allow you to carry fourteen clubs in your bag, so many golfers add another iron or a specialty wood. After all, the more tools we have in our toolbox, the easier it is to do our job!
Woods are used to hit long shots. If a golf hole is 450 yards from tee to green, most golfers use a wood to hit off the tee. A wood is a hollow-bodied large headed golf club. Use your woods when you are 175 yards or more away from the green.
The Driver (also called the 1 wood ) has the lowest loft of any golf club. Loft is the angle of the club face that controls trajectory and affects distance. A driver has a loft between 7 and 12 degrees. Experienced golfers have traditionally favored lower lofted drivers (less than 10 degrees of loft), which require much more skill to hit than higher lofted drivers.
A dramatic development has occurred over the past several years - professional golfers are throwing out their low lofted drivers and opting for large-headed, higher-lofted 10 and 11 degree drivers. Their argument is that the longest drives are achieved by combining a high launch angle with lower spin. The newer, higher-lofted designs for large-headed drivers provide the higher launch angle; the new solid core golf balls provide less spin on the golf ball. This results in the longest drives. So the professionals are increasingly moving to larger headed higher lofted drivers. They get more carry with less shot error. Just like you should do!
This change is a huge reversal from prior years. During the mid to late 1990's, the average loft on the PGA Tour was around 7 degrees. However, those were difficult shots for the pros to make and the ball flight from such a low loft created lots of spin. The experts in ball flight analysis showed that the longest golf drives are achieved with a high launch angle combined with low spin. The new solid core golf balls provide that low spin which was not available in the golf balls of yesterday. A higher lofted club gives the golfer the higher launch angle.
Most PGA pros now carry drivers with lofts of 8.5 to 10 degrees or more. Non-pros should probably play drivers with lifts 10 degrees or higher. So our recommendation is follow the advice of the PGA pros and increase the loft of your driver.
Most golfers also carry 3 and 5 woods in their bag. A 3 wood has a loft between 15 and 18 degrees, and a 5 wood has a loft between 20 and 22 degrees. The higher the golf club number, the higher the loft. In addition, the higher the golf club number, the shorter the club. A 3 wood is generally 1/2" shorter than a Driver and so on with each successive club. However, we build all our woods higher than a 5 wood the same length as the 5 wood. This is because the shorter the club, the smaller the arc of the swing. The smaller the arc of the swing, the less speed the golf club will have when it strikes the ball - ergo the less distance the ball will travel. We believe that a 5 wood is short enough and while the 7 and 9 woods provide more forgiveness, we also want longer distance in our shots. Arghh, the physics of golf!
Why aren't woods made of wood? They used to be, but since the 1980's woods have been made of metal. Metal has many advantages over wood - the most important to the beginning golfer being the ability to precisely mold metal to create a golf club that has perimeter weighting and low center of gravity (LCG). Both of these design technologies result in golf clubs that are much more forgiving than wooden woods. Perimeter weighting helps create a larger sweet spot - a larger area on the face of the club that will result in a good hit. Low center of gravity creates mass at the right place - increasing the height that the ball will launch off the club and reducing the likelihood of miss-hits into the ground.
What about 2 and 4 woods ? These woods actually exist and were popular 20 or more years ago, but they have fallen out of favor as newer technologies have improved the performance of woods. Today, most golfers prefer 7 and 9 woods in their bag (which can only have fourteen clubs) than a 2 or 4 wood. In fact, there is now a trend to include higher numbered woods and eliminate the traditional low numbered irons in your set of golf clubs. That will be discussed in greater detail when we talk about irons. The 3 wood and 5 wood are commonly referred to as Fairway Woods , because they are most often used during the second shot of play, when you are supposed to be in the fairway of the golf hole (as opposed to in the woods!). All higher lofted woods (7, 9, 11, and so on) are commonly referred to as utility woods .
Irons are generally used when you are less than 200 yards away from the green. The closer you are to the green, the higher the iron you will use. A standard set of irons consists of 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 irons and the Pitching Wedge (PW) . The 3 and 4 irons are harder to hit than the higher number irons. Many golfers, especially ladies, seniors and higher handicap golfers, are changing to a modified standard golf set that replaces the 3 and 4 iron with higher lofted woods like the 7 and 9 woods. We think this is a sensible trend and one that a beginning golfer should consider. Higher lofted woods, like the 7 and 9 wood are easier to hit than a 3 or 4 iron and result in comparable distances.
Wedges are really just specialty irons. The first wedge is the Pitching Wedge (PW), which is usually about 48 degrees in loft. Wedges generally increase in 4 degree loft amounts. So wedges commonly come in 48, 52, 56, 60 and 64 degree lofts. We manufacture a very special wedge called the Last Wedge - which has a 68 degree loft. The PW is the highest lofted iron in a standard set and lowest loft of the wedges. Following the PW with higher lofts are the Approach Wedge (AW) , Sand Wedge (SW) , the Lob Wedge (LW) , the High-Lob Wedge and, finally, our Golfshopdiscount Last Wedge at 68 degrees.
