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What is Offset in Golf Clubs

What is Offset in Golf Clubs: The Pro’s & Con’s

I’m convinced that golfers have struggled with a slice since the beginning of time. In fact, club companies back in the 1800s started making tweaks to help players hit straighter shots.

So if you’ve struggled with a slice (or still struggling) just know that you are not alone. Fellow golfers have tried to overcome this issue for centuries.

While there is a lot of new technology coming out to help you hit it straighter, don’t forget about an older method – offset golf clubs. These clubs are designed for slicers and players who need a little extra help hitting the golf ball straight.

This design started in the late 1800s thanks to Willie Smith but didn’t catch on until the 1960s. Once Ping engineers added this to their irons, it became a critical piece of golf equipment. 

Keep reading to learn more about offset golf irons and drivers. 

Offset Golf Club 101

Before getting into the pros and cons of offset golf clubs, let’s discuss the design first. 

Simply put, offset is when the leading edge of the club face sits behind the hosel if you are looking down at address. The amount of offset is the amount of distance between the leading edge and the front of the hosel.

Despite the helpful design, Willie Smith’s idea didn’t catch fire until a century later and now basically all club makers include some amount of offset in clubs. You’ll even find a minimal amount of offset in some sets of blade irons designed for the very best players.

With offset golf clubs, the leading edge sits back from the shaft. 

The club is actually behind the shaft and not directly in line with it like most golf clubs. Offset golf clubs are available in wedges, irons, woods, and even hybrids. 

This might not look as strange with irons as most sets have some offset characteristics but it’s very noticeable in drivers. Some drivers are 5-7 degrees closed at address due to the design in order to help players hit it straighter. 

Offset varies now in iron heads though and can help with a higher launch angle, better swing rhythm, and help keep the clubhead square.

Let’s get into how these clubs can help your game and see if they’re right for your swing. 

What is Offset in Golf Clubs

Pros of Offset Golf Clubs

The first advantage to offset clubs is they help you hit a straighter ball flight.

Due to the location of the hosel in comparison to the shaft, these clubs make it easier to square the face at impact

Most golfers struggle with a slice but these clubs can help you find more fairways and greens (without grip or swing changes). Plus, it might even help you hit a draw which has all kinds of benefits. 

Second, they can increase your launch angle to land softly and as a result, add more distance.

The center of gravity changes thanks to the design which makes it easier to hit the ball higher and longer. This is especially important in longer, hard to hit clubs. 

Basically, these clubs help you avoid the slice, hit it straighter more often, and hit shots higher. Maximum forgiveness will help in that split second before contact which leads to better ball striking for many golfers.

Cons of Offset Golf Clubs 

While there are some advantages to playing offset clubs, there are some downsides too.

First, the look of them at address position is vastly different if you’ve been playing clubs without offset thus far in your career. The look alone can take some serious getting used to before you feel comfortable swinging them on the golf course. But if they help you hit better shots, you can overcome this pretty easily.

The second downside to offset clubs makes it harder to shape shots in both directions. The hosel position makes it hard to hit the ball in any direction and alter the flight too. 

Finally, due to the design it can also lead to draws that turn into hook shots. (aka over fixing the issue) These are equally frustrating as a slice and get you into some serious trouble on the golf course. 

As the old saying goes, “You can talk to a cut but you can’t talk to a hook.” Due to the side spin, once these balls start left they tend to just keep going left. 

What is Offset in Golf Clubs

Best Offset Irons

The average golfer will have progressive offset in most clubs to help with a straight ball flight. The more offset iron sets are for higher handicap golfers as this is a game improvement feature.

Here are a few recommendations from top club makers:

  • TaylorMade SIM Max Irons: These game improvement irons are a great option for right-handed players. The large head makes it easy to swing faster, improve ball speed, and square the club face at impact.
  • Cobra Golf F Max: The Cobra F-Max Airspeed irons help turn the ball over and square the club face thanks to the unique design.

