Welcome to another edition of the Fully Equipped mailbag, an interactive GOLF.com series in which our resident dimpleheads Jonathan Wall and Andrew Tursky field your hard-hitting gear questions.
Are there any differences in ladies’ club heads versus men’s clubs? For instance, is a ladies’ Cobra F9 driver the same as the men’s version, or is there a difference in lie angles, weights, etc.? – @scoot23 on Instagram
Being that many male amateur golfers watch PGA Tour golf on TV, they naturally want to play the same equipment that PGA Tour players use.
The problem with that is, generally speaking, male amateur golfers don’t have anywhere near the speed that PGA Tour players have. According to our recent article, Trackman says that the average driver speed on the PGA Tour is 113 mph, whereas the average driver speed on the LPGA Tour is 94 mph.
If you’re an average golfer, 94 mph probably looks more familiar than 113 mph. Now, does that mean you should play golf clubs made especially for women? Not necessarily.
Most golf clubs, of course, are made to be gender neutral, and many LPGA Tour players use the same clubheads that you’d find out on the PGA Tour. The differences between LPGA and PGA Tour club setups are mostly found in the shaft. Due to the relatively slower swing speeds on the LPGA Tour, their shafts are a bit more flexible to help produce optimal spin, trajectory, distance and accuracy.
There are, however, a few differences in golf clubs that are advertised for women on the market.
According to our Fully Equipped podcast co-host Tim Briand, Senior Vice President of GOLF.com’s sister company True Spec Golf, sometimes the difference between a ladies’ golf club and a men’s golf club is just the paint job.
Ladies’ golf clubs, however, will often measure about an inch shorter in length and have thinner grips. Sometimes, according to Briand, there will also be slight variations in CG (center of gravity) or head weight for ladies’ golf clubs to help create more spin, launch and distance.
How do you know whether a women’s club – or a “ladies” flex shaft – is a better fit for your game? The answer lies in performance.
“It’s all about speed,” Briand says. “At the end of the day, the golf ball doesn’t know anything about gender or age. It knows clubhead speed. If your clubhead speed and delivery pattern is within a certain envelope, just look at the numbers.”
Briand suggests that if you have 80 mph or less of clubhead speed with your driver, then it might be time to experiment with weaker shaft flexes and lighter-weight heads.
Playing better golf has nothing to do with color of the clubhead, or nomenclature of shaft flex, it’s all about finding the right fit for your particular swing. Just remember, as discussed briefly on our podcast, Freddie Couples played for years on the PGA Tour using a driver made for women (although he used that driver as his 3-wood replacement).
When it comes to finding the right tools for the job, use whatever gets the job done best. It’s that simple.