Wedges are extremely useful to your game and most golfers have a few of them. Wedges are generally designed as "blade clubs" because you are close enough to the green that the game improvement design elements (discussed below) are less important. The need for increased shot control and shot shaping, which blade design encourages, becomes the more important technology for a good wedge design.
A putter is a golf club with a special purpose: getting the ball into the hole. After you have slammed your drive 250 yards right into the middle of the fairway, hit your second shot 175 yards into the sand trap, and then wedged out onto the green, it is time to "putt for dough." The putter is used on the green and there are many style of putters: short, belly, long, bent, center-hosel, heel-toe, mallet, and so on. At Golfshopdiscount Golf, we provide you a huge selection of putters and we have a good reason for it, which we explain next.
The Psychology of What You Carry in Your Golf Bag
After decades of experience in the golf club manufacturing business, building millions of clubs for huge numbers of happy customers, we have noticed one thing. Most golfers have as their minimum arsenal one set of irons , multiple wedges , several drivers and a variety of putters . This is because your foursome all gets together at the tee where you use your driver. The pressure is high to perform well. Hopefully you end up in the fairway, spread out all over the golf course. As you work your way through the hole using your fairway woods and irons - eventually, you all come back together again on the green.
So, where do you need the most weapons at your disposal? It is where the stakes are highest and the pressure to perform reaches its zenith. That is at the tee and the green - they don't say "drive for show, putt for dough" casually. And that is why most golfers we know have multiple drivers and putters and one set of irons.
Golf Lesson #2: Technical Specs of Golf Club Heads, Shafts & Grips
What Should I Know About Golf Club Heads?
Golf club heads can be made from many materials. Zinc and Aluminum alloys are primarily used in beginners sets and putters. HST Aluminum is a much harder aluminum and is popular in very large drivers. 431 stainless steel is a softer stainless steel very commonly used in high quality iron heads. 17-4 stainless steel is a harder steel found in professional quality irons and wood heads. Maraging metal is a stainless steel put through a very special hardening process that makes it very very hard and is a popular material for the faceplates in the highest performing woods. Titanium is the most expensive material used in building golf clubs heads and combines light weight and excellent strength. Titanium is used today in the highest end woods manufactured. Golfshopdiscount Golf carries a wide assortment of titanium woods.
Do not confuse Ti-Alloy with Titanium. Ti-Alloy products are Aluminum products with trace elements of Titanium that attempt to take advantage of the Titanium name. Ti-Alloy products are among the least expensive and are meant for beginners and junior golfers. Other materials include ceramics, graphite and plastics. We don't see those much anymore, but they should begin to make a return in the next few years as manufacturing technologies improve.
To conclude our section on materials, we rank golf head materials as follows:
- Beginner woods: Aluminum, Titanium alloys
- Good woods: HST Aluminum
- Better woods: 17-4ph stainless steel, 431 stainless steel
- Best woods: Titanium (usually in drivers only), maraging metal, bi-metal, tungsten insert
- Beginner irons: Zinc
- Better irons: 431 stainless steel
- Best irons: 17-4ph stainless steel, bi-metal, tungsten insert
- Putters: material choices are immaterial. The shape, weighting and type of inserts generally override materials in your decision.
Golf heads are made in a variety of shapes. Key design principles are weight distribution (perimeter, low center of gravity, etc.), size (traditional, oversize, super-oversize) and styling (keel sole, deep face, wide body, etc.). There are not very many utility patents in this area, so most clubmakers can use most shapes that they desire without violating another company's rights.
Golf heads come in a variety of weights. Here there are some important factors. To achieve the desired swing weight there is an important dynamic between the weight of a golf head, the length of the club and the weight of the grip and shaft. Don't worry too much about it because every decent club maker uses golf club casting foundries that cast golf heads with the correct weights. It would be pretty rare to find a golf head maker that messes up in this area.
Generally, if a club is made from the same materials, using the same shapes, with the same weight distributions and overall weight, it should perform the same as another club similarly constructed. This is a key concept to understanding why golf club clones perform as well as the name brands - it is just molten metal shaped into a form. If the metal is the same and the shape similar, the result should compare very well.
The trick is that many companies and retail stores do not explain or know what their clubs are made from. For example, an Aluminum driver that looks just like a club made from stainless steel will be inferior to that club and vice versa. We will do our best to tell you the straight truth about products and what they are made from so you will be educated to judge quality for yourself. Look at a product on our web site and you will see specifications for materials, size and weight.
