Should golf equipment be defined by gender?
As we’re going to be getting to know each other a bit over the coming months, here is a bit about me: I am a scratch golfer from Huddersfield Golf Club and I represent Yorkshire as well as managing the county’s national Under-18 players.
There's a new member of the LG team… ? pic.twitter.com/0CkEsUqFSh
— Lady Golfer (@LadyGolferMag) March 15, 2019
So let’s get into it. I don’t see any better place to start than…
Should there be separate men’s and women’s golf clubs?
Several recent custom fittings have highlighted to me the misunderstanding behind men’s and women’s clubs and who they are suitable for. So often I get asked if the fitters need to bring women’s clubs in for me, not realising I play with men’s clubs, as a generic woman’s club is completely unsuitable for my game.
Currently my clubhead speed with a driver is around 93mph – exactly the same as your average male club golfer. In my most recent fitting I was fitted into men’s stiff shafts throughout my bag.
Club manufacturers typically claim that women’s clubs are designed specifically for women golfers but how can one club meet the needs of an audience with such a wide variety of ability?
Generally, women’s golf clubs are designed to be lighter and more flexible. The presumption is that ladies have a slower clubhead speed. They also tend to have increased loft to help us get the ball in the air easier.
Although this does meet a certain target audience, it almost certainly is the wrong product for a large chunk of female golfers. All too often I see women buying ‘women’s golf clubs’ that are completely unsuitable to them.
They often buy these clubs because they are pink and marketed to women. On the other hand, the spec of these clubs suits a percentage of male golfers who would never buy them due to the same reasons.
Women’s golf clubs also provide fewer customisation options, making it harder for women to build a club that is ideally suited to them.
One market-leader offered 110 shaft options for their current men’s driver, but the identical women’s clubs had only five.
In a day and age where custom fitting is so common, with people making adjustments to a variety of elements of their golf clubs, should we have a new way of defining a club’s target user?
Nearly all products on the market now are adjustable with manufacturers allowing us to tweak the lie angle, loft, length, shaft – and so many more factors – of their clubs.
Surely all these elements should be set up to the individual player’s unique needs rather than giving them a club built towards the ideology of what a player of that gender requires.
Instead of defining clubs by gender, why can’t we use club speed as an indicator? That would surely be more suitable for the end user to get a product that suits them.
So what do you think? Let me know in the comments below or via Twitter. I’d love to hear from you.