Your golf club length is vastly important to having a good game.
If you’re using clubs that are too long for you, you’re going to have a rough time closing the gap between your tee and the hole. If it’s too short, you’re going to hit it too fast without proper form.
Basically, it’s a pretty big deal. This list here has a lot of information, and we shed some light on a lot of misinformation when it comes to golf club length. Before you sink hundreds or thousands of dollars into a full set of clubs, read this to see if customs might be the way to go.
Use this chart to see the average length of each individual type of golf club. This is not 100% ironclad across all brands, which we’ll get into more in a few minutes.
|Club Type||Avg. Length||Club Type||Avg. Length|
|1 Iron||39.5”||3 Wood||43”|
|2 Iron||39”||4 Wood||42.5”|
|3 Iron||38.5”||5 Wood||42”|
|4 Iron||38”||7 Wood||41”|
|5 Iron||37.5”||8 Wood||40.5”|
|6 Iron||37”||9 Wood||40”|
|7 Iron||36.5”||Hybrid 2H||45”|
|8 Iron||36”||Hybrid 3H||44.5”|
|9 Iron||35.5”||Hybrid 3H||44”|
This isn’t an end-all definition of the different club types and lengths. We’re going to tell you how to test the right length for you, and if customs might be a good fit.
Standard Sizes of Golf Clubs
The standard size of each club is shown in the chart above. But why are they like this?
Let’s go over each individual type and talk about the reason behind their lengths.
Your driver is technically your most important club. These tend to be somewhere in between your woods and your wedges, and it’s for a very simple reason.
More momentum. A longer club length (and your driver should be one of your longest) is going to give you more momentum on the downswing, allowing you to really hit the ball far.
You might notice that your driver is also a bit heavier than your wedge or iron. That’s because the head is a little heavier to account for the extra force it takes to send your ball as far as it goes. During your driver shot, you should send the ball farther than any other point in your round of golf.
Your putter isn’t much shorter than your average driver.
It actually mimics a similar feeling to it if during your swing, but the head is noticeable lighter.
The length is to compensate for the lighter head. You can’t lightly tap the ball in if the head is heavy and the shaft is short.
The length of your putter gives you more control. You’re holding it differently than you would hold your driver, so you’re not relying on swing speed in the least. You want to tape the ball in, so slight adjustments by even a single degree of movement on a longer golf club shaft makes all the difference.
If you had a shorter putter, you’d almost certainly tap the ball too hard most of the time. A longer shaft allows for gradual adjustments instead of quick, direct hits.
FIrons are shorter because they’re meant for distance, not for height.
When you use your wood or your driver, you’re trying to get a bit of air and have it land, then roll towards the hole.
Irons are used on flat ground and are supposed to give you a way to get the ball closer. If the club shaft was longer, you’d hit the bottom hemisphere of the ball on your downward swing and send it flying through the air. That’s not what we want.
Sometimes you decide not to use your putter if the ball is 30+ yards from the hole, but you’re still trying to sink it in this next shot. The iron is the perfect blend between power and precision, primarily because of its length.
All of your woods are likely longer than all of your irons. While the iron is meant for distance, the wood is meant for height.
When you’re standing in position and the ball is directly in front of you, the angle of the wood sends the ball through the air better than any other club type.
But it’s actually the length that plays a big role in that. Because the club is longer, you have to swoop on your downward swing, causing the force of your wood – if you’ve hit it correctly – to be applied to the bottom of the ball and send it upwards.
A wood without enough length just doesn’t cut it. You’d be sending the ball higher but with almost no distance. The length of your wood gives you a good balance.
Wedges follow similar reasons that woods do. They’re used for niche situations that you don’t normally find yourself in, and as a result, they’re longer. You need that extra bit of length to help you get out of a sticky situations, such as being in a sand trap or off the fairway.
But a wedge can also be used in place of an iron for shorter shots. It follows the same principle as the putter, where the shaft is longer to allow for small, gradual adjustments to your position.
Meet the child of the iron and the wood.
Hybrids have a longer length because they account for two things; gradual adjustments, as well as enough power when you need it. It’s not always clear what situation calls for a hybrid club, but you’ll know it once you’re in one.
The beauty about hybrids is that while length matters, because it lends it some power, you can use it almost anywhere.
The shaft is somewhere between a driver and your irons/woods, so if you need a bit of extra oomph, it’s there for you.
Does Golf Club Length Matter?
Golf club length matters a ton. If you’re holding proper form, where your back and arms are straight and your core is engaged when you swing, then you’re doing all that you can on that front. When you swing the club, it’s supposed to effortlessly collide with the ball and send it flying.
But if that’s not happening, if you’re holding proper form but find yourself leaning in to the shot, hurting your back and misaligning your hit in the process, then it could be your club length.
The reason clubs are made the way they are is to gather momentum as you swing down. If your club is too short, you’re going to build momentum while having resistance, meaning you will push too hard against the wind and not just swing naturally. There’s not enough weight to the club.
If the club is too long for you, then you’re spending extra time during ramp up which is the amount of time spent during your initial downswing. You want a balance between your abilities, ramp up, and momentum while cutting through the wind with as little resistance as possible.
Last but not least, length matters when it comes to hitting a ball through the air. If your woods didn’t have the length that they do, and they were shorter, you’d be sending your ball almost straight up and they wouldn’t close much of a distance.
