I’ve bought my fair share of golf clubs over the years. Along the way I did a tonne of research into how to size a golf club, and in this guide I’ll explain exactly how to do it.
I’ll first give you a brief overview so you can get an idea of what’s involved.
So, what golf club length do you need?
You want to base your club length on your height and the distance between your wrists and the floor. There’s a specific club length that works best for each height and arm length. Also, a club can be custom fitted by a professional fitter.
Generally, your arm span is the same as your height, so these measurements will overlap. However most folks have slightly longer or shorter arms, and makes it important to measure both.
If you’re taller and/or your arms are longer you’ll want a longer club to give the best angle for hitting the ball.
And the same is true if you’re shorter or have shorter arms. Taking a perfect golf swing requires a tonne of practice, and drilling to get the right feel, and develop the right muscle memory.
I recently covered some drills for both putting and perfecting your golf swing lag in these articles:
Can You Putt For Dough
Definitely bookmark them to check them out later. Now, onto exactly how to measure what golf club you need.
Here are all the steps you need to do to get the right club length:
- Measure your height
- Measure the distance between your wrists and the ground
- Use the measurements to determine what length golf club you need
- Measure how the club sits
1) Measure Your Height
Your height changes the angle your club makes to the ground and that affects the angle that the club head makes as it strikes the ball.
If you take a certain sized golf club and hand it to two people – one shorter and one taller, when the taller person swings the club it will be a steep angle.
Whereas, when the shorter golfer is holding it, the club will make a shallower angle. And be more horizontal.
If both perform a perfect shot, the taller person’s shot will be too close to their body, making it feel awkward.
And the shorter person’s shot will be too far from their body giving them less control over the club.
In an extreme case the taller person won’t be able to rest the club on the ground without crouching down with improper form. And the shorter person will have to stand up too straight.
A lot of people already know their height, but you might have forgotten exactly what it is. Also, as you age your height changes so it’s a good idea to re-measure it.
Here’s how to accurately measure your height exactly:
- Grab a friend
- Stand with your back against the wall, and as tall as you can
- Use a book or ruler on the top of your head to get a straight line from the absolute top of your head to the wall.
- Grab a piece of masking tape and stick it to the wall where the ruler or book meets the wall
- Use a measuring tape to get the distance from the tape to the floor
- Record the number on your smartphone, or write it down.
Now that you have your height in either inches or centimetres, you’ll want to measure the distance between wrists and the ground.
2) Measure The Distance Between Your Wrists And The Ground
The distance between your wrists and the ground is important in the same way that your height is. But, everyone’s arm length is different, so it helps narrow down how long your golf club should be.
This measurement is typically used by a professional golf club fitter.
Here’s how to do that:
- Stand somewhere with your feet shoulder width apart – your feet should be directly under your shoulders
- Place your hands by your sides.
- Have a friend measure the distance from your wrists to the ground using a tape measure.
- If you don’t have a tape measure handy, you can use some string and mark the length on it using a pen, or cut it to length.
- Write this number down on your smartphone or somewhere you won’t lose it.
Some folks have one arm that’s slightly longer than the other.
And because people use their dominant hand most of the time – the muscles in the shoulder and back can make one arm rest a bit higher than the other because the muscles are more developed on one side.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to measure both. And take an average of the two. To take the average of both measurements, add both together and divide it by two.
If the difference is a lot – say over 5 cm (2 inches) then it’s best to take the shorter of the two measurements. Because the arm that’s shorter will determine your posture when you’re taking your swing.
Now, that you’ve got the distance from your wrists to the ground, it’s time to use a table to determine the exact length golf club you need.
3) Use The Measurements To Determine What Length Golf Club You Need
In general, each club manufacturer makes their clubs to a length that is about right for an average person. But, each country has a different average height.
So, depending on where you buy your club it can be shorter or longer. And each brand uses a slightly different length for their clubs.
However, if you’re shorter or taller than the average height you’ll need to adjust the length of your club so that it’s comfortable.
