The most common of the utility clubs is the rescue club. So named for its ability to rescue players from rough, it combines the forgiveness and distance and height of a fairway wood and the stopping ability 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. Also for use off the tee it will typically travel as far as most players longest irons, and shorter than any fairway wood.
Furthermore the rescue club can save you shots around the green. Due to its shaft length, small head and loft, it can be used to chip and hit longer running approach shots.
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 to get caught up in the grass and therefore producing better contact in tough lies producing a better shot than you would get using a conventional fairway wood or long iron.
The loft of utility clubs varies between 15 and 21 degrees typically. This range of loft is chosen to offer an easily hit alternative to a long iron. A 3 iron will have approximately 21 degrees of loft; therefore the utility club is ideal to bridge the gap between fairway woods and irons. One common mistake made by players is thinking that a 15-degree utility club will produce the same distance as a 15-degree fairway wood. The smaller shaft length and headsize of the utility club means it will hit it shorter than a fairway wood with the same loft.
One of the secrets of the utility club is its length. Unlike a fairway wood, the utility club is shorter than a typical wood and similar to an iron in length. The reason behind this feature is that the shorter the club, the more control you have over your shots.
For more information on shafts, go to the Golf Shafts Buying Guide