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St Andrews 2024

Golf equipment

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A guide for those new to the sport

Megan Khang sitting on her golf bag at Walton Heath

Have you ever wondered what equipment a golfer needs to complete their round?

Or might you be completely new to golf but are going to St Andrews to watch Tom Grennan perform in August and want to catch some AIG Women's Open action while you're there?

Don't worry; we've got you covered.

You're no doubt already aware that golf clubs and balls are the obvious essentials, but there is a raft of other items a golfer needs to pack before they walk onto the course.

Let us take you through a checklist of most of the things you can expect to see a player carrying or using during their 18 holes…

Golf bags filled with clubs and club head covers

Clubs

No golfer would be complete without a set of clubs. There must be no more than 14 clubs in a bag and that collection will be made up of a mix of woods, irons, wedges and a putter.

Andrea Lee using a driver at Walton Heath

Andrea Lee hits a tee shot with her driver at the AIG Women's Open in 2023

Woods

Woods are a group of clubs so called because of the material from which they were historically made.

A driver is the most powerful club in the bag, a club which is usually used off the tee (see above) because of the distance it can generate.

(Based on this season's stats, the average distance you can expect to see a player drive the ball during the AIG Women's Open will be somewhere between 245 and 280 yards.)

Other woods, such as a 3-wood or a 5-wood, are often used off the tee but can also be used on the fairway* - commonly known as “fairway woods”.

*the fairway is the long stretch of short grass between the tee box and the putting green.

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Hye-Jin Choi plays an iron shot out of the first cut of rough at Walton Heath

Hye-Jin Choi plays an iron shot at Walton Heath

Irons

Irons are shorter in length than woods and come in numbered sets, typically from a 3-iron to a 9-iron.

The blade (or “face”) of each iron is angled differently.

A 3-iron is flatter than a 9-iron, with the aim of achieving more distance. The face of each subsequent iron is angled to a greater degree, allowing for more height on a shot but reducing the distance the ball will travel.

A golfer will decide which iron to choose depending on how far they would like to hit the ball.

Ally Ewing chips onto the green at Walton Heath

Ally Ewing chips the ball onto the green at Walton Heath

Wedges

While they are still technically ‘irons’, the blade of a wedge is more severely angled for more height.

The most typical wedges used are pitching/chipping wedges, gap wedges, sand wedges (initially designed for bunker shots) and lob wedges, with each one being used for approach shots into greens depending on the distance.

A close up of Lilia Vu putting

Lilia Vu lines up a putt on her way to AIG Women's Open glory in 2023

Putter

A putter (colloquially referred to as the “flat stick”) is most commonly used on the greens and allows a golfer to putt the ball into the hole.

Some players choose to putt the ball from off the green if they feel they are close enough.

A driver addressing a golf ball and tee

Golf balls

The ultimate premise of golf is to hit your ball from the tee into the hole in the fewest amount of shots.

There are many manufacturers of golf balls - as there are clubs - and most players will mark their ball with a pen in order to differentiate it from another player's.

A close up of a Calloway golf ball on a tee

Tees

A tee is a very small plastic or wooden stick upon which a golf ball can perch.

A tee may only be used in the tee box and helps a golfer achieve maximum distance (and/or height) with their first shot on a hole.

Emilie Alba Paltrinieri puts on her golf glove

Gloves aid a player's grip on the shaft of a club

Glove

A golf glove simply helps a player get a more comfortable grip of a club.

Right-handed players will wear a glove on their left hand while left-handed golfers will wear a glove on their right hand.

Most players remove their glove while putting in order to get a better feel for the putt.

A close up of Danielle Kang's adidas golf shoes

A close-up of Danielle Kang's shoes on the green

Golf shoes

Just like any sports shoe, golf shoes come in a variety of different styles.

What makes golf shoes unique is that they contain small spikes on the sole (not too dissimilar to shoes worn for track and field), to aid a player's balance.

A marker being placed behind a golf ball on a green

Ball marker

A ball marker may only be used on the green.

Golf etiquette dictates that the player who is furthest away from the hole putts first so ball markers allow their playing partner(s) to mark where their ball sits, allowing them to remove said ball from possible line of sight - in other words, moving their ball out of the way.

Linn Grant with her scorecard at Walton Heath

Linn Grant fills in her scorecard

Scorecard

Every player must keep a record of their score after each hole.

In competitive golf, a player must sign their scorecard and submit it to an official in the clubhouse at the end of each round. Failure to do so will lead to disqualification from the tournament.

English golfer Georgia Hall

Georgia Hall won the AIG Women's Open in 2018

Headgear

You will rarely see a golfer without a hat of some description.

The most common hat seen on course is a baseball cap, but some players – such as Georgia Hall (above) – opt for a visor.

In colder conditions players often choose a warmer alternative, such as a beanie.

Charley Hull wearing sunglasses at Walton Heath

Charley Hull rocking a pair of aviators at Walton Heath

Sunglasses

While a hat may shield the sun to some degree, sometimes a golfer will need to wear sunglasses for added protection.

And on really hot days, sun lotion is also an essential.

An AIG Women's Open umbrella

Golfers must prepare for every weather condition

Umbrella

A round of golf can take 4-5 hours to complete, so players must be prepared for every eventuality when it comes to the weather.

Even in the height of summer, players will often have an umbrella packed inside their bag in case of a sudden downpour.

Lydia Ko (right) in action at the Australian Open

Towels

A golfer will often carry with them more than one towel.

While one or two will be used for cleaning clubs during the round, a spare towel will be available in case a player needs to dry themselves in wet, or extremely hot, conditions.

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