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Since golf first came into existence, people have made golf clubs from all sorts of materials. While some of the earliest golf clubs were carved from wood, others used materials like leather, metal, and even bone fragments in their construction.
Golf clubs have come a long way since then, and today, we see different materials used for the clubhead and the club’s shafts.
From aluminum and iron to steel and titanium, golf clubs’ materials vary based on what the club is trying to optimize or what kind of club it is.
There are many different clubs because each club is designed for a specific task. There are some materials which perform better for precision putting while different materials will work the best for driving the ball a long way.
Read on to find out what specific golf clubs are made of and which materials you should choose for them.
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What Are Golf Clubs Made Of?
Golf clubs are made of several different components, which are then connected to create individual golf clubs. These components (clubhead, shaft, and grip) can all be made of multiple different materials.
Golf Club Shafts
Manufacturers used different types of woods to make club shafts, but shaft construction is now primarily focused on graphite and steel. While woods are usually made of graphite, irons still focus on steel alloys.
Graphite shafts are known for being lightweight, and as a result, can help golfers with their swing speed. They don’t feel as solid as steel shafts and are easier and more comfortable to hit.
Beginners often choose a club with a graphite shaft for this reason. Hitting balls with graphite shafts is smoother because they don’t vibrate as much as steel shafts.
You should note that graphite shafts have more torque than steel shafts. While this makes them more comfortable to hit, it inhibits control.
Furthermore, graphite shafts are more flexible than other types of shafts, giving them more power. However, this power comes at the expense of some accuracy and feel.
Graphite shafts are a great option for golfers who need help with their swing speed and want to create more power. They’re also used widely by seniors, juniors, and women because they’re such a lightweight option.
Because graphite shafts don’t vibrate as much as steel shafts and are lighter than steel shafts, they’re an excellent option for golfers with injuries. Graphite shafts don’t put as much strain on the body and are ideal for golfers with neck and back problems.
If you have a naturally slow swing and value distance over accuracy and feel, you can’t go wrong with graphite shafts.
Steel shafts are heavier than graphite ones but are generally less expensive. They’re usually made of stainless steel and offer golfers more feel and feedback than graphite shafts.
This is usually more important for more experienced players, who often opt for steel shafts over graphite ones. Another reason low handicappers opt for steel shafts is because of the lower torque and subsequently greater control.
Additionally, if your swing speed is fast enough for heavier clubs, you don’t need graphite shafts to aid with that. Steel shafts also give you feedback from mishits and allow you to improve your gameplay.
Aluminum shafts were used as materials for golf shafts in the 1960s as a lighter replacement for steel. While these were definitely lighter, they were also more prone to cracking and needed to be thick to prevent this.
Unfortunately, the thicker aluminum shafts never gained favor with golfers.
Golf Club Heads
Historically, club heads consisted of everything from beech and dogwood to forged iron. Today, club heads are almost always made of lightweight metals like titanium, steel, and carbon fiber which allows for a greater bounce.
Stainless Steel Club Heads
Stainless steel is the most commonly used material in golf clubs since it’s easy to cast into different shapes and is durable and inexpensive. The two main kinds of stainless steel used for golf clubs’ material are 17-4 stainless steel and 431 stainless steel.
The former is mostly used for metal woods, hybrids, and some irons, with most fairway woods on the market being made from 17-4 stainless steel. On the other hand, 431 stainless steel is widely used for irons and putters.
Carbon Graphite Club Heads
This lightweight material has been widely used in golf design because of its durability. However, most clubs only incorporate carbon graphite into the design instead of producing club heads made of carbon graphite.
Since the material is less dense than other materials, it’s great to use as a top shell and save weight.
Carbon Steel Club Heads
Carbon steel has been used in wedges, irons, and putters for centuries. This material is soft and malleable and is usually covered with a protective finish to avoid rusting.
Seasoned golfers praise carbon steel and say that they can feel a difference between it and stainless steel. As a result, handicappers and professionals prefer the material, which is also more expensive than stainless steel.
Maraging Steel Club Heads
Maraging steel is a specialty stainless steel known for being harder than 431 or 17-4 stainless steel. It’s usually used for face inserts because its hardness allows the insert to be extremely thin.
As a result, this can result in high ball velocity upon impact, making this great for performance. However, this is also more expensive than traditional stainless steel.
Titanium Club Heads
Titanium has been used in golf clubs since the 1990s and is the material of choice for drivers. The material’s high strength-to-weight ratio makes it ideal for driver heads and allows manufacturers to make larger clubheads that still meet the weight requirements of traditional drivers.
Additionally, titanium is a solid and durable material, making it perfect for driver heads.
While titanium is one of the most popular materials for driver heads, this isn’t the case for other golf clubs. It’s an expensive option that isn’t often used in fairway woods, hybrids, or irons because the lightweight material would require a larger overall club to match the weight of traditional clubs.
This would make them harder. That being said, some irons use titanium inserts to increase ball speed at impact.
Aluminum Club Heads
Aluminum is lightweight and inexpensive, making it a replacement for stainless steel in junior sets and starter sets. While it’s a great material, it does have a disadvantage that golfers should be aware of.
For the walls not to crack or cave in, you have to make them thicker than they would with stainless steel. This reduces ball speed.
Zinc Club Heads
Zinc club heads are the cheapest ones available and are usually used for wedges, putters, and irons in starter sets and junior sets. Unlike materials like stainless steel, zinc isn’t long-lasting or durable.
Golf Club Grips
In the past, grips were usually made of leather strips. Today, you’ll sometimes see outer grips made of leather on putters or custom golf clubs.
However, most golf clubs on the market boast rubber grips because these provide more consistency and are better at dealing with moisture.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for customization. Rubber grips come in various textures and thicknesses, and different golfers can opt for the grip that best suits their needs.
Some golfers even combine the two and use rubber grips under the leather to get the best of both worlds.
If you were wondering, “What are golf clubs made of?” I hope this article has answered your question. Now that you know which materials do what, you’ll have an easier time choosing the perfect golf clubs for your needs.