The best playing length for a club is the one that affords you the ability to hit it solidly and on-centre the greatest percentage of time. One area where the length of club has got out of control is the driver. In the quest for increased distance off the tee, the average length of a driver is now 2 1/2" longer than the drivers of the 60's and 70's. Even accounting for the difference in the average height of a golfer this is a significant increase.
So, how do we know if a club is too long or short? Well, most golfers that have some playing experience will "sense" that a club is too long or too short by the way in which they have to change their posture, or their swing to accommodate the longer club. Many websites will offer a "wrist-to-floor" chart to give an initial starting point for club playing length. These are good for a starting point but a dynamic evaluation is going to have to take place to decide upon the correct playing length.
As a starting point we recommend these playing lengths:
Wrist-to-floor measurements for initial club lengths in inches
|Wrist to floor ||Driver length ||5-iron length |
|27 to 29 ||42 ||36.5 |
|29+ to 32 ||42.5 ||37 |
|32+ to 34 ||43 ||37.5 |
|34+ to 36 ||43.5 ||38 |
|36+ to 37 ||44 ||38.25 |
|37+ to 38 ||44.25 ||38.5 |
|38+ to 39 ||44.5 ||38.75 |
|39+ to 40 ||44.75 ||39 |
|40+ to 41 ||45 ||39.25 |
|41+ to 42 ||45.5 ||39.5 |
|over 42 ||46 and up ||39.75 and up |
The wrist-to-floor figure is gathered by measuring from the floor up to the major crease of the wrist at the base of the golfer's dominant hand. This is taken whilst the golfer stands comfortably erect, with shoulders perfectly level, arms relaxed and hanging at the sides, wearing flat soled shoes (not your golf shoes) with a low heel height.
If you decide to take a self-measurement, make sure that you stand in front of a mirror. The reason for this is to ensure that your shoulders are level when taking the measurement. These lengths are only the starting point of deciding the playing length.
One of the questions that is often asked is whether shortening a driver will result in loss of distance. For most golfers a decrease in distance does not occur until the woods are at least 2" shorter and the irons are 1" shorter than the optimum playing lengths. And even then they will only barely begin to notice something. Part of the reason for this is that the golfer can now hit the centre of the clubface a greater percentage of the time.
And remember that for every 1/2" that you miss the centre of the club, you will lose 5% distance. On a 200 yard shot that is 10 yards.
What we have found is that a driver length of no greater than 44", or a driver that has been shortened to be 1" longer than the 3 wood, is the best fit for most golfers. Not one golfer has asked for their driver to be put back to "standard specs" after having it shortened. Without question, each golfer has noticed a greater percentage of "middled" shots and more fairways hit. All this with no discernible loss of distance too.
What will the effect be on flex? It will be minimal. As you are shortening the club from the thickest, stiffest (even if it is described as "butt soft") end of the shaft. Taking an inch off the butt does not have the same effect that tip trimming a shaft has. The feel may change ever so slightly, and the flex may stiffen a little, but it is unlikely that it will, for example, go from an R to S flex, more like 1/3rd to 1/2 a flex.
An adjustment in playing length is going to have an effect on the swingweight and we need to take that into account if any adjustments are to be made. +1/2" of extra length adds 3 swingweight points, -1/2" of length decreases 3 swingweight points.
We provide one of the most comprehensive approaches to all aspects of adjusting the length of your clubs:
Prior to adjustment
- Swingweight check
- Grip thickness of current clubs measured for upper and lower hand
- Grip length measured of all clubs
- Measure shaft butt size to match correct grip/shaft
- New grips weight matched
- Total weight is measured
- Grip removal, prepping and adjustment
- If required, and if possible, we will attempt to save old grips
- Old grips removed
- Old layers of tape removed and shaft thoroughly cleaned
- Measure desired playing length twice (shortening or lengthening), cut once
- Shaft butt measured to ensure correct grip size
- Removal of any sharp edges left from shaft butt trimming
- Leveling of shaft to ensure straight edges where butt trimmed
- Removal of any loose debris from inside shaft
- Shaft bands removed if required
- Measure playing length once more before grip installation
- Apply any layers of build up tape to obtain required size
- Apply specialist layers of tape (e.g. right hand built up, left hand built up)
- Install grip either logo-up or logo-down to customer requirement
- Stretch all grips to within +/- 2mm the same for each club
- Laser check of grip alignment to ensure grip square to club face
- Alignment of grips to customer requirement (e.g. slightly to left/right etc.)
- Final “eyeball” check of club at address position to verify grip is on correctly
- Removal of any excess solvent
- Check swingweight to within 1 swingweight point
- Grip thickness measured to ensure correct specifications and uniformity
- Shaft cleaned
- Once the club has been returned to the player we will see if any further adjustments are necessary and attend to them.