Did you know – Rickie Fowler uses a 43.5” driver length. Yet The Long Drive Championships involve drivers of up to 48”. That’s a 4.5” difference for the same club?
Simply measuring your clubs is an easy exercise but using that information is another story entirely.
Getting the right length can prolong your golfing career and help you hit the ball longer by improving your ball striking. Better ball striking also means more consistent carry distances.
The perfect recipe for lowering scores with every club in the bag needs the right length.
We will discuss what to look for in your own golf bag and what a club fitting might do to help you improve your game.
Benefits of Golf Club Sizing
We all come in different shapes and sizes. Your golf clubs will perform best for you if they match your stature from the ball.
If you were to hit golf balls from your knees (closer from the ground than normal), the toe would stick up in the air. This would send the ball left with a neutral technique and be very hard to strike.
If you stand on a 1ft high box and stoop down to make contact (farther from the ground than normal), a neutral technique will send the ball right. It could also ache your back after a bucket of range balls.
Even if these differences are more subtle in real scenarios, it’s true that swing faults can develop to compensate for incorrect club lengths.
The clubs can be made or changed to allow you to swing freely. Good posture can give you the best chance of making proper contact with the ball.
Hence, getting fitted can improve swing posture, ball striking and direction.
We will discuss how to size golf clubs in detail but before that you can easily tell the issue based on your troubles.
How to tell if your clubs are too long?
Direction problems: When looking at the driver length, too long can lead to inconsistent ball striking or strikes towards the heel. Heel strikes encourage left-to-right curvature i.e. Fade, cut, slice or push slice.
Strike problems: Ball striking can be more difficult if your club is too long. ‘Fat’ shots (hitting the ground early) being a top contender for strike problems.
How to tell if your clubs are too short?
Direction problems: Too short club length can lead to strikes towards the toe or low on the face. Toe strikes encourage right-to-left curvature i.e. Draw, hook or pull hook.
Strike problems: With too short club length, the most common problem is ‘Thin’ shots (hitting higher on the ball).
Golf Club Length Chart: Standard sizes for different clubs
The ideal club length is all about the performance, although there are certain standard sizes for all club types available at retail. Check below Golf Club Size Guide for men.
Women’s clubs are usually an inch shorter than standard clubs for men. Simply reduce an inch from the length suggested in the chart below to determine the correct one for women.
|Men’s Clubs||Graphite (“)||Steel (“)|
The type of performance can vary with the length of the driver.
Rickie Fowler is known to have used a 43.5” driver length and the Tour average build is 44.5”. Tour players main priority is hitting fairways for days, weeks and months.
Shorter driver lengths make it easier to hit with the centre of the face more frequently. This type of striking maintains higher and more consistent ball speed and carry distance.
Standard driver length at retail varies from 45” to 46”. It is aimed at helping amateurs gain speed compared to what’s used on Tour. Longer and lighter shafts.
World Long Drive (WLD) club lengths are mostly 48” to 50”, depending on measuring technique. These competitors are aiming at getting ONE shot in EIGHT balls on target, hit from the middle of the face and moving fast.
Generally speaking, taller people should use longer irons and shorter people should use shorter irons compared to a standard golf club length.
Length can be made-to-measure with new golf irons and can be adjusted on your own golf irons.
Not all brands will have the same ‘standard’ length. Not all iron head types within a brand will be the same length.
More forgiving heads can justify a longer playing length to encourage faster swing speed. The heads are bigger, blade longer and perimeter weighting is better to maintain ball speed with off centre hits.
More bladed heads tend to come with shorter standard lengths by 0.5” or so. This is to encourage a tad more control and ease striking. This type of golfer may not need the extra help with speed from length.
The ideal putter length will allow you to have more control over the speed and direction of your putts.
Barry Lane maintained his position on the European Tour for 25 years, he continues to play on the Champions Tour now. He used a 31” putter for most of that time. The idea is, it gives him far more control over the clubhead.
Most putters will be stocked at 34” with a few 35” ones at the end of the rack.
My father used to get me to shut my eyes and take a putting stance. Hang my arms and let them relax down naturally before placing the putter in the hands. The end of the putter should butt up against the watch strap. That for me comes out with a 34” putter length.
How to Fit Golf Clubs? – Different Methods to determine ideal Club Length for you
By Player’s height
Player height is the first thing to look at in a club fitting and there are brackets that recommend lengths based on this. This is normally considered before hitting any golf balls in a Static Fit.
Most brands will supply the businesses that sell their equipment with charts and tables to find you the ideal length. They may vary from brand to brand with the way they make their clubs.
Editor’s Note: While doing the research for golf club sizing, you must have seen many club length charts that show adding or subtracting inches from the standard club length as per your height. We will refrain from adding such a chart because a player’s height on its own cannot determine club length. It should always be plotted on a chart along with wrist-to-floor measurement.
By Wrist-to-floor measurement
How far your hands are from the floor can influence the golf club length. This is taken while standing upright, with relaxed arms.
The measurement is normally taken from your glove hand and measured from the crease in your wrist straight down to the ground.
This combines with height to complete the static fit which happens before any golf balls are hit. Both parts are needed for accuracy as height is not directly linked to how long your arms are.
Right-handed players should measure from their left hand.
While taking measurements, wear the shoes you’ll be playing in.
Most charts have a sloping scale for the height and wrist-to-floor, with player’s height on X and wrist-to-floor height on Y. These two measurements combined give the club length and a lie angle for irons to test.
Ping are the pioneers of the fitting charts. Here’s their Iron Color Code Chart.
Dynamic in-swing measurement
This part of a fitting starts after height and wrist-to-floor measurements are taken.
The results of that scale or chart are used to find the first demo club in a fitting or to see how far away your existing clubs are from the scale.
Tests are carried out to see if the length works or not. Face tape is often used which visually marks to show impact location.
If the club is too long, the face tape may show heel dominant striking.
If the club is too short, the face tape may show toe dominant striking.
If dominant striking is found, the demo length should be changed accordingly. This is to see whether the impact location changes with the length.
Sometimes the impact location does not change. In this case the static fit would be advised, to encourage and allow for correct swing posture.
Any dominant toe or heel striking would likely be from technique.
The aim of the exercise is to get the striking as central as possible. It can be done with wedges, irons and woods. It is often only done on irons in a fitting but I would encourage you to do it on all clubs.
Where to Find Custom Club Fitters?
There are many people that can help you find the right golf club length.
Word of mouth or online reviews can be a good way to search for the best options near you.
Experienced club professionals, golf retailers and independent fitters can be a great option if you aren’t sure what brand you may want for new clubs or wish to adjust your existing.
For those that are brand loyal, going to a national fitting centre for a specific brand can be a great day out. Well worth it for the investment you may be making in your equipment and your game.
If you’re looking at going for a club fitting, make sure they are measuring the right things and are invested in improving your game.
If you’re struggling with your striking, you should now know more about what the club length can do to your ball striking, distance and direction.
You could use something that will wipe off like water or marker pens on the golf ball to give yourself some easy feedback on the clubface. You can also get chalky sprays made for the task. This may help to see if it is worth seeking more specific and professional help.