At the beginning of the year the United States Golf Academy introduced the United States Golf Academy for Women. Our goal was to draw attention to the fact that while it may not be politically correct to admit it, there is a difference in how we should evaluate and teach the game to men and women. The differences are more numerous than one column can handle, but I would like to point out some of the most obvious.
Let’s start with golf clubs. Just because it says on the box they are ladies clubs doesn’t mean they work for every lady. You don’t see generic men’s sets. Even at their most basic, men’s golf clubs at least have shaft flex options. Ladies sets always have generic “ladies” shafts. If the truth were told, when fit to the correct flex and more important the correct weight shaft for their swings, players with slower to medium swing speeds gain as much or more benefit than players with faster speeds. Moral of the story, never choose a shaft by gender.
Ladies, the quickest way to start playing better golf is to get equipment that fits and you have the right combination of golf clubs in your bag to satisfy your distance needs. The traditional set of golf clubs 3 woods, 8 irons, 2 wedges and a putter was established by golf equipment companies. They were trying to take advantage of the consistency of steel shafts and mass market golf equipment. In the hickory shaft era, because of the variables in hickory shafts, sets of clubs were accumulated one club at a time, based on the players distance needs. That was and is still the best way, especially for players of slower swing speeds. If I look in a man’s golf bag I will typically see a mixed set, but when you look into a woman’s they are always matched sets in the traditional set up. The clubs need to match the player, not themselves!
Our first advice to the ladies who attend the Women’s Academy is to pick out your favorite clubs and put the rest in the trunk of the car. Using your favorites only play a few rounds and evaluate your needs. There is no disgrace in having favorites. These are the clubs that fit your swing. Now evaluate for distance. For example, you might hit a 7 wood 140 yards and your next best club is a 7 iron that goes 100. So for starters you need a club for 120 yards. If there is a club in the car that works, use it. If not let your local PGA pro help you find one that does.