Golf Club Shafts
We have been in the golf business for many years and have bought shafts from every significant steel and graphite shaft maker. We find much greater quality differences in graphite shafts versus steel shafts, but the good news is that the quality of graphite has improved significantly over the past ten years. In fact the quality of graphite shafts and their affordability is much better than just two or three years ago. So, here are our short thoughts on shafts and why we use whom we do as suppliers.
In our opinion, the shaft is as important as the head of a golf club. In fact, we often find greater performance differences in using different graphite shafts with the same head than we do using different heads (provided the heads are made from the same materials) with the same shaft. Did that make any sense to you? Well, it's the truth. So, the bottom line: SHAFTS ARE VERY IMPORTANT .
For information on golf club lengths, see the next lesson, Custom Fitting Golf Clubs.
Should I Use Graphite or Steel Shafts?
Strongly consider using graphite shafts in your woods if:
Strongly consider using graphite shafts in your irons if:
- You are a woman
- You are a senior
- You are a baby boomer
- You have joint problems
- You want to play a longer driver
- You have pretty good swing speed tempo and are younger
- You are an average player who wants to play better
- You are a woman
- You are a senior
- You are a baby boomer
- You have joint problems
- You love having graphite shafts in your woods?
- You have a slower swing and want to add distance
So, what is the logic of our advice? Well, graphite shafts reduce the weight of your club (it is actually quite remarkable to feel the weight difference in an entire set of clubs made with steel versus graphite shafts) - this is good for all players, but especially women and seniors. Graphite shafts weigh from 50 grams to 85 grams, while steel shafts generally start at 120 grams. Graphite shafts reduce the shock at impact - this is good for women, seniors, aging baby boomers and those of us with joint problems. Graphite shafts allow for longer clubs - this is good for distance (but maybe not quite so good for control). Graphite shafts have greater construction alternatives so that they can be designed to affect the flight of the ball to a greater degree than steel shafts.
Who Makes Graphite Shafts?
There is a much greater quality difference between graphite shaft makers than steel shaft makers. Aldila has been the #1 graphite shaft maker for as long as we have been in business. Why take any risk here? We know that with an Aldila graphite shaft we won't have any breakage problems, whipping torques or other quality issues. And, their performance is superb. Enough said. We use Aldila graphite shafts for all our graphite shaft needs. However, for those of you who like to experiment and have your own favorites, we offer a variety of custom shaft upgrades.
What About Stainless Steel Shafts?
We use FM Precision, True Temper and Apollo for our steel shafts. The reasons are simple. They all make superior shafts, are long recognized as industry leaders, have very compatible steel shafts with each other and are extremely reliable. These shafts manufacturers are used by virtually every golf club manufacturer in the world today.
Golf Club Grips
Grips are the least expensive yet one of the most important parts of a golf club. Our most important advice is - CHANGE YOUR GOLF GRIPS OFTEN . Grips tend to oxidize, harden, get slick, and LOSE THEIR GRIP over time. It is a two edged sword - the grips with the best grip are usually the grips that lose their grip the fastest.
So, we have taken a position that attempts to cut it both ways. We buy the highest quality grips that have a greater than normal longevity, but not the absolute highest grip factor. This way, if you don't re-grip when you are supposed to at least you will have good grips. But, we do recommend re-gripping often - it will have a positive effect on your game. It's just like changing the oil in your car. Only every six months or 3,000 rounds. We also allow you to select from an excellent variety of custom upgrades for your grips.
Golf Lesson #3: Custom Fitting Golf Clubs
Custom fitting golf clubs involves several easy measurements and a quick self-assessment of your game. You will see many fitting methods out there in the golf universe, but most of them center around the same pieces of information. This method is simple, accurate, and effective. To custom fit your golf clubs, you need to know:
- Your gender (male or female)
- Your height in your stockings or socks
- The distance from your wrist (where it bends) to the floor with your shoes off
- Your age
- Your handicap or skill level
- How fast you swing a golf club
- What club you use at the 150 yard marker
Gender is used to put you into the correct fitting scale. The golf industry uses different definitions of "standard length" for men and women.
Your height and the distance in inches from your wrist to the floor are used together to determine the length of golf club that is appropriate for you. The starting point for club length can vary up to 3 1/2" ranging from ladies to mens plus 1 1/2". A tall person with long arms can very easily require shorter clubs than an average height person with short arms. About 80% of golfers are Standard length.
Your age, handicap (if you happen to have one), self-assessed skill level, estimated golf swing speed and club you use at the 150 yard marker are all combined to determined the shaft flex that is appropriate for you.
Golfshopdiscount.com has built an automated Custom Fitting Wizard that collects this information and quickly provides you with your custom fitting result.
