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If you’re anything like me you’ve probably bought clubs straight off the rack and never thought twice about whether or not they’re actually the right size. I was having a couple of problems recently, and after digging into it a bit, I thought that my clubs were either a bit too short or a bit too long.
I’ve heard a number of pro and scratch players saying how important it was to get your clubs fitted (length and lie). I always brushed that aside a bit, but it actually does make a big difference. If you’re serious about improving your game, it’s something you should consider.
Before I actually got my clubs fitted, I wanted to double-check if they were too long or short. I went out and bought an iron that was well short and one that was definitely too long. I was just curious to see what the common faults were. After that, I looked at a couple of things to tell if they needed adjusting, and that’s what we’ll get into next.
What Happens When Golf Clubs Are Too Long?
For most golfers, having clubs that are too long will result in the most inconsistent shots. Clubs that are too long will make you stand too upright, which can cause both heel and toe shots as well as a tendency to pull the ball.
What I thought was pretty interesting was that most people use clubs that are too long. I’ve read a number of articles and magazines that say “standard” length clubs are too long for 90% of average golfers.
If you take a look at pro golfers, a lot of them look like they’re standing over the ball, their spine has a good relation to the ball, and the clubs sometimes even seem small.
On the other hand, how many times have you seen the average guy standing almost completely upright when they’re hitting the driver. It sometimes looks like they’re swinging a tent pole.
The standard driver is somewhere around 45 inches long. On tour, a lot of the guys and gals use clubs that are shorter. Maybe there’s a reason for it?
Anyways, I wanted to see for myself what some of the common faults were with clubs that were too long. Here are some signs that your golf clubs are too long:
- Your angle of attack is shallow and you don’t take much of a divot
- Your shot trajectory is inconsistent
- You have the tendancy to block the ball
- A lot of your shots go left (for a right handed golfer)
The first thing I noticed was that my swing had a shallow attack on the ball. This is fine for some clubs, but for the longer irons, it’s not going to work out well.
The main thing I noticed was that a shallower angle of attack led to an inconsistent trajectory. Some of my shots were high and some of them were low. All of them were inconsistent.
The second thing that I noticed was that I often made contact with the toe. This sometimes led to a blocked shot (straight right), but the most common miss was a pull to the left.
After a number of shots, I tried to make some adjustments with my swing. It didn’t really go well because it just resulted in a lot of fat shots as well as slices.
There were a few key things I noticed with the clubs that were too long. I’d recommend you take a look at them to see if your clubs might be too long.
How Do You Know If Your Golf Clubs Are Too Long?
The most common way to tell if your clubs are too long is that your back will be too upright, the toe of your club will be off the ground at address, and you will often make contact towards the toe of the club.
Before you go out and get your clubs fitted, I’d recommend you take a look at a couple of things to see if your clubs might be too long. It could save you some time, some money, and will give you a better idea of what’s going on.
The first way to tell if your clubs are too long is to take a look at your posture. When you address the ball, is your back completely bent over to where you feel the tension in your back? Or is your back almost vertical and the top of your head is pointing at the sky?
If your back is upright, you’ll have a tough time hitting the ball consistently. Your body will have no relation to the ball and you’ll have shots going all over the place.
The second thing to look at is how your club sits on the ground. When you address the ball, is the toe of the club in the air? Is the heel of the club off the ground? Or is it sitting perfectly flat?
Every club should sit flat on the ground. What I noticed with the clubs that were too long was that the toe of the club was off the ground. This led to a lot of pulled shots.
The final thing to do is check where you’re making contact. Is the ball hitting the center of the face or is it too much towards the toe or heel? For me, the most common fault was making contact with the toe.
An easy way to tell is to put some masking tape on the face and take a swing. You’ll be able to see where the ball made contact. You could also spray some foot spray on the face and you’ll be able to see as well.
What Happens When Golf Clubs Are Too Short?
For most golfers, having clubs that are too short will be better than if they’re too long, but can still result in inconsistent shots. Clubs that are too short will make you stand bent over, which can cause back pain. You’ll also have the tendency to push the ball a lot.
The first thing I’ll say is that, after testing it myself and reading articles, is that most people should use shorter clubs. They’ll put you in a better posture, you’ll stand closer to the ball, and you’ll probably get better distance and accuracy.
That being said, clubs that are too short aren’t ideal either. Here are some signs that your golf clubs are too short:
- You feel some back pain when you’re addressing the ball
- Your angle of attack is steeper and you often hit behind the ball
- A lot of your shots go to the right (for right handed golfer)
The first thing I noticed was that clubs that were too short put a lot of tension on my back. Shorter clubs mean you’ll need to bend over more, so it might not be the best option if you already have back issues.
The second thing I noticed was that my angle of attack was much steeper. Just think about your 5 iron and sand wedge, which one makes a bigger divot? The same thing goes for all of the other clubs.
When you have a steeper angle of attack, your trajectory will probably be more consistent. I felt like I had more power, but I did hit more “fat” shots than I normally do.
