A Utility Club – What is it?
Utility clubs can be anything from a driving iron or rescue club to a chipping iron. One would choose a utility club generally based on a weakness in your game. Utility clubs are versatile and can offer a player many different options.
Filling the gap between long irons and woods many manufacturers are now offering sets from 5-PW, to allow space for a utility or hybrid club in the bag. The utility club has taken on from where the driving iron failed, and the following describes the types of utility clubs in the market:
The Rescue Club
One type of utility club is the rescue club. So called for its ability to rescue players from rough and it combines the forgiveness and distance and height of a fairway wood but has the reduced run of an iron.
The small narrow head makes it easier to hit from tough lies than either a fairway wood or a feared long iron. Shorter in length than a fairway wood it feels more like an iron in your hand. Can also be used off the tee it will typically travel as far as most players longest irons but much easier to hit. Some players have also used this is a little ‘chipper’ from just off the greens.
The utility club has a relatively small head compared to fairway woods, which makes it easier to hit from rough. The narrow, smaller area on the head means there is less club head will not get caught up in the grass and therefore produce better contact in tough lies.
The launch angle (aka loft) of utility clubs typically varies between 15 and 22 degrees. A 3 iron will have approximately 21 degrees of loft so this offers a nice alternative to using a long iron if you are not so inclined. May also travel a little further than an iron so will a little bit of a gap filler between woods and irons, much like a gap wedge between a wedge and sand wedge. A 21 -degree utility club will not produce the same distance as a 21-degree fairway wood because the smaller shaft length and head size of the utility club means it will not travel as far as the fairway wood of the same loft, a common misunderstanding by most players.
The best kept secret of the utility club: its length. It is simply shorter than fairway wood which gives you more control but less distance. The shorter the shaft the normal means less flex , so more control but the utility club retains the ease of the hit of a fairway wood compared with a long iron.
As the name suggests it is a great club off the tee. Better suited to a player is confident with longer irons it offers more distance and control than a fairway wood. The low spin and low trajectory is equal with the thinking that they are harder to get airborne of the tee. The driving iron is straighter than a rescue club or fairway wood and produces longer carry despite low spin and low height – a lower arc off the tee, also a nice alternative to a longer iron of the fairway because of its forgiveness due to bigger hitting area.