By Shari Rendall, Images Courtesy of TaylorMade/Adidas
CARLSBAD, CA – Many times, when it comes to golf, you might very well believe it’s a man’s world.
Walk into any golf shop, and there’s invariably a bias – not towards rich or poor, old or young (but that’s debatable), but most definitely for men over women. Men’s stuff is everywhere – shirts, sweaters, slacks, shorts, outerwear, shoes, and we’re not even talking about so-called ‘standard’ golf equipment, which is intended for decidedly taller and bigger-muscled bipedal beings.
Not to mention that ‘stuff’ is for the sweatier, hairier crowd. It just isn’t fair.
Long ago, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband (John) and admonished him to ‘remember the ladies’ when considering Independence. Unfortunately, that all too important historic lesson seems to have slipped by the modern golf manufacturing sector.
But the good news is that trend seems to be changing, led in part by some ‘hot’ new products from TaylorMade/Adidas Golf. Nearly always on the cutting edge of the golf market, the Carlsbad, California based manufacturer has introduced products that not only appeal to women, they’re specifically designed for us.
I’m speaking of TaylorMade’s Miscela golf clubs and Adidas Golf’s Women’s Apparel and Shoes.
Gary Gallagher, TaylorMade’s Global Products Marketing Manager, says that while the women’s product sector has always been important, it’s getting more attention these days because more women are taking up the game… and buying things to go along with it.
“The Miscela set was designed for avid women golfers,” Gallagher said. “Since most women swing at a slower speed, they don’t hit long irons consistently or for adequate distance. The Miscela set features five irons (7-iron through sand wedge), three easy-to-hit Rescue clubs instead of long irons, a high-lofted 3-wood and a high-lofted titanium driver.”
Snobby male traditionalists probably shudder at the thought of dragging around less than fourteen clubs, but since women are naturally superior beings, we can get it done with fewer sticks. No wonder in many indigenous tribes that women do all the ‘real’ work – they’re the only ones who can handle it.
But Gallagher says women simply don’t need the extra clubs, because they’re not used. “We discovered that many women golfers complained that they saw little distinct difference between a lot of their clubs, say between the 7-iron and 6-iron. ‘Distance engineered’ means that each club is designed to deliver a distinctly different distance than the one before or after it.”
Shame on Gary for saying that women ‘complained’ about anything, but we know what he’s trying to say, and he means well – it’s okay, Gary.
He continues, “The Miscela irons feature five degrees of loft between each one. The 6- thru 4- are easy to hit Rescue clubs that are easier to get in the air than long-irons and go farther than comparable clubs. With traditional sets, slower swing-speed players do not hit long irons any farther than mid-irons.”
There’s more. “Lastly, Miscela’s 18-degree 3-wood is engineered with an extremely low center-of-gravity (CG), making it easy to get off the ground, and the 15-degree titanium driver is designed to launch the ball high and long. Ten happened to be all the clubs that our target players needed to hit all of their shots. All of the clubs are useful and each goes a significantly different distance,” Gallagher explained.
Finally, there’s differentiation between the Venus and Mars worlds. Because of the slower speed orientation, you’d think they might be compatible with senior men’s players, but even here, TaylorMade has ‘remembered the ladies.’ The Miscela clubs are women’s length, which is one inch shorter than men’s.
So they’re just for us.
You probably won’t even need any additional wedges. “The Miscela set comes with a 55-degree sand wedge and a 50-degree pitching wedge. A traditional set of game-improvement irons today features a 55- or 56-degree sand wedge and a 44- or 46-degree pitching wedge. These types of sets require additional wedges. At slower swing speeds fewer wedges are necessary, but more loft between each iron is needed,” Gallagher added.
Just because Miscela is for ‘slower swings’ doesn’t mean it’s for beginners… necessarily. Beginners have shown interest in the simplicity of the 10-club set, but Miscela was primarily designed for avid women golf veterans who’re looking for a club set designed particularly for women and their swing characteristics. The club heads are large, with a lower profile and feature low CG’s. Miscela also offers light, soft graphite shafts, making these clubs extremely user-friendly to get the ball in the air.
The nicest thing about Miscela is they’re a set you can use for a long time. “Greater distance usually comes by hitting the ball with the center of the clubface more consistently and by hitting the ball straighter, not just by practicing more,” Gallagher said. “For a beginner buying the clubs, the Miscela set would typically be a medium to long term proposition.”
In other words, you won’t see Miscela in the bags of the TaylorMade LPGA Tour staff, but if you manage to get to that level, you’ll be hitting the ball as far or farther than nearly all men players… so you might then try size-appropriate ‘regular’ models. For me, someone who’s in between the ‘beginner’ and ‘avid’ levels, the Miscela clubs seem to be a good fit, and I’ll continue to enjoy them while on my journey to playing this game. The concept makes sense, and it’s not hard to differentiate between the different clubs – and that’s good for me.
Turning to the apparel side of the shop, Adidas Golf is also making great strides in producing products that appeal to discriminating feminine tastes. In fact, they have no problem stating that theirs is the front-runner in women’s golf as well.