Click here to read the best irons for high handicappers

FAQs About Offset Golf Clubs

Do you have more questions about offset golf clubs to see if they can help your golf swing? If so, keep scrolling to learn the frequently asked questions and answers.

What does offset do to a golf club?

Offset changes the look and feel of a golf club due to the hosel position. An offset design forces your hands more ahead of the clubhead in order to square the face at impact. The particular benefits of these clubs are great for beginners and those who struggle with slices. 

Do pros use offset irons?

No, in general most golf professionals (and skilled amateurs) will use non offset golf clubs or minimal offset. If the best players want a little more forgiveness they will switch from an MB (muscle back or blade) to a more forgiving cavity back head. Or, they might play different clubs or shafts in long irons to make them more reliable. 

While irons without offset look great at address, they’re not a good fit for 99% of players. This quote from Golf.com summed it up perfectly.

“Eliminating offset from an iron is akin to bowling on a lane that’s half as wide without the bumpers. If you’re good enough to keep it on the wood, life is good. However, a slight over rotation is likely sending your ball towards the gutter.”

Basically, clubs without offset makes a challenging game even harder on yourself. Minimizing offset makes it easier to shape shots but it’s also harder to hit it in the sweet spot too. Leave this type of iron setup for the pros and play clubs with some offset to find more consistency in your iron game. 

Are irons with less offset harder to hit? 

Yes, clubs with less or no offset (known as non offset clubs) are harder to hit and require a more consistent swing. This is why irons with minimal offset are preferred by scratch golfers and PGA Tour players. 

Who should play offset irons? 

Offset irons are best for new golfers and players who struggle with slices. They aren’t a great choice for mid-handicap golfers or better who want to work the ball. But a modern offset set can help you with shorter irons and longer irons too.

Do they make offset drivers? 

Yes, golf companies make both offset irons and woods. Here are the best offset drivers (offset woods) to help you hit the ball straighter.

  • Pinemeadow PGX Offset: PGX clubs (a clever knock off of PXG) specialize in golf equipment for beginners. This low-cost driver has 10.5 degrees of loft and anti-slice technology to help you hit it straighter and longer. If you’re a brand-new golfer and don’t want to spend a fortune on clubs, this is a great driver to help your tee box game. Additionally, they make matching offset fairway woods too.  
  • Orlimar Slice Killer: The name says it all – if you want to kill that pesky slice, this is a great club. It’s made for beginners and has higher loft options (10.5 or 12.5) for proper launch conditions and a 7-degree closed face to hit it straighter. It also comes in a regular or senior flex shaft to match your swing speed. 
  • Cobra F Max Driver: If you’re a serious player and want a high-quality offset driver opt for this one from Cobra. The F-Max looks gorgeous thanks to the all black design with blue accents. Looks aside, it has a lightweight head, shaft, and design to help you swing faster. While the offset hosel provides ball flight correction so you find more fairways too. 

Plus, a lot of drivers have interchangeable weights which also make it easier to draw the golf ball (or hit it straighter). Also, make sure to read the best drivers for slicers too. 

Can offset clubs cause a hook?

Yes, these types of clubs can cause a hook thanks to the design. While it’s not as likely to happen in shorter clubs, it can happen in clubs where the shaft length is longer.

The longer the club, the harder it is to square the face at impact. This is why so many players have much bigger misses (both left and right) with fairway woods and drivers.

Final Thoughts on Offset Clubs

The offset club has been around for centuries and can help your golf balls with better accuracy and distance. While most golfers can play a non offset driver, most irons have an offset leading edge. A progressive offset is great to help you square the club face at impact and hit it toward your target line.

If you struggle hitting your driver, an offset club can help you play better golf without changing your swing. But it’s more of a band-aid fix than a long-term solution to a faulty golf swing. 

That being said, if you don’t have time or change your swing, playing more offset golf clubs can help with a straighter ball flight. But if you do want to fix your swing without buying more forgiving clubs, click here to learn 10 ways to stop slicing the golf ball