From a club building and fitting perspective, we consider the age of a junior golfer to be between 13-18 (for younger kids – see “clubs for kids.”) The main difference between clubs for juniors and adults is shaft flex, club weight, and grip size. Cutting down an adult shaft to fit a junior age child will change the flex of the shaft. Thus, even a senior or ladies flex shaft may become extra stiff if cut down in an attempt to make it fit for a junior golfer. Children tend to have slower swing speeds, so a shaft that is too stiff for their swing speed will reduce the distance a child can hit the ball and the junior age child will experience much more frustration playing golf.
Most adult golf clubs are made far too heavy for a junior. All the forgiveness built into the larger drivers and cavity-back irons will not help if your child can not properly swing the club. Junior golf clubs are built to be lighter based upon the golfer’s limited strength. Another facet of junior clubs is the grips. Children have smaller hands, hence adult-sized grips will make it difficult for the child to properly grip and hold the golf clubs. If the grip is too large, your junior child will experience twisting of the shaft causing unnecessary strain and difficulty – not to mention the sporadic accuracy that will occur.
Junior golf clubs are designed with thinner grips and smaller shafts for those grips. Shorter shafts with proper weighting and balance are a typical advantage in junior club sets.