The earliest golf balls were a thin leather bag stuffed with feathers, it was not a distance ball, falling short of 200 yards. The gutta-percha ball was adopted in 1848, reached a maximum distance of 225 yards. The rubber ball of 1899, helped golfers achieve greater distance. A 430 yard drive was made by Craig Wood in the British Open at St. Andrews in 1933. George Gayer, American pro made a 426 yard drive in Tucson, Arizona in 1955. Today tee shots of 300 yards are not unusual for some professionals. High compression balls are used by hard-hitting golfers. While low compression balls are used by softer-hitting golfers.
Golf sticks have evolved from wooden shaft clubs to sets of woods and irons integrating elegance, durability, weight distribution, graduation utility. In the 1880s golf bags came into use to tote the various clubs.
Wood clubs (those with wooden heads), are used for hitting the ball from the tee or for long distances shots. Numbered from one to four or five. Number one wood (formerly called the driver), used of maximum distance. Each wood number increases the achievable distance with greater loft. Formerly called "brassie," "spoon," "baffy," and "cleek."
Irons (iron-headed clubs), are used of relatively shorter shots, they are numbered from one to nine or ten. Differentiated by varying loft capability, they are selected according to the length of the shot and the terrain. Formerly called "driving iron," "midiron," "mashie" and "niblick." The putter is an iron with a straight face used for putting the ball on the green and into the hole.