What should I know about golf club length? Length is simply how long the golf club is as measured from the butt end of the grip down the back side of the club down to where the club meets the ground. A longer golf club will hit further given the same swing speed - so length can be a good thing. However, since the swing arc is longer, it often is also harder to keep under control - so length can be a bad thing. All things being equal, most golfers will opt for longer length to the sacrifice of greater control.
The standard length of a steel shafted Driver for a man is 43 inches. Graphite shafted drivers are manufactured 1 inch longer than steel shafted clubs because graphite shafts weigh less than steel shafts allowing us to produce a longer club with the same swing weight (a fulcrum measurement of the proper balance and feel of a golf club). See Shafts (in Lesson #2) for a more complete discussion of the types of shafts we use and the length chart below for the different golf clubs that make up a set.
The proper length of a golf club is a function of your height and the length of your arms. We provide a Custom Fitting Wizard that determines the correct length for you with just two simple measurements.
How long is a golf club? There is no exact industry standard for golf club length. To make everything clear, we are letting you know our standard club lengths for men and women using both graphite and steel shafts. The measurement is made with the golf club in "address position" - club head resting on the floor, grip end in your hands. The measurement is made from the floor up the back side of the golf club to the butt end of the grip.
This information is optional information for golf wonks and is NOT necessary for buying our products or getting fitted using our Custom Fitting Wizard . It is reference material for those interested in comparing our golf club lengths to others.
What should I know about golf club flex? Flex is the torsional stiffness of the golf club, which is provided by the type of golf club shaft that is used. Generally, stiffer shafts are better for stronger hitting golfers. Common shaft flexes are Men's Regular, Stiff, Extra Stiff, Senior, and Ladies. Interestingly, graphite shaft flex terminology uses Firm and Extra Firm instead of Stiff - we don't know why, they are just the words the golf industry uses.
The proper flex of a golf club is a function of your strength and golfing skills. We provide a Custom Fitting Wizard that determines the correct flex for you in just two simple steps. Determining the correct flex is most important for your Woods and longer Irons. Short irons, wedges and putters are not impacted very much by the different flexes as the differences between flexes becomes very small in the shorter clubs.
Often associated with flex, is "kick-point" - especially with graphite shafts. Less experienced golfers generally benefit from lower kick-point shafts, which help get the ball up in the air. Better golfers tend to favor higher kick points.
Loft & Lie Adjustments
A word about loft and lie adjustments.
We can Value and Quality
on irons and wedges. The request needs to be emailed to us with your order number or noted in the special comments box in step #3 of the shopping cart.
A lie adjustment requires bending the hardened metal in which an iron is cast. We strongly advise getting your lie fitting done in person. Online fittings while accurate do not take into account your natural ball address. Some players are more naturally upright and some like to "lean into" the ball. Once you have lie adjusted a club it is usually not a good idea to re-adjust if you later find it was the wrong adjustment.
From years of building experience we find it rare to need more than a 2 degree adjustment upright or flat, therefore we only perform lie adjustments to either extreme.
Woods, hybrid clubs and putters can not be adjusted. The reason these clubs can not be adjusted is because the hosel of each is cast in a way where physically bending the head at all will cause damage. In woods and hybrids it will crack or bend the crown of the club, and putter hosels are not made with the strength required for adjustment after the casting process.
Loft adjustments require a different type of bend than a lie adjustment. Some people receive advice in which they require a certain loft adjustment. We have never understood loft adjustments since it merely changes the loft of the club. We recommend buying golf clubs matching loft you seek and avoid custom loft adjustments. Bending the loft of an iron weakens the hardened metal and can lead to future metal fatigue, since the actual bend twists the metal to an extent. If the loft of your 5 iron is too strong, use a 6 iron. If it is too weak, use a 4 iron.
Golf Lesson #4: Game Improvement Golf Clubs
In the 1980's, huge improvements were made in golf club design and construction. Most of those improvements increased both forgiveness (the ability of the golf club to compensate for swing error - and the golf ball to go straighter) and distance (the ability of the golf club to hit harder - and the golf ball to go farther). The object of the game is to hit straighter and farther, so golf clubs designed to do that are called Game Improvement golf clubs. The primary characteristics of game improvement clubs are perimeter weighting, large sweet spot and low center of gravity design.
To contrast, there actually are golf clubs that are not designed as game improvement golf clubs. Those are used by professional golfers who always hit the ball straight - so, they don't care about forgiveness - they just want distance. If we could always hit the ball straight, we wouldn't care about forgiveness either. But hey, we have day jobs and other things that take up our time, so we need every advantage we can get for the hours we have left to play golf. Blade irons are a good example of a non-forgiving club. A professional level golfer likes blade irons, because they can "shape the shot" to go around the tree. Forgiving irons tend to "correct the shot", so they can't shape the shot as well as blade irons, but they sure can hit the ball straighter, if you miss-hit the shot. Professional golfers don't care much about miss-hits. We do.