Here’s a table which shows the average length you’ll want to have your club adjusted so that you can keep proper form, and hit with accuracy.
|Your Height |
Feet & Inches
|4’9 to 5’0||-2.00|
|5’0 to 5’3||-1.50|
|5’3 to 5’6||-1.00|
|5’6 to 5’9||-0.50|
|5’9 to 6’0||no change|
|6’0 to 6’3||+0.50|
|6’3 to 6’6||+1.00|
|6’6 to 6’9||+1.50|
|6’9 to 7’0||+2.00|
|145 to 152||-5.1|
|152 to 160||-3.8|
|160 to 168||-2.5|
|168 to 175||-1.3|
|175 to 183||no change|
|183 to 191||+1.3|
|191 to 198||+2.5|
|198 to 206||+3.8|
|206 to 213||+5.1|
This will give you a good idea.
Then you can use the below table provided by Patriot Golf, to find the corresponding length adjustment based on the height between the floor and your wrists
Match your height in the top row to the height to floor ratio on the left hand column to see how much you’ll want to adjust the length of a standard sized club to.
Std. stands for standard and means you don’t need to adjust the club length.
Because of how much data there is I was only able to include the measurements in inches. You can convert inches to cm by using the online tool that Google provides if you search for ‘cm to inches’.
You’ll also want to see how the club sits as you’re holding it, and try out different club lengths in store to see which feel right for you (this is covered in the next and final step).
4) Measure How The Golf Club Sits On The Ground
The final step is to see how the club sits before you get it adjusted. This will vary based on what kind of club you’re measuring for example a putter, iron, or a wood.
I’ll provide a broad overview first for how to do it and then how to measure it for each of different kinds of clubs.
- Hold the club as you normally would when taking a shot.
- Observe the lie of your golf club.
- If the store has different length clubs, compare them to see which is best.
- Order your club with the length adjustment you need.
1. Hold the club as you normally would when taking a shot
This step is fairly self explanatory. But, hold the club as you would when taking a shot to see how it feels and whether it’s slightly too long or too short.
2. Observe the lie of the golf club
As you may be aware the lie of the golf club is the angle the club makes with the ground when you hold it out at the correct angle.
The bottom of the club should be exactly parallel with the ground as you make contact with the ball so that you make solid contact, and you hit the ball right in the center of the club face.
A golf fitter can adjust the lie angle by holding the clubhead in a vice and then bending the shaft up or down slightly.
It takes a bit of feel to know how hard you should bend the shaft to change the lie the correct amount. So, it’s a good idea to have a professional do it for you.
There are a range of tests you can to determine your lie angle – for example using a lie board.
A lie board or other test is generally only effective if you’re experienced and have a really consistent golf swing.
A beginner will generally hit the ball differently each time.
So, if you’re a new golfer it’s best to have someone in a store observe your golf swing to see what the best lie angle is for you.
3. Compare different length clubs where available
Ordinarily, someone in a golf store will be able to recommend what length golf club will be right for you, based on your height and the length between your wrists and the ground.
But, another good way to get an idea of what length your club should be is to try out different length clubs in store – if they’re available to see which one you like the feel of.
4. Order the club with the length adjustment you need
Now, you’ve got the length of club that you need, and have a good idea of the lie that you want, you can go ahead and buy the club, and have them adjust the length and lie for you in store.
According to Callaway Golf, it costs somewhere in the range of $5 to have the length of your club adjusted. And about the same to adjust the lie. But, this can vary depending on where you get it done.
Now, that you have an idea of the major steps involved, I’ll explain what adjustments you need to make for the different kinds of clubs, for example irons, woods, and putters.
Adjustments Based On The Different Types Of Golf Clubs
As you may be aware the stance and swing of a wood, and iron, and a putter is different, and this affects how you determine the length of club that you need.
For example with a wood your feet are normally wider apart, and the ball is positioned closer to your front foot.
This affects the lie and the length of club that you need.
Here are the major differences in stance and how it affects how you measure the length of the club that you need
Irons are shorter than a wood. And when taking a shot with an irons the ball is generally placed in the center of your feet.
Your body position is also more bent over compared to a wood to accommodate for the shorter club.
Here’s a list of the common ball positions for irons:
- Wedges, 9 iron, and 8 iron – the middle of your feet
- 7, 6, and 5 iron – one inch (2.5 cm) closer to your front foot from the center line between your feet.
- 4, 3 iron and fairway woods – 2 inches (5 cm) closer to your front foot from the center line between your feet.
Exactly where the ball is positioned does differ based on what you like. Some people say for example, that with higher numbered irons such as 8 irons and above you should stand so that the ball is near your back foot.
