In this post, I’ll teach you how to tell if your golf clubs are too long.
The goal is to help you identify this issue, and overcome it. Plus, I will coach you through how to determine the correct length clubs for your game.
The Consequences of Using Golf Clubs That Are Too Long
I recently relocated to Argentina and decided to leave my golf clubs in South Africa. I used my buddy’s clubs for my first two rounds (he’s a 6-foot 6 Dane of pure Viking heritage).
In the two rounds I used these long clubs, I surprisingly enjoyed a consistent draw. It impressed me so much that I have decided to acquire golf clubs that are 0.5-inches longer than my current standard lengths.
However, besides my positive experience, longer-length golf clubs can wreak havoc with your tempo, swing path, ball striking, and accuracy.
Golfers tend to stand further upright with longer golf clubs to account for their design. This changes your posture and prompts an out-to-in swing path along a shallow angle of attack with a driver. That increases the difficulty of control and causes heel and toe mishits.
If you look at World Long Drive Champion Kyle Berkshire’s driver, it is 48-inches long. That is 3-inches longer than a standard length. Since he swings it 152.6 mph, you would think the added length would do that for every golfer.
Sure, the increased length enhances the flexibility of the shaft, but it also increases your swing weight. Therefore, you lose speed and power at a critical point in your swing, and produce a lower smash factor, resulting in fewer yards.
Golf Magazine reports that for every inch you add to your driver, you gain 1-mph extra clubhead speed. However, if you strike the ball off the toe of the club or the heel, you will reduce your coefficient of restitution (COR) and produce slower ball speed. Therefore you lose distance.
The bottom line is that if your clubs are too long, it impacts your swing mechanics. Plus, it reduces your power through impact for a loss of distance and accuracy.
How to Tell if Your Golf Clubs Are Too Long
1. You didn’t get properly fitted
The most efficient approach to determining if your golf club’s lengths are excessive is to get fitted at your local golf shop. These professionals will set you up on a launch monitor and analyze every aspect of your swing and game, from tee to green.
In addition, they will assess the impact that length has on your ball speed, swing speed, spin rate, and tempo. The results also indicate golfers dispersion rates and highlight the ideal lofts for long irons, woods, and short irons.
Getting fitted enables you to make better-informed decisions about your equipment. It alleviates the guesswork and sets you up for an optimal swing and consistent contact.
2. Your clubs measure too long against a fitting chart
The simplest way to determine if your clubs are too upright is to pull out the tape measures for a static measurement. If you do not have a tape measure, you can always use a 1-meter or yard ruler.
Let your arms hang by your side, and get a buddy or loved one to do the wrist-to-floor measurements. Determine the length from your wrist crease to the ground, and double-check your height.
Next, head over to the Ping Fitting Chart and plug in the data to find the right length shafts. For example, I am 5-foot-8, and my wrist sits 38-inches from the floor. Therefore, the chart suggests that I use a longer shaft, 0.5-inches more than a standard length golf club.
If the standard shaft length of a driver is 45-inches, it recommends that I will excel with a 45.5-inch construction. That means that a shaft above 45.5-inches is likely too long for average height.
3. Your clubs feel heavy
A longer shaft means extra swing weight. The downside of added weight is that it can reduce your clubhead speed at impact, leading to a loss of spin and ball speed.
The added weight and taller shaft typically cause you to swing your driver outside-in and on a shallow angle of attack. This reduces your clubhead speed and control of the club leading to inconsistent strikes and a loss of ball speed and spin.
The reduced COR at impact and the subsequent loss of spin and velocity lead to a loss of distance. Slower swinging golfers subsequently achieve a low, inconsistent launch angle.
If your club feels heavy, it may also be caused by your shaft flex and weight. A stiff shaft carries additional mass over a regular or senior flex. The point is that a heavy club could be caused by a variety of factors other than length.
