Just as there is a special section for petites in women's clothing stores, so too are there special clubs for the petite woman golfer. Women's petite golf clubs measure about an inch shorter than standard-length women's clubs. The petite women golfer's height is considered to be from 4'10" to 5'3". If you are a petite and using standard women's clubs, then these longer clubs are making it harder for you to hit your shots accurately.
Every golfer will play better when they play with clubs that have been custom fit for their size and swing characteristics. This is no less true for the petite women golfer. Properly sized clubs enable more natural-feeling swings, and the feedback loop will soon bring about more consistency and eventually better scores.
The simplest option if you are a petite is to buy a petite golf set. Several sets are available from online vendors. You can also order individual clubs in the petite length.
Women golfers commonly struggle with clubs whose shafts are too stiff for them. Graphite shafts can provide a much softer flex, are lighter and they give your swing an easier feel. We encourage most ladies to play with graphite shafts rather than steel. Graphite is better for the beginner, the high handicapper, the elderly, those with joint problems and those whose swing is relatively weaker or slower.
A better option for the petite golfer than simply buying a petite set of clubs is to get custom fitted. After all, there is more to your uniqueness as a golfer than just your height. Customer fitting doesn't take long or cost much, if anything. You'll find much richer satisfaction if you are willing to expend a little effort to get optimally fit rather than accept the approximate fit of off-the-rack clubs.
Every golfer is a little different, from the shape of their body to the shape of their swing. A custom fitting will result in clubs that are specifically built for your height, strength, swing speed and swing characteristics.
Some golfers think they need to improve to a certain level before they get fitted. Actually, it's just the opposite. The more of a novice you are, the more you will benefit from custom fitting. A novice using an ill-fitted club will compensate and groove a swing adjustment that will later limit her ability to improve. It's best to groove solid fundamentals, knowing that when a ball is miss-hit, it's the fault of your swing, not the club.
Off-the-shelf golf clubs are one-size-fits-all, designed for the average player. Even if you are of average height, your stance and swing characteristics might require a different club lie angle. Even a player with a sound setup and swing will experience unwanted draws or fades if the lie angle of his clubs is incorrect. She will lose distance, usually half a club length, even on a well-struck shot.
Teaching pros estimate that 90 percent of golfers would benefit from custom built clubs.
There are several ways to go about getting custom fitted. The easiest is static measuring, which involves your physical measurements. You measure your height with shoes on. Then measure the distance from your wrist to the ground, again with your shoes on. There are charts available on-line that will take these measurements and indicate what your corresponding shaft length adjustment should be. This is where you'll discover that the petite sets are fright for you.
The next step up is dynamic measuring, actually hitting balls using the same club configured in various lengths, lies, and flexes A club-fitting pro will have a cart filled with, say Titleist 6 irons, each configured slightly differently, from half-inch differences in length to single degree differences in lie, from flat to normal to upright. Impact tape is applied to the clubs you'll hit. Based on ball flight, impact marks on the club and your own feedback as to which configuration feels best, the pro will make adjustments, and you'll find the right specs for you.
A more high-tech fitting process involves computers and electronic body sensors, which some manufacturers use for their sponsored pros, and which they are beginning to roll out to fitting centers nationwide. But this approach may be more than you need, and is costly and time consuming as well.
Armed with your specifications, you can buy from the pro who fitted you, or order from any supplier you prefer. Most shops will throw in the cost of a fitting if you buy from them. Otherwise the cost is about $50. Custom made clubs should cost no more than off-the-shelf standard clubs, barring any shaft or grip upgrade.
You can even order custom fitted knock-offs and save money and strokes at the same time. Knock-offs are similar in appearance to other brands made within legal limits.
Most players think of iron sets when they think of custom fit golf clubs. But you'll play better when your putter, wedges and woods are custom fit, too.
Once you have your new clubs, you'll know that the tools in your hand are the best they can be for you. Having such confidence never hurts. The downside is that you can't blame your bad rounds on your clubs anymore.