Some golfers don’t see a divide when it comes to choosing golf clubs. But a professional player is never a part of those few golfers because only those who have a considerable bit of experience can truly understand the importance of using the ‘right’ golf clubs.
To be honest, the selection is not so much based on gender as it is based on your swing speed and height. And this is exactly what creates the divide between men and women players in the game of golf.
There are clubs very thoughtfully crafted for slow swingers, which most female golfers are. And then there are golf clubs that only a faster swing speed can handle, which is where the greater part of male golfers come in. Men’s vs Women’s Golf Clubs – what’s the difference then?
Golf Clubs for Men and Golf Clubs for Women – What Are the Differences?
1. Difference in Grips
Human anatomy is such that men have larger hands than women. So then it only seems logical to assume that men’s clubs are outfitted with standard-sized to mid-sized grips. As for women’s clubs, the grips on these are thinner for their smaller hands.
Getting the correct size for your grip, be it man or woman, is crucial since it determines the level of pressure you exert during impact. The goal here is to maintain more consistent pressure and release your club more easily at impact.
What about if you’re a female golfer and are somewhere between men’s and women’s grips? You can solve this particular conundrum by wrapping tape below the grip of your women-specific golf club. What the tape here does is slightly builds that grip while also keeping it from turning into the standard grip of men’s clubs.
2. Difference in Shaft Material
The difference here is not so much based on gender as it’s based on swing speed. Listen to the logic behind it and I’m sure you would agree too.
So beginners in golf have an under-average swing speed. Now, these beginners can be anyone, including female golfers, senior golfers, etc. And those with a slow swing speed in golf perform better (in that a faster swing speed is promoted) with lightweight graphite.
Coincidentally, most women golfers have a comparatively slower swing speed. Hence, graphite shafts allow them to swing the golf club more easily and successfully (by successfully, I mean more distance).
When it comes to hitting LONG, it’s your swing speed that matters the most. So unless you’re a fast-speed female golfer, choose a shaft made of lightweight graphite. Otherwise, opt for its heavier counterpart, steel.
Considering that logic, not all men’s golf clubs have steel shafts. Golf clubs for beginners in general, male or female, feature shafts constructed using swing-boosting and distance-advancing graphite material.
3. Difference in Shaft Flex
If shaft material is important, then so is shaft flex. Once again, let your swing speed decide what shaft flex is more suitable for you. More often than not, women golfers use a more flexible shaft, which makes the club easier to swing for a more effortlessly produced longer carry distance. So the appropriate options here are Ladies, Regular, and Senior.
Stiff and Extra Stiff shaft flex options, on the other hand, are for those players who don’t have a problem with swinging faster. And you get these not just with men’s but also with women’s golf clubs.
4. Difference in Length
Moving on to shaft length, this also differs between men and women because most women are shorter than most men.
For male golfers, the standard driver shaft length is 45 inches for a man 5’9” tall (average height). As for female golfers, the standard club length is 44 inches (an inch shorter than men’s) with the average height being 5’7”.
Now if you’re a woman golfer shorter than the average height, you should be using Petite size golf clubs.
5. Difference in Weight
Golf clubs designed for women are certainly lighter – the clubhead weight is lighter, the grip is lighter, and the shaft is lighter. So you can swing more naturally and freely, even with your okay-ish swing speed. Female golfers, unless they’re fast swingers, stay away from swinging heavy golf clubs (it is challenging indeed).
So a more lightweight graphite shaft construction is ideal at such times as it contributes greatly to generating a higher swing speed.
6. Difference in Clubheads
If you look at women-specific golf clubs, you really won’t take time to notice that the clubheads on these are both lighter and larger. Conversely, men’s clubs, more often than not, have relatively larger and even heavier clubheads.
So why the difference? Because a larger-sized clubhead is more forgiving. A larger sweet spot means fewer chances of missing the center, which translates into mis-hit prevention. So your shots can travel straight and long.
And how is this made possible through just a larger clubhead? When the clubhead size is bigger, the weight of the club is shifted toward the perimeter. This is called perimeter weighting. And with perimeter weighting, forgiveness and accuracy on your off-center shots are maximized.