4. Your posture is too upright
Our posture is often dictated by the height of our golf clubs. When I have played with a shorter shaft I often hunched over like Notre Dame and caught the ball off the toe of the club. Conversely, using long clubs prompts me to address the ball in an upright position.
The length of the club makes the standard setup uncomfortable, causing you to stay more upright. Based on the position of the golf club during your swing you may struggle to bring it on plane, leading to chunked shots or catching the ball off the heel.
5. You’re standing too far away from the ball
Clubs with extended lengths can cause you to stand too far away from the ball. Although it feels natural to account for the added length, it restricts your ability to rotate your lower body and the arms completely take over.
Conversely, standing too close to the ball encourages an upright stance, bringing your arms to rest on your stomach. That creates excess tension in your wrists and lower arms, reducing your ability to swing freely, which hampers your power and ability to get the clubface on plane for impact.
6. Your lie angle is off
If your clubface aims left of your hosel and is well upright, your clubs may be slightly longer than you need. Callaway explains every ½ -inch added to an iron shaft makes the lie angle 1-degree more upright.
How to Tell if Your Golf Clubs Are Too Short
To determine if your golf clubs are too short, you follow the procedures I listed above for long clubs. However, I will run over them briefly.
1. You didn’t get properly fitted
I always recommend that amateurs get fitted for the correct equipment. For optimal performance, you should eliminate any guesswork from your game. Rather than do it yourself and struggle, hire a professional and get it right.
As a 4-year-old, I was coached by a retired Sunshine Tour Pro. Although he had no time for my clowning around, the man set me up for success on the course. The same applies to equipment – have a professional guide you.
2. Your clubs measure too short against a fitting chart
Repeat the wrists to floor measurement, to identify your perfect length. Then paste that into the Ping Fitting Chart and see what it suggests. Next, measure your current clubs and see if they are shorter than your ideal length.
3. Your posture is hunched over
This is the easiest way to self-diagnose the use of short clubs. Every time I have used these tools, I have hunched over significantly. You can see that in this video from 2021:
I played a quick 9 at the local club with my clubs from my teenage years. The result? A shocking posture.
When clubs are too short for me, I tend to bend over excessively and cast my club along a steep angle of attack. It causes an out-to-in swing path, and since I am a right-hander, my ball consistently finishes right of the pin.
Conversely, the results differed when Rick Shiels swapped clubs with the world’s tallest golfer. Paul Sturgess hit most of his shots to the left, and most golfers find this to be the cast:
The lower angle of your hands causes you to bring your club inside on your backswing and straight through. That can lead to a closed clubface at impact and hooked or drawing shot.
4. Your clubs feel too light
If your clubs are too short, they may feel super flexible and light. 7-foot 7 Paul Sturgess said it felt like he was swinging children’s clubs, referencing Shiels equipment.
Rick himself is not short, measuring 6-feet. The lighter clubs may cause you to produce increased spin and balloon your shots.
How to Figure Out The Right Length of a Golf Club for You
As I mentioned, getting fitted is the most efficient method for identifying the right length clubs. The experts will help you find the perfect woods, irons, hybrids, and putter to optimize your performance on the golf course.
They may find that your current clubheads are well suited to your performance and opt for a length adjustment. In addition, they help you understand whether steel or graphite shafts are best suited to your swing speed.
Furthermore, professional fitters identify the ideal shaft flex, weight, and clubhead loft for consistent distance and accuracy.
You can do it yourself should a trip to get fitted exceed your budget. Measure the distance between the floor and your wrists and double-check your height.
Once you have this data, you can use a calculator like the Ping Fitting Chart to find your suitable shaft lengths. The information provided by Ping helps you determine if your existing clubs are the correct length. If not, you know your perfect height, go out and solve the problem.
The final way to figure out the right length is to test options from various club manufacturers. Try short, standard, and long clubs with stiff, regular, and senior flex shafts. Identify which clubs you strike the golf ball better with, and achieve superior distance and accuracy.
I suggest using a launch monitor for more accurate results. However, you can also use your judgment if you are confident in your ability.