Here’s an article I wrote about Mastering Golf Ball Placement In Stance which explains the difference in ball position you should have based on whether you’re using a driver or a wood.
With woods you take a bigger swing with more power and as a result your stance is wider to give you more balance.
The ball is also placed closer to your front foot, and further away from you.
So, when you’re trying out a wood to see if it’s the right length, make sure to position the club at about this position to check the lie.
Every golfer positions the ball slightly differently when they putt, a common term used to describe a good put is that you make contact with the ball during the ‘release’ of the putt.
Which is when the putter has passed the midpoint of your stroke and is beginning to travel up.
For this reason the ball is usually positioned an inch (2.5 cm) in front of the center line between your feet. Closer towards your front foot.
If you’re unsure where to position the ball to measure if a putter is the right size for you, then this is a good place to position the ball.
There are also a bunch of different ways to grip a putter, which affects what length it should be. And it’s best to use the grip you normally use when you take a putt.
Should You Have A Professional Club Fitting
Generally, the best solution is to have a club professionally fitted. This becomes more relevant the better you get at golf. When you first start learning to play golf most of your advantages will come from getting better at swinging the club.
But, once you reach a good level of skill, making sure your clubs fit you perfectly based on your unique swing becomes really important.
And to do this having a professional fitter measure your swing is the best option. They will use a computer and analyze video of your shots to read the variables in your swing and give you a precise lie, and length for each of your clubs. Or, for clubs individually.
There are several places you can visit to have a Custom Golf Club Fit:
- Golf Club Professional
- Independent Golf Club Fitter
- Golf Manufacturers Fitting Centres
1) Golf Club Professionals
Some golf professionals will be certified as a fitter.
They can be sponsored by a particular brand and they will generally recommend the brand that they endorse. They’re typically certified by the PGA or LPGA.
Be wary of the pro’s who are too keen to get hold of your cash and don’t always have your game in the forefront of their minds.
I remember going for a series of lessons with a local Pro, he was (is) a very good coach, but he was also a bit too keen to sell me new clubs every time I went to see him.
He was very keen to get me into a set of Ping. Despite the fact I had just bought a new set of Mizuno’s at the time.
It turned out that this Pro was the largest Ping reseller (who didn’t have a retail shop) and he had already sold a new set of Ping sets to a lot of my friends. I guess I was next on the list.
He was very helpful though, he also offered to drive you to the fitting centre, which was a couple of hours a way and it would only cost a sandwich and a tank of fuel.
That’s sounds pretty fair until you realise three other golfers were coming with you and had the same amazing deal. It did make me laugh but it also stopped me from going for any further lessons with him.
2) Independent Golf Club Fitter
There are some stores who specialize in fitting golf clubs. Doing a Google search should bring up some that are local to your area.
Being an Independent Golf Club Fitter means they won’t necessarily recommend a specific brand, although always be mindful that everyone involved in Golf Sales is there to sell products; and sometimes a higher commission rate is enough incentive to sway an opinion.
3) Golf Manufacturer Demo Days
Some brands will do ‘demo days’ at golf courses where you can see the latest technology. As part of these they sometimes include free fittings.
Sometimes these are advertised at the clubhouse, on Social Media and on the club website.
I recently went to a PXG Demo day and I was well looked after, but with the high prices (£440 per iron) I definitely got the sense that I was a pay check for someone getting commission on the back of any sale I made.
I thought the clubs were ok, but they weren’t £440 better per club against my current set…not even £40 per club better.
But it was good to get a sense of the technology and feel of a different sets of clubs.
4) Retail Golf Stores
Some golf product stores have really large stores, and as a result offer a range of other services.
Golf Pro’s in some retail outlets have a reputation for selling clubs, and not always for selling the right clubs. Think sal
I am very lucky where I live there is an Independent Retail Outlet, Tony Valentine Golf Centre, and over the years I have got to know the staff well and I have always had a good experience every time I have shopped with them.
5) Golf Manufacturers Fitting Centres
If you already have a brand which you prefer, then you could swing by their Custom Fitting Centres for a fitting.
It’s a good idea to call ahead to make sure they do fittings at their headquarters. But, it’s definitely something golf brands do.