But with most men, producing that extra power is not such a huge problem because of their comparatively faster swing speed. So they don’t struggle with swinging a golf club equipped with a heavier, smaller clubhead.
7. Difference in Lofts
The loft of the golf club is what decides the launch – the higher the loft, the higher the trajectory. And then when your shot flies higher, it also comes down softer. Hence, is easier, upon landing, to control. Just what the majority of female golfers need!
With a standard men’s driver, the loft angle is between 9 degrees and 10.5 degrees. Women’s golf clubs, however, are high-lofted – the driver loft being higher than 12 degrees even. So it’s okay if your clubhead speed is low, the higher loft infuses enough power for getting the golf ball to launch higher and fly farther.
What About Differences in the Different Golf Clubs for Men and Women?
Golf drivers for women have a legally largest clubhead size (460cc) for a more expansive sweet spot of course, thus more forgiveness. Along with more offset, which improves the accuracy of your shots as well as takes them higher. Men’s clubs do not have this offset plus they’re built with smaller clubheads.
Even the driver loft is higher for female golfers as this too gets the ball airborne and higher more easily when your swing speed is slow. And naturally, drivers for women are more lightweight, therefore much easier to swing.
It’s the same with woods as it is with drivers for women – higher loft angles and lighter weight.
Female golfers although get an added benefit here with woods, the range to select from is larger. In fact, you can also buy a 13-wood if you like. Talk about more flexibility for women when it comes to replacing those difficult-to-hit long irons with easier clubs!
Ladies’ golf irons are built in such a way that their slightly heavier clubhead doesn’t interfere with a slower swing speed. Plus, there’s the softer flex as well that seems ideal for women. Pair that up with the lighter overall weight of these irons and women can actually see their iron shots soaring higher and longer.
The beauty of hybrids, be it for men or women, is that they’re the best long-iron alternatives. Ask any female or amateur, beginner, or senior golfer, and they’ll tell you how much easier hybrids are to hit than long irons just because you don’t or can’t turn your shoulders for hitting the ball.
But then hybrids for women do have a larger yet lighter clubhead, slimmer grip, softer flex, shorter shaft, and extremely forgiving perimeter weighting.
Men’s golf wedges are typically longer (around 1/2-1 inch longer) than those specifically engineered for women. And of course, women’s wedges have a slimmer grip.
For men – standard steel wedge is 35 inches and graphite wedge is 35.5 inches.
For women – standard steel wedge is 34 inches and graphite wedge is 34.5 inches.
It’s slightly shorter for women so they don’t choke down on the grip.
Women’s putters vs men’s putters – not much of a difference here. It’s just that putters for women are shorter-shafted, thinner-gripped, and maybe even pastel-colored (in the head or grip). The choice of colors is more varied here for women.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need to Use Women’s Golf Clubs?
I don’t think you have to be a Senior Tour golfer like me to come to the understanding that the clubs you use should match your height, size of hands, and swing speed. This means female golfers with an under-average swing speed absolutely must keep away from powerful, heavy golf clubs (mostly men’s) since they’re not the easiest to swing.
So the answer is YES, you should be using ladies’ golf clubs. And you can always choose your choice of shaft material, shaft flex, shaft length, grip size, and loft configuration based on your skill-set.
What Are the Best Golf Clubs for Women?
One product that always comes up with regards to the best women’s golf clubs is the Callaway Strata Women’s Golf Packaged Set. And it only makes sense why that is because of the extremely forgiving driver (large sweet spot, more forgiveness) and fairway wood (more aerodynamic clubhead shaping for high-flying, long shots).
Even the hybrids (4-hybrid and 5-hybrid) included in the set boost confidence on a wide range of shots – something that the majority of women golfers need in order to play more competently.
And then you have the high-flight, easy-to-control, distance-generating irons and wedges. Along with a face-milled putter that assists a great deal when it comes to sinking a larger number of putts.
Graphite shafts and Ladies flex – this goes without saying. And lastly, a durable, light-to-carry golf stand bag with a back strap and plenty of convenient pockets.
