Basically, a set of clubs consists of 'woods' and irons and a putter. WOODS Woods ( a generic term for the shape of the club as these are often made of other materials) are the more bulbous headed clubs with greater clubhead density, designed for propelling the ball longer distances. Originally, these numbered from 1 (Driver) to 4-wood, but these days it seems that woods can have any degree of loft and can number down to the higher iron numbers. IRONS A normal set of irons consists of numbers 3 to 9, together with a pitching wedge and sand wedge for use around the greens and from bunkers.
The lower the number on the club, normally the longer the shaft to give a bigger swing arc, and the less the degree of loft on the face. These are designed to hit the ball lower over longer distances. The higher the number, the shorter the shaft and greater degree of loft. These are intended to hit the ball higher and over shorter distances. There are a number of additional clubs, such as a 1 or driving iron, and a lob wedge with a very high degree of loft, which is intended to get the ball very high, thereby reducing the amount of run on the ball once it lands. THE PUTTER Has a flat face, and is designed to cause the ball to roll along the ground in places such as the putting green.
Basically, the golfer is free to choose his/her optimal selection of clubs, the only provisos being the maximum number (14) which may be taken out on a given (competitive) round, and the fact that the design of the club must conform to the rules as laid down by the authorities and amended from time to time as part of the rules of golf. Pick up any golf magazine, and you will be presented with a bewildering array of clubs and balls even clothing all of which are guaranteed to put additional distance on your drives or spin on your pitch shots. The reality is that for the vast majority of golfers they will probably make very little, if any, difference. WHAT DO YOU NEED TO START? When you start out in the game, a good basic set or half-set is as good as anything. Ok, if you are abnormally short or tall, you may experience some difficulty with standard sizing and may have to have something specially made.
Other than that, there is no real requirement for heading to your local leading brand specialist and having a set made up of special lengths, shaft types, grip thickness and all of the other variables that can go into club design.
taken from "Beginners Guide to Golf" download from www.cheapestebooksaround.co.uk