What to Know When Shopping for Ladies' Golf Clubs
What to Know When Shopping for Ladies' Golf Clubs
Ladies playing golf for business are at a disadvantage when it comes to putting together a set of golf clubs that fits them well and from which they can get the most out of the game of golf. The reason is that there are few choices in normal off-the-shelf ladies golf clubs. With typically less than 10% of sales for a golf club company coming from ladies golf clubs, there are simply few choices in club styles, shaft flex, swing weights, or lofts normally available in most golf shops. An exception to this is the excellent line offered by Nancy Lopez Golf Clubs. That is the subject of another article, but you can easily find their web site with a simple search.
In general women have slower swing speeds than men and need shorter golf clubs and higher loft. There are of course women with better and stronger swings than most men. Lorena Ochoa of the LPGA tour averages about 270 yards on her tee shots. This is astonishing for a woman who weighs about 115 pounds! She was the top rated professional woman player in the world, however, and this article is meant for women with less ability than the top LPGA pros possess.
You must know your swing speed with at least a driver and preferably with both driver and 5 iron. Women who can swing the driver more than 70 MPH can use titanium faced drivers effectively and take advantage of the spring effect off the face that such a club offers. If your driver swing speed is more like 60 MPH, you would have to find a special titanium face, and these are not readily available. If you are that serious you will probably be having custom ladies golf clubs made by a certified fitter and club maker. So in that case ask your club maker if he or she can offer options.
As for club face loft, the slower your swing, the higher the loft is needed. If you can easily get the ball in the air, a loft of 13-14 degrees should work well for your driver. If you have trouble getting the ball in the air, you may need to use a 16 degree 3 wood to get the most out of your swing. Other ways to help get the ball a bit higher in the air are to use an offset hosel or a more flexible shaft.
Fairway woods are critical clubs for women or men with slower golf swings. If your swing speed is in the 60MPH range, you should start your fairway woods with a 5 wood and leave out the 3 wood. Your other woods would then probably need to be a 9 and 13 wood. The reason for skipping an odd numbered wood is because you won't be hitting the ball that much farther with a 5 wood than you will with a 7 wood, for example. In other words the gap in distance between the two clubs is not enough to justify carrying the other club. Regarding club length, there should be at least a one inch difference for each odd numbered club. That is, the 7 wood should be one inch shorter than the 5 wood, and the 9 wood should be 2 inches shorter than the 5 wood, for example.
For women who swing 70 MPH or greater, a 3 wood could be a good choice, but it should have at least a 16 degree loft in order to keep the ball in the air longer. This group of golfers can justify having every other odd number wood in their bags, such as 3, 5, 7 and 9 woods, for example.
With slower swings should take the following into consideration when choosing their irons. First of all, you should probably have a 6 or 7 iron as your longest iron club. Only carry a 5 or even a 6 iron if you can hit it confidently and consistently. Most people with slow swings cannot accomplish this. Higher number fairway woods and hybrids will replace the long irons. Another consideration is a wide sole that is rounded to prevent from digging more into the ground and slowing the club face even more. For the same reason don't choose a large iron head design. By all means, do use irons with a deep back cavity and perimeter weighting.
You should use hybrid clubs to replace at least your long irons. The Nancy Lopez ladies golf clubs line offers sets with hybrids up to the 7 iron in some cases, and even some sets with hybrids completely replacing all the irons except the pitching and sand wedges. Which hybrids you choose will depend on which fairway woods you carry. You will need to determine how far your ball will fly with your highest numbered fairway wood and then choose your lowest numbered hybrid to fly 10-15 yards less than that. The Nancy Lopez site will give you a good idea about what club choices are appropriate for your swing and ability level.
Your pitching wedge (PW) should have at least 4 degrees more loft than your 9 iron. The sand wedge (SW) should have at least 56 degrees of loft or even more. There is probably no need for a gap wedge (GW) unless you have a substantial difference in how far you hit the PW compared to the SW. For people with slower swing seeds, this difference is not normally enough to justify another club. A lob wedge (LW) can also be a good addition to your set. For both the SW and the LW, there is no need for golfers with slower swings to have a large bounce angle, since there will not be enough force in the swing to dig too far into the sand or ground in any case.
If you are a serious golfer and can afford it, the best solution for a great set of ladies golf clubs is to find a certified custom fitter and club maker. The standard, off-the-shelf sets of ladies golf clubs sold in most shops will only fit a small percentage of the population. It is essentially a "one size fits all" proposition. Another good alternative is the Nancy Lopez ladies golf club product lines. You should at least look at their web site to see how they approach fitting your clubs and choosing the right ladies golf clubs to put in your bag. Knowing your swing speeds and what the length of your clubs should be is fundamental in this process. Be aware that most people, both men and women, use clubs that are too long, and they do not use enough loft on the driver.