Should golf equipment be defined by gender?March 21, 2019 Golf Equipment
In her first All the Gear column since becoming NCG's equipment editor, Hannah Holden wonders why golf clubs have a specified gender
Hello. I’m Hannah Holden, the new equipment and instruction editor for National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer.
As we’re going to be getting to know each other a bit over the coming months, here is a bit about me: I am a scratch golfer from Huddersfield Golf Club and I represent Yorkshire as well as managing the county’s national Under-18 players.
There's someone new joining the NCG team… 👀 pic.twitter.com/MlYAFQz2gP
— National Club Golfer (@NCGMagazine) March 15, 2019
So let’s get into it. I don’t see any better place to start than…
Should there be separate men’s and women’s golf clubs?
Several recent custom fittings have highlighted to me the misunderstanding behind men’s and women’s clubs and who they are suitable for. So often I get asked if the fitters need to bring women’s clubs in for me, not realising I play with men’s clubs, as a generic woman’s club is completely unsuitable for my game.
Currently my clubhead speed with a driver is around 93mph – exactly the same as your average male club golfer. In my most recent fitting I was fitted into men’s stiff shafts throughout my bag.
Club manufacturers typically claim that women’s clubs are designed specifically for women golfers but how can one club meet the needs of an audience with such a wide variety of ability?
Generally, women’s golf clubs are designed to be lighter and more flexible. The presumption is that ladies have a slower clubhead speed. They also tend to have increased loft to help us get the ball in the air easier.
Although this does meet a certain target audience, it almost certainly is the wrong product for a large chunk of female golfers. All too often I see women buying ‘women’s golf clubs’ that are completely unsuitable to them.
They often buy these clubs because they are pink and marketed to women. On the other hand, the spec of these clubs suits a percentage of male golfers who would never buy them due to the same reasons.
Women’s golf clubs also provide fewer customisation options, making it harder for women to build a club that is ideally suited to them.
One market-leader offered 110 shaft options for their current men’s driver, but the identical women’s clubs had only five.
In a day and age where custom fitting is so common, with people making adjustments to a variety of elements of their golf clubs, should we have a new way of defining a club’s target user?
Nearly all products on the market now are adjustable with manufacturers allowing us to tweak the lie angle, loft, length, shaft – and so many more factors – of their clubs.
Surely all these elements should be set up to the individual player’s unique needs rather than giving them a club built towards the ideology of what a player of that gender requires.
Instead of defining clubs by gender, why can’t we use club speed as an indicator? That would surely be more suitable for the end user to get a product that suits them.
So what do you think? Let me know in the comments below or via Twitter.
Meanwhile, here is some equipment news that has grabbed my attention this week…
Russell Knox is teeing it up this week in the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship.
Unhappy with his putting, he began searching for a new putter on Tuesday. During his search he stumbled across an old Mizuno Bettinardi putter courtesy of Arnie Cunningham.
The putter was custom-made for Cunningham and is the only one in the world.
— Andrew Tursky (@AndrewTursky) March 20, 2019
He is currently ranked 170th in Strokes Gained: Putting on the PGA tour for 2019.
Knox’s one-off Bettinardi-Mizuno putter is equipped with a SuperStroke Traxion Pistol GT Tour grip.
The Bettinardi-Mizuno partnership ended in 2008. Robert decided to branch off on his own, re-creating Bettinardi Golf as an independent brand.
New balls please, Mizuno
The RB Tour and RB Tour X are new, faster tour balls designed for excellent performance in the wind. Mizuno’s new Cone dimple is the result of wind-tunnel testing at Mizuno’s MT Test Facility. It is designed to create more trigger points, keeping fast-flowing air close to the ball’s surface for longer. This reduces drag creating a more penetrating trajectory.
A new drag-reducing Cone Profile Dimple, 4-piece construction and high traction urethane cover, for optimum greenside feel plus excellent performance in the wind.
— Mizuno Golf Europe (@MizunoGolfEU) March 8, 2019
The four-piece construction and high-traction urethane cover provide optimum greenside feel.
So what is the difference between the RB Tour and RB Tour X?
Well, the RB Tour is designed for low driver spin, to suit players with downward attack angles. In comparison, the RB Tour X is aimed at players with a flat or upward angle attack on their drivers, also providing low spin.
RRP: £50 per dozen
More information can be found on the Mizuno website.
Get the moves like Fowler
Puma’s Ignite Proadapt shoes promise tour-proven stability, unparalleled traction and extreme comfort. This is achieved via the Tornado Cleat, a low-profile, dual-talon cleat providing traction and long-lasting abrasion resistance.
Puma’s new shoes were designed with Rickie Fowler. From the start, he expressed his desire for an upper that provides maximum support with premium styling.
Fowler has already debuted the shoes this season, including during his rollercoaster win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
More information can be found on the Cobra-Puma website.
GolfBuddy have launched two new GPS products – the aim W10 watch and the Voice 2.
The aim W10 is GolfBuddy’s most advanced GPS watch. It features an in-depth hole view and a zoom-in feature for providing extra detail when needed. As well as front, back and middle green measurements, the watch provides yardages to hazards. Automatic course updates are available via Bluetooth. The watch boasts 13 hours battery life in GPS mode.
The tiny Voice 2 is designed for ease of use. The 4.5cm unit features audio distances to the front, centre and back of the green along with a clear visual display. It offers 14 hours of battery life in GPS mode.
Both GPS systems come with a pre-loaded library of 40,000 courses worldwide to guide you through any round.
More information can be found on the GolfBuddy website.