What Is the Difference Between Men’s and Women’s Golf Clubs?
The competition between golf club manufacturers to produce the perfect iron for a particular shot continues unabated. Technology has made a significant impact on the game, with better analysis of player performance and swing and new materials.
It’s just as competitive amongst the manufacturers as the players. Golf club producers are always looking for new ways to increase their market share and have a keen focus on the demographic of players.
With an increasing number of women in the game, it’s no surprise that clubs are produced specifically for them.
Discover the difference between men’s and women’s golf clubs. It might just help you ace your game.
Overall Weight of the Golf Club
Women generally are shorter in height than men and tend to have less muscle mass, so it’s no surprise that golf clubs aimed at women are lighter and easier to swing.
The shaft is lighter on a women’s club, commonly made from graphite instead of heavier steel. The label will typically say the club is a ladies’ flex.
Lighter clubs are easier to control, a point not lost on beginners of either gender.
Shorter Shaft Length
It’s a fact that women generate slower swing speeds. Golf clubs for the ladies are generally around ½- 1” shorter than the male equivalent.
This difference partly reflects that women are often a bit smaller in stature than men but also compensates for the slower swing speeds that women tend to generate.
However, the critical measurement to understand - and which a club fitter will focus on when fitting a beginner - is the distance from the player’s wrist to the ground.
Height and arm length are the key considerations; a tall female player may not suit a women’s club.
Shorter clubs generally help male and female golfers adopt a solid stance. This, in turn, improves strike and enables the deployment of the correct muscles used to create the golf swing.
Increased shaft flexibility helps improve ball trajectory, making it easier to achieve height and distance.
A more flexible shaft partnered with a lighter overall weight makes the club easier to swing. It’s the same principle as flex shafts for senior golfers, and it's a feature beginners of either gender should look for when buying their first clubs.
Club shafts for men are stiffer and more rigid, flexing at the higher swing speeds male players tend to generate.
The female equivalent is more flexible and softer to aid a better launch from the club face, maximizing club head speed with a corresponding lower swing speed.
However, it’s important not to get too hung up on gender here. As any new player will know, there is a vast choice of shaft flex and weight options.
On ladies’ clubs, the grips are smaller because women’s hands are generally smaller than men’s. The grips on women’s clubs are usually shorter and broader, the grip on a man’s club thicker and longer.
A golf grip that is too large leads to reduced wrist hinge and power and can end up with the disastrous ‘slice’ effect. Golf grips may look the same, but subtle differences can only be apparent when you pick the club up.
Of course, there is no rule of thumb! Some taller women can have larger hands, so the accepted wisdom is that the golfer should have a grip size that allows them to hold the club firmly.
Women’s drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids tend to have an increased loft, specifically designed to help the player hit the ball higher and further.
The loft is inextricably linked to swing speed, so a faster swing speed requires less loft to maximize carry. Because female players tend to have a slower swing speed, women’s clubs incline towards slightly more loft.
Differences in Club Sets
Club sets vary between men and women golfers.
Women’s sets tend to have more hybrids and fewer long irons. Both sets will contain putters, but a putter for a lady golfer will be shorter than the male equivalent.
Expect to see some color differences, too. It’s fair to say that there may be more color choices for the fairer sex!
It makes sense that slightly shorter golf clubs require a shorter golf bag. The average height difference between men and women is 5”- 6”, but there is a bit more to it than that.
Designed to reflect club choices, women prefer to use more fairway woods and hybrids than men, and these clubs are shorter than irons and drivers.
Women’s golf bags also cater to the fact that women tend to have narrower shoulders and smaller frames than men. The bags are lighter and have shorter straps, too.
Golf bags for female players tend to be smaller and more streamlined. There might also be a few more handy pockets and compartments too!
Ultimately, although golf bag manufacturers will aim their ladies’ bags at an average female height and frame, there is no one-size-fits-all.
If you’re a taller lady player or prefer larger clubs, a men’s golf bag may be a better option. It also depends on whether you intend to carry your bag around the course or ride on a cart.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a Woman Use Men’s Golf Clubs?
Yes, there’s no restriction on women using men’s golf clubs, and many taller female players do. The vital issue is height. Any female player over 5’6” or 5’7” may need men’s clubs.
A good club fitter comes into their own and should be the first port of call for beginners of either gender.
Why Are Women’s Golf Clubs More Expensive?
Women’s golf clubs tend to have graphite shafts, which are lighter and more flexible; consequently, they’re easier to swing and help achieve higher loft and distance.
Graphite is more expensive than steel, which is used for men’s clubs not just because of the material but also due to the manufacturing process.
The Covid pandemic created a massive increase in the number of women golfers. 40% of new players who started during the pandemic were female.
Junior girls aged 11-18 increased from 15% in 2000 to 34% by 2021. Golf club manufacturers are responding accordingly.
In general, clubs designed for women are better suited for female players - especially newer players. However, the key point to understand is that every player is unique regardless of gender, so we recommend getting fitted for new clubs.