Golf clubs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. In most sets, every different kind of club is a different length, this is important as it helps you hit shots of varying distance. For example, your driver is the longest club as you want to hit it the furthest, where as your wedge is your shortest club as you often hit it the shortest distance.
People are talking about golf club lengths more than ever now, this is largely due to Bryson Dechambeau, who has chosen to play with irons which are all the same length. And the popularity of Cobra One Length irons which claim to improve consistency and strike performance throughout the iron set.
What is golf club length?
It may seem obvious, but golf club. length is usually the distance from the heel of the club to the top of the handle when the club is laid on the ground at address.
When somebody buys their first set up clubs without getting them ‘fitted’ they are most likely standard length. Every club has a standard length which is the most common for that given club. It’s worth noting that there is different standard lengths for men and women.
If you get a club which is longer than standard it is referred as distance-over standard. For example, my irons are 1 inch over standard length.
Why aren't all golf clubs a standard length?
Whilst standard clubs are the most popular choice, it’s not always the right choice for most people. Everyone comes in different shapes and sizes. How can a 6ft 6 person be expected to play with clubs that are designed for a 5ft 10 person? In this case the taller golfer will require longer clubs to maintain a natural swing path.
It’s not necessarily just height that affects the length of clubs. I’m 6ft tall, so I can probably play fine with standard clubs, but when I was fitted for my irons by my local pro. My irons needed to be 1 inch over standard because of my lie angle and hand position.
Graduated shaft approach
The graduated shaft approach basically means that the set of clubs gets longer as the desired distance increases. This is the most common approach to club length. A pitching wedge is shorter than your 9 iron, which is then shorted than your 8, 7, 6 and so on. Usually ending with your driver being the longest club in your golf bag.
A graduated shaft approach helps you hit your irons further as loft decreases. The club head speed of your longer 5 iron will be faster than the club head speed of your shorter 9 iron. And therefore you are likely to hit your 5 iron much further – not just because of reduced loft, but also club length.
Why is golf club length important?
I have already touched on a couple of these points already, but they are worth mentioning again. Club length is important as it affects several factors that are key to your golf game; distance, accuracy and consistency.
Firstly, distance. The longer a club is, the faster the club head speed will be at the point of impact. This is why you see some long drive competitors using massive driver shafts. When club head speed is increased, usually ball travel distance follows accordingly.
Secondly, a clubs length will affect how flat or upright a player needs to swing. With a shorter golf club, the player will need to swing the club more upright to make a great strike. This is why driver swings are often more shallow/flat than your iron swing.
Thirdly, accuracy. Shorter clubs are regarded as much easier to control. This is why many people find their wedges much easier to hit than their driver (me included). So why aren’t all clubs short? Well, what is sacrificed in accuracy with a long club, is usually gained back in distance. So the trade off is worth it. Cobra thought this was an interesting way to develop their new irons, which are all the same length.
How to measure golf club lengths
Wrist to floor length
One of the largest factors affecting how long your clubs should be is your height. Height directly correlates to your wrist to floor height. It’s important that you measure your wrist to floor height before buying any golf clubs as it will help you understand which length you need.
To measure your wrist to floor length: Stand up straight with your arms down by your sides hanging freely and measure the distance from your wrist to the floor (you may need help with this).
Using this distance along with your height, you should be able to select the right club length using the chart below.
Measuring club length
The easiest way to measure the length of your clubs is as follows, you will need a golf club and a rule/tape measure.
1) Lay your club on the ground as if you are addressing the ball. Make sure the heel and toe is not lifted off the ground. The easiest way to do this, is to set up to the ball and get somebody else to take the measurement for you.
2) Position your rule or tape measure at the heel of the club and measure the distance to the top of the golf grip. This is your ‘effective length’
Whilst I would always recommend that you go to a professional golf fitter and get your clubs fitted to your swing and height as this will allow you to perform at your best. I understand this isn’t possible for some people and comes with extra cost. If you are purchasing clubs online or yourself, you can take the measurements above and use the chart below as a guide to what length clubs to buy.
|Club length (standard +/- length)|
How to choose a putter length
When it comes down to buying putters, there isn’t a ‘standard length’ as a lot of your success when it comes to putting is your personal feel and preference over how you get the job done. Typically putters are sold between 32 and 37 inches but this can change a lot depending on your requirements.
Nowadays whilst watching professional golf you’re going to sed a wide variation in putter length. You might of even seen the super long putters which extend up to your chest. For example Adam scott used to use a long putter which extended to his chest and Matt Kuchar uses a longer than normal mid-length putter which extended up to his abdomen. The variation occurs between players because the putter stroke is a simple movement but relies on the golfer to remain steady, this is largely reliant on your style, comfort and height.
If you are struggling to decide on a putter length, choose one that allows your arms to hand freely and grip the club whilst it’s resting on the grass in a neutral position. You want to be able to hold your eyes steady, over or just inside the position of the ball.
That being said, make sure the putter is comfortable for you and your putting style. The putting stroke is a ‘feel’ shot rather than purely being technique. If you don’t feel comfortable over the ball, you won’t hit the best shot possible.
Conclusion - How to measure golf club length
Choosing the right golf club length is a key factor is making sure your driver, woods, hybrids, irons, wedges and putter is perfect for your height and swing. This will allow you to get the best strike on the ball possible and hopefully get that ball flying in the right direction and lowering your golf scores.
Knowing how to measure golf club length is a great way to buy clubs online whilst ensuring they are the right fit for you. Alternatively you can always pay a little extra and get them fitted to your swing and height.