Most golfers know that getting their clubs right has a big impact on their game.
With everything from straight flight technology and shaft flex in drivers to putter weights and game improvement irons, there is a plethora of options on the market for players to consider.
However, with the tendency for golfers to scour YouTube for the best options and simply purchase straight from the rack, one key element of club optimization is often overlooked: club length.
Yes, club length absolutely matters and shouldn’t be overlooked, especially in junior players or adult players who are significantly below or above average height. The wrong length shaft can affect your golf swing, including consistency of ball-striking.
Think about it: if you’re a young player in your teens who is only 5’2″ tall and still growing, or an adult who is 5’6″ in height, trying to play with full-size clubs is going to be difficult.
Clubs that are too long will affect your address, set-up and the way you deliver the club onto the ball.
Similarly, if you’re a super-tall teenager or an adult who is 6’5″, for example, you may need clubs with lengthened shafts as using ones that are too small will also negatively impact your swing for the same reasons mentioned above.
In this article, I’ve explain everything you need to know about shaft length and whether or not you need some that are customized.
Table of contents
What is the standard golf club length?
‘Standard’ golf club length usually suits golfers between about 5’8″ and 5’11”, depending on brand, model and specific iron number. ‘Standard’ iron lengths can range from 36 to 40 inches long. It’s usually best practice to move up or down in length for your clubs by the half inch in line with your height.
Let’s take a 7-iron for example, which is often the best benchmark for comparison when looking at any club feature.
For most male 7-irons, standard club length will come in at about 37 inches, dropping down about half an inch while moving through the irons and towards the wedges.
When looking at drivers, most found on the shelves sit at around 45.5 inches, but funnily enough, tour average driver length is about 44.5 inches, slightly shorter.
Below is a table giving you a guide on how much length you should add or subtract to your golf clubs shafts based on your height, and the distance from your wrist to the floor (when hanging by your side).
Golf shaft length guide
|Height||Wrist to Floor||Club Length Adjustment|
|Less than 6’8”||Less than 42”||Add 2”|
|6’6” – 6’8”||41” to 42”||Add 1.5”|
|6’4” – 6’6”||40” – 41”||Add 1”|
|6’2” – 6’4”||38.5” – 40”||Add 0.5”|
|6’1” – 6’2”||37” – 38.5”||Add 0.25”|
|5’7” – 6’1”||34” – 37”||Standard length|
|5’4” – 5’7”||32” – 34”||Minus 0.25”|
|5’2 – 5’4”||29” – 32”||Minus 0.5”|
|5’ – 5’2”||27” – 29”||Minus 1”|
|4’10”- 5’||25” – 27”||Minus 1.5”|
|Less than 4’10”||Less than 25”||Minus 2”|
Many pro golfers opt for a slightly shorter shaft length as it gives them greater accuracy and control.
Given the remarkable speed and efficiency they have, the reduced shaft length – with longer shafts usually equaling more distance – doesn’t have much of a detrimental impact on distance given they have enough power and ability to get the ball out there in other ways.
Sometimes you’ll even see players out on course who opt for a 3-wood length shaft to really assist with control, but generally most people will find a stock length shaft is a good fit for them, unless they are exceptionally tall or short.
As a rough guide, a 5’8” to 5’10” golfer will be fine using a standard length driver, then for every two inches your height deviates from this range you should consider adding or removing half an inch from the shaft length.
Is it better to have longer or shorter golf clubs?
As a general rule, shorter clubs can contribute to greater control and consistency than clubs that are slightly longer. It’s always better for shafts to be shorter than longer, if you have to choose. Ideally, you want your clubs to be just right, which is why getting properly fitted is so important.
The answer to this question is somewhat dependent on what you’re trying to achieve in your game too, as shorter clubs may be more consistent due to a tighter swing arc, but they may cause your speed and distance to decrease.
If you’re desperately looking for more speed and launch, longer clubs will promote this, so having shorter clubs might not be a good move for you depending on your goal.
How do I know if my clubs are too long?
Clubs that are too long may cause an out-to-in swing path, an overly upright stance and a tendency to slice. Getting someone to film your swing, or recording it yourself, and comparing it to pro golfers can be a good starting point for stance, while analyzing divots and ball flight can shed light on your path.
If your shafts are too long then you have no option other than to stand quite upright, something that can wreak havoc on your rotation and movement in the lower half of the body.
This means the only real way to get the clubhead back down to the ball is to cast it way over the top, something that will cause a regular slice or left-to-right shot shape.
If in doubt, talk to your local pro or club fitter and get them to check your clubs for length.
Do I need longer golf clubs?
If you bend too much at the waist at set up and have an in-to-out swing path then your clubs are likely too short. If you are trying to go for more speed and distance – potentially at the expense of consistency – then a move to slightly longer clubs might be correct for you, too.
You only have to look to long drivers – and folks on tour like Bryson DeChambeau who are going for maximum distance – to understand that longer driver shafts are the popular choice for hitting the ball far.
While a stock driver is about 45.5 inches in length, many tour pros use drivers an inch shorter to help them with control, given very few struggle with distance.
Long drive competitions are a different beast though, with accuracy making way for all out power and length.
In these competitions, players max their driver out at the 48 inch legal limit in order to hit the ball as far as possible.
Incredibly, this is the same limit placed on the PGA Tour itself, although basically no player will go to this extreme.
As a general rule, an extra inch in shaft length can add up to 2 mph and close to 20 yards, so sneaking the driver out to something a tad longer might help lift that swing speed without drastic changes to your action.
Unfortunately, far too many people buy golf clubs straight from the shelf and assume they will be the right fit for them, regardless of their height.
Since clubs that are too short or too long can have an adverse effect on your game, it’s vitally important to get properly fitted as you may be surprised just how much customization is needed to get your clubs the perfect length.