When it comes to golf, it is crucial that you feel as comfortable as possible. After all, you are out on the course for a near four hours and don't want anything to potentially derail your performance.
One of the best ways to make you feel comfortable out in the course is knowing that your clubs are the correct length for your build, swing and golf game. It's crucial that your equipment is suited to your physiology and ability, with many factors to consider when selecting the correct shaft length for your driver, irons and putter, as highly experienced Ping fitter, Nick Boulton, explains: "Every person at various heights will have different arm lengths. You might have 20 people who measure 5ft 8ins but their arm lengths could all be slightly different."
You wouldn't buy a suit off the rack if you were 6ft 4in, and it's the same principle with golf clubs. A comprehensive custom fitting is a very sensible idea as your clubs should complement your height, wrist-to-floor length, ability and swing speed. By buying straight off the shelf, you'll miss out on the benefits the clubs were designed to offer.
When it comes to what length golf clubs to use, it is all about ensuring they are correct for your height and posture. Get it right and your ball-striking is sure to improve.
What Length Irons Should I Use?
As a rough rule of thumb, you can fit irons using this height chart below...
(The chart is based on heights of men, but most manufacturers will build their standard sets for females based on an average height of 5ft 7in).
- 7ft 0in - 6ft 9in - Add 2in
- 6ft 9in - 6ft 6in - Add 1.5in
- 6ft 6n - 6ft 3in - Add 1in
- 6ft 3in - 6ft 0in - Add 0.5in
- 6ft 0in - 5ft 9in - Standard Length
- 5ft 9in - 5ft 6in - Subtract 0.5in
- 5ft 6in - 5ft 3in - Subtract 1in
- 5ft 3in - 5ft 0in - Subtract 1.5in
- 5ft 0in & Below - Subtract 2in
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Along with overall height, the most common way of measuring for golf clubs is via your wrist-to-floor measurement. For this, a fitter measures from the floor to the crease of your wrist. That reading is then cross-referenced with your height to get a more accurate length recommendation. This type of system is used by Ping, with its colour-coded chart, as well as many other brands. Height and arm length not only dictate your ideal club length but also the ideal lie angle in your clubs too.
A lot also hinges on your action. If you consistently dip through impact for example, your dynamic fitting measurements will be better-suited to a shorter club than your static measurements alone might suggest.
It's a bit like shopping for a pair of trousers, where even the correct waist and leg length won't always equal a comfy fit, if the cut, for example, isn't favourable.
There is also now the added element of the one-length iron concept, courtesy of Cobra Golf. This has become increasingly popular because of Bryson DeChambeau (opens in new tab).
One-length irons allow you to stand to the ball in the same way, regardless of the iron you’re using, in theory helping with consistency of strike and club speed. Essentially you can swing the same way whichever iron you have in your hand.
If you order a custom set of irons, the shafts will be custom-designed so the flex you were fitted for matches the length. However, if you are altering your current set it will change the flex and feel.
As shaft length increases, so does the weight. Increasing the length also alters the shaft's flex; adding length makes the flex softer, while a shortened shaft will play stiffer, so you'll need to bear this in mind.
What Length Driver Should I Use?
With drivers, the shaft length you choose will affect the amount of clubhead speed you can create vs the amount of control you have.
As shaft length increases so does the clubhead speed. However, as shaft length increases it is common for players to struggle to deliver the club as consistently, making it more difficult to make solid contact.
That means there is a compromise to ponder - is it really worth going for a longer shaft in your driver if your quality of strike and levels of accuracy become less consistent?
You also need to take into account that golf's governing bodies have now reduced the maximum permitted length of a driver shaft from 48in to 46in. In reality though, the average length of a driver used on tour is 44.5in, while the average shaft length found in drivers on the shop shelves is around 45.5in. If you struggle with accuracy off the tee, think about asking your fitter to let you try a slightly shorter shaft.
What Length Putter Should I Use?
With putters, the shaft length you need is the one that helps get your eyes directly over the ball at address. While in theory this means taller golfers need longer putters and shorter golfers need shorter putters, different postures mean this doesn't ring true for everyone.
What we will say though is that if you are comfortable with your putting stroke and are having success with it, you should not be overly concerned with your putter's length. Putting is the most personal aspect of your golf game and, if something is working, then there is no reason to change it.
If you are looking to go get fitted, though, factoring in posture and wrist-to-floor measurements, most golfers usually end up with a putter between 32in and 35in.
To have the best chance of establishing the correct putter length for your personal set-up, you should go through a putter fitting with a professional, otherwise there are lots of potential pitfalls...
A putter that is too long will cause you to subconsciously stand further from the ball, moving your eyes inside, instead of over, the ball. From here your stroke is flatter and the toe of your putter could be off the ground, pushing your aim left of target.
A putter that is too long might see you try to accommodate the extra length by bringing your elbows in too close to your body, rather than letting your arms hang naturally under your shoulders. This would fight against the natural pendulum motion we all want to see.
A putter length that is too short will cause you to stand closer, with your eyes past the target line. Consequently, your putter path and shaft will be more upright. The heel of your putter could also lift off the ground causing it to aim right.
As you can see, there is plenty to think about when considering what length golf clubs to use throughout the entire bag!
Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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