I have suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me. I think deep down I just did not want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to finally check on her.

Around midnight, I hid in the garage behind my golf clubs so I could get a good view of the whole street when she arrived home from a night out with 'the girls. '

When she got out of the car she was buttoning up her blouse, which was open, and she took her panties out of her purse and slipped them on.

It was at that moment, crouching behind my golf clubs, that I noticed a hairline crack where the grip meets the graphite shaft on my 3-wood.

Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the pro-shop where I bought it?

What does that sentence mean in this English joke?

Edit: It surprises me that this question would get many comments and upvotes, thanks folks. I feel compelled to write an explanation. The reason I think this question isn't off-topic basic on:

I never seen a real and clear golf club in my life, so when I look up those words, it quite stuck me there, because I can't form an image of what it specifically look like in details on my mind; In situation to understand something that's not exist to you before with a Dictionary seem very hard, because you has to form a concept of it from nearly nowhere. For example, if you are a Mandarin learner, when you encounter words like '礼金', '奶金', you might have a hard time to understand that even if you look them up in dictionary, because, as far as I know, there isn't similar concepts of them in English, that's where you might need to ask someone who understand Mandarin for an explanation, and understand the background and culture of those words that usually doesn't defined on a dictionary.

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    Have you looked up the words hairline, grip, graphite, shaft, 3-wood? If so, what is it you still don't you understand? Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 14:51
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    As StoneyB notes, the meaning here is literal. It's not a punch line. The joke is that the narrator is suddenly more concerned about the golf club than about the marriage.
    – choster
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 14:56
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    His golf club, a three-wood, has a graphite shaft. The grip is at the top of the shaft, and at the point where the grip meets (adjoins) the shaft there is a hairline crack. The joke is that he's more interested in his golf club than his wife's infidelity. Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 15:04
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    @choster - And it could well be that his obsession with golf is the root cause of his marital problems. (I don't think the joke would ring as funny if he suddenly noticed a crack in his garage floor, for example, or a small dent in the car he was crouching behind.)
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 19:23
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    I must say I'm a little surprised that nobody is even mentioning the double-entendre plastered in the punch line. The joke is a switcheroo, but the double entendre (like grip, shaft, wood) is also kind of a red herring. If you really want to look too deep, you could say that discovering his wife's infidelity put a crack in his shaft.
    – BlackThorn
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 23:28

2 Answers 2


A "hairline crack" is a very thin crack that threatens the integrity of some object.
Hairline crack in a tabletop

The "grip" is where you hold the golf club.
golf club grip

The "graphite shaft" is the long part of the club, which these days is frequently made from graphite not wood:

graphite golf club shafts

A 3-wood is a particular kind of golf club used for hitting the ball long distances:

head of a 3-wood

The man says the crack is "between the shaft and the grip". I'm not a golfer but I assume this means the grip might come loose from the rest of the club, or at the very least, affect how well the club hits the ball:
parts of a golf club

The joke is that the man is more concerned about his golf clubs than his marriage. It uses a comedic device known as a "reversal" or "switcheroo", in which the reader expects the story to go one direction, but it actually leads to an unexpected conclusion.

I also slightly edited your question to include the initial "Guys" from the original. The joke is more humorous in the context of someone telling his story to some kind of newspaper or online "advice column".

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    To rephrase it: one of my golf clubs is starting to break. Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 16:16
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    @user239460 "club" has multiple meanings. While it does mean what you suggested, in this case it refers to the golf club, the thing used to hit the ball in golf. (Confusingly, "golf club" can also refer to an organisation that one can sign up to in order to play golf on a specific set of courses).
    – Muzer
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 16:19
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    @user239460 Ha, yes, "club" has many meanings, including a group of people who gather from a common interest, or a place where such people gather. It's also a large wooden stick which can be used as a weapon.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 16:20
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    @T.E.D. the original joke is the lede. OP's question was about the specific meaning of the English words, not why the question is funny. Anyway I deconstruct it so much that it can't possibly be funny any more by the time I explain the joke.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 16:36
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    @Andrew Whenever I tell a joke, I always explain it as awkwardly as possible to make sure no one enjoys it anymore. It works wonders.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 20:37

I see at least two interpretations. Andrew's answer does a great job of parsing the joke for individual definitions, so I won't reiterate that.

The first interpretation is more apparent and has already been covered: The husband prioritizes his possessions so greatly that it distracts him from an event so significant as a cheating spouse. His hobby is more important than his wife's loyalty and happiness--which strongly implies that he's not a very good husband, and he's likely always golfing. Further, his focus is poorly directed. The signs of a cheating spouse are generally easy to spot for someone invested in the relationship (extended outings, less affectionate, etc), but in his dark garage he was able to spot a hairline crack on his club--which isn't easy to see even in daylight.

It's suddenly very understandable that his wife is cheating. At the outset of the joke, she began as the villain, but there's now sympathy for her, stuck with a husband who is so dedicated to something aside the marriage that he neglects her completely, driving (bad golf pun) her into the arms of another man.

There's another interpretation--albeit a darker one.

The husband was angry at his wife for cheating and hit her with the golf club (maybe even killed her with it). In his rage he swung the club so hard that he cracked the handle but he's trying to convince those who suspect him of the crime that he's innocent, and the golf club had nothing to do with her assault/murder/disappearance. He wants to persuade the listener that the telltale crack was already there before his wife got home and doesn't implicate him.

Of course modern forensics (in this case common sense as well) would render his alibi a very weak one at best. And of course there's the horrific juxtaposition of humor and committing a brutal murder.

But hey, come on... it's a joke.

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    There is absolutely nothing to indicate he attacked his wife, he was crouching behind his clubs observing his wife when he noticed the crack.
    – Sarriesfan
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 22:42
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    Many punchlines are open to interpretation and inference, double entendre and paraprosdokian. FWIW I've never attacked anyone with a 3-wood, just saw an alternate inference and figured it's worth a mention. I don't know if that's an alternate, subversive intent of this specific joke--nor did I say I'd even find that funny--but I've seen jokes like it. I'll comment again if I think of one, but none come to mind ATM.
    – zedmelon
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 0:03
  • thanks for your sharing of story of this joke, it really is amazing that it means so much in it.
    – user239460
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 1:28

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