Wood is a type of golf club used in the sport of golf. Woods have longer shafts and larger, rounder heads than other club types, and are used to hit the ball longer distances than other types.
Woods are so-called because, traditionally, they had a club head that was made from hardwood, generally persimmon, but modern clubs have heads made from metal, for example, titanium, or composite materials, such as carbon fibre. Some golf enthusiasts refer to these as “metals” or “metal woods” but this change in terminology is not strictly necessary, because while the material has changed, the style and intended use have not. The change to stronger materials has allowed the design of the modern woods to incorporate significantly larger heads than in the past. Because of the increase in clubhead size, in 2004, the USGA created a new stipulation for the size of the clubhead. The legal maximum volume displacement of any clubhead (by the rules of golf) is 460 cm3 (28.1 cu in)
Woods are numbered in ascending order starting with the driver, or 1-wood, which has the lowest loft (usually between 9 and 13 degrees), and continuing with progressively higher lofts and numbers. Most modern woods are sold as individual clubs allowing the player to customize their club set, but matched sets of woods, especially as part of a complete club set, are readily available. Odd-numbered lofts are most common in players’ bags, though 2- and 4-woods are available in many model lines. The number of the club is mainly a reference for the player to easily identify the golf clubs; the actual loft angle of a particular number varies between manufacturers, and there is often some overlap of lofts (one 3-wood might be higher-lofted than a 4-wood of a different brand or model). Other identifiers have been utilized such as “strong” and “plus” to differentiate various lofts within a line of golf clubs.
Woods generally fall into two classes, drivers and fairway woods, with a traditional set of clubs including a driver and one or two fairway woods (usually numbered 3 and 5). Many modern sets tend to include hybrid clubs, which combine some of the characteristics of wood and an iron, to replace the 5 wood and low-lofted irons.
During the 2010s, golf club producers popularized the idea of woods and hybrids that can be adjusted by the player to provide different settings, such as lofts.