If you’ve ever been golfing, you may have found yourself wondering how golf clubs are made. Seriously: how can such a lightweight object force a ball to travel hundreds of yards with a simple swing?!
So, how are golf clubs made? In general, today’s golf clubs are made using titanium as the main source material. The titanium then goes through either the casting or forging process which, when completed, produces the finished golf club.
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that the materials used in constructing a golf club are fairly common, but the process more complex. If you’d like to learn more about how the material for your set of clubs was chosen and the details of the process that goes into construction of each club, read on!
Evolution of Materials Used to Make Golf Clubs
Golfers have been attempting to gain an advantage through the use of better clubs since the time of the first golf match. The first golf clubs were actually carved by the players themselves out of wood since it was the only feasible material available. However, wood was relatively expensive at the time and was prone to cracks or even complete breaks if used too often.
Starting in the mid 1700s, blacksmiths began to use iron instead of wood in constructing clubs. Iron proved to be more durable and less expensive, making it much easier for more people to start enjoying the sport. Over time more and more adjustments were made including steel shafts, incorporating more iron into the heads, and experimenting with composite materials such as graphite.
It wasn’t until 1979 that Taylor-Made developed the first all-metal wood driver. This was significant as it reduced the weight of the club as well as led to further drives.
Further refinements in materials were made in the early 2000s which involved clubs constructed of both wood and iron. These clubs are still in use today, but gave way to the modern trend of titanium club heads combined with graphite shafts.
The Golf Club-Making Process
Golf clubs may seem simple in structure and look, but the process of putting a quality club together is complex.
There are two processes a manufacturer can use to produce a golf club head: Casting and Forging.
Once the head has been made, it is then attached to the shaft. The last step before the club is delivered is adding the appropriate grip.
The casting method first involves making a cast of the club head according to manufacturer’s specifications. Titanium (or your metal of choice) is then melted and poured into the cast. Once cooled, the head is then attached to the shaft and the club is nearly complete. Slight adjustments to the weight and grip may be needed, but they are minor.
The casting process comes with numerous advantages. First, numerous clubs can be produced in a short period of time all according to nearly identical specifications as they come from the same mold. Casting can also offer a wide variety of choices for golfers to choose from as there are a wide variety of casts available in different shapes and sizes.
Clubs produced through casting make up approximately 90% of the clubs on the market today. The main reason they are so popular is that golfers of any age and skill level can find a suitable set of clubs at a reasonable price due to the wide selection available.
The forging process uses a single piece of steel or titanium to produce golf clubs. The metal is heated similar to the casting process, but only to the point where the titanium or steel becomes malleable and relatively easy to form into the shape of the desired club. Once hot enough, the steel is hammered and shaped numerous times until it comes close to the shape of the club desired. However, this is not the end of the process. Because the forging technique is much less precise than casting, manufacturers must continuously reshape the club head until it is ready to be connected to the club shaft. The process is labor intensive and takes much more time than casting.
You may be asking yourself what the advantages of a forged club are given that they are more expensive than clubs made from casting. Forged clubs are mainly for the experienced golfer who knows what he or she wants in terms of the feel, weight, and performance of their chosen club. Additionally, forged clubs are considered works of art in that they undergo numerous refinements and adjustments in order to achieve that “perfect feel” that some golf aficionados are looking for.
Conclusion: How Golf Clubs are Made
We’ve seen from our discussion above that golf clubs may seem simple to manufacture, the steps involved can be fairly complex:First, the desired material for the club must be chosen.
Today titanium is far and away the most popular material used to form the head of the club.
Two processes are available to create a club head:
- Casting manufactures clubs by melting metal and pouring it into a premade cast, after which it is connected to the shaft. Casting can create a large number of clubs in a short period of time and are appropriate for golfers of all ages and skill levels.
- Forging is a much more labor intensive process that involves heating the metal until it is able to be hammered and shaped into the desired shape. Forged clubs are popular among experienced golfers as they are considered works of art and are customizable in terms of weight and shape.
We hope this article has been interesting as well as helpful in choosing your next set of clubs the next time you’re in the market. Happy golfing!