What Are the Best Golf Clubs for Men?
Callaway Men’s Strata Complete Set is the most highly recommended for male golfers. You can get a 16-piece, 14-piece, or 12-piece set. The shaft material is steel, which is perfect for the above-average swing speed of most men golfers. And everything – from the woods to the putter – is designed to sit well with the standard physique and general playing style and skills of the male golfing population.
What Is the Difference Between Men’s and Women’s Golf Balls?
Golf balls should be chosen based on one’s swing speed and not gender. But then since most women golfers have a slow swing speed, the most suitable golf balls for them are the ones that have a low compression rating (under 70).
Less compression means the golf ball is softer, correct? Thus, even with minimal force and a slower swing speed, you can make the ball travel farther. On the other hand, harder i.e. high-compression golf balls (above 70) demand a faster swing speed and more force that is often generated by men the most effortlessly.
Another thing is that golf balls used by women have a different dimple pattern (for ball flight) and count (for trajectory control) to make launch conditions easier.
How Are Golf Clubs for Taller Men or Petite Ladies Different?
Women’s petite golf clubs are the most fitting for female players shorter than 5’3”. You cannot choose the standard or regular length here since that would be just too long for you. And petite is shorter than standard by an inch.
What about tall men golf clubs? Male golfers taller than 5’9”, which is the average height for men, should be using a longer shaft length. At such times, it’s best to get professionally fitted just to ensure you end up buying the right set of clubs.
Are There Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Golf Swings?
If you’ve golfed enough, then you know that swing kinematics are not the same between men and women golfers. There’s a lot of variation in terms of movement itself, at the time of the downswing especially. So what do these noticeable movement variations look like?
Female golfers swing using timing + tempo + hip turn. That’s how women produce the clubhead speed needed for the shot. Whereas male golfers employ more muscular strength, which explains a lot as far as generating a faster swing speed is concerned.
Let’s talk numbers for some credibility to my jibber-jabber…
Average PGA-level Tour player has a swing speed of 113 mph.
Average LPGA-level Tour player is just 94 mph.
Can Men Use Women’s Golf Clubs?
(YES, when they’re short and have a slow swing speed)
If your ego is so fragile that it’s going to crumble into pieces if, God forbid, you have to use women’s golf clubs, then you need to read some psychology. Because there’s absolutely no such regulation, formally speaking, that keeps male golfers from using women’s golf clubs.
But not all men benefit from ladies’ clubs. Only if your swing speed is below average (below 75-80 mph) can you use the lighter, more flexible shaft, larger sweet spot, higher loft, etc. to your advantage.
Another criteria here for choosing women’s golf clubs over men’s is your shorter-than-average height. The average male golfer height is 5’9”. While the average female golfer height is 5’7”. So if yours is 5’7” or lower, you know you have to pick shorter ladies’ golf clubs for greater shot control.
Can Women Use Men’s Golf Clubs?
(YES, when they’re tall and have a fast swing speed)
The taller you are, female golfers, the more fit you will be for men’s golf clubs. Taller than the average height of 5’7”.
But then the height isn’t the only prerequisite, swing speed also plays a part in this case. Are you swinging over 90 mph? If yes, then once again you couldn’t be any more suitable for men’s clubs.
What Are Unisex Golf Clubs?
There are enough unisex i.e. gender-neutral options on the market that are a part of both PGA and LPGA Tour players. Many pro-level men and women golfers benefit from the same size/weight of the clubhead. The main point of difference, however, is actually a part of the shaft.
All Sorted Then?
Golf clubs for women and golf clubs for men go through the same manufacturing process and they also feature the same technology. The differences, however, take form when talking about secondary characteristics like shaft material, shaft flex, clubhead weight/size, etc.
And these differences have been put in place primarily because of two reasons. The first one is that most female golfers have a slower swing speed than men. And the other reason is that women are also shorter and smaller than men. This means a slimmer grip and shorter shaft length.
Some dissimilarities might seem minor, but then keep in mind that even such subtle differences come with a purpose.