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Spring 2019Golf Equipment & Gear Buyer's Guide

Here you will find answers to common questions that many golfers have when choosing from the vast selection of different golf equipment out there. This guide should help you to understand the differences in technology to find the right fit for your golf game.

What are the differences between mens and womens golf clubs?

Men and women's clubs are created with the same engineering process and technology. However, the main differences you will find between the two are flexibility and minor tweaks to sizes to account for body types. Below you will find such examples of how they differ:

Grips. The difference in clubs starts right within your fingers. Women's hands tend to be smaller, so the grips are made to be slender. Furthermore, regardless of gender, thin grips tend to encourage increased hand action that promotes hooking the ball. Also, anyone wanting to play right-to-left shots should consider undersized grips. Women who find it hard to control a hooked ball should use thicker variations, regardless of hand size.

Club Length. Women's golf clubs are usually between 1.5 inches and two inches shorter than a comparable man's club. However, if a woman is taller than 5-foot-9, consider foregoing women's clubs because they can be too short.

Shafts. The amount of bend in the shaft needs to be in tune with the power of the swing to properly square the club head up with the ball. A man who swings with a ton of velocity will require a stiffer rod that will resist flexing. However, women most often use timing and rhythm rather than raw power in the swing, will require a shaft that bends more to generate force.

Currently, the most popular types of shafts are made of graphite, especially when targeted towards women. This material is lighter than steel to increase usability. Men's clubs (such as drivers and metal woods) will also be made of graphite, while a majority of their selection will be made of steel, which gives more control.

Club heads. The most flexible shafts are labeled "L" for ladies (the least forgiving is X-Stiff). Again, it is not a designation of gender but of swing speed. However, if your swing speed is fewer than 70 miles per hour, the L-flex is for you.

The lighter graphite shafts also make it possible to use club heads that are slightly larger and easier to hit, which is often the case with women's clubs. Since men typically exert more strength, their clubs are heavier than the female-focused counterparts. The varying muscle strength between the two genders is also reflected in club design. Furthermore, the minimum loft for a women's driver is 12-degrees as opposed to somewhere between nine- and 11-degrees for men. Since swing speed is critical in getting a golf ball airborne, the extra loft helps women with slower swings get the ball up in the air for amplified distance.

Because of the reduced swing speeds, there has been a greater need for specialized clubs in women's golf bag. Instead of long irons, many women have the option of using 9-, 11- and 13-woods. What's more, these utility clubs are easier to hit in the air. It is not unusual to see women golfers who may not hit an iron longer than a 7-iron.

Putters. At 33 inches, the average woman's putter is shorter than the typical putter for a man. If you are taller than 5-foot-6, this may be too short. Women's putters also tend to have larger mallet-style heads to increase the sweet spot. This can be advantageous on longer putts in which a crisp blow is required.

The differences in clubs might be minor, but they are not without purpose. Take notice of your own physical attributes when determining if you should make your purchases based strictly on gender.

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