Editor Emma Ballard looks at the confusion around women's golf equipment and how she thinks better education and marketing could help

Choice is not something that a lot of women golfers feel that they have. For some, it starts when you walk into the pro shop, where you have the choice of clothing that takes up one rail compared to the rails of clothing options for men. For others, it’s having the choice of which day to play in a women’s competition, it’s Tuesday or you are not playing. Even the choice of that second cup of coffee may be taken out of their hands when there are no on course toilets!

I believe that many female golfers feel this is the case when it comes to golf equipment too. While men have a wide variety of clubs to choose from, women are often pigeonholed into one type of club and one type of club only. I am a woman, therefore I should be playing with a women’s specific golf club.

You will find that women’s specific golf clubs will normally feature a feminine accent colour, nowadays pastels are popular, as we have moved a long way from the shrink it and pink it days, and the stock shaft option is a graphite “ladies” flex.

It may sound silly coming from someone who has worked in the golf industry for 18 years and who is playing with men’s spec clubs, but it wasn’t until I had a conversation with Jose Miraflor from Cobra Golf it dawned on me that the options for women golfers are even bigger than I realised. The problem is, I do not think brands have managed to get this across to the majority of women golfers.

This is due to a lack of education and a lack of marketing.

Lack of Education

Now, I know that there are women golfers out there who are fully aware that if they want to buy a new club or clubs, they will get fitted. You could argue that fitting should be a mandatory process before parting with your money for any golfer. But still, a lot of golfers buy straight off the shelf.

When you go to a shop without any education about the benefits of fitting, including an understanding of different swing speeds, then a lot of women may not realise that women’s specific clubs may not be the best for their game, in turn meaning a large amount of choice is not opened up to them.

It is not just about fitting, it is about explaining why there are women’s specific golf clubs and why they differ from what are deemed “men’s” clubs (which if you’re following, these clubs are not just for men). This is something that even I believe we could tackle better here at Women & Golf.

When we receive new product releases, we’re blinded by the specifications of the clubs and we often do not get across the fact that if a women’s specific club is offered then the stock product will have different features such as a shorter shaft length, or a different swingweight to the “men’s” equivalent.

So whilst these women’s specific clubs will be perfectly good for the majority of women golfers, they are not for everyone. And that is where the problem lies, if Women & Golf were to only share the women’s specific clubs, we would be doing a disservice to female players that will not and should not be gaming them.

Lack of Marketing

Lack of marketing is also an issue. When I say lack of marketing, I am referring more to the marketing to those who may need to play a club that is not the women’s specific version. Yes, the women’s specific clubs are marketed with female imagery but any other clubs in the range feature just male imagery. That backs up the thought that the clubs are men only.

In my opinion, it would work well to highlight the products that the players are using on the LPGA and LET. They are not what your average female club member is playing with but does work on the message that there are plenty of club options to choose from.

Can you think of a golf club equipment advert that has really inspired you as a woman? I am struggling to think of one that has made me want to go and try any golf club. A definite missed opportunity and a potential to help with the education part too.

Do we need women's specific golf clubs?

This brings me to my final point, do we need women’s specific golf clubs? Next week, I am heading to Titleist HQ in St Ives and ahead of my visit they were keen to stress that they do not make women’s clubs or balls but have a full range of products to suit all golfers.

You’ve got to admit that if all brands were like Titleist or PXG, for example, then it would make the club buying process a lot easier.

I’m a little torn on this question because marketing a new range of clubs with gender put aside would be so much easier but there are women golfers out there looking for clubs that have more of a feminine aesthetic, it is hard to find the perfect balance.

As golfers, we may be ready for genderless tees but I do not think we are quite ready for all golf club equipment to be genderless.

If you are a female golfer looking to buy new clubs, ask an expert and if possible have a fitting. If you’re a brand which sells women’s specific clubs, think about how you market all your clubs to women, women do play your “men’s” clubs.

When it comes to golf club equipment, the choice for women is so much bigger than we may first think. With better education and better marketing, brands could capitalise on a market segment that, I believe, has not been tapped into or understood enough.

Let's keep raising the positives and negatives of being a woman in golf. Is there a topic you would like me to cover? Drop me an email.