Perimeter weighting means that the weight of the golf club head is positioned around the perimeter of the golf club instead of at the center. As we said above, if you always hit the ball dead center perfect, you would want a small sweet spot and no perimeter weighting so you could put as much physical mass directly behind the impact point of the ball. This would make a very long shot. However, if you are off - even just a millimeter - your shot will go astray. We don't make clubs that do that. By perimeter weighting our golf clubs, we maximize forgiveness. We do have designs with greater and lesser emphasis on perimeter weighting - but all of our golf clubs are perimeter weighted.
Large Sweet Spot
A large sweet spot is generally created by perimeter weighting design. The sweet spot is the optimum place to make contact with the ball. The larger the sweet spot, the greater room for swing error. But designing for the largest sweet spot can leave less room to correct other common swing errors. Perimeter weighting can be shifted to cure toe-miss-hits and to help get the ball up in the air.
For example, certain irons designs are heavily toe-weighted, meaning the weight of the club is heavier at the toe of the club head, to decrease club twisting from severe miss-hits off the toe of the golf club. Ping Golf is most famous for this in their designs for the Ping Zing. This idea cures one very important problem - toe hits and twisted shots, but may decrease the overall size of the sweet spot. Increased toe-weighting can stress the shaft and increase golf shaft breakage. There is a fine balance in club design between doing a good thing and doing too much of a good thing.
Another example of using perimeter weighting to solve a problem is the low center of gravity designs of Callaway Golf. Callaway Golf iron designs tend to shift weight to solve the problem of getting the ball up in the air, but may decrease the sweet spot size. However, take heart - we are talking about fractions of millimeters of sweet spot size here, not inches.
Low Center of Gravity
Recently, low center of gravity (LCG) has become a favored design concept. This means shifting weight to the bottom of the club to increase the ability to hit the ball up into the air. If you don't have a problem getting the golf ball off the ground, then LCG should be less important to you. It you have a big problem in this area then LCG matter a lot. Golf clubs with tungsten inserts focus on LCG, because tungsten is heavier than steel and allows the club to have even more weight where it counts.
To conclude, our overall goal is to have a large sweet spot and also solve some other common swing problems. Certain designs of the famous name manufacturers may orient more towards solving one problem than another, and certain designs provide a very balanced approach. Golfshopdiscount Golf aims to be a smart follower and take advantage of the best thinking out there in the golf world, apply those concepts to our products. All our designs focus on game improvement. We want you to hit the golf ball both straight and far.
Golf Lesson #5: Golf Club Clones vs Brands
In the SUV market we have the Ford Explorer, Jeep Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner, GMC Envoy, Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Aviator, Buick Rainier, Lexus GX, and on and on. Each of these companies takes from each other and "clones" or "knocks-off" each others' design concepts. They all do this legally, ethically and with great vigor. It is a game of leap frog.
While we sometimes find it hard to distinguish one SUV from another, we know they are not exact copies of each other and that these companies are not trying to confuse the consumer into thinking so. But we also know the SUV makers copy the same features, performance characteristics, and customer benefits from each other in a marketplace of continuing innovation. Well, so do we, but we do it in golf.
The most popular name brand companies in golf today are Callaway, Ping, Titliest, TaylorMade and Cobra, with several others typically coming in and out of favor. These companies (and us) are just like the auto makers - leap frogging each other with innovative new product concepts, materials and fashion statements. When talking generically about golf clubs, most consumers describe products in terms of general product families, just like when auto consumers say that Honda looks has a "Mercedes look", or that Mercedes "looks like a Land Rover". Well, it is the same thing in golf.
A Golf Clone is similar to the concept of a PC Clone (at least that is how we think of it). In the mid-1980's PC Clones were introduced into the personal computer market. Some of them, like Compaq, eventually became Brand Names. But the goal of Clones, in golf, computers and cars is to provide all of the performance features of a big name brand with a better value to the consumer.
Clones are not to be confused with the branded products they may seek to flatter, but they are made from essentially the same materials and design principles, use many of the same shaft and grip suppliers, and perform similar to (or often better than) the name brands.
The important point is we buy our heads, shafts, and grips from the same small community of golf manufacturing suppliers. We provide performance but offer you a BETTER VALUE . To prove it, see what our other customers say about us.
Are Some Golf Clones Illegal?
