Whilst I have been accused of hitting it like a woman on several occasions, when the Ping Rhapsody set of clubs arrived at Golfalot HQ for review, I had to draw the line.
Thankfully on the Golfalot review panel is someone more genetically qualified than I am to put the Ping Rhapsody range through their paces in a long term playing test. Afterwards I caught up with 10 handicap Jenny to see how she got on with them and she surprised me with some of her reactions.
Jenny, you have been playing with a mix of men's clubs and some ladies' woods to date. How did you choose those clubs?
Most women golfers tend to either buy clubs on an ad hoc basis or use clubs given to them by their husband or partner. Once I got my handicap down into the teens, I was meeting pro's who said I should use men's clubs with graphite shaft in a regular or senior flex. Most of my current set is therefore men's clubs with light shafts, except for my fairway and hybrid.
Initially, what struck you most about the Ping Rhapsody set?
Firstly, I would never have considered buying a complete set of clubs from the same manufacturer, but now that I have tried one, I would have to say my opinion has changed.
Each of the Rhapsody clubs is set up for the same type of golfer so you get this great feeling of consistency across all the clubs in the set and that is not something I had noticed or even considered before.
Secondly, they are much lighter than the clubs I had been using because they are weighted and built for women. The Ping ULT220 Lite graphite shafts did feel a little whippier than the men's shafts I had been using, which is not a surprise.
However, once I got used to that I think it benefitted my game as I was not trying to swing the club so hard because of the weight. The lighter club let me swing more smoothly with more control and all I had to do was let the club do the work.
Throughout the set, the Rhapsody clubs hit the ball higher, but it was still going as far, whereas my current clubs would hit it lower and run more.
Let's go through the bag and start with the Ping Rhapsody driver. It has the G30 driver turbulators on the crown so how did you find it?
The big change was the flight and the weight. Just to prove what I said about club selection, I was using a Ping i20 driver with a men's regular flex, so the Rhapsody driver was completely different and much more consistent.
I loved the way it sat at address and the large white head gave me lots of confidence and I was really pleased with the sound and feel.
The hosel could also be adjusted by up to 1° either way, which I am not sure most women would fiddle with, but does give the fitter the option to fine tune the loft to suit the player more easily.
Like the rest of the Rhapsody range, I was surprised by how long the stock shafts were for women’s clubs. At 45 inches the driver was only 0.75 inches shorter than the men’s standard shaft and this continues through the irons. However Ping has a great custom fitting service, so I know they can adjust shafts to suit every height and build of golfer.
Was there as much difference with the Rhapsody fairway and hybrid?
These were the two clubs where I did have a ladies shaft before, so the big change was really in the technological improvements in the heads.
Compared to my G15 fairway and G15 hybrid the flight was higher again and no doubt due to the lower and deeper Centre of Gravity (CG) position.
Even though the 4H hybrid has 2° more loft at 22°, it seemed to be going further because the club was lighter and it was launching higher with less spin.
The Rhapsody hybrid was also a more rounded and balanced shape than the G15 and I preferred that look at address.
There is a good choice of options at the top end of the bag, as I could have had a 4-iron or a 5-wood at the same 22° loft, but with a longer shaft. This continues down to the 7-wood/6-hybrid/6-iron that you can mix and match so this choice means that whatever level of golfer you are, you can get fitted for the best set for you and that is not something I would have considered before. Or maybe I will consider higher lofted hybrids when I am older!
The Ping Rhapsody irons are very similar to the Ping G30 irons, so what was the biggest difference you found with them?
Whilst the soles are generous they are thinner than the irons I had been using. Despite their size, I feel that I can get right in behind the ball more easily every time.
They just feel so much better balanced as you are swinging them because the weight is where it should be for women and therefore they got the ball up in the air more easily. The deep cavity back not only provides this forgiveness but also feels good thanks to the Custom Tuning Port in the back of the face.
I used the 5-iron down to PW and was very happy with them. The 58° SW gets a little on the chunky side and I may hang on to my current men's wedges here around the green as the Rhapsody is quite light at C8 swing weight, which may not suit everyone.
If you are just using the SW or 52° UW for full shots then I would stick with the Rhapsody wedges, but for touch shots you could look at other options like the Ping Glide wedges.
You also tried the Ping Rhapsody Anser 2 Putter, so did you hole more putts?
I did! Compared to my old Ping Zing 2 the green line on the back of the putter made it much easier to align. It was also a little bit longer shaft at 34" than my previous putter, which in true fashion was a hand me down that I had then shortened the shaft on, thus proving the point about women not using correctly fitted clubs.
The mid-sized green grip had a great shape and felt very comfortable to use and also helped with the lining up.
The Rhapsody putters are counterbalanced so they have extra weight in the head and under the grip to help increase the MOI or resistance to twisting and that made it more accurate too.
It also has what Ping call True-Roll technology grooves on the face which are deeper the further you move away from the sweetspot in the middle. This keeps the ball speed the same right across the face so your distance control is better and I noticed that I did not feel that I got any putts 'bouncing' off the face as much as I did with my old Ping, so it was much more consistent.
What did you feel about the Ping branding of the Rhapsody range?
I loved the white and pearl colour scheme and the modified Ping logo looked pretty cool. A lot of brands tend to give their women’s ranges a different name and fancy colour schemes, which has never really appealed to me. I know Ping has done this to a degree with Rhapsody, but I think it works. However calling them something similar to the men like G30 Ladies or L30 may have a wider appeal for better women players.
How do you feel about buying a complete set of women’s clubs now?
I would never have thought about trying them before as I would have avoided them because they were made and marketed for women. However that is exactly why you should try them as the consistency through the set and the light feel just made them a joy to play with regardless of the level of player you are.
Having played with them over many rounds I now have confidence in them as a set too and I can see the benefit of having a matched and fitted set for your game, which is not something I think many women appreciate or would consider buying.
They are not the cheapest, but I feel if you go and get custom fitted you will get the most from your investment and keep the clubs longer as I certainly feel that the Ping Rhapsody is one of the best women’s sets in the market at present.