What Women Need To Know To Play Better Golf
In the mid 90’s I became very interested in women’s golf clubs. This all came about because my wife knew that I was working on a new ladies club for The GolfWorks called the Logic Lady. Being an avid golfer, she felt that women needed additional design considerations simply because many of her golfing friends had trouble hitting irons and especially in getting the ball airborne.
There was also a lack of consistency in hitting acceptable shots. I could associate with these statements, but all I could come up with was what I always thought and that was to make sure women’s irons had a low center of gravity.
Well, as the conversation continued, she said something that I had never heard before nor ever thought of. She said that women do not take divots. Sure, some of the better playing women golfers take a divot, but the vast majority of women golfers do not take divots. Women are simply not strong enough and consequently they mostly swing in a sweeping arc vs. a down and through arc.
So, while designing this iron, two very important things were about to come together. First, my wife’s statement about women not taking divots and secondly, the fact that I was well into proving out the Maltby Playability Factor (MPF) for irons.
This made me realize that it would be important to get a cross section of women golfers together and find out any additional information and to also confirm what women think concerning hitting a golf ball and simply playing the game.
One of the new pieces of data to prominently emerge was that many women felt that golf was a difficult game to play. I assumed from this statement that they probably felt they did not have equipment that was easy to hit. Wrong! They had no idea why. Most felt that it was difficult to be good at hitting the golf ball.
Many women golfers planned on playing the clubs they had and were not considering a new set, other than possibly the addition of a chipper or other utility club. This obviously pointed out that somehow, someway, women needed to know that there is equipment out there that can help them. Every woman’s iron design should be in the Ultra Game Improvement playability range.
Head Design Considerations
Basically, the ideal iron designs (some of these design characteristics apply to metal woods also) for most women golfers have seven very important characteristics.
1) Extremely Low Center of Gravity.
Not just the ordinary low center of gravity, but a really low center of gravity. Actually, it needs to be as low as possible for the design, preferably .725” or below.
2) Bigger “C” Dimension
Horizontal center of gravity moved farther away from the hosel of no less than 1.500”.
3) More Rearward Positioned Center of Gravity
The center of gravity needs to be more rearward than most irons would normally have. The minimum recommended is .600”.
4) Wider Sole
A much wider sole than most all other irons.
5) Bounce Angle
The addition of at least 4° of bounce angle
6) Weaker Loft
A weaker loft than what is typically found on most men’s irons. 30° loft is a good minimum and 32° is still not too much for a 6 iron.
A woman’s iron head needs to be heavier than men’s iron heads because the golf club length for women is shorter than men’s. A woman will not feel the heavier head weight because of the shorter overall club length.
What Else To Look For
The previous seven important design characteristics just discussed apply to the head design itself. This now brings us to two additional important considerations concerning the overall golf club.
First, most women’s clubs are simply too long. A woman’s #5 iron should be no longer than 37 ¼” unless special lengths are needed for taller women golfers of better playing ability. While we are discussing length, the driver should be no longer than 43” (today, some manufacturers are building stock ladies driver lengths at 44”, 44½” and even 45”).
Secondly, most women’s shaft flexes are much too stiff for them and the bend points are too high. Most shafts that I measure are actually in the “A” flex category and not even in the standard “L” flex category. The actual flex that works best is an “LL” flex or a flex that is actually more flexible than the so-called standard “L” flex. The shaft should also have a low shaft bend point. This means that most of the bending in the shaft favors the lower portion of the shaft.
Here is what happens when the overall design considerations already discussed are applied to the above clubhead. Since women do not take divots and are basically sweepers of the ball, the wider sole coupled with the increased bounce angle, will not allow the clubhead to dig into the ground and create fat shots. The sole simply glides on top of the turf, so the fear of sticking the clubhead into the ground and hitting a chunk shot is eliminated. In other words, one bad variable is gone.
Once again, since most women sweep the ball, the extremely low center of gravity allows the clubhead to slide into the ball and always have its center of gravity well below that of the golf balls center of gravity. For proper trajectory and a solid hit to happen, the clubheads center of gravity must always be lower than the golf balls center of gravity at impact.
This is easy for most men who hit down and through the ball and take divots because they are driving the center of gravity of the clubhead downward (not sweeping it horizontally) and impacting the ball well below its center of gravity.
Bottom line so far: The extremely low center of gravity in women’s irons makes it easy to get every shot airborne without the fear of hitting the shot fat because of the wider bounce sole which resists digging.
Every woman’s iron design should be in the Ultra Game Improvement Category regarding the Maltby Playability Factor (MPF). The extremely low center of gravity coupled with the longer “C” Dimension (horizontal center of gravity located farther from the hosel centerline) and a farther back rearward center of gravity location assures the head design to be in the maximum playability category. This is the easiest to hit iron head design for women.
Finally, take this very forgiving and easy to hit iron head design and mate it with a more flexible (“LL”), low bend point shaft at an overall club length that is not too long and you have a great playing ladies golf club that makes the game of golf so much easier to play and the absolute fastest way to improve.
After all the articles I have written and the seminars that I have given (since 1998) regarding my findings on ladies clubs, it has now finally spurred the leading OEM’s into designing ladies clubs using many of these same principles discussed here. At least some of them are treating women separately and not simply putting a different shaft and a different color medallion into their men’s head models.