Illegal knockoffs and counterfeits have been a significant problem in the golf industry. The Name Brands talk about illegal clubs ripping them off, but counterfeiters also rip us off and you too, the consumer. No one should buy products from an illegal counterfeiter. An illegal knockoff and/or counterfeit is a product that violates the legal trade dress rights, trademarks, patents or copyrights of another company. Historical examples of trade dress violators were the makers of the "king snake" which was an illegal knockoff of Cobra's King Cobra, the Tommy Mann Bummer, the Big Burser - you see the point.
An illegal knockoff rips off the violated company because it confuses the consumer and in some cases seeks to fool the consumer into thinking their product is actually the Name Brand Company's product. It rips us off because we play by the rules and lose business to shady operators who fool consumers into thinking they are buying a legitimate product. It rips you off if you buy their products because you have then violated the law and are holding illegal goods. That could very well negatively affect your game - and, we at Golfshopdiscount Golf do not want that to happen.
Golfshopdiscount.com is very careful to not violate the valid rights of other companies. However, we do examine carefully the claims of companies and work hard to get into your hands the best products at the best price.
Golf Lesson #6: Why Buy Golf Clubs on the Internet?
Key Reasons to Buy Your Golf Clubs on the Internet
- Factory direct shopping at factory direct pricing
- Research and comparative shopping
- Selection and customization
- Value and Quality
- Why name brand clubs are so much more expensive
- Guaranteed customer satisfaction
Factory Direct Shopping at Factory Direct Pricing
Golfshopdiscount.com is the electronic commerce site for Golfshopdiscount Golf Products, Inc. located in beautiful Portland, Oregon. We have been in the golf club building business since 1985. We make and sell clubs all over the world and can be seen in many of your local sporting goods stores, mass merchandisers, warehouse clubs and golf shops. We make hundreds of thousands of golf clubs every year and consistently continue to be one of the top fifty golf club makers in the United States.
Beginning in the mid-1980's, Golfshopdiscount was one of the very first companies to focus on building "legal clones" or "knock-offs." Just like the computer, automobile, and fashion industries, golf is an industry of product leaders and product followers. Golfshopdiscount is a "smart follower." We look at what is hot and analyze whether it really works as advertised and then tend to follow the concept at a much less expensive but no less effective result.
In past years, we explored factory outlets in the factory outlet malls, but we realize that is not our business focus. We are a manufacturer and we are good at it. Our strong suit is not running a retail establishment.
But the internet is different for us. It is compatible with our manufacturing operations. We use lots of computers, have strong networks and customer service staffing. And it fits our philosophy of value, cutting out the middleman and providing the best value to the consumer. Factory direct selling makes sense on the Internet. We believe in future years, many more businesses will develop Internet based, Factory direct customer service and selling.
Research and Comparative Shopping
The Internet is more valuable to those who value research and comparative shopping. While there aren't any good comparative pricing sites for golf club clones, there is plenty of access to information. And, we believe information is a good thing that will bring you back to our company.
We know that we stack up very well to the competition. Our prices are great and we provide a superb qualitative value to you - the consumer. We believe we are the only golf club company in the world that has been manufacturing golf clubs on a large scale in the brick and mortar world and has successfully integrated a large successful Internet retail golf club business. In the hey-day of the dot-com days, several companies raised tons of cash to do what we do, but they failed. They failed because they didn't know anything about manufacturing golf clubs. We do. And none of the name brand manufacturers sell factory direct - they all sell their wares through middlemen. And that costs you more money.
Selection and Customization
This is the one area where the Internet cannot be beat. Our mass merchandiser customers may buy 4 or 5 different models in 2 lengths and flexes and that is all their showroom can handle. On Golfshopdiscount.com, we provide more than 19,000 different combinations of clubs, lengths, flexes resulting in a custom fit product for you. This diversity of selection and customization is unheard of in a retail storefront at anywhere near the price and value that we can provide via Golfshopdiscount.com.
Value and Quality
Golfshopdiscount Golf has trained professionals on staff with decades of experience to custom assemble clubs just for you. Why trust your neighbor or some garage operation on the web to fit you for golf clubs when you can have a trained professional group that does it as their sole business who will give you the right fit for the same money?
The important point is we buy our heads, shafts, and grips from the same small community of golf manufacturing foundries and suppliers as our higher priced competitors. We provide performance but offer you a BETTER VALUE.
Why Are Brand Name Clubs So Much More Expensive?
It is simple, really: advertising, overhead, and middlemen. The amount actually spent for research and development by the golf club industry is not nearly as large as the money spent for advertising. The real dollars go toward convincing you to buy the name brand club and paying the middleman to get them into your hands.
What About the Cost of Name Brand Advertising?