“There’s no question that Adidas has the most exciting brand in golf, and specifically in women’s apparel,” said Patricia Dahan, Director of Global Apparel for Adidas Golf. “We are a performance brand who believes that golf is a sport – and that golfers are athletes, and we’re part of a bigger brand that’s been manufacturing performance products for athletes for 86 years. We’re also immersed in a golf culture, being part of TaylorMade and headquartered here in Carlsbad.”
“But the winning formula for us in women’s apparel has been the fusion of true legitimate performance and fashion. Our brand is about something that fits great and is flattering and is contemporary in terms to colors and styling without being gimmicky or missy. It’s athletic,” Dahan explained.
There’s the key term, fashion. That’s the difference between the men and women in the shop, and out on the golf course. We have it, and in many cases, they don’t.
By nature, golf apparel needs to be lightweight and quiet, can stretch in the right spots and most importantly, requires moisture resistance. And your pants and skorts need to be wrinkle free, too.
Dahan says they’ve found the answer. “Where the real focus is now the ClimaCool category – our ClimaCool fabrication is different from any other moisture-wicking synthetic or cotton based fabric used on the market today, in that the base fabric is the fastest drying, highest performing textile available anywhere.”
The ClimaCool fabric is very lightweight and dries about five times faster than cotton. It also offers UV protection and has an anti-microbial treatment, which is becoming more and more significant (Dahan says more so with men’s apparel to provide low odor retention!).
Every ClimaCool garment is combined with targeted mesh ventilation, which helps reduce skin temperature and regulate your core heat zone. So it’s not just about moisture – it’s about the elements of classical fabrication together with engineering, to make you perform better.
That’s really something, when our clothes designers need science degrees. Who would’ve thought?
“It’s all about making you more comfortable and giving you less to think about,” Dahan adds. “You don’t want to think about being hot and sweaty, or that your garment doesn’t fit, or give you full range of motion. It’s equipment for your body that keeps your head in the game.”
Happily, ClimaCool technology is involved with all Adidas apparel (in all sports), but for golf, as mentioned above, it needs to be lightweight, etc…
It looks nice, too. Adidas Tour staff players Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer have shared their thoughts on what looks great out on the course, and Adidas Golf is certainly known for producing distinctive, attractive color patterns and designs.
“We take the opinions of the Tour staff and build it into how we design our product range,” Dahan said. “But we look to the fashion market and forecast colors two years ahead to determine the color pallet. It’s a combination of taking direction from fashion, from technical outdoor industry (from a styling standpoint) – but everything is really technology-based and then we build it from there. High performance is what Adidas is all about.”
Adidas has even introduced a ClimaCool knit hat, which reduces the propensity for the dreaded ‘hat head.’ Now you can look good in the clubhouse after the round, too.
Rounding out the story is probably what you think of first when you hear the ‘Adidas’ brand name – shoes. Dave Ortley is the Director, Global Footwear for TaylorMade/Adidas Golf, and he echoes Dahan’s enthusiasm for Adidas’ leadership in the women’s golf shoe industry.
Ortley explains how they’re different: “First, Adidas Golf women’s shoes are built on women’s performance golf lasts that target Comfort, Performance and Athletic consumer types with unique fit and aesthetic traits. (Encarta Dictionary: last – shoemaker’s tool – a wooden or metal block shaped like a human foot that a shoemaker or cobbler uses for making and repairing footwear.)”
Ortley continues, “Second, we rely on feedback from two of the best young women athletes in the game, Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer, to drive our creative process. Third, we use a color palette that is new and fresh every season, relying on trend services out of Europe and the United States to guide our color selection process. Finally, our goal is footwear for women that is technology-based to enhance performance, comfort/fit focused, and sexy/fun to wear for a large majority of women golfers worldwide.”
The final element being perhaps the line’s greatest appeal, though being comfortable should never be underestimated while playing eighteen holes. Like its apparel, the Adidas women’s shoes are lighter in weight than its competitors, and also claims improved stability, grip, fit, comfort and durability.
I can’t vouch for the latter elements, at least in terms of the competition, but I will say the shoes are very comfortable and functional. They’re shoes that I don’t mind wearing in a golf setting, look stylish, and feel good in all the situations of golf.
We’ll give the final word (at least for shoes) to Ortley: “For competitive brands, women’s product is an afterthought. At Adidas, we consider the needs of women (globally) and tailor product to help them perform.”
That’s true throughout the TaylorMade/Adidas line-up. It’s not that we should now proclaim perfect equality with the men’s golf world, but it might make you think differently the next time you enter a golf shop.
And you will feel great that finally, someone remembered the ladies.
TaylorMade Miscela Clubs and Adidas Golf Apparel and Shoes
Available at your higher-end golf retailers and club pro shops.
Check out more information about TaylorMade/Adidas products at: http://www.taylormadegolf.com/.
TaylorMade became famous for pioneering metal woods, but the company now produces everything from metal woods to wedges to putters. And since joining with Adidas, don’t forget footwear and clothing. Check out the website for more information.
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