For the first time ever at MyGolfSpy, we tested women’s drivers.

The scale is a bit smaller; fewer drivers and fewer testers. Conceived as a learning exercise or perhaps an experiment, it proved to be more fun for us than any test in recent memory. It's fair to say that this is a little bit different kind of Most Wanted Test.

Whether or not we expand into other categories (irons), grow the number of products, and increase the number of testers depends almost entirely on your interest level. We want you to want more women’s testing.

3 Clubs, 5 Testers

We’re not going to present this as a survey of the entire women’s market. It’s not. We started small because there was a good bit we needed to understand before attempting a larger test of women’s gear.

  • Would the golf manufacturers be interested in having us test women's clubs?
  • How many shots could mostly senior-aged women hit before fatigue sets in?
  • How would our readers respond to a women’s driver test?

That last one remains to be sorted out, but like I said, We want you to want more.

WomensDriver-10

About the Test

The Cobra (Ladies F-Max Offset), PING (G Le), and XXIO (Ladies 10) driver models we selected for this test provided us with a good spread of lofts and retail price points. As a bonus, we discovered there was quite a bit of weight difference as well.

For the test itself, we used our Most Wanted testing protocols. The simple explanation is that we randomized club selection, rotated clubs frequently, collected a good sample of shots, and leveraged our automated system to filter outliers.

Basically, we put the women through the same protocols as we do the men who test with us.

All testing was conducted at our secondary location at McGregor Links Country Club.  All testers used Bridgestone B330-RX golf balls. Ball and head data were collected with launch monitors from Foresight Sports.

WomensDriver-2

About Our Testers

Our test pool consists of avid country club golfers. While it’s fair to say that the majority are senior-aged, all are young at heart. The other pertinent details:

  • Handicap Range: High Teens-Low 20s
  • Swing Speed Range: 62-72 MPH

Before we get to the data, we're compelled to mention that those handicaps beg for context. From the near tees, our testers’ home course plays just under 5200 yards. The average par 4 is 276 yards and the par 4s on the back 9 average over 300. The average driver distance for this group is roughly 136 yards. Sufficed to say, the math doesn’t suggest many legitimate opportunities to hit greens in regulation.

Imagine what it must be like playing par 4s where hitting the green requires a second shot that is roughly 20% longer than your typical drive. Good luck with that.

Let’s table the discussion on course setup for another day and have a look at the data.

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Women's Driver Rankings

PING G Le

PING G Le

BALL SPEED
91.16 MPH
LAUNCH ANGLE
16.33 DEG
BACKSPIN
2344 RPM
DISTANCE
136.98 YDS
ACCURACY
8.94 YDS

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XXIO X Ladies

XXIO X Ladies

BALL SPEED
91.29 MPH
LAUNCH ANGLE
16.49 DEG
BACKSPIN
2239 RPM
DISTANCE
136.31 YDS
ACCURACY
9.74 YDS

Shop & Support

When you shop online consider using our special link. It helps support this site and other golfers around the world. #ConsumerFirst

Cobra Ladies F-MAX Offset

Cobra Ladies F-MAX Offset

BALL SPEED
90.96 MPH
LAUNCH ANGLE
17.83 DEG
BACKSPIN
2690 RPM
DISTANCE
134.85 YDS
ACCURACY
10.6 YDS

Shop & Support

When you shop online consider using our special link. It helps support this site and other golfers around the world. #ConsumerFirst

foresight-bnr

Data: Group Averages

womens-driver-group-averages-FINALx

Observations

  • Differences in average clubhead speed are most closely correlated with total club weight.
    • The PING G Le is 44 11/16” long and weighs 280 grams.
    • The XXIO X is 44” long, but weighs only 243 grams.
    • The Cobra F-MAX is 44 ¼” long and weighs 298 grams.
  • The offset F-Max was the only one of the three drivers to produce a left-of-center bias, suggesting the offset does help mitigate a slice.
  • With a stamped loft of 15°, the Cobra F-Max produced the highest launch, spin, and apex, along with the steepest angle of descent of the three models tested.
    • Across the board, values for those key metrics are lower than is optimal. There’s certainly a case to be made that golfers within this category would benefit from even more loft as well as other design considerations that could produce more spin.
  • Yards from Center (the average distance off the target line) was only 9.74 yards. This isn’t surprising given the shorter total distance, but it's nevertheless worth a mention that fairway percentages for this group were significantly higher than what we typically see in a men’s test.

Data: Individual Averages

womens-driver-individual-data-FINALx

As we’ve come to expect, even in a small test, our group averages don’t show much in the way of difference between clubs, however, when we look at the individual data, a few things stand out.

Observations

  • On an individual basis, the difference in total yards from the longest to shortest driver tested for each golfer ranged from 4 to 16 yards with the average difference from first to third being 11 yards.
    • It’s perhaps noteworthy that for each of the 5 golfers, the XXIO 10 was either the longest or the shortest which may suggest that, for any given golfer, it’s ultralightweight (even by the standards of this category) design either works really well or not well at all.
  • Of our 5 testers, only Mary (MK) produced anything in the ballpark of optimal launch and spin numbers.
  • Not shown in the chart, average attack angles for the group ranged from +3.08 to +6.08. These values are higher than we’d typically see from men within a similar age group. While often beneficial for maximizing distance, for our lower swing speed golfers, the positive to strongly positive angle of attack almost certainly contributed to the lower than ideal spin rates.
    • Barb (BT) is a perfect example. Her average attack angle is over +6°, and despite an average launch angle above 15°, none of the clubs in our test generated even 2000 RPM of backspin. While many higher speed players would be envious of her attack angle as well as her launch and spin numbers, given her ball speed, both launch and spin would ideally be higher.

WomensDriver-11

So what did we learn?

Looking past the performance data – which we think strongly suggests a need for higher lofted drivers for slower swing speed golfers – we came away with a better understanding of fatigue levels and what we can expect when testing with female golfers. We learned enough to move forward with a larger test. You tell us if you’d like us to do that.

In a more general sense, the conversations with the women who tested for us, along with those that joined us for an informal demo event, were eye-opening. Most felt that golf equipment companies either ignore them or aren’t’ particularly adept at reaching them. Retail experiences were rated as less than positive with many women saying that they don’t believe they’re treated seriously when they walk into a golf shop.

For the women who had previously hit balls on a launch monitor, none could say that anyone had ever taken the time to review the numbers, explain what they mean, or show where improvements could be made.

That’s a huge miss as we can’t oversell how engaged the women were during the test and with the discussions of their data that followed. It was an absolutely awesome thing to be a part of.

We had so much fun, but the experience also confirmed what we’ve suspected for quite some time; the golf industry is struggling to keep up with its changing demographics, which includes a higher rate of women taking up the game. Let’s embrace that. If the idea is to treat people how they want to be treated, the equipment biz needs to stop treating the ladies as women who dabble in golf a bit and instead approach them as golfers who just happen to be women, because, we promise you, that’s exactly what they are.

WomensDriver-13

More Women’s Clubs?

Would you like to see more tests of women’s golf equipment on MyGolfSpy? Be sure to let us know.