Independent surveys show that up to 70% of the retail price of a name brand golf club goes to support the advertising and brand name development. These advertising and brand development costs are legitimate - they provide advertising revenue to the major golf magazines, they provide many millions of dollars of licensing revenue to PGA Tour professionals, they provide even more millions of dollars to the major television networks. The money spent in advertising builds status and peer pressure to buy a name brand. Every advertising dollar spent by the name brand club is targeted to make you feel better (or justified) in paying more money for the brand. Some people raise their self-esteem by buying a name brand club for more money. Our customers on the other hand raise their self-esteem by getting the best performance for the best value and knowing their name brand buying friends got a worse deal.
Let Us Tell You About Overhead
The big name brand companies are usually publicly traded, higher overhead environments. They have lots of overhead expenses we don't have. They pay people to pay people to let their own people know who their people are - you get the idea. Most of Golfshopdiscount's top management team used to live in that world. Then we figured out we could make just as much money, have more fun, and pass the difference in costs on to you, the consumer, by building golf clubs in a simple, less costly world. And we do pass the savings on to you (well, most of it).
What About the Middleman?
Demo clubs, fancy retail storefronts, and sales personnel cost money. Most retailers mark up their products 60% to 100% from their wholesale purchase price. Our factory outlet golf web site is truly factory direct. Sending you clubs direct from the factory eliminates that cost and saves you money.
Guaranteed Customer Satisfaction
Golfshopdiscount Golf guarantees 100% satisfaction. For a standard order (meaning anything that shows up for sale in our drop down shopping menus) we will refund you the full purchase price for any product you return within 30 days of your receiving it. For special custom orders (where you order nonstandard shafts, special order grips, oddball lengths - essentially where you personalize the golf club so that we can't even sell it as used to your crazy uncle) we will credit you the full price towards a future purchase. That's simple and fair.
Golf Club Terminology & Definitions
- 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. The back weight moves the center of gravity toward the back
of the club to assist in getting the ball airborne.
- 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.
- An alloy of Titanium both harder and heavier than typical cast titanium.
- Big Butt Shaft
- Any shaft with a butt size over .620".
- 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.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Outside surface of a golf ball. The cover may be one of any number of materials, Surlyn and balata
being most common.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The relative bending properties of a golf club shaft. Flex is usually identified by a letter: L for ladies,
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.
- 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.
- A putter (or iron) that has an extremely offset hosel.
- 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.
- Dark, almost black, 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.
- High-Modulus Graphite
- A shaft material stiffer than standard graphite. The higher the modulus of graphite, the lower its
- High Polish Finish
- Shiny (mirror) finish applied to stainless steel iron heads through a series of polishing operations.
- Hook Face
- A wood with a closed face angle. Hook face woods may help players who slice to hit the ball straight.
- Horizontal Flow Weighting
- Distributing weight from club to club in a set of irons, with
the highest concentration of weight moving from the toe of the longer irons to the heel of the
- The entry point of the shaft into the head on any golf club.
- Inset Hosel
- A club design with the hosel toward the center of the club face in an attempt to reduce head twisting.
- Leading Edge
- The front edge of the clubface.
- The angle from the shaft to the ground line when the club is measured in normal playing position.
- Upward force on a golf ball as it flies.
- Lightweight Shaft
- A shaft that falls within 3.80-4.24 ounces in steel or alloy shafts and within 3.20-3.60 ounces in
- The angle of the clubface that controls trajectory and affects distance.
- Low Balance Point (LBP)
- A shaft with a high percentage of its weight toward the tip.
- Low Profile Head
- An iron or wood head that is shorter from topline to soleline than typical.
- A type of putter head identified by its broad appearance from front to back when positioned at address.
- Maraging Steel
- A steel alloy harder than are non-maraging steels such as 17-4 and 15-5. Maraging steel is commonly used
in club face applications, rather than in entire club heads.
- A black corrosion-resistant plating applied to some club heads.
- Milled Face
- A club face milled to .001" for flatness to promote smoother roll.
- Midsize Wood
- Any wood with a clubhead around 185cc in size.
- The measure of a fiber's stiffness or resistance to bending. The higher the modulus, the stiffer the material.
- Muscleback Iron
- See Blade Style Iron.
- Non-Conforming Club
- A club whose construction does not allow it to be played in any event (either professional, amateur or
club-level) as sanctioned by USGA Rules.
- Non-Conforming Club (Driver) List
- A list of clubs (particularly drivers) that do not conform to USGA equipment requirements.
- The distance from the forward most point of the hosel to the leading edge of the blade. Offset will help a
player to align the club face with the target, reducing a slice, and may produce higher ball flight.
- Oversize Iron Head
- Any iron head larger 43 millimeters and a blade length of 75 mm.
- Oversize Wood Head
- A wood head with volume greater than 200 cc's.
- Perimeter Weighting
- Redistributing weight on a club head to the heel and toe in an attempt to stabilize the club on all types
- Progressive Offset
- Iron sets with longer irons having more offset and shorter irons having less.
