Before I get into my personal journey with the game and how that led me to TaylorMade, I'd like to begin by addressing the elephant in the room. Helping women find the right equipment for their game.
We are at a pretty cool point in golf equipment history due to technology. With personalization and custom fitting, it’s no longer about having men’s or women’s clubs. It’s about building clubs that are meant for you and your swing specifically.
We are also at a turning point. Women are the fastest growing demographic joining the game currently (junior girls to be precise). We have to level up and start evolving how we think about women in golf and what those equipment demands look like.
The club buying experience for women has evolved a lot in the last two decades. There are more custom fitting options than ever to get a club perfectly fit for your game, and it goes far beyond a ladies flex shaft like in the past. In general, us women need a little lighter shaft. But when you have a faster swing like me we can’t compromise on the flex. Typically, the lighter shafts are stocked in a women’s or senior flex. This is where the better women players can run into trouble finding stiff enough shafts that are also the proper weight. Just something to be aware of as you search for the proper equipment for your game.
At TaylorMade, we’re increasing our focus on personalization and custom fitting. Our fitting experiences are completely golfer centric, and will fit you for the setup that is right for you. Whether you're a man or a woman.
As a woman, however, it can be extremely intimidating walking into a golf shop to ask questions about products or get custom, even if you are a decent player. This is why crowdsourcing info on the latest gear from trusted golf friends and coworkers can be comfortable route to go before setting up a fitting. You’d be surprised at just how much a conversation around what you’re looking for and the performance you demand will make you more comfortable before you enter that hitting bay. For me, I’ve always looked to the people that I play and work with to help me better understand equipment, learn about specs, differences in shafts and tinker with the different clubs in my bag.
Maybe I can be that source for you? If you’re looking for equipment advice or curious about the custom fitting process, click here to drop me an email. I’ll do my best to respond and help you along on your own journey with golf equipment.
How My Journey With Equipment Led Me to Working at TaylorMade
I started playing golf when I was 6. My dad let me tag along with him and his friends at our local 9-hole muni in Southern Oregon – the only course we had in my small town. I was hooked from a pretty young age and began doing junior camps and tournaments, but quickly realized majority of the time I was going to be the only girl out there.
As I reached high school and started playing more competitively throughout Oregon and nationally, I found myself almost always playing and practicing with guys. Playing the front tees by myself was a pain and consistently it would be forgotten that I hadn’t teed off yet. I missed out on a lot of the camaraderie by playing different tees, which is a big part of what makes our game is so great.
So, I shifted my focus to gaining distance in order to keep up. I slowly stopped playing from the front tees (unless it was a tournament) and moved back to the whites and blues in order to play the same tees as my playing partners.
The guys I played with in high school were gear junkies, always talking about the newest drivers, what ball they were playing and why, mallet vs. blade putters, you name it. When someone showed up to the course with new gear, we’d all try it out. It didn’t really cross my mind that they had “men’s” clubs. I hit it just as good as them, so why should I play anything different than them I thought?
"We are at a pretty cool point in golf equipment history due to technology. With personalization and custom fitting, it’s no longer about having men’s or women’s clubs. It’s about building clubs that are meant for me and my swing specifically."
At one point I started playing blades and steel shafts because one of the guys showed up with them and I fell in love with how well I could work the ball. Then I felt the pain of a few thin shots in winter and moved on.
This attitude carried through college and I continued my focus on distance and shot shaping. If I was hitting a PW into the green and able to work the ball while the other girls were hitting a long iron or Rescue I had a big advantage (even if my short game was struggling). It was much easier to make par from 15 feet than from a greenside bunker.
Then it happened… the TaylorMade R7 driver came out during my college career and it was a game changer. Finally, a club I could adjust to fit my swing and desired shot shape instead of constantly trying to adjust my swing to fit a club. From that day forward I’ve never played another brand of metalwoods. The adjustability had me hooked and I loved tinkering with the weights and seeing how it affected my shots.
As my college career wrapped up at Portland State University, I decided playing professionally was no longer my dream. I had to find a “real job.” Getting into the golf industry was a bit of a no brainer, but in what capacity? After discovering adidas owned TaylorMade at the time, and adidas headquarters was 15 minutes away from where I lived in Portland, I started applying for every entry level position at adidas with the plan of somehow transferring to TaylorMade. The rest is history, as they say…well not really, but that’s a blog post for another day.
A Change In Mentality
Looking back, I never thought much about women’s clubs. As a competetive player, I admit that I had the mentality of believing they weren’t for me. I don’t think I was alone in thinking that way. Sadly, I think a lot of strong players still have that mentality.
I can’t say I know any women who are tournament players that play what the industry calls a “women’s club,” or even worse a “lady’s” club. It’s generally just a less expensive version of what the guys get with a different colorway to make it seem more feminine.
Have you ever walked in a golf shop and had the guy at the counter point to the single set of women’s clubs they carry and begin to tell you why they are perfect for you? Without ever asking one question about your game? I know I’m not alone in that experience. It’s frustrating.
As I reflected in writing this article, I really started to think critically about why I used to be so adamant about not playing equipment that was labled as a “woman’s club.” I believe it really came from a sense of wanting to belong. As the only female golfer in my immediate group as a youngster, I really didn’t have a mentor or someone to help guide me.
As my perspective changed and I entered a new stage of life, I started to talk more about women’s equipment with the women worked with and those I played golf with. Their recommendations and feedback started to influence the way I chose the equipment I played. With this, I came to the realization that I can do the same for more women golfers – relying on the TaylorMade platform to help more women decide how to find the right equipment for their game.
What I Play
I now look for equipment that lets me hit the shots I want to hit. Whether that’s stiff or regular flex, graphite or steel shafts, blades or cavity back irons, adjustable or non-adjustable, men’s or women’s, whatever is feeling good and working with my game.
Here’s a look at what’s in my bag currently:
- SIM Driver (9 degree, stiff, Project X Evenflow Blue 55 shaft)
- SIM Rocket 3wd (stiff, Fujikura Atmos Orange 6 FW shaft)
- SIM Max Rescue 3 (stiff, KBS Hybrid Shaft)
- P•790 Irons: 4-6 (graphite, stiff, UST Recoil 780 SmacWrap shafts)
- P•760 7-PW (graphite, stiff, UST Recoil 780 SmacWrap shafts)
- 50° & 54° MG2 wedges (graphite, stiff, UST Recoil 780 SmacWrap shafts)
- 60° Hi-Toe wedge (steel, stiff, KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 115g shaft)
- MySpider X putter