The final thing I noticed was that a lot of my shots went right. With a longer club, my contact points were all over the place, but with a shorter one, I almost always made contact more towards the heel.
How Do You Know If Your Golf Clubs Are Too Short?
The most common way to tell if your clubs are too short is that your back will be bent over too much, the heel of your club will be off the ground at address, and you’ll often make contact towards the heel of the club.
Before you go out and buy new clubs, I’d recommend you take a look at a few things to see if they’re actually too short or not. It’s pretty easy and could save you some money.
The first thing to look at is your posture at address. Stand over the ball like you were going to hit it and take a picture or video. Does it look like you’re an old man with a bad back? Does it look like you’re almost standing vertical?
The ideal stance should be somewhere in the middle. You need to have a good relation to the ball, but you don’t want to cause any back pain.
The second thing to look at is how your club sits on the ground. Address the ball like you normally would and take a look at your clubhead. If the heel of the club is off the ground, chances are your clubs are too short.
The ideal position is to have your club sitting flat on the ground. If your heel is sitting up a bit, you’ll probably find yourself pushing a lot of shots (straight right for the right-handed golfer).
The final thing to look at is where you’re making contact with the club. The easiest way to tell is by putting some masking tape or foot spray on the face of your club and hitting a ball. You’ll easily be able to tell where you’re making contact.
If your clubs are too short, you’ll probably hit a lot of shots with the heel of the club. This is what caused my pushed shots and is why they went right.
Is It Better To Have Golf Clubs Too Long Or Too Short?
For the average golfer, having clubs that are a bit shorter than normal will produce the most consistent shots. Being closer to the ball and more bent over will give you a better relationship to the ball, which will result in more distance, better trajectory, and increased control.
If golfers on tour play courses that are much longer than us and they use clubs that are shorter than us, doesn’t that show something? That’s why I’ve shortened all of my clubs.
Just think about what’s easier to hit well, your 7 iron or your 4 iron? Standing farther away from the ball will make you stand more upright, and if you stand more upright, you’ll lose consistency and probably distance.
But, if you’re debating whether or not to go a size up or a size down from standard, most people will prefer going down. A 45-degree driver is way too long for the average hacker.
If you’re someone with back issues and can’t bend over all the way, this might not work for you. What I would recommend is getting the lie of your clubs adjusted.
Step #1 is to find the right length for your body. Once you’ve found the length that feels right, you should make sure the lie of your club is also right.
If you’re shorter than average, you’ll want to get clubs that are shorter than standard. If you also have long arms, the lie of your club might be off. If your arms hang down more, the toe of your club could be off the ground. You’d want to get that fixed.
How Long Should Your Golf Clubs Be For Your Height?
The length of your golf clubs will all depend on your height and how long your arms are. That’s why there’s really no one size fits all guide for club length.
What I would recommend for most golfers is to start with clubs that are 1 inch shorter than what’s “recommended” for them. Then you can fine-tune the lie of the club and possibly shorten it even more. 1 inch is a good starting point though.
Here is the general guideline that people follow to pick the right club length:
|Your Height||Length Adjustment (From Standard)||Recommended Adjustment (From Standard)|
|6’8″+||Add 2 Inch||Add 1 Inch|
|6’6″-6’8″||Add 1.5 Inch||Add 0.5 Inches|
|6’4″-6’6″||Add 1 Inch||Standard|
|6’2″-6’4″||Add 0.5 Inch||Decrease 0.5 Inch|
|6’1″-6’2″||Add 0.25 Inch||Decrease 0.75 Inch|
|5’7″-6’1″||Standard||Decrease 1 Inch|
|5’4″-5’7″||Decrease 0.25 Inch||Decrease 1.25 Inch|
|5’2″-5’4″||Decrease 0.5 Inch||Decrease 1.5 Inch|
|5’0″-5’2″||Decrease 1 Inch||Decrease 2 Inch|
The traditional guidelines that people have been following for years are in the 2nd column above. It says people between 5 feet 7 inches and 6 feet 1 inch should use standard length clubs.
As you get taller or shorter, you should increase or decrease the length by up to 2 inches. Most people fall into “standard” territory, but if people would benefit from shorter clubs, these golfers should cut their clubs down.
After talking to a few club fitters and testing it out for myself, decreasing the length by 1 inch is a good place to start. If that’s true, the average golfer should go 1 inch less than standard.
How much does it cost to lengthen golf clubs? On average, it will cost $8-9 per club plus the cost of a new grip to lengthen your clubs. If you’re looking to save your old grips, you’ll avoid the cost of new grips, but you’ll have to pay a save grip fee of around $10 per club.
How much does it cost to shorten golf clubs? On average, it will cost $3-5 per club plus the cost of a new grip to shorten your clubs. If you’re looking to save your old grips, you won’t have to pay for new grips, but you’ll have to pay a save grip fee of around $10 per club.
If you lengthen or shorten your clubs, the lie angle will also change. It’s important that your clubs lay flat on the ground (the toe or heel isn’t off the ground). This is something you might need to get adjusted.
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