Why can't women hit a golf ball as far?

From what I gather about golf, the technique is the key. It doesnt take much strength to get a 10oz club head moving 100 mph. So if thats true and force = mass * speed, then why can’t the professional women hit the ball as far as the professional men (or college male players for that matter)?

I’m guessing it’s an “upper body strength” thing.

Only to a point. Timing and finesse are critical but per DDG, upper body brute stength is also a significant component in the distance equation with respect to accelerating the club head to the point of impact.

Tiger Woods is one of the biggest hitters in the game and he’s what, 170 lbs?

Upper body strength is progressively more important as you get higher in distance, but for distances below 300 yards I’m guessing it’s not that great a difference. But if you look at the real long-ball hitters that compete professionally, I think they are all pretty big men.

I’m not sure if the ultimate debate here is whether the difference between men and women is more than just strength, or whether you want to specifically talk golf. If the latter, then ignore this next bit…
An nteresting question is why can’t women compete against men in billiards? Other than 9-ball, strength is not important at all. Straight pool, for example, requires no strength whatsoever other than the ability to hold a cue over a table. Snooker is similar. And yet, women can’t come close to competing against men. The world record run for a woman in straight pool is 84 balls. My personal high is close to that, and I can’t even stay competive in local amateur tournaments. Good college players can run 150-and-out to win a match. The world record for a male is 568 balls, by Willie Mosconi.

Allison Fisher, currently the #1 women’s 9-ball player in the world (and the best female snooker player in the world) tried to make it on the men’s snooker tour, and she couldn’t crack the top 100.


Sorry but my rare but occasionally exceptional drives are just shy of 400 yards. Please don’t call bullshit. My witnesses are numerous.

Why can I do this or why could any other man?

A. We’re taller. The results of leverage are exponential.
B. IANAD but I’d guess muscle twitch composition is probably different.
C. Testosterone. Picture a woman hitting a golf ball in the middle of a painless, yet aggravitated cramp.
D. My chest is reasonably flat. Not to be crude but obstruction counts.

I will say this… a friend of my wife’s that’s an absolutely excellent golfer (since the age of 5) can from the women’s tees match even my best drives. I mean this as a compliment when I say that she’s simply a f*cking horse when it comes to mashing one.

Bear in mind, we’re talking generalities here, not absolutes. From the little I’ve seen, there are a few males on the PGA tour who wouldn’t mind driving like Laura Davies.

A lot depends on the mechanical combined with pure muscle. Tiger is 6’1 (I think) and about 170-180, but his hip turn is awesome, allowing him to generate club head speeds around 125mph. The average tour pro generates club head speed of around 105-115. By comparison, some of the long drive champs (Zuback for instance) is like, 6 foot, 270, and benches over 400 pounds. His brute strength, plus sound mechanics allow him generate club head speeds in excess of 150mph. On the woman’s tour, some of the longest hitters of the ball are tall (and big) women, like Laura Davies (who hits a 2-iron about 220) and Michelle McGann.

It would imagine that center of balance has alot to do with it. A mans center of balance is in his upper body, almost into his shoulders. This gives him a better control over his inerta on the club. A womans is in her hips which does not transfer well into her arms, but well into her legs. Thats why women are usually better skiers than men.

Not true. See http://www.i-a-r-t.com/articles/womenstrength.html.


I’m not sure I understand what you’re trying to say here.

I think that we can agree that while technique is important, technique combined with more strength is better (in terms of driving a golf ball longer).

But Sam Stone’s question about billiards is interesting. I’d like to hear an explanation for that one.

So the answer is that it takes a great deal of strength to accelerate a club head thru the ball? So that is why heavyweight boxers are quicker punchers than featherweights? Wait thats not true, they are in slow motion compared to the featherweights. All the women over 150lbs on the tour should outdrive the skinny little guys on the tour , like Ian Woosman. Hell I know they could beat his ass in an alley. It just seems that part of the equation is missing.

I got into this thing (reality vs theory) when discussing inertia and in theory a car going around a curve different speeds will find a maximum speed before the tires break the surface and it leaves the road. And if you add 5 beer drinking buddies it will not change that critical speed. I still dont believe this one.

My sentiment is that club head speed is one element, inflexibility and, in fact, an unyielding if not accelerating swing through the ball is another.

Olive Oil and Brutus hit the ball with the same head speed. Which will have the more expedient follow thru?

If the striker won’t budge, then the ball must.


While the featherweights are quicker, they aren’t as strong. Swinging a golf club isn’t the same as throwing a jab.

More energy is required to accelerate the mass of club, working the short end of a lever, and overcoming wind resistance.

Fast twitch muscles are a benefit, but so are big muscles. Having both results in faster club head speed.


The fact of the matter is that, all else being equal, club head speed is the only factor that determines the distance. You don’t hit a huge obstacle and muscle through it, the ball is long gone before your muscles even feel the (negligable) resistance of the ball.

Follow through is only taught to ensure proper form. It doesn’t really affect anything whatsoever.

My first guess would be center of gravity (balance) and leverage.

That, and LPGA chicks throw like girls. :smiley:

There is no comparison between world-class male skiers v. their world-class female counterparts. The men always kick their butts. Any other comparison (at the local level) gets bogged down in meaningless supposition.


Force is mass times acceleration (F = ma). Momentum is mass times velocity.

The five drinking buddies add more downward force, so that the frictional force is greater, but they add more mass to be slung around the curve, making the required centripetal force greater. Both forces are directly proportional to mass, so increasing the mass doesn’t change the equation – mass cancels out on both sides of the equation. This is a simple two-dimensional point analysis, of course; in reality, the five buddies would probably change the center of mass of the car, changing how the tire contacts the road.

I think its a few things, men have better equipment for starters. But women aren’t all that far behind. For example, “Jane Geddes’ average of 261.3 was just 1.7 yards short of LPGA driving distance leader Smriti Mehra.”

That also has some nice tests on this sort of thing.