What Are The Differences Between Gents And Ladies Golf Clubs
There are obvious physical differences between men and women that are going to affect the design of golf clubs marketed to them. Generally speaking, men are taller and stronger so will generate greater clubhead speed.
Since clubs are designed for an “average” man or woman then that means that off-the-rack clubs for a man will tend to be heavier and longer. Let’s look at the differences between gents’ and ladies’ golf clubs.
While the shafts fitted to woods these days tend to be graphite, you will still see plenty of sets of irons with steel shafts when looking at men’s clubs. Ladies’ irons are more often graphite shafted primarily to save a little weight to help achieve additional clubhead speed.
Finding the optimum shaft flex for your swing should help to improve your dispersion, accuracy, trajectory and distance no matter your age or gender.
The general rule of thumb is that a stiffer flex shaft will be required as your clubhead speed increases. Since men tend to generate more clubhead speed their clubs tend to feature shafts with a stiffer flex than ladies (or seniors and juniors).
You need to take the letters printed on the shafts with a “pinch of salt” however as one company’s definition of a regular shaft might differ from another’s. While it’s reasonable to assume that a particular company’s shafts could be compared, you aren’t able to look at different manufacturers’ regular shafts and assume they are the same or even necessarily close.
The only way to get the correct flex is to get custom fit to find the best shaft to suit your game.
In an ideal world, manufacturers would move toward using the shaft frequency measured in CPM (cycles per minute) so you could more easily compare different shafts however until there is more standardization you are left with testing as the only sure-fire way to find the right flex for your swing.
This isn’t to say that you can’t use shafts that are softer or firmer than you might expect. You will just see slightly different dispersion patterns, trajectories and distances. It’s all about dialing in the right flex to give you the best dispersion and distance for your particular swing.
|Clubhead Speed (mph)||Typical Flex|
|Very Fast||>105||X Stiff|
Length Of Shaft
Again club manufacturers build their clubs to fit an “average” person so clubs aimed at men will generally have longer shafts as standard than clubs marketed to women.
Driver shafts for men are typically 45” to 45.5” compared to women’s drivers which are likely to come with a shaft around 44” long. The longer shafts will continue through the bag.
So a shorter-than-average man might find that ladies’ clubs are a better fit for him off the shelf when compared with typical clubs for men. It’s also true that taller than average women might find men’s standard length clubs a better fit for their height.
If you are looking at more expensive brands then they will offer a variety of custom fitting options. One of which is likely to be adjusting the lengths of shafts to suit you.
Here are the lengths for some current Ping irons:
|Ping GLe2||Ping G425|
|6-Iron||37 1/8″||37 5/8″|
|SW||34 1/2″||35 1/4″|
You can see there is around 0.5 inches difference between the gents and ladies’ clubs.
Ladies will tend to have smaller hands than men so the grips on their clubs would need to be thinner to accommodate this. For a man with smaller than average hands, ladies’ grips might be the perfect fit.
Given that grips are the easiest thing to change and something that would need changing every year at least then this shouldn’t be as big a factor in deciding on a particular club.
To some extent it comes down to your budget as grip size will be a feature of a quality custom fitting experience and the more expensive manufacturers will include different grip options as part of their offering.
This can be measured in two ways. The static lie angle is based on your height and wrist-to-floor measurement. In a high-quality fitting, you would then hit shots on an impact board to show whether you need the lie adjusted to be upright or flat.
Off-the-shelf men’s clubs with a standard lie would suit players 5’6” to 6’2” with a wrist-to-floor measurement of 33” to 35”.
Ladies’ clubs usually are 1° flatter than men’s clubs. So if you are a shorter man (say below 5’6”) then ladies’ clubs might have a better lie angle off the shelf.
|Ping GLe2||Ping G425|
As you can see the majority of the irons are 1° flatter for ladies.
Once again men’s clubs tend to be heavier than women’s clubs because the typical man is stronger than a typical lady. By reducing the weight slightly manufacturers give ladies a chance of generating a little bit more clubhead speed which will help them launch the ball better and farther.
Ladies’ clubs will often feature slightly more loft than men’s clubs to help them launch the ball a little better due to their slower swing speed.
While stock loft options for men’s drivers are usually around 10° for ladies you would struggle to find a driver with less than around 12° of loft. Similarly in the Ping Le2 range, the 3-wood has 19° of loft which would be more akin to the loft on a men’s 5-wood.
|Ping GLe2||Ping G425|
As you can see there is a slight increase in the lofts between the lady’s and gents’ clubs although what surprised me is how delofted these are in comparison with my own set (around 4° stronger). It’s no wonder everyone is out hitting me!
This is probably the most obvious difference although in this day and age it’s a surprise that manufacturers persist in using pink to denote their lady’s clubs!
In fact, according to Tim Briand of True Spec Golf, “sometimes the difference between a ladies golf club and a men’s golf club is just the paint job”.
What Are The Differences Between Gents And Ladies Golf Clubs: Conclusion
So now you know what differences, if any, exist between golf clubs designed for men and women. In most cases, there may be significant differences in shaft length, flex, weight and grip size while in others there may only be the difference in the color schemes!
If you fall outside the norms for which clubs are designed then maybe switching up to a completely different sector of the market may give you what you are looking for without the need to spend a fortune on a custom fit set.
It all comes down to your expectations and how far you want to progress in the game. For example, it is quite possible for men to use ladies’ clubs and vice-versa where the clubs are a better fit for that person.