Rich & I visited the Srixon Centre Of Excellence to be fitted for a set of irons when Rich became a Staff Player for them. It was a good experience and one I would recommend.
Does Golf Club Length Matter?
The length of your golf club is important because it controls whether you have good posture when you take your shot. For example, if your club is too long you’ll need to stand more upright, and if your club is too short you’ll need to bend too far forward.
Each person finds a slightly different angle more comfortable, most golfers find bending over 35 to 45 degrees is optimum, but if you need to bend over so much that it throws off your balance then it’s a clear sign your club is too short.
Also, if you need to stand so upright that it’s hard to look down and keep your eyes on the ball, then it’s a sign that your club is too long.
Are Your Golf Clubs Too Short?
There are a range of ways to tell if your golf clubs are too short:
- You have too much bend in the knees
- You make contact with ball on the toe
- You need to bend too far forward
Of course some of these could be due to a swing fault but can also be caused by a club that’s too short.
To know for sure you’ll need to check different length clubs, which you can also do at a driving range.
Do Shorter Golfers Need Shorter Clubs?
Usually shorter golfers need shorter clubs. All golf clubs are made based on the height of an average person. And someone who is shorter will need to have their clubs shortened. Or, get clubs that are designed for shorter people.
However, people also have longer and shorter arms. And a short person can have long arms for their height, and a tall person can have short arms for their height.
Therefore, if a shorter person has longer arms it can offset their height. And it’s a good idea to get your clubs professionally fitted, or try a range of different golf club sizes to see which feels the most comfortable.
Is It Better to Buy A Golf Set Or Individual Clubs?
A golf set is usually cheaper than buying each club individually. A common way beginner golfers acquire clubs is to start with a set and upgrade different clubs as they go, and as their skill level increases.
It’s generally recommended that a beginner get a cheap set of golf clubs to learn the game. Because you may not enjoy the game and you can easily lose some money by reselling your clubs if you decide to quit.
Also a beginner won’t have enough experience to be able to notice the difference between cheaper clubs and more expensive clubs; And they say that high quality clubs don’t always have the best bang for your buck in regards to improving your game.
The biggest improvements that a beginner golfer will see in their game will be from doing practice drills, and improving the different aspects of their game.
Once, they have a good level of skill, and know what their clubs feel like, then they’ll notice a difference between cheap clubs and the more expensive clubs.
A Word Of Caution About Custom Golf Club Fitting
If you were to visit several different club fitters, you may find you have several different recommendations for what you need.
This could be down to the experience of the fitter, the equipment they have at their disposal, their understanding of club fitting, and many other things but the most likely reason for the differences is you.
Remember you are being fitted for the golf swing that you have on the day.
Which, as I said before, if you are a beginner golfer, and are still building and finding your golf swing, the characteristics of your swing are going to change, probably in a short space of time.
If I was going to drop $100’s on new clubs I would definitely have a custom fit by an independent club fitter or Golf Pro.
With that kind of money I would want to make sure I am gaining the maximum out of the clubs and matching it closely with my golf ability. There’s no point having the wrong shaft or the wrong spin numbers.
Let the experts guide you, but be mindful of a couple of things.
Golf Pro’s in some retail outlets have a reputation for selling clubs, and not always for selling the right clubs. Think sales targets and making money!
The other reason is a bit harder to assess.
Not all manufacturers will custom build the club to the exact custom fit specs you have produced, so you don’t always get what you pay for. Do some research on the build part of the process. Get them to double check the specs when you pick up the club.
Golf club fitting is becoming an integral part of the sport at all levels of the game. Even from beginner level, coaches are partnering with club-fitters to develop the correct equipment and lesson strategies for students based on their beginner motions and early tendencies.
Golf Club Fitters are now available to every player, from the early stages of learning to play to the advanced professional levels, where even the smallest adjustments are helping professional golfers bring more consistency and growth to their game.
Club fitting helps get the player into a set of clubs that work for their body type and beginner skill level which provides a solid platform to begin lessons and practice improving their skills.
Some players listen to the manufacturers marketing campaigns that often claim to have the longest clubs or the most forgiving, or both.
It’s good practice to try and test the clubs for yourself, on the course where possible, and not get caught up in some of the marketing BS and hype.
Overall there are fewer reasons not to get fitted, other than for casual golfers, as it’s proven to be a valuable and important part of the modern game!