It’s not always about the angling of the golf club head; sometimes it’s about the length and force to make it meet the ball.
Can Golf Clubs be Shortened?
Yes they can be, though this isn’t a service that many people offer.
The point where your club head meets the shaft is called the crown. It’s a piece that compresses the two together as an extra defense against the club head disconnecting from the shaft.
With this, there’s also usually a different way that the shaft and club head have been connected. While you aren’t relying solely on the crown, it is important.
When you shorten a golf club, you have to remove the crown, and safely disconnect the shaft from the head. If you cut through the graphite or steel when you shorten it, you’ll be left with a big chunk of material left in the hole of the club head, and good luck trying to get that out.
If you can safely disconnect the pieces, you would have to measure out the shaft and use a rotary tool to shave down the material.
If you’re shortening clubs like the shortest iron or wood, then you would go down half an inch just like the other club rules follow, and see if that works for you. Reattach the head with an epoxy and apply a new crown to complete it.
There are unforeseen problems with shortening clubs, though. For one, there’s a big difference between steel and graphite in this department. If you shave down steel, then you’re shaving down steel – no problem. It’s just solid steel.
However, graphite is usually coated with some form of a cover to protect it from corrosion. That’s not something you can just whip up at home and dip the club shaft into when you’re done. Since graphite is prone to rusting, this exposure is a big deal. It’s also going to make the club look a bit odd.
It is possible to cut the graphite shaft in a way that the cover doesn’t peel off, and when you reattach it, everything can be okay. That will take precision and skill, but it’s doable.
The other problem is the rods. Graphite naturally conducts vibrations in a less harsh way than steel (which is why it’s become such a popular choice in recent years), but there are actually rods inside of the shaft that help with that. They absorb a lot of the shock from a mishit.
If you cut into a graphite shaft, these rods can move. They’re supposed to be firmly pressed against the golf head on the inside, because this allows a good transference of kinetic energy. If you mishit after shortening your club and didn’t work out the rod situation, one of two things are going to happen.
One, the vibrations travel up the rest of the graphite in a more severe manner. They’ll rattle your hands more, though still not as much as steel.
Two, vibration isn’t distributed evenly and the shaft bends from the force on the club head. This would be affecting what we call the flex of the shaft.
Alternatively, you could remove the grip on your golf club and shave it down from the top. This would work with a steel forged club better than anything else. Look up the anatomy of the specific golf club you have to be sure.
Once you remove 0.5” or whatever it is that you need to take off, you can sandblast it and apply a new grip to the shortened handle. This effectively does the same thing as removing the bottom portion of the shaft in most golf clubs.
Can Golf Clubs be Lengthened?
Yes, golf clubs can be lengthened, though it’s not an easy task. Most clubs follow a half-inch rule when you look at the different sizes, like in the chart above.
The measurement changes can be so minute and specific that most people don’t even seem to notice, but those small changes matter more than you’d think. Altering the length of your golf club could seriously mess with the following:
- Distance: Quite simply, the maximum distance that you can drive the ball. Since clubs are designed within half an inch of each other, the adjustments are small, but the overall force changes dramatically. This is relevant to your arm length and size when swinging. A longer distance can be achieved with a lengthened club if you have the ability to swing it with the same force and speed that you did with a shorter club. This increases the ball’s velocity upon impact, and you can hit it farther.
- Flex: The flex of the shaft will be altered. This happens for a few reasons. For one, there’s added or forged material onto an existing pre-molded club shaft, so it doesn’t function the same way. On top of that, sometimes there are rods in the shaft, primarily in graphite clubs. These help to alleviate vibrations before they reach your hands so you don’t feel them as often or as heavily.
- Swing Weight: The club is actually having more weight added to it. If you’re increasing the shaft by 1.25”, that’s more grams of weight (which many golf clubs are measured by), and it adds up. This makes the club a little bit harder to swing, unless you’ve been working with clubs that were too small this whole time and your radius has increased. The swing weight will determine your swing speed, if that’s something you keep track of, and be directly related to your distance.
- Accuracy: If your clubs are too short and you’ve got your stance down, then it means you’re cresting the swing before it should be. This messes with your accuracy, because you try and learn how to compensate for this issue and still get the ball where you want it to land. In this case, longer clubs might actually be an immediate game-changer. You won’t have to do anything different except stand one or two inches back from the ball, and from there you can see a major difference in how it feels when you swing.
- Timing: We all have an innate sense of timing, but that gets messed with when the things we want to do and know we are capable of don’t match up with the timing that we’ve set in our heads. It could be a fraction of a second, but your hand-eye coordination is telling you that something should be happening when it isn’t, and it messes you up. If that’s the case, a longer club could aid you with your timing.
When do You Need Custom Golf Clubs?
When you can’t seem to find a 9 iron or a putter that’s designed for your height. Using the information that we provided above, you can determine your
Your Clubs, Your Way
Club length matters for all the reasons we just discussed and more. Prevent injuries, maximize your learning potential, and optimize every single swing from here on out – we’d say that’s more than enough reasons to get your head in the game and get a club that suits you.
Custom golf clubs can be pricey, but if you’re serious about continuing and premade golf clubs just aren’t cutting it, you could consider doing this to ensure the best possible performance every single game.