I hope that all our female readers had a great Mother’s Day either as a recipient of a day off from your daily activities that go unnoticed and underappreciated or were able to spend some special time with your daughter(s), mom or grandma. Possibly you were the one lucky enough to get a round of golf in over the weekend while someone else cooked or straightened up around the house for once. In honors of mom’s everywhere, this week’s topic is dedicated on purchasing women’s golf clubs. Hey, you men might as well listen too!
What is a women’s (or ladies) golf club?
Let’s answer the not so obvious question on what constitutes a woman’s or also called a ladies golf club. There are really two camps that ladies golf clubs fall into. The first is often the way most ladies clubs are made. They start out as a men’s model, but assembled with an L or ladies flex an inch shorter than the men’s version. Lastly a smaller sized ladies grip is installed. Voila, all of a sudden it instantly becomes a ladies golf club. In some cases the club may have a different accent color such as blue, pink or green to differentiate it from the men’s model.
The manufacturer may offer the driver in a highest lofted men’s version to make it easier the get the ball airborne, but all other clubs are the same lofts as the men’s. Not convinced, take a look at the specifications as that will tell you who they were really made for. Yet, there are many women who can play well with what amounts to as a modified men’s club.
The other way in which women’s clubs are created is using a whole new set of specifications. Plus this version are not sold in any form as a man’s set making them exclusive to ladies. An example of this would be Hireko’s iBella Bellissima collection.
The reason why you do not see more of the ladies exclusive type of set is the cost to the manufacturers. In order to make an exclusive new model requires additional tooling charges, when it is much easier to share existing tooling and accept the specification of a man’s set albeit with a different flex shaft and smaller grip. Often times this type of set is produced with greater loft throughout the set, except for the wedges which are already high lofted.
Which is type of set is best for you?
This all depends upon your skill level. For beginners and slower swinging women golfers, the additional loft throughout the set as with the ladies exclusive set will be a godsend and here is the reason why. Women on average do not possess the strength or the swing speed as their male counterparts. Therefore it is much more difficult to produce enough height and back spin to achieve the distance they truly need.
The other thing to look at is the width of the sole or bottom of the club. Even though many men’s clubs are being introduced with wider and wider soles, all sets devoted to women have very wide soles to begin with. The importance is women take more a sweeping motion and will almost assuredly result into the ball being struck low on the club face. In other words they lack the strength to take a divot. So it was imperative to move the weight lower, not only allow the ball to become airborne, but more importantly to provide a solid feel at impact. This is why a wider sole is beneficial as a higher concentration of weight is located there.
As we said earlier, there are fewer options available if you were looking to invest into a ladies exclusive set. If you are looking for less pastels and gender neutral colors, then you can still pieces together the right mix of clubs from the modified men’s sets with a little homework.
Do you need 14 clubs?
While we along with every other manufacturer would more than love for you to purchase the allotted 14 clubs you are allowed to put into your golf bag, not all women will need them all. If you take a look at many ladies exclusive sets, they may offer what is called a short set.
Certain golfers may benefit from carrying even less clubs. This is especially true of many beginning women golfers who tend to have reduced club head speeds (those 60 mph and below). Having all 14 clubs doesn’t produce enough separation in distance between each club, so why end up lugging the on the course?
10 Piece Beginner’s Set
This is what a 10 piece set should look like with your tee club, one higher-lofted fairway, a couple of hybrids to bridge the gap to the irons like a #3 and 5 combo or a #4 and 6 combo, the easier-to-hit irons, a couple wedges and finally a putter. As you progress you can always add to that set (if they are offered) or graduate to the intermediate set.
13 Piece Intermediate Set
For more intermediate or advanced women golfers, having a full compliment of clubs can be justified. Here is an example of what a 13-piece set might look like. Certain clubs can be substituted to make your perfect set. After all it is your choice! But I would encourage the addition of more fairway woods and hybrids than the irons as the lower center of gravity and wider soles are much easier to hit solidly. Don’t even think about a 3-iron, those should be outlawed and the reason why you do not see ladies sets with them today.
Of course if you want to add there is room for one more club such as a gap wedge, chipper or 60 degree wedge, probably in the order of their importance.
Grips and Shafts
Don’t always assume woman need the smaller sized ladies grips that come standard on ladies clubs. Many prefer the standard men’s size to accommodate their longer fingers or just feel more comfortable if they take a 10 finger grip. Golf Pride paid attention and introduced a ladies line of grips called Vyne where larger sizes are available. My suggestion is to use whatever size feels the most comfortable to you.
In regards to shafts, well the shaft doesn’t care if it is a man or woman swinging it. But most ladies flex shafts are geared to hit the ball higher, with few exceptions. The key performance consideration is weight, while some shafts L-flex shafts tend to run more flexible than others. Preferences for brand and color may help sift through the myriad of models made available to you. More powerful women golfers can easily use men’s flexes as some you out there can pound the ball past some of your male counterparts. There is no rule set in stone you have to use ladies flex if your strength indicates otherwise.
Know the difference between women’s clubs disguised as men’s clubs compared to those sets designed specifically for most women golfers. The lofts should give them away. Buy only the clubs you need, especially for slower swinging golfer as you will end up with several clubs that seem like they all go the same distance. Don’t always assume because it has a ladies label attached, that it automatically mean’s that right for you. Comfort in the hands and matching a shaft to your strength is paramount. Those are just a few things to look for when it come time to purchase your next or possibly first set.