Spring Equipment Preview
From adjustable drivers to 'flow sets' designed for slow swing speeds, the latest women's clubs incorporate technology like never before
High-tech golf equipment used to be a man's world. Until a few years ago, manufacturers might have put a token L-flex shaft in the same clubhead they offered men and called it a "ladies" model, but that was the extent of the effort to serve female golfers. Fortunately, it's different now. To capitalize on the increasing number of women who play the game, clubmakers are finally introducing women's products designed for body types, swing styles and clubhead speeds that differ from the average male's. These new clubs will help female players of all abilities score better and enjoy the game more.
Forget the traditional set of three woods, eight irons, two wedges and a putter. After researching the way women play, clubmakers discovered that the average woman's swing speed is significantly slower than the average man's. This means she needs fewer clubs with bigger loft gaps to achieve a discernible difference in distance between each club. That's why most companies offer "flow sets," which consist of eight to 13 clubs that transition seamlessly from driver to fairway woods to hybrids to short irons. Examples include the Moda Chocolate Gold set from Tour Edge ($600 for 11 clubs and a bag; touredge.com). Many women need help launching the ball high to gain distance. Flow sets have shafts that are softer toward the tip and clubheads with wide soles and low centers of gravity. These advances in design add up to a significant improvement in performance, and you don't have to carry around a lot of clubs you never use.
TIP / CHOOSE THE RIGHT MAKEUP
Each flow set is different, so it's important to determine which set makeup works best for your game. Do you have a shallow swing? Then try a set with several low-profile fairway woods, such as the Ping Rhapsody. Do you hit down on the ball? A set with multiple deep-face hybrids, like the Adams Idea a3OS, might work best. In addition, the slower your clubhead speed, the fewer clubs you need. If you're a faster swinger (more than 60 miles per hour with the driver), go with 13-club versions of sets like the Adams Idea a3OS or Cleveland Bloom. If you're below 60 mph, stick to eight- or nine-piece sets, such as the Callaway Gems and Nicklaus Lady Compri HL. If you don't know your swing speed, visit a golf shop to find out.