How to Find What Length Golf Clubs to Buy
Playing golf is difficult enough without having to use clubs that don’t fit you. Golfers come in all shapes and sizes, and everyone has unique swing characteristics — and should choose clubs accordingly. For metal woods, the shaft length is a trade-off between power and control; you should use whatever produces the best results. Putter length is a matter of personal preference, so choose one that feels most comfortable. Because solid contact and accuracy are crucial with irons, the length of these clubs matters most. Your height and the length of your arms dictate the proper club length.
Stand straight on a hard surface with your arms hanging relaxed at your sides. Make sure you wear normal shoes — not golf shoes.
Measure the distance between your wrist and the floor. Have someone assist you so you aren’t bending to take the measurement. Measure to the crease between the heel of your hand and your wrist.
Measure your exact height if you are unsure of it.
Find your correct club length in a golf club fitting chart using these measurements. An online version of a standard chart is available at the Golf Discount Center website, listed in the Resources section.
Ping Golf uses an alternative club-fitting method that identifies both the length of the club and the lie angle, which is the angle between the shaft and the bottom of the club head. You can use this method by finding your measurements in the Ping chart, available at the website listed in the Resource section.
Compare the length of your existing irons or the ones you are considering buying to the result of your fitting. Measure the length of the shaft of the 5-iron, from the heel of the club head to the butt end of the grip. The standard length of a 5-iron is 38 inches. For example, a golfer who stands 6 feet tall and whose wrists are 35 inches from the floor should use standard-length clubs, while his playing partner of the same height but with arms an inch longer requires clubs that are one-quarter inch shorter. Surprisingly, the fitting chart says their friend who is only 5 feet tall but also with a 35-inch wrist height needs clubs that are a quarter-inch longer than standard. This might seem counter-intuitive, but when the players take their stances, the hands of the shorter man must end up higher that than those of the taller one.
In most cases, this static fitting procedure will identify your best club length, but you should verify the results with a dynamic fit check, because the position of your hands at impact may be different from the one you have at setup. This can be as simple as examining your divots for heel and toe depth. If the heel of your club head digs deeper than the toe, you need a shorter club or a flatter lie angle; if the opposite is true, consider longer shafts or clubs with more upright lies.
Don Patton began writing after retiring from an engineering career in 2006. He holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and continued with graduate study in software engineering.