Five Reasons Why Golf is Harder for Women

Most estimates say that less than 25% of golfers are women.  Partly, that’s because golf is harder for women to learn than men.  Here are five reasons why:

Course Length:  Even from the most-forward set of tees, many golf courses are too long for women.

In a perfect world, if a man and a woman of similar skill teed off from tees of perfectly differing length, they would be hitting the same club into the green for their next shot.

But that’s not what happens.  My husband and I have very similar golf handicaps, but if I have a four hybrid into the green, he often has a 6 iron.

This situation is changing, especially at recently-built resort courses.  More women will enjoy golf when they can play the same game as men.  For years, I did not hit the ball far enough to reasonably expect to hit the green with my next shot.  I just hit my three wood as far as I could.

But on a shorter course, I really enjoy the challenge of trying to hit the green on my second shot.  It’s not necessarily easier, because it brings bunkers and other hazards around green into play.  But it is more fun.

Upper Body Strength:  This is just physiology.  Even a male couch potato has more upper body strength than an average woman.  To succeed at golf, women need to develop their core and upper body strength.  Not fair, but true.  Strength translates to length in golf.  It also helps you get your ball out of the deep rough.

Height:  Height is not a determining factor — look at all the tiny Asian golfers on the LPGA Tour — but it definitely helps.  Height translates to swing width and leverage in golf.  Both help increase club head speed and length.

Sports Experience:  This reason will vary by age.  I didn’t grow up after Title IX was passed, creating a huge explosion of sports for school girls and college women.  Older women had many fewer opportunities to develop the hand-eye coordination needed to play golf.  If you had the chance to play baseball, volleyball and other sports, it will really help you learn to play golf.  If not, it will add time to the learning process.

Time:  Women have a lot of demands on their time.  Perhaps we also feel less entitlement to do what we’d enjoy in our time off.  It takes practice and play to master golf, both of which take time.  Many women don’t have time for golf until their children are older, so they are learning at an older age.  If you’re young, take up golf now.  Even if you have to put it on the back burner for family and career reasons, it will be easier to come back to it than to learn from scratch.

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  1. In general, I couldn’t agree more. However, I teach a lot of women to play golf and if they are properly taught how to use their body and to efficiently understand and use levers, they produce surprisingly long shots. I wrote an article, which was published about power. In everything that we do in life, power is an advantage. Golf on the other hand is about application. Through the turn of the body and the use of lag, I’ve been absolutely amazed at the shots that some of my women students have made. I’m talking 275 to 290 yard drives, as well as 150 yard 9 irons. If they efficiently compress the ball, they can really get it out there. For the average Jane Doe, however, they don’t typically have the ability to use their body like guys do. It’s usually a numbers game statistically speaking. So with that, women in general are at a disadvantage.

    • Thanks for the comment. I also know women who have been taught or have learned to hit the ball a long ways. But they seem to be the exception.
      One of the reasons that I stress taking lessons from a golf professional in GoodShot! Golf is that I can see that women are losing a lot of power by swinging only with their arms, or steering the club onto the ball or scooping it into the air, among many reasons.
      Once these habits are ingrained, it’s hard to break them. Most women are not going to hit it 275 yards, but with a better foundation of technique, we could start closing the gap.

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