Are There Differences in Men's and Women's Golf Clubs?

Women golfer retrieves a club from her golf bag.

Jordan Siemens/Getty Images


Once upon a time, golf manufacturers didn't take women golfers very seriously. Women didn't make up enough of the golf marketplace to warrant being wooed by club companies. So in those old days, companies didn't spend much time thinking about golf clubs specifically made for and marketed to women.

If a company offered "ladies clubs" back then, there was a good chance those clubs were simply stock golf clubs splashed with a little pink paint and whose shafts were cut down a bit to make them shorter.

Those days are, happily, long gone: More and more women play golf; a growing contingent of female golfers forces companies to work harder to attract their business; clubs made for women improve in quality. It's a virtuous cycle.

Key Takeaways

  • Some golf manufacturers, in addition to their general golf club offerings, also make golf clubs specifically designed for women golfers.
  • Such "ladies clubs" were once mostly just the companies' regular clubs but painted pink and given a shorter shaft.
  • Today, companies that make clubs specifically for women golfers put far more effort into designing them to address the most common parts of the game in which women need help.
  • But all golfers, men and women, should play the golf clubs that best fit them and their games.

Do Female Golfers Have to Or Need to Buy Women's Clubs?

No! You should buy the clubs that best fit the elements of your physique and your game: Your height; your swing speed (fast, medium, slow?), your type of swing (smooth or jerky?), among other factors. That might mean that a set of "ladies clubs" or a "women's version" of a popular driver are right for your game.

Or you might be better off with a driver or a set of clubs marketed to men. Buy the clubs that fit your swing, not the clubs marketed to your gender. (That goes for men, too.)

Longtime clubmaker and golf equipment industry entrepreneur Tom Wishon says that "differences most typically seen" between men's and women's "standard-made clubs bought off-the-rack are implemented because companies assume that all women golfers have slower swing speeds and are less athletically inclined than men."

Is that true? Generally speaking, women golfers tend to have slower swing speeds than men golfers. And that means that - again, generally speaking - women golfers can benefit from some specific approaches in golf club design.

What Are Those Design Approaches Now Used in Women's Golf Clubs?

"Typically, most women's clubs will be made one inch shorter in length for each club," Wishon says, "and may be designed with more loft on the face than men's clubs.

"In addition, the shafts installed in women's clubs are more flexible than the shafts in men's clubs."

Shorter shafts are due to the fact that in general women are shorter than men, and shorter shafts will better fit more women golfers. Shorter shafts also provide more control of the swing.

More flexible golf shafts and more loft on the clubfaces are both things that help golfers with slower swing speeds get the ball up in the air and achieve a bit more distance.

But These Design Approaches Might Not Work For You

We've used the term "in general" several times, and we want to stress again that just because the design approaches mentioned above apply to many women golfers in general doesn't mean they'll help you.

You might be tall. Or have a fast or jerky swing so that a less flexible shaft is more appropriate. Or be a low-handicapper and not need the extra loft built into off-the-rack women's clubs.

If you are a woman who is a beginner, or plays golf infrequently, or is a high-handicapper, the design approach of today's "ladies clubs" might very well benefit you.

Just remember, like any other golfer you can go through a clubfitting that finds the best match of equipment to your swing.

Do Companies Still Use Pink on 'Women's Clubs'?

Of course they do, old habits die hard. Pinks and pastels are still common accent colors in women's golf clubs, and many women golfers prefer a little pink on the driver head or elsewhere in their golf bag. But today, most clubs marketed to women come with options, and with much more than just the color pink to make them "women's clubs."