- Progressive 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 Flow Weighting.
- Raised areas on the soles of metal woods, lowering the center of gravity of the club and providing less
resistance as the club travels through the turf.
- A name given to any number of clubs that combine features of a wood and an iron. "Rescue" is also the
trademarked name of this type of club from TaylorMade that began the trend. See also "Hybrid."
- The measure of face curvature from crown to sole on woods.
- Light gray finish applied to the some iron and wood heads. Applied using an air compressor and sandblasted
with aluminum oxide sand.
- Satin Finish
- "Brushed" finish applied to some stainless steel iron heads and metal wood soles by finishing belts.
- Scoring Lines
- Lines or grooves on the face of an iron or wood club.
- 17-4 Stainless Steel
- Stainless steel alloy used in Iron and metal wood head construction. 17-4 is no more than 0.07% Carbon,
between 15 and 17% Chromium, 4% Nickel, 2.75% Copper, and 75% Iron and trace elements. Harder than 431
- Shallow Face
- Any wood or iron having a face height shorter than normal.
- 6-4 Titanium
- Titanium is used in wood heads manufactured with the formula 6Al-4V: these are 90% Titanium, 6% Aluminum
and 4% Vanadium. Titanium is often used in oversize and larger heads.
- The bottom or underside of any type of golf club. It is where the club rests on the ground in playing position.
- Sole Weighted Iron
- An iron head with the majority of its weight concentrated near the sole of the club, producing a lower
center of gravity.
- Sole Width
- The measure of a sole from the leading edge to the trailing edge. A narrow sole is better from firmer
ground; wide soles are helpful in getting the ball airborne from softer ground.
- Sole Camber
- The curvature from the leading edge to the trailing edge.
- Spring-Like Effect
- 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 "Flexible Face" and "Trampoline Effect".
- Square (Box, "U") Grooves
- Face lines or grooves pressed, cut, or cast into a rectangular shape.
- Standard Size Wood
- Any wood head with volume of around 150cc.
- Standard Weight Shaft
- A steel shaft within the range of 4.25-4.62 ounces.
- Where the diameter of a steel shaft "steps up" noticeably to a larger diameter.
- Steel shafts without"steps up" in diameter. FMC Rifle and Apollo Balistik are stepless shafts.
- Step Pattern
- The pattern made by the sequence of steps of a steel shaft which vary by manufacturer and shaft model.
- Strong Loft
- A club, usually an iron, with loft that is less than the standard specification for that club. Stronger
lofted clubs tend to hit the ball lower and longer than standard lofts, but may sacrifice some control.
- Alloys of steel that are stronger and lighter than 17-4 stainless.
- A club's weight distribution around a fixed fulcrum point. The fulcrum point is typically 14" from the
butt of the club. It is measured in alpha-numeric units such as D-1, D-2, and so on with higher
letter-number units indicating more weight in the head relative to the grip.
- Alloy used for wood heads that contains some Titanium, but a much larger amount of less expensive
(generally Aluminum) alloys.
- Tip Stiff
- A shaft with a tip stiffer than the rest of the shaft. Tip stiff shafts are generally designed with
harder swinging players in mind.
- Club head metal primarily for woods with a higher strength-to-weight ratio than most steel alloys. See
also Forged Titanium and 6-4 Titanium.
- The top part of an iron blade, running from heel to toe visible to the golfer at address.
- Measure of a shaft's resistance to twisting. Low torque shafts twist less and are recommended for stronger players.
- Total Weight
- Weight of the entire assembled club as expressed in ounces or grams.
- The shape and height of a golf ball's flight in relation to its direction.
- Trampoline Effect
- 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 "Flexible Face" and "Spring-Like Effect".
- Trailing Edge
- The back edge of the sole.
- A club head comprised of three separate metals.
- Trouble Club
- Clubs used to play the ball from a difficult lie. Trouble clubs often have unusual sole construction
- perhaps rails - that lower the center of gravity. Trouble clubs may be irons, woods or hybrids.
- A heavy steel/tungsten compound is used to add weight to a club head, either as a swingweighting material
in the shaft or as a defined weight attached somewhere in/on the head.
- Used in iron face structure, more pronounced than "V" grooves. See "Square Groove."
- Ultralight Shaft
- Composite shafts weighing less than 2.00 ounces or 65 grams.
- Upright Lie
- A club's lie that is more upright than the standard specification for that particular head.
- V Grooves
- Face grooves pressed, cut, or cast into a "V" shape during club manufacture.
- The speed of a golf ball.
- Vertical Flow Weighting
- Club set weighting with weight shifting vertically from a concentration of weight toward the sole of
long irons to more traditional weighting on short irons.
- The measurement of the size of a wood head as measured by liquid displacement.