TaylorMade recently launched the Kalea Premier range, a new women’s exclusive line specifically geared for lightweight speed, easy launch, and max forgiveness.
Interestingly, most of the comments on my post about these were from senior men wondering if this exact design would suit them. It got me thinking, should golf equipment be defined by gender? And is it actually men who are missing out on the possible benefit of using golf clubs designed for women?
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.
My club head speed with a driver is around 98mph – slightly faster than 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 golf club sets 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 club head speed. They also tend to have increased loft and feature more fairway woods and hybrids to help golfers 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.
I think one of the biggest markets that are missing out in this situation is senior men with slowing swing speeds. These women’s sets are perfect for a large chunk of this audience. They have lightweight designs to promote more club head speed, help with more launch and give you maximum forgiveness.
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.
Should golf equipment be defined by gender? Let me know what you think.
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